Tag Archive | contemporary romance

Review: Dangerous Lover (Dangerous #1) by Lisa Marie Rice

Dangerous Lover

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“I don’t want to be alone tonight.”

Caroline Lake can hardly believe she would ever say these words to someone she’d never met before. When a tall, dark stranger arrives wanting to rent a room in her beautiful empty shell of a mansion, she hesitates. Though she is in dire financial straits, the man looks dangerous—dangerously sexy. She’s overwhelmed by the desire he sparks in her—hotter than anything she’s ever felt before, making her ache to experience his sensuous touch. But who is this armed and mysterious man with danger following in his wake? He’s not who she thinks he is . . .

Jack Prescott has wanted Caroline forever. He has spent the past twelve years dreaming of her, desiring her, while fighting in some of the worst hellholes on earth. Now he’s back, with twenty million dollars in blood diamonds and a relentless enemy stalking him. But this time Jack’s determined that nothing will stop him from finally making Caroline his.

Dangerous Lover is the fifth book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the Dangerous series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $9.99. I was already aware of the author and the series prior to joining Scribd.

I am pretty well acquainted with Lisa Marie Rice and her characters/style of writing. While I can often find things about her characters/style of writing that bother me – more often than not I am interested and entertained by her work.

Which is why I’m so surprised that this one really didn’t work too well for me at all.

Dangerous Lover is the fifth (?) book I’ve read by Lisa Marie Rice and the second book I’ve read in her Dangerous series (the first was Dangerous Passion). Like the rest of her books, the hallmarks of an LMR book were all there: damsel-in-distress, wealthy but deadly hero, obsession by the hero, short time frame, dainty heroine, large hero. These I expected.

What I did not expect is the…complete lack of real relationship building or real discussion. Or the imbecilic plot-arc of the villain.
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Review: Box of 1Night Stands – 21 Sizzling Nights by Valerie Mann, Diane Alberts, & Stephanie Beck

Box of 1Night Stands

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Decadent Publishing presents some of the very best of the 1Night Stand series featuring NYT and USA Today Bestselling authors Jennifer Probst, Jen McLaughlin (writing as Diane Alberts) and J.M. Madden, along with 18 other trendsetting authors such as HOLT Medallion winner Desiree Holt. When Madame Eve arranges a date, you are guaranteed more than you’ll ever expect. More heat, more heart, more SIZZLE…

To Feel Again – Valerie Mann
The story that started it all: Jackson Castillo doesn’t have time for dating, Leah doesn’t have time to wait.

Broken – Jen McLaughlin (writing as Diane Alberts)
Is one night enough for Tiffany to convince Matt that she doesn’t see a crippled man when she looks at him…but a war hero instead?

Panties Optional – Stephanie Beck
Forever isn’t on Sam or Maggie’s minds, but maybe it doesn’t have to be.

 

I bought this book for $0.59 and it’s surely been worth the price! Box of 1Night Stands contains 21 stories by 21 different authors. Each story is roughly connected to each other by the framework of a dating service named “1Night Stand” run by Madam Evangeline. The dating service allows people to pay absurd amounts of money to be hooked up with someone “suitable” and willing to have a night of sex. The service includes reservations to a fabulous hotel, the Castillo hotels and resorts (owned and run by one of satisfied 1Night Stand clients). Madam Evangeline seems to be the world’s best match-maker as all of her single night stands turn into committed relationships.

Since Box of 1Night Stands has 21 different stories, I’ve decided to break the reviews up as to not be overwhelming. And so I don’t forget them. Thus far the included stories are all either vignettes or very short shorts. Most seem to be between 3-5 chapters long as well.
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Review: Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun

Liberating Lacey

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Newly divorced Lacey Meyers wasted too many years yawning through sex in the missionary position. Now she’s looking for a hookup with a man who can make her shatter. What she gets is a hot younger cop with handcuffs… and he’s not afraid to use them.

Hunter Anderson knows the score—though classy, successful women like Lacey might play with guys like him, at the end of the evening, they walk. But when one night leads to another and then another, he finds himself getting too attached to a woman he can’t have.

Lacey knows Hunter—gorgeous, hard-edged and eight years younger—won’t want anything permanent. No matter how hot and daring he makes her first public sex, quickie, backseat encounter and secret fantasy role-play, she can’t mistake adventurous sex for emotional involvement.

They both know it’s got to end, and soon, or someone’s going to get hurt. But can either of them go back to life without the other?

Reader Advisory: Lacey’s highly erotic “forced” sex fantasy comes true in this book. Lucky her!

I really enjoyed this! Liberating Lacey is a smoking hot love story that shows what happens when opposites attract!

Liberating Lacey is pretty jam packed with sex scenes – which are slightly graphic but relatively tame – and typically I would get tired of the overabundance of sex scenes…but somehow Calhoun makes the majority of sex scenes important in the development of Lacey and Hunter’s relationship. I love that the sex scenes were more than just inserted erotica. I also have to mention that the blurb statement about the role-playing “forced sex” was…hardly “forced” and barely met the requirements for role-playing. While it is possible that the scene could cause some people to trigger, I do feel the number would be very small. It’s just not really a dub-con scene.
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Review: Back In The Italian’s Bed by Annie West

Back In The Italian's Bed

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No woman walks away from billionaire Fabrizio Armati’s bed. No woman except Jenna MacDonald. Now he’ll stop at nothing to get her back, and keep her there.

