June 15, 2011

Who’s undercover?
Saffron Burton – Sensual food critic posing as just another customer
Tucker Lamb – Smooth as butter former conman posing as nerdy professor
Shane Madison – Dead sexy private eye posing as a Strippendale’s dancer
Katrina Killian –Brazenly sexual cop posing a gang member
Four ultra-sexy stories by four great authors


Title: UNDERCOVER LOVERS
Authors: Dee Carney, Choe Cole, Cari Quinn and Dee Tenorio
Series: Standalone
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-published
Year of release: 2011, May 25
Format: eBook
Source: Received from one of the authors for review


This is the first anthology I’m reviewing on my blog since the make-over and the joining of my Quick-and-Dirty Review blog with my regular blog. Because of that and because of the trouble I’m having making a clear and concise I’ve decided to make the Quick-n-Dirty REALLY QnD and posting almost non-edited notes I made during my reading of this anthology. I hope through it my enjoyment and appreciation of this wonderful anthology still shines through.


CONSUMED by Dee Carney

Blurb:
August Jaeger’s signature dishes have taken the Denver dining community by storm. When one Saffron Burton shows up, he’s sure he’s spotted a modern day Mata Hari sent to steal his recipes. If he manages to catch a thrill or two while teaching her a lesson, so much the better.

Food journalist Saffron Burton has a job to do: Find out what Chef Jager is serving for Restaurant Week. But with every course that passes her lips—and every minute in his presence—she’s finding what she really wants isn’t listed on any menu.


First line:
For the first time in almost fourteen years as a chef, August Jaeger forgot the name of the dish he was serving.

Memorable Scenes:
- The scene in the alley/street, going to August's house for a private dinner > H to the O to the T!!
- August defending McD fries > he won my heart there as McD fries are heaven to me LOL


Ingredients:
A commanding celebrity chef, a food critic undercover, some spanking, lots of heat,

Hero:
August Jaeger, chef
It's a good thing this hero is such a sexy, sexy man because his name is so not but the sexiness he exudes totally trumps that.
Temperamental and take-charge

Heroine:
Saffron Burton, food critic
Ambitious and smart

Notes:
A chef and a food critic as main characters, when I read this I was sold! Though I adore cooking/restaurant stuff TV shows and I have quite some foodie romances on my shelves, sadly they are still unread. However, this foodie novella has definitely sparked the need to push the up towards the top of my TBR pile.

This story was so damned quotable it was very hard for me to pick just the ones mentioned in this review! I already had a whole bunch of quotes after being only 3 chapters into the story.

Ms Carney writes sex scenes like nobody's business! Scalding hot and beautifully written.

Favorite Quotes:
He wanted to hear her say his name. Not just as part of everyday conversation, but in a throaty, breathy, on the verge of an orgasmic scream kind of way.

If he did what his body wanted -what it commanded- she'd find herself spread before him against the wall, dress bunched around her waist, restaurant guests and other passersby be damned.

A war raged within him; the chef ensured she found oral satisfaction while the man in him wanted her sexual satiation.

Verdict:
CONSUMED is excellently written, fast-paced, delicious and hot! It's short but well-rounded and balanced.
9/10 – AWESOME READ!



CONNED by Chloe Cole

Blurb:
Human sexuality Professor Cricket Malloy likes bad boys, but when buttoned-up Science Professor Tucker Lamb needs help with an experiment on aphrodisiacs, she goes the extra mile to help him out. After all, he’s harmless…

Tucker Lamb was born into a life of a grifter. He’s always prided himself on his fast fingers and quicksilver tongue. Ever since being placed in the witness protection program, he’s been on the up and up, but something about Cricket Malloy makes him ache to see if his tongue is as fast as it used to be.


First line:
"Oh my God. Oh, God. Yeah. Yeah, right there. Yes. Yes!"

Memorable Scenes:
- Tuck in the shower > both funny and HOT!
- the scene with the icecube > have I mentioned this story is hot! I died and went to Tucker Lamb heaven in this scene!


