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Review: Sweetest Little Sin


May 24, 2010

Comment to enter to win 2 copies of Christine Wells’ Sweetest Little Sin.

MAY READERS’ TOP PICK!!!
Sweetest Little Sin

Author: Christine Wells
Publisher: Berkley
Pub. Date: May 4, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0425234808
Retail: $7.99
304 pages

A Marquis’ Betrayal

Lady Louisa Brooke has many suitors, but the only man for her is the wild and ruthless Marquis of Jardine. When Jardine suddenly abandons her after a long-standing liaison, he leaves her with nothing except the secret they share. Her future in ruins, Louisa recklessly accepts a mission from the head of the secret service and becomes embroiled in a perilous operation in which nothing is as it seems…

A Lady’s Revenge

The Marquis of Jardine is determined to destroy the criminal mastermind who’s sworn vengeance against all he holds dear. But when he hears that Louisa is to wed a dangerous enemy, Jardine is tortured by jealousy and fear for her safety. He tracks her down, only to discover that her mission collides with his. A Love that Won’t Be Denied Together, Louisa and Jardine must now foil a plan to betray the secret service and escape a diabolical revenge. But can they put the past behind them, and take the greatest risk of all–on love?

~*~*~

Sweetest Little Sin, like any other Christine Wells book, is a guilty pleasure for any historical romance fan.

I looked forward to reading the sequel to Christine Wells’ Wicked Little Game. Though Wells had set the bar high, I was not disappointed by Sweetest Little Sin. Everything I loved about the prequel to this story is carried over into Sweetest Little Sin—suspense, intrigue, danger, sizzling sensuality and, to my delight, the mysterious character of the Marquis of Jardine.

Sweetest Little Sin is crafted with smart prose and a page-turning plotline. The story didn’t hook me until the end of chapter two. From then on out, I went eagerly along for the ride. Sweetest Little Sin takes place mostly in the English countryside. In some places I found the scenes a bit too quick to change, the breaks and POV changes a bit choppy but this was forgotten once the action of the story really picked up. I was slow to warm up to the heroine, Lady Louisa Brooke. On the other hand, Jardine—a clandestine spy for the English Home Office on a vengeful mission—enchanted me from the first. He has long loved Louisa but because of his job he refuses to publicly associate himself with her to keep her safe from his enemies. This creates a great deal of inner conflict:

They’d never had leisure for slow exploration, had they? Everything was always rushed, explosive. Exciting, but ultimately not enough.

The longing to see her in his bed, in his home, pulled at him so strongly, the temptation to forget this whole business and steal her away almost gained the upper hand over duty.

But he was doing all this so they could have that leisure, grow old together, wasn’t he? After all these years of hiding their association, of being hunter and prey, such an existence seemed as distant and unattainable as a mirage.

The lengths to which Jardine goes to protect Louisa are utterly heroic. His character was my favorite of the book. Louisa is crafted with both vulnerability and strength. Once her strength begins to override her vulnerability, her character becomes even more compelling. She throws caution to the wind to prove to Jardine that she can handle the dangerous life of a spy’s wife and prove to herself that she is worthy of him.

Wells is a unique voice in the historical genre, one that I always enjoy. She also weaves sensuality and romance well into a suspenseful plotline. The simmering heat between Jardine and Louisa fuels the story forward and the love scenes were simply delicious. Above all, my favorite element of Sweetest Little Sin was the romance:

“I love you, Jardine.” In her voice there was mettle and terror and a distinct challenge. “Don’t you dare get yourself killed.”

He gathered her to him and kissed her, and the kiss was hard and fierce and strong, everything they were together. His heart burned in his chest, a fiery agony, a glory that transcended life and death. There was no term in any lexicon for what he felt. Love was too tepid a word. Ah, Louisa. You shouldn’t love me. Look where it brought you.

