April 29, 2011
Since the giveaway I planned for the ARC-review of this book was cancelled because of circumstances in my off-line life I have decided to give away a copy (ordered via The BookDepository) to one of the commenters on this post. Below the review you can find how to enter.

On the run, in each other’s arms, with one last chance to survive.

A rugged Navy SEAL, Zane Scott was part of a failed mission to rescue Dr. Olivia Strohm from abduction by the terrorist group Dead Man’s Hand (DMH)—and her anguished screams have haunted him ever since. So when he gets word that the beautiful physician has escaped from her captors in Africa, he’s got personal reasons to storm the continent and save her.

Like her would-be liberator, Olivia carries the burden of a dark secret from her past. Ruthless and relentless, the DMH has threatened to hunt her down – and to systematically hurt anyone she’s close to. The last thing she wants is to be rescued—even by someone as shockingly handsome as Zane. Yet the hotheaded special ops hero has come for her, and together she and Zane just might have a shot at not only stopping DMH’s reign of terror, but also saving what’s left of their souls.

Author: Stephanie Tyler
Series: Shadow Force Series, book 2
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Dell Books
Year of release: 2010, November 23
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received this book for review from the author

First line: Ohmohs... Ohmohs?
How much?
The incessant calls echoed in his ear, a mix of Krio and English he wouldn't soon forget as he ran through the crowded marketplace along the narrow streets by the harbor.

Memorable Scene:
- Zane and Liv's love scene in the rainstorm and the shack > intense and hot

PROMISES IN THE DARK picks up about several months after we left Zane at the end of LIE WITH ME. Zane was a character that very much intrigued me in that book. Beneath Zane’s aloof, don't-care attitude is a man wanting to belong, to make a difference, but he has a wild, impulsive streak that gets him into situations that other people try to avoid.

Dr. Olivia 'Liv' Strohm is a strong and determined woman. She’s resourceful, has a logical way of thinking and is decisive. I really admired Olivia's character. Already did in LIE WITH ME, and even more so now after reading her own book.

I truly love Stephanie Tyler's male characters and Zane, and his brother Caleb for that matter too, was no exception but even more than the men, I adore her female characters. They all have amazing inner strength and are resilient yet they're never hard or harsh because of the vulnerability she layers them with. Yet they're not picture-perfect, they make mistakes and have flaws and this makes them realistic and likeable. They aren't fearless but don't let their fears dominate their actions or paralyze them.

Once again Ms. Tyler blew me away with the multiple story lines, in the suspense as well as in the romance. There were times I would wonder where it was going but then I'd remember I was reading a Stephanie Tyler book and I'd know it would all click together in due course. The end of PROMISES IN THE DARK definitely packed a punch, after lulling me with what seemed to be coursing toward a smooth ending Ms. Tyler hit me with some exciting twists that had me reading breathlessly and rooting for the good guys.

I loved the "aha!" moments in this book. I praise and admire Ms. Tyler for keeping it fresh and unpredictable. However much I love (and crave/need) to see things coming sometimes, I actually enjoy the surprising revelations even more. I am once more in awe of Stephanie Tyler's imagination and writing skills. With every book from her hand that I read, I'm amazed at how someone can come up with these storylines that are always fresh and original.

Though Zane and Olivia are the main couple of this book, there are more characters who are crucial in the suspense plot and who provide some intense secondary romances. These characters’ back-stories of these characters, that I can't really call secondary anymore, are as extensive, intricate and poignant as Olivia's and Zane's and with all this stuff in addition to the suspense plot and the love stories, you'd think it might become a bit too descriptive or crowded. However, nothing is further from the truth. Tyler delivers well-rounded characters with a complete background that she seamlessly inserts into the rest of the story and I never get the feeling of being overwhelmed. I love that!