It’s love at first sight for Jenna when charismatic hotelier Fabrizio Armati sweeps her off her feet in Venice. That chance encounter sparks a sizzling affair that lasts until she discovers Fabrizio sees her as no more than a convenient, expendable mistress. Then her world falls apart.

Six months later Jenna tells herself she’s moved on. Until Fabrizio walks into a meeting to find her working for his greatest rival. She’s about to discover just how far he’ll go to get her back in his bed.

When revenge turns to passion, will surrender be on his terms, or hers?

This is a – without a doubt – 100% pure Harlequin Presents (HP) style novella. Even the title. And I ate it up, lol. It makes sense – Annie West has written many a Harlequin Presents.

So, you have the basic structure of a category romance: millionaire/billionaire ruthless business tycoon and lots of emotional angst. What made Back in the Italian’s Bed different is that Jenna has a little spunk. Fabrizio swept her off her feet but she left him when she realized he couldn’t [wouldn’t] give her what she needed (love). When the two meet again, she falls back into his bed but is still willing to leave him and make a new life for herself. That’s not the typical HP style – normally the woman would have eaten her heart out over hero.

Back in the Italian’s Bed is a pretty short story/novella – about 65 pages – and that’s the only downside of the book for me. The shortness of the word count didn’t allow for the full range of angst that you get from HP style novels. But don’t get it twisted, Jenna spends much time castigating herself for her attraction to Fabrizio. I have to admit that while HPs aren’t really my thing now, I have fond memories of gobbling them up by the bag-full. I am intrigued to read more of Annie West’s work.

Book Review: Dangerous Passion (Dangerous #3) by Lisa Marie Rice

Dangerous Passion

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Feelings kill faster than bullets.

That is Drake’s creed. A legend, a renegade, a ruthless, powerful enigma understood by no one and feared by all, Viktor “Drake” Drakovich heads up a billion-dollar empire—and shows no mercy to the many enemies who would stop at nothing to destroy him. He is a man with no love and no weakness, until…

Grace Larsen takes Drake’s breath away the first time he sees her—and quickly becomes his obsession. Never before has he burned for someone the way he desires this hauntingly beautiful artist who is plagued by troubling dreams. He aches to possess her, to protect her, to carry her to new heights of sensuous arousal and rapturous release.

But entering Drake’s world means becoming a target—for relentless, bloodthirsty foes have been eagerly waiting for him to expose his weak spot. And the price of their passion may be their lives.

Dangerous Passion is the third book in Lisa Marie Rice’s Dangerous series and the forth book I’ve read by her. Dangerous Passion is also the first book I read using my Scribd trial. As of today this book is on sale at Kobo for $1.99.

As I’ve read three Lisa Marie Rice books previously – I’m pretty familiar with her M.O. Rice’s heroes – so far – are almost all ex-military (usually some type of Special Forces) or military trained and filthy stinking rich. The heroes are also normally…very large – they are tall, they are muscular, they have big penises and big hands. They are typically very self-possessed and in control of their mind and body at all times – except when it comes to the heroine. The heroes are all obsessed about the heroines to the point of stalker-ish behavior. They are all extremely possessive of the heroines as well. Typically something in the heroes’ past makes them feel unworthy of love or “dirty” in some way – and the heroine make them feel clean again. Continue reading

Mastered Anthology Review: Juicy (Twilight Teahouse #1) by T.J. Michaels

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

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Twilight Teahouse ~ Choose something decadent from our menu…

Solie Shaw is a brilliant self-made woman. After managing a corporation by day, at night, all she wants is to not be in charge. The last man she’d gifted her heart to had smashed it to smithereens and then did the mambo on top of the pieces. Now, along comes the chance to get exactly what she needs. All Solie has to do…is choose.

 
 
This was a really cute story that I sorta enjoyed. I say “sorta” because too much of the story was taken up by the mental angst of the heroine, Solie, and her issues with her horrible ex. Time and time again – no matter what was happening – the ex-bf would pop up in Solie’s head and she’d do the “woe is me” dance of angst. It got old pretty fast – even though I realize that she only broke up with the ex-bf six weeks ago.juicy

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Mastered Anthology Review: Ink Reunited (Montgomery Ink 0.6) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

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From the streets of New Orleans and the heat of Midnight Ink, comes the happy ever after for a character whose story was begged to be told.

Sassy Bordeaux is the Midnight Ink receptionist, honorary godmother, best friend to many, and matchmaker expert. In the past two months, she’s watched eight couples fall in love, make mistakes, and find their happy endings. Though she might have had hand in each of those, she’s yet to find the peace she’s desired. When the men from her past come into Midnight Ink, she’s forced to face what she left behind and what could happen if she lets go of her pain and finds a future she deserves.Ink Reunited

Rafe Chavez and Ian Steele remember their time with Sassy like it was yesterday, yet have worked hard to move on. Or at least try to. Now they’re both back in New Orleans for the woman they loved and for the connection they shared with each other. It will take more than the usual groveling, pleading and begging for these three to overcome their history, but once they take that step, the streets of New Orleans will never be the same.