I ached for their situation and cheered their final redemption. In the end, I enjoyed a great deal and cannot wait to read more of Wells’ backlist. Recommended.

Rating: 7 (Good)

Heat-Level: 4 (Hot)

Review: The Rogue Prince


May 24, 2010

The Rogue Prince
Author: Margo Maguire
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Pub. Date: April 27, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0061667893
Retail: $7.99
384 pages

The prince of pleasure . . .

To the ton, he is a wealthy and powerful royal, the dashing and enigmatic Prince Thomas of Sabedoria. And to Lady Margaret Blackmore, he is irresistible. Innocent in the ways of true passion, Maggie has lived a life chaste and proper—until now. Mad with a desire unlike anything she’s felt before, she would do anything to tempt Thomas to her bed. But he hides a damning secret . . .

In truth, Thomas is no prince. He is Thomas Thorne, sent away for a crime he did not commit. Hell-bent on revenge, he would do anything to destroy his worst enemy, even seduce the man’s innocent sister. But he did not count on the one thing that could spoil his perfect plan—falling in love with the beautiful lady in question. Now he must choose between his fervent wish for justice and his devotion to his tempting conquest . .

~*~*~

Seventeen years ago, a pair of aristocratic boys decided to play a cruel joke on a sixteen-year-old country boy. Set up as a thief, Thomas Thorne, was tried and transported to a penal colony. Now he’s back, he’s rich, and he’s out for revenge. Posing as a prince of a fictitious country, he goes to London armed with an elaborate plan to right past wrongs.

His plan lands him squarely in the path of Lady Margaret Blackmoor, hapless sister of one of those boys and widow of the other. When they first meet, Thorne doesn’t realize her identity and is immediately taken with her. Thus begins Margo Maguire’s The Rogue Prince.

While this story is driven by a classic revenge plot, it’s more than that. It’s about letting go of the past. Both the hero and heroine have episodes in their past that rule their present and that they must learn to let go of in order to have a future together. In Maggie’s case, her cousin tried to rape her when she was a child, and, rather than protect her, her family has blamed her for this perceived disgrace. Part of her character growth includes breaking away from her family’s influence and learning to be her own person.

That was one of the things I liked most about her. Left indebted when her gambler of a husband died, she seeks ways to pay back what is owed by means of her own talents, rather than play the damsel in distress and turn to the wealthy prince who has taken an interest in her. She’s a heroine the modern reader can root for without coming across as an anachronism.

The hero comes into the story bound and determined to get his revenge. I’ll leave it up to you to discover whether or not he’s satisfied with the outcome of events by the end of the story. To say more would spoil the ending.

I enjoyed this story as a fairly solid read. The only thing I might find to say against it is the author’s fairly constant repetition of the backstory. I found I could follow the plot quite nicely without all the reminders of the past. Overall, though, the story held my attention and I quite enjoyed it.

Rating: 7 (Good)

Heat-Level: 4 (Hot)

Top Picks & Feature Giveaway


May 23, 2010

Below consists of every book currently featured on The Season’s Homepage. We have all 6 of June’s Top Picks, the Feature Review, Readers’ May Top Pick and May’s Book Club Pick. One person will win all 9 (nine) books by simply commenting below AND being a newsletter subscriber.  If you’re already signed up, there’s no need to sign-up again. Click here to sign up today.  Winner will be posted May 28th. Drop by the site and read the reviews of all these wonderful books.
*US and Canadian residents only.

Many thanks to Avon Books, Berkley, Kris Kennedy, Vanessa Kelly, Christine Wells and Margaret Rowe for supplying these books.

Review: Rule’s Bride


May 23, 2010

Rule’s Bride
Author: Kat Martin
Publisher: HQN
Pub. Date: April 27, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0778327745
Retail: $7.99
368 pages

Unrepentant rake Rule Dewar is living the good life when a most surprising event occurs— he falls in love with his wife.