Every time I start a Stephanie Tyler military romance I expect a poignant romance, rounded characters with extensive and gritty back-stories and nail biting suspense and she has not once disappointed me. PROMISES IN THE DARK is no exception because from the moment I started it I was immediately sucked into the story as I was dying to know how Zane and Olivia's story would unfold.

Romantic suspense lovers should not miss this author or this series as Stephanie Tyler delivers on both romance and suspense, is never predictable and keeps you reading until way past your bedtime.

Favorite Quotes:
He murmured in her ear, “Open your eyes, Liv. I want you to know my name. To know me—to watch me when you come and know that I’m the one doing it to you.” His voice sent a visceral reaction, a blast of heat, as if she’d been licked by fire, and she wanted to go back and walk through it again and again.

(Cael) He wondered if she ever truly let go. Then again, he’d been asked the same question, albeit mainly by Zane. For the record, the answer was Hell yes. Especially in bed. Because there was a time and a place, and bed was the
time and the place. Well, so was the floor. The table. The
car . . . Yeah, time to get his mind back in the game.

(Vivi) As much control as she’d fooled herself into thinking she had over numbers—or anything—she now realized she barely had a grip on anything.
And this man . . . he could swallow her whole in one bite . . . and something trilled inside of her, as if to let her know if that was to happen, she would enjoy every second of it.

(Rowan) Her lips curved in pleasure, a small, contented moan escaped and she realized that, as of yet, she hadn’t seen Tristan smile. Then again, she hadn’t smiled all that much in past years, and any laughter had been born out of relief rather than true happiness or humor. But she wanted to see him smile. No, she wanted to make him smile. Wanted to make him murmur her name again, over and over, until she knew he was lost in the pleasure haze.
“You’re so beautiful . . . so beautiful,” she told him, unable to stop herself from calling this broad, strong man such a thing, but it was the only word that fit him right now. She had no idea that’s all it would take, but after a second,
he smiled, brilliantly, the shine reaching his eyes, and she simply melted.

...and then Zane's broad shoulders filled the space. He waited, half in the tent and half out, his hair wrapped in a bandanna, shirt off, feet bare and pants hanging low on his hips. His eyes glowed, a blue like the Caribbean ocean with black- rimmed irises, the knife strapped to his left arm and the rifle slung with a loose band around his chest. He looked wild. Feral. Amazing.

You can enter by leaving a meaningful comment (comments like: great review, enter me...will be excluded) or answering the following question:
Do you read romantic suspense?
If yes, what do you like about it. If no, why not?
I will pick a winner soon and announce the winner on May 9th, please leave a way to contact you if you don't have an email included in your profile.
April 27, 2011

One-night stand + two percent condom failure rate = happily ever after?

Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him, but lately he’s more interested in finding a woman to settle down with. A woman like Beth Hansen. If only their first meeting hadn’t gone so badly…

Beth’s tending bar at a wedding when she comes face to face with a tuxedo-clad man she never thought she’d see again. She tries to keep her distance from Kevin but, by last call, she can’t say no to his too-blue eyes or the invitation back to his room. Then she slips out before breakfast without leaving a note and, despite their precautions, pregnant.

Kevin quickly warms to the idea of being a dad and to seeing where things go with Beth. After all, he’s not the player she thinks he is. But she’s not ready for a relationship and, given his reputation, it’s going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child…

Author: Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family, book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Year of release: 2010, November 1
Format: eBook
Source: Requested from the publisher via NetGalley

First line:
Every time the New England Patriots chalked one up in the win column, Kevin Kowalski got laid.

Memorable Scenes:
- The lipstick-kissed napkin notes to Kevin > hilarious
- Bobby 'talking' to his future cousin > funny
- Christmas gift exchange between Kevin and Beth > teary-eyed
- Hospital scene > so emotional I was sobbing, yet funny too so I was laughing through my tears

Kevin Kowalski is a sports bar owner and a genuinely good guy. He’s smart, sweet, funny and so endearing he made my heart hurt, in a very good way.