Ingredients:
a conman in the WPP as a college professor, a female professof who doesn't know the nice, nerdy professor outside hides a wicked bad boy inside, scorching sexually charged experiments,

Hero:
Tucker 'Tuck' Lamb, Science Professor
He’s trying to be good but he's a bad boy. And another addition to my fave heroes list of yummy dirty talkers. Welcome, Tucker…and make yourself at home! :)

Heroine:
Eleanor 'Cricket' Malloy, Human Sexuality Professor
Quick-witted, passionate and bold/direct


Notes:
I definitely want to read more by Chloe Cole. Her writing is crisp, playful, humorous and hot. I certainly approve.

Same thing about quotes (see CONSUMED notes) goes for this story, maybe even more.

Favorite Quotes:
She'd wondered if he would take the bait, but he'd chosen to retreat instead. It was kind of a letdown, but kind of cute at the same time. He was a bit of a puzzle and damn if that didn't have her heart kicking up a notch. She almost laughed out loud at her own reaction. She knew a sign when she saw one and if a nerdy professor not flirting with her was getting her all hot and bothered, she had obviously gone without a man for too long.

In one hour, he was expected to be at the lab. The lab where he would spend the better part of his afternoon testing out aphrodisiacs with the sexiest woman on the planet. He wondered briefly if anyone had ever died of horniness. He looked down at his swollen c#ck and let out a disgusted snort. Maybe it wouldn't kill him, but if he didn't take care of it he definitely wouldn't be able to walk straight.

The climax hit him like a wrecking ball, smashing through his fantasy, splintering it into pure, incoherent pleasure.

He was still so pole-axed by her appearance, he couldn’t respond. Great. Just when he’d decided to let her see how cool he was, all his cool melted in the face of her ridiculous hotness.

"Ready to go?" "Uh, where? I thought..." They'd struck a bargain, hadn’t they? Her cheeks burned. Had she misunderstood somehow? She frantically replayed their conversation in her head, eyeing her half- full wineglass on the table. "What'd you think, I was just going to stretch you out on the bed and go to town?"
Actually.
He pinned her with his gaze. "This isn't amateur hour, Doctor. I'm old and wise enough to know that seduction begins long before you hit the bedroom. Now let's get out of here."

Verdict:
CONNED is a very hot and perfectly written story with great characters, awesome sexual tension and mind-blowing smexing.
9.5/10 – AWESOME READ!




CONQUERED by Cari Quinn

Blurb:
Serial monogamist, Emma Donegan, has never had a one night stand. But when she sees the sexy cop-stripper at a friend's bachelorette party, she resolves to make her most risque fantasies come true.

Playing the part of a stripper is way out of private detective Shane Madison’s comfort zone, but the future of his business hangs on this one case. Too bad the incriminating evidence leads right to the irresistible brunette who keeps slipping tens into his g-string. He can’t let her distract him. Who knew it would be so hard…



First line:
In theory, a bachelorette party should provide plenty of chances to get laid.

Memorable Scene:
- the stripping lesson and its aftermath > hot turning point in the story!


Ingredients:
A case of mistaken identity, a PI undercover as a stripper, a very proper heroine who defines the 'still waters run deep' saying, a drink spiked with an experimental aphrodisiac, a stripping lesson

Heroine:
Emma Donegan, call center rep
Vivacious and sweet, a wannabe bad girl under the veneer of the wholesome girl next door.
I loved Emma, she is so open and candid and says what she thinks without a filter. Found her very refreshing, endearing and funny.

Hero:
Shane Madison, ex-cop, now private investigator
All the notes on Shane I had was: nice guy…

Notes:
Penguin, banana hammock...Cari Quinn never fails to make me laugh while expanding my erotic romance vocabulary.

This story started off a bit less intense as the previous 2 stories but boy, once it got hot and heavy...it was definitely worth the wait! Cari's sex scenes are carnal, lush and awesome. How she does it, I don't know but as long as she keeps doing it I'll keep reading and enjoying them.

Favorite Quotes:
The cop so couldn't dance. He kept watching the other guys and trying to mimic their moves. Not only did he have two left feet, they were both broken. But he scored high on the yummy scale.

If she kept talking and didn't go for it soon, she'd probably run out of chances to coax him into bed --up against the wall?-- before he got annoyed. But he'd been hard for her. She must be doing something right. He'd called her cute. If she could just stop babbling to fill the silence, maybe he'd still want to do her. Hot guys probably didn’t have a lot of patience for slightly drunken/drugged, chatty, horny girls. She needed to turn him on.