After their strategic “marriage of commerce” three years ago, Rule quite forgot about Violet Griffin, the teenage heiress to a Boston manufacturing fortune. He simply spoke his vows, took over her father’s business and returned to England to resume his usual pursuits: high-priced wine, high-stakes gambling and high-born women.

Yet when Violet, now a sophisticated woman, unexpectedly appears at Rule’s London townhouse, husbandly duties no longer seem so odious—he can’t wait to take his stunning bride to their marriage bed. Violet, however, is not so easily led: she has her own ideas and is seeking an annulment to marry another. But as Rule attempts to win her over, someone else is determined to frame him for murder and keep him out of the way for good….

~*~*~

Fear of commitment and questions about the meaning of love are just some of the hurdles that have to be overcome in this sexy story with a tinge of mystery and social issues thrown in to add to this intriguing read.

Violet Griffin is just sixteen when she’s joined to Lord Rule Dewar in a marriage based on business her dying father desires to see to her future well-being and that of his gun manufacturing company. Violet’s father has been working with Rule and admires him for his intelligence and strong work ethic and believes he’d be good to his only child. Since Violet’s so young the marriage will be in name only for the next two years with both Rule and Violet managing half the company. So Violet enters into marriage with a man she finds dashing and looks forward to the day she truly becomes Rule’s Bride.

After three years, Violet’s still waiting and is fed up. During those years Violet has had very little contact with Rule, not even when her father died. She’s actually formed an attachment to a local boy named Jeffrey Burnett and decides to travel to London to confront Rule with her decision to get an annulment and sell the company. Rule is fed up too, bored with the women around him, and knows he should finally do his duty and claim Violet. So her showing up unexpectedly is not such a bad thing. What is bad for him is her desire to end their arrangement. Since their marriage isn’t consummated the company would go back to Violet entirely which isn’t something Rule wants, so he begs her to stay with him thirty days to see if they can make their marriage work. Violet agrees since it’s what her father would have wanted and promises herself to remain chaste since she believes she loves Jeffrey.

Remaining chaste is very difficult though, as Rule finds Violet very attractive and uses every sensual trick he knows to get her into bed. And after a near-death experience he succeeds. Violet feels guilt-ridden and has to inform Jeffrey, who’s traveled to London as well on the pretense of wanting to support Violet. Since divorce is not an option Violet decides to make the best of the situation. After talking with Rule, she starts working with him at the gun company. And since war between the states is on the horizon and she doesn’t want people hurt, they look for someone to buy the company. That’s not as easy task as some unscrupulous men vie for ownership. Soon, Rule is accused of murder and Violet is left to prove his innocence. Finding proof leads her into the dangerous parts of London and puts her life in danger. Will Rule be able to save himself and Violet? And will he ever say those three little words Violet longs to hear?

While Violet and Rule work through their issues, there is a secondary couple that is very enjoyable. They are very similar to Rule and Violet in that they have issues defining what love is and showing that love. Luke Barclay has always been labeled a cad, but changes his ways when he meets Violet’s cousin Caroline Lockhart. After being caught in a compromising situation they get married. Their relationship is rocky too while they both fight to reach their happily ever after. Having them in the story is an interesting juxtaposition to the main couple. Having each person give advice to the other regarding relationships is a bit humorous at times since you wish they’d take their own advice but it’s also very humanizing.

Violet is a strong willed character. She has moments of childishness, but when the situation is dire she shows a high level of maturity. She’s intelligent when it comes to business, but has low self-esteem when it comes to how she thinks her husband feels about her. I think a lot of this is reflective of not having a mother. Her father said he’s raised her as a tomboy and having so many losses so early in life has made her unsure of what love is. Rule has the same problem. His mother died at an early age and he doesn’t know what love is either. He definitely knows what attraction is, but saying the words is hard for him. He definitely shows his love through actions more than words. Both of these character’s inabilities make for some difficult times during the story and at times rub the reader wrong. But ultimately their road to happiness leaves you cheering them on.