Beth Hansen was a bit of a more complicated character than Kevin was. She might be a hard sell for some readers, especially those hard on heroines but I loved Beth. Like a wandering nomad she goes from town to town, working, staying for a few months and then moving on again. She’s independent, self-sufficient, pragmatic, stubborn, proud and smart. Her parents are sweet but overprotective and smothering and IMO a big reason for her wandering nature.

Complementing the great main couple there was a collection of secondary characters that made a lasting impression on me. Of course some of them I already knew and loved from EXCLUSIVELY YOURS, such as Kevin’s (extended) family but there were a few new ones too. Two that stuck with me most were Paulie and Sam and that’s because they formed the secondary romance couple.

Paulie Reed is Kevin’s best friend and works at the sports bar as assistant manager and waitress. Her POV was surprising at first but I knew it served some purpose and soon I discovered there was a secondary romance in the making. Samuel Thomas 'Sam' Logan IV’s history with Paulie is that she left him at the altar 5 years earlier as she pulled a runaway bride act. I really loved this secondary romance storyline, it was just as funny and romantic as the main romance but never took away the attention.

UNDENIABLY YOURS is another winner for Shannon Stacey! I fell for the Kowalskis in EXCLUSIVELY YOURS and have come to deeply love them in UNDENIABLY YOURS. It's no secret I'm a fan of contemporary romance and I appreciate great family dynamics and kids in my romance novels and with this book Shannon Stacey gave me exactly what I wanted and needed.

When I started reading UDENIABLY YOURS I knew it was going to be good because I loved the first book and this one was going to take me back to that rambunctious and fun Kowalski family and I was not disappointed! Shannon Stacey has a way of writing contemporary romance with characters that just wiggle and shove their way into your heart, whether you want it or not. They have you laughing, crying and cursing at them. They are not picture-perfect and they have flaws and issues but they are so endearing and genuinely trying to get things right, you just have to love them.

Though the impact of UNDENIABLY YOURS wasn't as mind-blowing as the first book I loved this sequel to EXCLUSIVELY YOURS. Kevin was a great hero and the humor, though tidbit more subtle, I crave was definitely shining through Shannon Stacey’s clean, crisp writing that I love so much.

The punch of UNDENIABLY YOURS is definitely in the last part. Shannon Stacey saved the best for last with a last chapter and epilogue that made me cry at Kevin's sweetness and Beth's stubbornness, by the time I came to the end of the pre-epilogue chapter I was bawling. Yet at the same time she made me smile through the tears with the humor mixed into it all.

I don’t think I have adequate words to describe how much I love these Kowalski books by Shannon Stacey. All I can say is: if you love contemporary romance, what the heck are you waiting for? Go buy and read these books!

Favorite Quotes:
Muscles rippled under his T-shirt and, when he stretched for a stack of folded towels, a gap opened between its hem and the waistband of his low-slung jeans. The tantalizing glimpse of abs made her mouth go dry, which was okay because she’d forgotten what she was going to say, anyway.

Or it would be easy work if her body wasn’t tuned in like a quivering antenna to the vibe Kevin was broadcasting.

“Are you going to get all prickly on me if I try to kiss you?”
She tilted her head back so she could see his face. “I guess that depends on how well you kiss.”

We. Part of her was relieved to have a partner in panic and uncertainty, but we was also a level of togetherness she hadn’t expected to share with anybody for a while, especially with a guy whose Rolodex was filled out in Do-Me Fuchsia lipstick.

“If my mother finds out you’re spending Thanksgiving alone, she’ll whack me upside the head so hard with that wooden spoon of hers, when I wake up my clothes will be out of style.

“You know what would cheer you up?”
Licking frosting off his stomach before having hot and sweaty and sticky sex?
“Ice cream,” he said.
“Strawberry?” Not nearly as good, but better for her in the long run.
His grin was on the wrong side of naughty. “Not chocolate?”