I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Ink Reunited is the second or third book I read in the Mastered anthology and…I feel two ways about it. I enjoyed it but…it wasn’t emotionally satisfying.

When reading Ink Reunited…I had this feeling that…I had been dropped in medias res. I didn’t…feel like I was getting the full story. Everything in the book sorta reminded me that there was a lot of information about the heroine, Sassy, that I just didn’t have access to. I realize that Ink Reunited is a part of a series but it felt like a part of a series that could not stand alone. Other reviews talk about how excited they are about reading Sassy’s story…so I’m almost positive that I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the other stories set in the Midnight Ink world.
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Mastered Anthology Review: His Secret by Portia Da Costa

Mastered: 10 Tales of Sensual Surrender

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Note: This story has also been published under the title The Retreat.

Ben Chambers is the perfect boyfriend, the perfect lover, the perfect man. Sarah adores him, but she knows that despite the deliciousness of their lovemaking, their shared interests, and the fun they have together, there’s a certain special something missing in their relationship. And then, arriving for a hedonistic weekend of luxury at an English country house hotel, something happens that changes everything between them. A momentary, inconsequential pat on the bottom opens the door to a breathtaking world of daring and transgressive sexual pleasure…and forges a bond that’s both profoundly physical and a melding of their souls.

 
This was a cute and quick story – very short but extremely cute. I’ve read it previously as The Retreat and it was nice to re-read. Not too much to say about this one, to be honest – it’s a spanking (only) super short.

My favorite part of this story was the fact that it was obvious that Ben truly loves Sarah: he tells her that he wants to be with her even if she will not indulge him in his kinks. That’s love, folks. And even sweeter that she loves him (and his kinks), too.

Review: Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell

Tempting Her Best Friend

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A satisfying contemporary romance from Entangled’s Lovestruck imprint…

Alyssa Miller is tired of waiting for her next-door neighbor to see her as more than just his best friend. Ready to let off some steam, she heads to Las Vegas for a romance book convention where, if she’s lucky, she’ll get down and dirty with one of the sexy cover models.

Dillon Alexander doesn’t do commitment—especially not where his best friend is concerned. She deserves a man who can give her the world, not damaged goods. But when he realizes Alyssa intends to have a one-night stand on her vacation, he hauls ass after her to make sure he’s the one to scratch her itch.

Neither of them expects their explosive chemistry to burn hotter than the lights on the strip, but with a little help from Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, a flamboyant matchmaker, and TSA, what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas…

I have to admit to a bias – I have a thing for “friends to lovers” romances…and I married my best friend, too. 😉 So this book is right up my alley!

This was a really cute story! I like both Alyssa and Dillon quite a bit – and both of them came across as well thought out characters. There’s not a lot of additional depth to this story – it’s all laid out for you in both the title and the blurb – but it’s a lot of fun and I really enjoyed watching Alyssa and Dillon pair up.

I enjoyed watching Dillon and Alyssa find their way to each other BUT…I have this thing against pining. Alyssa pined for Dillon in silence much too long (in my opinion) so the opening chapter was a small struggle for me. Dillon – while adorable – was a bit of the stereotypical romance hero: he’s unwilling to try to love because being a player is just in his blood. O_O Ooooookay. It was quite ridiculous – for me – for both of them to have such strong feelings but never even hinted it to each other.

But anyway.

It’s a quick and fun ride, that’s for sure. Sadly, we don’t get to spend a lot of time at the romance conference – most of the action takes place in the hotel room as the couple are screwing each others’ brains out. Which was hot, BTW. I also enjoyed the character Trent and the entire ending starting with Trent running into Alyssa. It was just a little strange, just a little unbelievable and a lot of fun.

What I did NOT enjoy was the entire scene directly prior to Alyssa meeting up with Trent at the end. Alyssa and Dillon’s actions and reactions…didn’t quite strike true in the face of their relationship. The epilogue was adorable as well. It also fit a lot better than the Big Mis.

So…it’s cute, it’s fun and it’s the friends to lovers trope. It’s only $0.99 so…recommended if you like that trope!

Hot Alpha SEALs Anthology Review: Delta: Retribution by Cristin Harber

Hot Alpha SEALs
 

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Fallen Navy SEAL and Titan Group’s Delta recruit Trace Reeves wants nothing more than a one-night stand to forget that his twin brother was killed-in-action. But when his one-time fling becomes his high value target, the lines blur between her rescue mission and saving himself.

 
 
Another book in the Hot Alpha SEALs anthology and the first book of an upcoming new series – Delta – by Cristin Harber. Delta will be a spinoff from Harber’s Titan series.

In a review for a different book in the Hot Alpha SEALs anthology – Unbreakable SEAL – I noted that the author did not utilize the “magical vagina,” to my great relief. Well, Delta: Retribution utilizes the magical vagina trope for all it’s worth.
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