"It's always the quiet ones," he whispered against her cheek, her rough pants the sweetest, dirtiest music he'd ever heard.

Hard to maintain your dignity when you were compressed like a deformed pretzel. Especially when you could see your lover's well-used mouth descend to the cleft between your legs as if he were about to dine on a succulent meal. With his tongue as the fork.

Verdict:
CONQUERED is a wonderful and hot story once again by one of my favorite erotic romance authors. Though not the most scorching one of the bunch it fit right in and I enjoyed it to the fullest!
8.5/10 – GREAT READ!



CONVICTED by Dee Tenorio

Blurb:
Crusty sheriff Cade Evigan doesn't date convicts, not even ones as irresistible as Katrina "K.K." Killian. The woman may have gotten under his skin—and once, on the hood of his car—but the sultry biker had criminal written all over her. He hasto stay away.

When the shit hits the fan and the case she’s been working on for over a year cracks wide open, Katrina heads straight to the hills to protect the one man she cares about. Some temptations are impossible to resist and she knows if she stays with Cade for the night, odds are her cover isn't the only thing getting blown...


First line:
The pounding on the door damn near knocked Cade out of bed.

Memorable:
- There was not a specific scene but the whole banter between Cade and Trina was memorable, with at its highpoint the “My tits, my rules” quote


Ingredients:
A sheriff, an undercover DEA agent, a mole/traitor, bikers, sexual tension that you could cut with a knife,

Hero:
Cade Evigan, sheriff
Gruff and commanding wounded warrior

Heroine:
Katrina 'Trina' Killian, undercover DEA agent
Thrives on independence, unrefined, ball-buster and bold

Notes:
Dee Tenorio's writing is unique and intense. The intensity is countered with some dry, witty humor that made this story utterly enjoyable. Out of the 4 stories this one had the most elaborate plot. Within the short span of this story she manages to create back-stories and events that paint a full picture of the main characters and yet keeps the plot moving forward in a pretty fast pace.

Favorite Quotes:
He was not going to give her the smile she was hunting down. He couldn't allow it. Trina collected his moments of weakness like a kid after baseball cards. But once they were hers, she cashed them in for pieces of his soul. He simply didn't have enough left to let her play her games.

"My tits, my rules"

If there were two things Cade knew about the sleeping woman spread out across his bed like a flat sheet, it was that she was still keeping something from him and that she had an absolutely fantastic ass.
(...)
"Stop looking at my ass." The grumble from under the pillow was grouchy, yes, but that didn't bother him nearly as much as the hand trying to pull the shirt hem further down her body.
"Can't."
"Why not?" He didn't bother to stifle the chuckle that rose up his chest as her attempts to snag the shirt end turned into a flapping fight to get her fingers free from the loose cuff of the sleeve. Didn't she realize when she arched to reach back, she was lifting up and giving him a view that could make an atheist believe in God?
"It's a male imperative. Man sees the Promised Land, nothing short of death is keeping him from staring at it."

"That's it? Yes. No explanations, no protestations of innocence?"
Trina shrugged. "I think I gave up innocent when I deep throated you."

Verdict:
CONVICTED is a plot-driven yet emotionally intense story that wasn’t as sexually steamy as the others were, but fit into this anthology perfectly. This story makes me want an entire series based on the premise of it.
8.5/10 – GREAT READ!



############################

Verdict on the anthology as a whole:

Four different stories, each exceptional in their own way!

This anthology should come with a huge warning: So hot it will set your reading device on fire! Read at your own risk! Each story is hotter than the other. If this book doesn't get you twisting in your undies, I don't know which one will!

Just one thing: that cover, ladies, it does not do this book justice...though I can appreciate the comedic note and can imagine why you chose it...
Added note from Pearl:
Meanwhile the cover has undergone a change and it is FABULOUS!!!! So please ignore my previous remark about the old cover LOL


June 13, 2011
Since I'm pressed for time as I'm writing this, as I have still to start packing and we leave in less than 24 hours I'm not going to make it a very long story but instead I'm going to leave you with a few pictures.