Sam & Paulie
“Go out with me. Nobody knows who we are here. I’m just a businessman from Boston and you’re the saucy serving wench who struck my fancy.”
The surprised laughter bubbled up before she could stop it. “Serving wench? Buddy, if I strike you, it ain’t gonna be in your fancy.”

April 26, 2011

Lucy Bright can't believe it when she's plucked from secretarial obscurity and transformed into the pampered fiancée of a slick retail guru. But then she discovers it was all a publicity stunt! Rushing away from the media frenzy, she bumps—literally—into the arms of delicious tycoon Nathaniel Hart….

Spooked by their instantaneous chemistry, Lucy flees—but Nathaniel is determined to find his barefoot beauty. Though all he has is one very expensive red designer stiletto to help him!

Author: Liz Fielding
Series: Standalone, Mills & Boon Cherish imprint
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher:Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited
Year of release: 2010, November 9
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received from the author for ARC-review. Unfortunately due to several circumstances I’m only just now getting around to writing and posting the review and was not able to post the review before release.

First line:
Rubbing at the base of her engagement ring with her thumb so that the huge diamond sparkled, Lucy Bright made an effort to shake off the feeling that things weren’t quite as fairy tale as media coverage of her romance with Rupert Henshawe would suggest.

(Reviewer’s note: decided to go with the first full sentence of the book as everything before was a calendar/diary entry)

Memorable Scenes:
- Nat and Lucy's very first encounter > wonderfully written as I felt like I was right there with them.

Quickie Review:
Lucy Bright’s whirlwind romance and plans for a fairy tale wedding to her boss Rupert Henshawe come to an sudden end when she finds out she's been used as a publicity stunt and her Prince Charming turns out to be the ugly frog.

The heroine Lucy is a survivor. She’s impulsive, passionate, resilient and bubbly yet with substance. I really liked her as the heroine of this book. Nathaniel Hart, Lucy’s knight in shining armor is a very intriguing character. There’s lot more to him than meets the eye and he has a tragic back-story.

The romance in this short book was very nice. It was subtle despite the immediate chemistry between Nat and Lucy and very fitting the line and story. Liz Fielding has a lovely and agreeable writing style that pulls you in immediately. There's subtle humor and she also almost imperceptibly adds the characters' back-stories into the rest of the story. It's fast-paced without unnecessary information or descriptions.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first encounter with Liz Fielding's work. MISTLETOE AND THE LOST STILETTO is a very cute story that gets you in the mood for Christmas and Christmas shopping (I know, I know...it's frigging April/almost May but there were circumstances that prevented me from ARC-reviewing this book, to my utter shame...).

Favorite Quotes:
His world was reduced to the pounding of his heart, her breath against his cheek, her gold-green eyes peering up at him over a voluptuous cowl collar that was sliding, seductively, off one shoulder.
She smelled like a summer garden, of apples and spice and as he held her, a rare, forgotten warmth rippled through him.

Lucy was drowning in raw sensation, Lying in the arms of a total stranger, drowning in the quicksilver heat of his eyes, his touch, parting her lips to gasp in air, struggling to breathe as she went under for the third time.
What was she thinking? What was she doing?

April 25, 2011

Miss Miranda Granger had one wish for the upcoming holiday season—to forget the past and rediscover the woman she was before betrayal and a desperate situation rent apart her happiness. A month at the lavish new seaside resort, the Grandview Hotel, should serve as just the tonic she needs, even if she is forced to spend her time reining in her two mischievous stepsisters while her widowed father sees to his business affairs. After all, she’s all but raised the two hellions since their mother’s death so many years ago. If only she could save them both from the cursed Granger temperament. All she can do is hope that her sisters manage to survive it to womanhood unscathed, something she has not managed to accomplish herself.