Rating: 8 (Very Good)

Heat-Level: 5 (Scorching)

Tammy has a slightly different take on Rule’s Bride. Check out her review on the website.  (7 (Good), Heat-Level 3 (Sensual) ).

Review: A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior


May 23, 2010

MAY TOP PICK!!!
A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Pub. Date: April 27, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0061662218
Retail: $7.99
384 pages

A lady should always make polite conversation . . .

Theresa Weller understands the rules of decorum, and is appalled when Colonel Bartholomew James disrupts a perfectly civilized dinner. This rude, insensitive man is the complete opposite of everything a gentleman should be—but with one searing kiss, Tess can think of no one else.

A lady should never lose her temper . . .

Aggravated beyond bearing by a man who speaks his mind, Tess wishes there was a guide to men like Bartholomew. Surely, with such an assortment of handsome, polite suitors to choose from, Tess should not ache for him.

And a lady should never pursue a gentleman.

She invites him on carriage rides and dares him to dance, and almost makes him want to return to Society. Bartholomew knows Tess wants to be seen as a proper miss, but deep down, he knows she is precisely the sort to spark his desire . . . A most improper lady.

~*~*~

Suzanne Enoch – A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior captivated me from the first few pages with strong characterization and a solid story of love, trust, and two people’s ability to overcome the worst life had to offer. As I predicted in my review of the previous book in this “Adventurer” series – The Care and Taming of a Rogue – Suzanne Enoch will thrill her fans and newbies alike with another great tale.

There are so many things I liked about this book it is hard to know where to start. One key thing that kept me interested was that Suzanne pits her lead characters against each other; there is nothing like a good old battle of stubborn wills to get your blood flowing! The story is a bit of an adventure for Tolly and Tess, as he learns how to live his life again and she learns to trust in her true nature. This element created a great base on which the love story was built. Another thing I liked about this book was how real the author writes her characters. They play hard to get, but only to a certain extent, their attraction for each other demonstrated in a way that adds realism to the relationship development… They like one another and they show it and do something about it. Too often writers make their characters too coy and frankly, I just want to scream “Just kiss her already!” Jezz…enough is enough. Not so with Suzanne.

Theresa, our heroine is gutsy from the beginning, not taking Tolly’s crap for a second and calling him out on his manners and behavior. A right proper chit, she considers herself his tutor in all things appropriate. However, in goading and manipulating Tolly into doing as she wishes, she actually made me dislike her for a while. Without going into specifics – no spoilers here – I found myself unsure as to whether I liked Tess or not. She has her flaws and they work well with the plot and story line of the book, but at one part I wanted to throw my book across the room and actually caught myself before I yelled at my book for her to stop being an idiot – mature, I know.

Tolly, or the Colonel as he is known throughout the book, has quite a chip on his shoulder and broods like the best of them. Badly injured in a serious battle, he is crippled both inside and outside. However, his sullen moods don’t last long once he finds himself infatuated with a strong minded woman hell-bent on making him live his life once more. His desire to be well and to be a better man for Tess warms the reader from the inside out – I can’t tell you how many times I smiled while reading this book.

The love scenes were well done and not overly graphic but definitely not tame.
Overall this book is a must read, whether you are a Suzanne Enoch fan or not. Check out Suzanne’s website for information on all her previous books, hope you add them to your bookshelf!

Rating: 9 (Excellent) ~ May Top Pick!

Heat-Level: 3 (Sensual)

Interview & Giveaway – Anna Campbell ~ My Reckless Surrender


May 20, 2010

A Season perennial favourite is back! Please welcome Anna Campbell to the blog. I so can hear her lovely Aussie accent floating across the internet. :) Ask Anna anything you like, she’s game and so responsive. Oh, and Anna comes bearing gifts. Yep, Avon Books is giving away 5 copies of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER to 5 (five) lucky commenters.