The first few are of the house we rented to stay in during the coming week.


The next pictures are of the pile of books and e-reading devices I'm taking with me because any self-respecting book-addict will surely take this many books, even if you know you will never be able to read them all because:

- The first and the last 3 days of this vacation I will be driving every 2-3 hours
- I will also be going to want to do some sight-seeing during the vacation
- I'm taking my DVDs of seasons 1 & 2 of Prison Break with me too, so the spare hours won't be just spent reading
- I have a hubby going with me who grows restless if we spend more than an hour just lounging about, reading...
- Do you see the e-reader and the iPad? Print books will not be the only books read on this vacation!


Still, this was the best I could do in terms of keeping myself in check since I always lose control with the amount of books I bring with me when we go on a car vacation. With airplanes I have the baggage restrictions which are just torture as I MUST make choices and limit myself to a certain amount. When we go on holiday by car...The limitations are so much less...I always go crazy...

During my vacation very few reviews will be posted. If there are any posted they will most likely be back-logged reviews as I'm still trying to play catch up on my to-be-written reviews, and sadly I didn't make my goal of having caught up before going on holiday.

When I get back, I have 3 days to prepare my departure to New York City for RWA Nationals 2011. In these 3 days I must unload, unpack, do laundry, buy last-minute necessities, buy goodies for my giveaway gift-bags, repack, schedule some stuff on the blog and then I'm off again to what I've come to consider the event I've been most anticipating ever since I booked the flight in January and registered for it in February.

But for now I'm going to enjoy a very much deserved and relaxing vacation with my hubby. By the time you're reading this hubby and I are probably nearing the border between France and Spain so take care and see you in a little less than 2 weeks!

June 11, 2011


Elle Amery has grown up a fighter—her late mother's bad-boy-loving reputation was not the best inheritance….

So when smooth-talking Sean McElroy turns up with a pink-and-white ice cream van called Rosie that's apparently hers, Elle tries to ignore the traitorous flicker of attraction!

Family-oriented Elle is the last girl Sean should want, but as they embark on a journey filled with unexpected twists, these two misfits may discover they are the perfect fit for each other!


Title: TEMPTED BY TROUBLE
Author: Liz Fielding
Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Category
Publisher: Harlequin (Romance) and Mills & Boon (RIVA)
Year of release: 2011, June 7
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received from the author for review

First line:
Life is like ice cream: you have to take it one lick at a time –Rosie’s Diary

Memorable Scene:
- Sean removing a ladybug from Elle's hair > sweetness!


Elle Amery is a responsible young woman who puts others' needs and wellbeing before her own. She’s determined not to follow in her mother's promiscuous footsteps. She’s also independent and sensible and self-sufficient.

Sean McElroy is an illegitimate son who bares the emotional scars of being unwanted. He sees himself as an outsider and though he’s very direct and blunt, he’s guarded when it comes to showing emotions.

Without any explicitness but with plenty of sizzle I was pulled into the chemistry between Elle and Sean. The attraction between them was palpable throughout the book. They meet and are thrown together through unusual circumstances and the undeniable chemistry is what draws them towards each other constantly. This built up the kind of sensual tension I love to read in my romance novels.

I really liked how the back-story and characterization was slowly given form by giving little tidbits at a time. This made it very intriguing and kept me reading, just to find out what the deal was with Sean, Elle and their families. And also after finishing the book I really had the feeling I knew Elle and Sean.

Though the story is very character driven, the plot of the ice-cream van and the mystery surrounding Elle’s great-uncle formed a very nice change to the emotional and romantic focus throughout the book.

Liz Fielding's writing is such a joy to read. Fluent, easy and clean it made me fly through this book. There's a subtle humorous undertone throughout the entire story, despite the emotional stuff going on, that makes you smile without even knowing you're doing it.

TEMPTED BY TROUBLE is a cute story that's filled with emotional depth and sizzling chemistry. Excellently written it held my attention from start to finish and every time I had to stop reading I didn't want to. I really loved the quotes at the start of every chapter. They were funny and spot-on. If you're an ice cream lover, you should read this book for these quotes alone. Even I, a non-lover of ice cream loved them!