Troy Davenport comes to the Grandview Hotel for one reason alone—to find Miranda Granger, and to paint her. He’s been able to think of nothing else since meeting the then-anonymous woman on the deck of the ocean liner R.M.S. Mauretania so many months ago. Now he has her name—thanks to a well-timed photo on the Society page—and he hopes his paintbrush can unlock the mysterious woman’s secrets. Of course, Troy—an accomplished American painter who was trained by the masters in France—harbors his own secret, as well. He isn’t who he seems to be, and he has a vested interested in keeping his true identity safe.

Neither Miranda nor Troy are prepared for the passion that flares between them when they meet at the Grandview, blossoming into a grand affair over the course of their stay. Miranda allows herself to believe that, at last, she’s found the happiness she’s hoped for. But back in the village of Weckham, everything falls apart, and Miranda finds herself once again betrayed by the man she loves.

Only nothing is as it seems, and on Christmas Eve, back at the Grandview Hotel, a miracle occurs on the chalky cliffs by the sea…

Author: Kristi Astor
Series: Connected Edwardian-set historicals
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Zebra Books
Year of release: 2010, November 2
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received digital ARC from author for review

First line:
"What's this, the society page?"

Memorable Scenes:
- Troy and Miranda's reunion scene at the glass house > heartbreaking and sweet

Miranda Granger is proper, serious and responsible. She also comes across as sad. After a near scandal she has curbed her impulsivity and true passionate nature and past mistakes haunt her. Troy awakens her true nature but she fights the attraction as to not make the same mistakes she made in the past. A past where she fell victim to a fortune hunter who ruined her reputation, chose money over her and left her no choice but the life of a spinster.

Troy Davenport/DeWitt is an American and a painter. He’s handsome, masculine and boyishly charming. Troy is immediately fascinated by Miranda and not only as his muse or model. Miranda is afraid of the feelings Troy evoke in her, afraid she'll succumb once more to a fortune hunter's seduction. What she doesn't know is that Troy isn't the uncultured poor artist he appears to be.

As the story is very character-driven and I took no review notes about a plot, I’m assuming there was no significant or discernible plot to speak of. I didn’t mind that as the romance between Troy and Miranda and their intricate and moving back-stories were sufficient in holding my attention from start to finish

A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is set in the England of 1908. This early 20th century time period is a new period for me in reading historical romances as I've read only Medieval, Victorian and Regency. I must say I liked it a lot as it's historical yet with a bit more modern feel in terms of technology (motorcars instead of carriages...watches...). This combination worked very well for me.

This was a delightful read about money, scandal, social standing and outward appearances that pulled me in straight away. I was captivated by the artist in Troy and intrigued by Miranda's past indiscretion that's hinted at from the start. I was a little thrown back at the flashbacks to several years earlier in a few inconsecutive chapters but this was only a minor thing. The flashbacks were needed to understand the characters and I was glad Kristi Astor inserted them, I just don’t know if the points of insertion were conductive to the flow of the story.

A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is a very well written character-driven historical with intriguing tidbits being unraveled slowly to reveal the backgrounds of two wonderful characters who find their soul mates in each other.

Favorite Quote:
She swallowed a lump in her throat. "Most people would say you're too young to settle down and take a wife. Especially one of...of an advanced age."
"Then most people don't know their arse from their elbow. And good God, Miranda--an 'advanced age'? You're not yet thirty."


April 22, 2011
Inarrii agent Alinna Gaerrii was tasked with observing the Starforce base on Earth. Crash landing her observation pod onto the base was not part of her mission briefing. Neither was making m’ittar—mind contact—with Major David Brown, the human who discovered her amongst the wreckage.

David thinks she’s a psychologist sent to evaluate his Special Forces team, and Alinna goes along with his misconception, seizing the opportunity to observe humans up close. But their daily contact has unexpected side effects, and Alinna soon invades David’s dreams. Through their intimate mental connection she allows him to express his forbidden physical desires.