Favorite Quotes:
“Who wants to know?” she asked.
Her hormones might be ready to throw caution to the wind –they were Amery hormones after all– but while they might have escaped into the yard for a little exercise , she wasn’t about to let them go ‘walkies’.
“Sean McElroy.”
His voice matched the looks. Low, sexy, soft as Irish mist. And her hormones flung themselves at the gate like a half-grown puppy in a let-me-at-him response as he offered his hand.

She should object. Tell him to keep his hands to himself. Except for that she’d have to be able to get her lips, tongue and teeth in a row to form the words. And then make her mouth say them.

Falling in love wasn’t hard. Compared to not falling in love it was a piece of cake. That required concentration. Lose it for a moment and love slipped unnoticed under your defenses as sweetly, as effortlessly as an ice cream sliding down a parched throat on a summer’s day. No drama or noise. Just a smile, a touch, a kiss was all it took to bring down even the most powerful fortifications, so that without warning you were falling, with nothing to grasp hold of.




June 3, 2011

Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancĂ©. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.

Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are…


Title: YOURS TO KEEP
Author: Shannon Stacey
Series: Kowalski Family, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Year of release: 2011, June 6
Format: eBook
Source: Received an e-ARC from author for review

First line:
“Still as ugly as ever, I see.”
Memorable Scenes:
- the practice kiss > like Sean said: not bad for a practice kiss...
- Sean's sticky notes to Emma > so cute
- magic penis > *grins incessantly* and you'll have to read the book to know why
- the post scrabble sexy scene > wow, I think I need to dust off our scrabble game


Sean Kowalski is looking for a place to call home and another purpose in life then serving his country. He’s a straight-shooter, direct and blunt, reliable and levelheaded.

Emma Shaw is a landscaper. A friend of Lisa’s (Mike's wife), she belongs to the Kowalski’s circle of friends. She’s a tough chick with a soft heart and little bit of a control freak. She’s also smart, quick-witted and dependable. I found her endearing in her love and concern for her Gram's wellbeing/happiness.

Emma needs a fake fiancé to convince her visiting grandmother she's doing fine by herself. But Gram isn't dense and figures out fairly quickly Emma and Sean are trying to pull the wool over her eyes. And that's when the fun starts...

I really loved the romance in this Kowalski book (Ehm…not that I didn’t love it in the previous ones too…). Emma and Sean’s bickering and bantering was just awesome and I liked how Sean kept calling Emma 'Lady' in the beginning. Witnessing them getting to know each other and finding out things about each other and seeing the spark of attraction catch fire and turning into a full blaze, was a joy to read and made this book another keeper on my Contemporary Romance shelf.

There are erotic romance authors who can't hold a candle to the love scenes Shannon Stacey writes. Without any obvious explicitness or crude language she paints some of the best sexy and arousing scenes I've read.

What I also adored about this book is that entire bunch of Kowalski family members. They complete every story in this series and I loved reading about how the previous 2 couples were doing and the additions to the family. The family dynamics are so brilliantly written as they tease, scold and support each other through everything.

And once again Shannon Stacey treated me to a sweet and lovely secondary romance. I wasn’t expecting it but it fitted right into the main storyline and I’m glad she included it as it completes and underlines the family feel of this series. Secretly (okay, not so secretly…) I hope there will be more Kowalski books. There must be as they've become an addiction within my addiction.

I think I’ve said this before but I love Shannon Stacey's dialogues. They flow, they entertain, they inform and they show so much of her characters' personalities. The humor, wit, banter gets to me every single time. Every book in this series has put a big grin on my face and made me feel good. Some things did more than put a smile on my face and just cracked me up. For example the references (even by herself) to Mary's wooden spoon and the wedding box from Emma's early teen years. To incorporate humor in contemporary romance without giving it a slapstick feel is very hard and Shannon Stacey masters this perfectly.

I don't know how Shannon Stacey does it but she does it. I was breezing through the wit, the banter and the heat, even thinking to myself this Kowalski book wasn't as emotionally intense as the previous two were and then BAM! She hit me with the emotions that made me tear up and swallow the lumps in my throat. And yet again she made me laugh through my tears. Well played, Ms Stacey, well played!

Since I don't like being told what to do I don't like to order other people around either but seriously, if you love contemporary romance I strongly urge you to get cracking on Shannon Stacey's Kowalski Family series. They're too fabulous to be missing in your book collection. I don’t say this easily as there are always readers to prove me wrong and tastes vary but I dare you to read this series and not love it.


Favorite Quotes:
His expression implied he was afraid she was some crazy woman who’d gone off her meds and was going to start speaking in tongues or show him the handmade Sean doll she’d crafted to sleep with.

When he rested his hand at her waist for a few seconds before sliding it around to the small of her back, she felt her muscles tense and her cheeks burn.
“You can’t be doing that,” he said in the same low, husky kind of voice a man would use to tell a woman he wanted to take off her clothes.
Her mind was frozen, all of her attention on that warm pressure against her T-shirt, and it took a few seconds to form a coherent sentence. “Doing what?”
“You’re as jumpy as a virgin at a frat party.”

She started in on him the second he crossed the threshold from the living room. “I was wrong about you all these years. I always thought you were a smart boy, but you don’t have the brains God gave a jackass.”
“Aunt Mary, I—”
“Don’t you Aunt Mary me, Sean Michael Kowalski. I should go get my wooden spoon and thunk some sense into that thick head of yours.”

Going to work tomorrow would be a good thing, he thought. Even though he’d be alone with her, a little physical labor would do his body good. Maybe if he tired himself out, he could sleep through the night without his dick trying to lead the way to her like some kind of damn dowsing rod.

She snorted and looked out her window. “Oh yes, Sean Kowalski. Your amazing kisses have made all rational thought fly out of my besotted brain. If only you could fill me with your magic penis, I know we’ll fall madly in love and live happily ever after.”
The truck jerked and she glanced over to find him glaring at her. “Don’t ever say that again.”
“What? The madly in love or the happily ever after?”
“My penis isn’t magic.” His tone was grumpy, but then he smiled at the windshield. “It does tricks, though.”
“The only trick your penis needs to know for the next three and a half weeks is down boy.”

Instead of heading straight for the huddle, Sean walked to Emma and pulled her into his arms for a hard, almost punishing caveman kiss that made her skin sizzle and her knees go wobbly. Then he glared at his brother for a few long seconds and went back to his team, leaving Emma standing there breathless and discombobulated.

“Don’t give me that look.”
“What, the you’re being an ass look? Don’t be an ass and I won’t give you the look.”

“I fell in love with him.”
“Oh. Oh, shit.” Lisa shook her head. “Kowalski men do that. They show up in your life and drive you so insane you want to slap them upside the head and then—bam—all of a sudden you can’t live without them.”


June 1, 2011


A man who shoots first and asks questions later…
Most people would take an all-expenses-paid trip to the beach in a heartbeat. Garrett Kelly only accepts to keep tabs on Sarah Daniels, who’s in hiding after witnessing a murder by Marcus Lattimer, her half-brother—and a personal enemy of KGI. This gig may be beneath a disciplined soldier like Garrett, but if he gets a shot at Lattimer, it will all be worth it…

…and the ultimate moving target.
But Garrett hadn’t counted on falling for Sarah. He’d considered seduction as a tactical maneuver, but when he glimpses Sarah’s dark past, he feels an urgent desire to keep her safe—even after she disappears on him. Garrett doesn’t know exactly who, or what, Sarah’s running from, but whatever it is, she’s running for her life…


Title: HIDDEN AWAY
Author: Maya Banks
Series: Kelly/KGI series, book 3
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year of release: 2011, March 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Bought via The BookDepository

First line:
There were a number of men who would do any job Marcus Lattimer wanted done.

Memorable Scenes:
- Garrett and Sophie’s meals > they slowly bring them together
- Rusty's part in the book > heartbreaking
- Sarah holding Garrett at gunpoint, demanding answers > loved this kick-ass side of Sarah
- Sarah realizing she'd fallen in love with Garrett > total awww-moment
- The Kelly brothers standing up for Rusty > cue the bawling


Garrett Kelly is the hero of this third KGI. He’s calm, intense, patient, and meticulous. He has a chivalrous streak a mile long and puts up a tough front and sometimes he’s very cautious of trusting those he doesn’t know well but he is very protective and caring and would go through fire for those he loves.