Alinna delights in the sensory exploration and grows excited by the prospect of a treaty with the humans and a potential life mate in David. But an attack from an unknown ship sends the base into chaos, and Alinna may be forced to reveal her lie, erasing all hope of a successful treaty, and driving David away forever

Author: Lilly Cain
Series: The Confederacy Treaty Series, book 1
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Year of release: 2010, June 14
Format: eBook
Source: Requested from publisher via NetGalley

First line:
“I repeat this is Agent Alinna Gaerrii, Unit Nine. Tel sho ahoi. I am in a crash situation.”

Alinna Gaerrii is an Inarrii agent tasked with observing Earth/human behavior to see if the can form a Treaty within the Confederacy against the Raveners. When she crash lands her spy pod on a human Starforce base she decides to continue her observation, especially when she’s mistaken for someone due to arrive on the base.

Major David Brown mistakenly presumes Alinna is Dr. Janet MacPherson, the psychtech assigned to evaluate his team for an upcoming security mission escorting new settlers to Mars.

Though when writing this review I can’t remember much about the story, because it’s been almost 4 months since I read it, I also didn’t make extensive review notes and that is never a good sign with me because it means there weren’t many things that made me grab my notepad to scribble down impressions or stuff to remember for my review. I have no notes on Alinna or David’s characters/personalities, I have no notes about the romance or on what I thought about the writing style. I’ll just have to go with the notes that I do have and those aren’t many.

About a third into the book in I started to suspect David might be more than just human, part Inarrii maybe? But this was not explored further, to my disappointment. The only thing I learned about David was that he had dark fantasies about sexual dominance.

There weren’t many secondary characters as the story focuses mainly on Alinna and David and their attraction to each other. However the ones that made an appearance intrigued and I hope to see some of them back further along in the series.

ALIEN REVEALED was a nice story but I couldn't escape the feeling that I wanted a little more world-building or background. And that's weird for me because normally I complain about too much world-building/background information. In this book it felt a bit brushed over in favor of the plot, romance and eroticism.

I felt a bit lost in the plot after the attack on the base...it felt like the plot lost momentum after that particular event with David easily accepting Alinna's confession and revelations. The last few chapters felt rushed in comparison to the even-paced first part of the book but I did find the erotic part of the book was hot and nicely done and I liked the romance between David and Alinna too.

In conclusion I can’t say that I read a bad book when I read ALIEN REVEALED, it just didn’t make a big lasting impression on me, which is okay because not every book can be mind-blowing material. Sometimes you need a nice, quick, uncomplicated read and that was exactly what ALIEN REVEALED was to me.

This being said, I do want to add that I found out that book 2 in the series is being released in June and I am definitely going to get it because even though this wasn’t a book to blow me off my socks, it did leave me wanting to read more by Lilly Cain

Favorite Quote:
His mental voice rubbed against her in the same way his deep-toned speech did in the physical world. It resonated with sexual promises, no matter what the words communicated.

April 20, 2011
Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an over-drawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued…and a little gun-shy.

Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki’s life, but he’s determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki’s heart.

Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?

Author: Leah Braemel
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Year of release: 2010, June 28
Format: eBook
Source: Requested from publisher via NetGalley

First line:
“No, no, no!” With steam billowing from the hood of her truck, Nikki maneuvered blindly easing the vehicle to the side of the road, making sure the horse trailer she was towing wasn’t blocking traffic.

Memorable Scenes:
- table smexing scene, including whipped cream and caramel sauce > Need I say more?
- Brett telling Nikki how Dillon saved his life > yes, I cried.
- Scene at the pond > I cried again.

Nikki Kimball is divorced and struggling, still she strives to maintain her independence and she’s resilient. Nikki is a people pleaser and stubborn, a mix of strength and softness and bit insecure at times. Nikki's parents were a piece of work, with parents like that who needs an abusive ex? They did a number on her self-esteem in the past and actually are still trying to undermine her every attempt at confidence and happiness.

Dillon Barnett is Nikki’s neighbor. He’s impulsive and energetic with a look-on-the-bright-side-of-life attitude.

Brett Anderson is quite the opposite of Dillon. He’s brooding, quiet and stoic,. His past has left him damaged and the only good things in his life are Nikki and Dillon.

Again this is a review for which I have very little review notes to go on and it’s been more than 6 months since I read it. One thing I do remember vividly and that is that I thought it was an awesome book and I read it in a very short amount of time.

TEXAS TANGLE was emotional and hot, in other words: erotic romance as it's meant to be. Ms Braemel had me hot and bothered on one page and on the next I'd be sniffing into a tissue reading heartbreaking stuff. The few chapters leading towards the end were particularly heartbreaking when Nikki has to decide between following her feelings and caring about what society would think and the consequences of her choice for the men she loves. But the emotions also ran high for me throughout the book as the men have past issues to overcome and I was reading how they struggled through them.

I loved Dillon’s grandmother, Gramma Barnett, and when I finished the book I was very curious about her grandparents' threesome arrangement. In the meantime it seems Leah Braemel has written that story and it will release in 2011 under the title TANGLED PAST. I can’t wait to read that story!

TEXAS TANGLE is like a diesel steam train, it takes a bit for it to get going (on the hot and heavy ménage) but once it does, it's launches full steam ahead towards an ending that was sizzling hot and tear jerking emotional and completely blew me away!

Favorite Quotes:
“An idea? Involving Brett?” She must have been having a few fantasies of her own from the blush that crept up her neck and filled her cheeks. Damned, if she didn’t look even more innocent. And as sexy as all get out.
He pulled down the neck of her shirt and peered beneath the fabric.
“What are you doing?”
“Seeing if that blush you’ve got going extends all the way down. Hey, look at that, it does.”
She slapped at his hand until his finger popped from the fabric. “Do you ever think of anything but sex?”
“Sure. I think of food sometimes too.”

“From where I’m standing, I’ve got a couple of choices here. My favorite right now is to move back to my place and not date either of you. I’ll raise goats and morph into an eccentric old lady everyone laughs at.”
“I’m not liking that option,” Dillon muttered.

The mattress dipped when Dillon shifted his weight. She murmured something about morning breath, and Dillon chuckled. “My dick doesn’t give a damn about morning breath, darlin’. Open those pretty lips of yours, will you?”

“Hon, it’s time to put on your big girl panties. You have to stop living your life trying to please everyone else. I know it’s tough—as women we’re trained to put ourselves last. But there comes a time when you have to think of yourself. When you have to listen to your heart.”

April 11, 2011

They call him the Shadow. Andrei Solace delivers death on silent feet as an assassin for the Phantom Corps. The perfect weapon in the fight against the Imperium, he’s sent to the same ’Verse he left behind as a youth.

Piper Roundtree is a mercenary prepared for anything—except for being rescued from Imperial lackeys by the man she hasn’t laid eyes on in eleven years. While she remembers every mesmerizing sensation he gave her, she thought they were through. And against the backdrop of an impending war, their passion is reignited.

The girl Andrei once loved is now a fierce woman who can pilot a ship through canyons at high speeds, and drive him wild with equalabandon. As much as Andrei tries to protect her from the darkness inside him, Piper admires his skills and the code he lives by. Now the lovers must join forces—in more ways than one—to save the Known Universe before the enemy hurls it into irreversible chaos…

Author: Lauren Dane
Series: Federation Chronicles, book 4/Phantom Corps, book 2
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Publisher: Berkley Heat
Year of release: 2011, April 5
Format:> Tradesize Paperback
Source:Received digital ARC from author for review

First line:
"Sir, you can't go in there!"
Memorable Scenes:
- Piper and Carey discussing Andrei > loved Andrei's reaction to it, also deepened Andrei's characterization
- table smexing scene > HOT!