Sarah Daniels is Garrett’s heroine in this book. It was hard for me to get a real clear picture of Sarah. She'd seem strong and resilient one moment and would then completely fall apart the next. About a third to halfway into the book I still couldn't get a grasp on her. Yet this didn't mean I didn't like her as a heroine. She was skittish, loyal brave and smart and she didn't come across as one of those TSTL romantic suspense heroines.

HIDDEN AWAY was a completely different book for me than NO PLACE TO RUN was and though I liked NO PLACE TO RUN much better as I clicked with it on so many more levels, I still had a great time reading HIDDEN AWAY. I can absolutely appreciate that Maya Banks is writing such varied books in this series. Nothing bothers me more than installments of a series (in any subgenre) being carbon copies of each other. I really admire Maya Banks' ability to give me totally different books in this series and yet keep the series a cohesive, coherent whole in which each book and each couple has its rightful place.

One thing I loved in the first two books, was a little less for me in HIDDEN AWAY. The suspense started out very promising with a first chapter that immediately had my attention but soon the suspense was pushed back a little by the romance, secondary storylines and emotional stuff going on. I must also say that I liked the second part of the book better than first part. In the last third of the book the suspense picked up considerably and when the other KGI members were brought in, I welcomed the heart-racing suspense I'd been missing. Yet, at the end I was a little disappointed as the suspense in this installment just fell a bit short compared to the first two books. It just didn't put me at the edge of my seat like books 1 and 2 did. And also certain threads of the suspense felt like they were left unexplained or brushed over a little.

As I mentioned the romance took a more prominent place over the suspense in HIDDEN AWAY and I thought the build up of the romance was perfectly done. The slow pace and less heat of the romance fit the characters, especially Sarah and her background. It wouldn't have been right if Garrett and Sarah jumped each other from the start and I think Maya Banks handled this very well, even if it did make the book less steamy than the previous one.

I can't escape the comparison of Maya Banks' romantic suspense with another favorite of mine: Stephanie Tyler. Like Tyler in LIE WITH ME, in HIDDEN AWAY Banks wrote a villain I'm ambivalent about. Yes he's a bad man but the way he cared about his sister and her wellbeing made it hard for me to truly despise him as I should have when it comes to villains in romantic suspense novels.

Once again I loved the banter and bond between the brothers and their ability to make fun of themselves, their self-deprecating humor is so funny you can’t help but read their banter with a smile on your face. But…when push comes to shove they are also capable of handling sticky situations together. This is something that Maya Banks nails in every single installment of this series and something that makes this series a favorite on my keepers’ shelf

Though I definitely enjoyed this installment, the lack of intensity both in heat and suspense and my inability to really click with Sarah made it my least favorite of the 3 KGI books so far. Still the romance, emotionality, humorous banter and the Kelly family make this book totally worth the 8/10 rating I'm giving it.

Favorite Quotes:
He grunted under his breath. He hated this kind of shit. He didn’t do undercover crap. That was more Sam’s forte. He’d much rather go in, blow the shit out of the bad guys then go home and have a beer.

No, it wasn’t fear of him as someone who posed a potential risk to her safety. It was the fear a woman had when she sensed a man who could overpower her senses and reduce her to instincts to those of a primal being.
It was a heady sensation. It filled her mind and soul with a vibrancy that awakened a deep longing. To possess and be possessed.

He lowered his voice. “They won’t hurt you.”
She squeezed back. ”I know. If you trust them, so do I. I’m just so…” Her voice trailed off.
Yeah, me too, honey. Me too. But we’re going to make it just fine. And then I’m going to fulfill a little promise I made.”
Her brow wrinkled in question.
“You. Me. Naked. Me inside you. As many times as I can get there.”

“Come here,” he said in a sexy, husky voice.
When she looked up there was a predatory gleam in Garrett’s eyes. A look that told her she was his and he planned to lay claim. Oh but she loved that look. No one had ever looked at her with such intensity. Like he dared anyone to take what was his away. Like he wanted to devour her in a single bit and savor the taste.


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Pearl
Netherlands
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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  • 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

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  • 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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