Andrei Solace is a Phantom Corps operative. He’s a man of few words with an explosive temper. He’s unflappable, private, defiant and honorable. Andrei intrigued me from the moment I met him in Insatiable and I am happy to see him get his HEA with a heroine that was perfect for him.

Piper Roundtree to me was a breath of fresh air, storming through the book. She’s part of a mercenary group on one of the Edge ‘Verses and stands her ground in the middle of a male dominant environment. She’s independent, fearless, tough, passionate and strong-willed.

Piper and Andrei were childhood sweethearts and after years apart, Andrei's work for the Phantom Corps brings him back to the one woman he never was able to completely get out of his mind. And Piper is reunited with the only man she ever truly loved/opened her heart to. I really loved how Lauren Dane built up the romance and sexual tension between them. Preferred that to them jumping each other the first moment they were reunited as this fit the story/characters perfectly.

The love scenes were beautiful and very sensual. They were explicit without being crude or coarse. They were just like I've grown used to from Lauren Dane. I'd go all tingly when Andrei would get all commanding and go all gooey when he would only have eyes for Piper and say sweet things to her. I adore when an author can make me fall in love with the heroines through the heroes’ eyes. Lauren Dane did exactly that with Andrei and Piper.

The secondary cast once again was excellently woven into the story. They were supporting to the romance and crucial to the plot. Speaking of the plot, every installment offers more intriguing developments and in every installment of this series plot and romance complement each other perfectly. The war brewing in the first book, UNDERCOVER, has meanwhile evolved into a full-blown war and MESMERIZED had me holding my breath waiting for casualties to fall on the side of the good guys and they do and it had me in tears.

I love the world Lauren Dane has created with this series, the 'Verses and the war/battle between the Federation and the Imperialists. New intriguing characters are introduced of which you just know you’re going to see them again in future books, and I’ve also come to care about all the former main characters in this series and I loved getting tidbits of how they are faring.

It’s no secret or surprise that I really love Lauren Dane’s writing. I haven’t read a book by her yet that has disappointed me in that aspect. Even if science fiction/futuristic romance is not your thing I'm convinced this series and MESMERIZED will be a great read. The way Lauren Dane builds the world and plot is very agreeable and she doesn't let you get lost in the world and the characters. The romance stays the main focus and the balance is excellently done.

I thoroughly enjoyed this installment and am chomping at the bit to get to read the next. Not only for the continuation of the ongoing plot but also for the fascinating romance that has its tiny beginning at the end of MESMERIZED. After finishing MESMERIZED I'm dying to read Julian and Vincenz's story even though I know it will probably knock me straight out of my comfort zone but I know it will be as enjoyable as the rest of this series.

Dane mixes the futuristic plot and the explicit sex scenes with well-drawn characters, strong emotions and subtle humor and she does this with an ease that leaves me wanting more. There is subtle humor in the smallest of remarks, this humor shone through in MESMERIZED but never took the upper hand. With every book in this series Lauren Dane entices me to continue and once again she didn't disappoint.

Favorite Quotes:
"I won't bite you, Andrei." She patted the bed beside where she sat.
That was too bad. He liked biting.

"Gods forbid you have any flaws, Andrei Solace. If you get hurt again and try to hide it from me, I will kick your ass, no matter how spectacular it is." She kissed him hard and stood.

Little ground tremors of climax shuddered through her over and over, leaving her a boneless mass of pleasured female.

When he did that dirty talking muttered snarl thing he did, she'd let him do anything to her, she'd do anything for him.

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39, married to my real life romance hero, addicted to TV shows, reading romance novels and Twitter. I'm a chronic (e)book hoarder and my absolute favorite genres within romance fiction are contemporary romance and romantic suspense, but I don't shy away from historical, paranormal or erotic romance either. Even the occasional (urban) fantasy romance, futuristic and sci fi romance may make it to my Mount TBR. This is my corner of the world wide web where I let you know what books I'm hoarding, reading and reviewing.
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GR Reading Challenge

2011 Reading Challenge

Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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