~*~*~


Hi Anna, welcome back. Can you tell us a little about MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, which I will add has a drop dead gorgeous cover?


Hi Beverley! I’m delighted to be back here at the Season! Thank you for inviting me. MY RECKLESS SURRENDER is the story of a dangerous seduction in late Regency London. Diana Carrick has the opportunity to turn all her dreams into reality but in return, she has to seduce notorious rake Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft. Needless to say, trouble follows! Oh, and yes, that is one bodacious cover! That yellow is just gorgeous and I love that sexy glint in Diana’s eye. You know this is a woman who will cause mayhem in the hero’s heart!


MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, which is also one of The Season’s June Top Picks with 10 Star perfect rating, isn’t as dark as your previous novels. Does this mean you’re headed in a new direction with books in a slightly lighter tone? Or are you just going to keep us on our toes by mixing it up?


Wow, that’s great news, Beverley. Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed this story which as you said is a bit of a departure for me. For a start, the hero isn’t tortured – or at least he’s not when the story opens. Once Diana’s had her way with him (ahem!), that might change! I think there’s still a lot of emotional depth in this story – both characters have a long journey to make before their happily ever after. But yes, I agree, the tone is lighter than something like CAPTIVE OF SIN. The next story (no title confirmed yet but it will be out mid-2011) is similar in tone to MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. The one after that is probably going to be closer to CAPTIVE OF SIN. Tone seems to come with each individual story so what happens next can be as much of a surprise to me as to the reader!


What do you find so appealing about writing about the early 19th century England? Do you think you’ll ever base any of your historicals in a different era, perhaps even century?


Would I sound shallow if I said men in boots? Yeah, I probably would! Actually, all jokes aside I love the elegance and the wit of the Regency era. I love that it was a heyday of decadence (particularly the late Regency, the reigns of George IV and William IV) before the straitlaced Victorians took over. I love the fact that readers love this period! At the moment, I have no plans to move outside the Regency, but I have a Viking story lurking at the back of my mind and one day, it might be fun to visit the children of some of my heroes and heroines and see what they make of life. So that means tackling the Victorian era!


Some of my favourite tropes include the brother’s best friend, or the reunited lovers. Do you have a favourite theme you either love to read or write about?


Well, I think most of my books fall into the Beauty and the Beast trope, perhaps not MY RECKLESS SURRENDER so much. Hmm, I’ll have to think about that more. Although Diana definitely beards the beast in his lair to get what she wants and the beast isn’t nearly so beastly as she was expecting. So maybe MRS is a BATB story too. I love the fairytale/mythological underpinning to a romance. I’m such a big romance reader, I’m a sucker for most of the tropes, frankly! Love fish out of water, Cinderella, friends into lovers, hatred into love, forbidden love, love versus honor, opposites attract, you name it! I wrote my first reunion story for THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF REGENCY ROMANCE which is out at the end of June. That was such fun to put together! I loved giving those two characters a second chance at love.


If you had to choose, which to you is more important, the sexual tension or the love scenes?


Ooh, that’s tough! Actually I think sexual tension can continue into a love scene – or at least dramatic tension does. I love writing sexual tension, that complicated dance! But then I love writing love scenes when the characters aren’t just naked physically, they’re naked emotionally too. Sorry, I know it’s a cop-out, but can’t choose!


Who and what kinds of books did you read growing up?

10 Star ~ June Top Pick!


I’ve always been a voracious reader. I’ll read the back of the milk carton if all else fails. As a kid, I read most of the classics, Heidi, Enid Blyton, horse books by the gazillion. I moved onto adult books fairly early – I must have been about eight when I read my first Georgette Heyer and I was that age when my mother gave me my first Harlequin to shut me up (she was desperate, poor thing, LOL!). In my early teens, I was mad on historical fiction like Jean Plaidy. About that stage, I devoured Barbara Cartland and Victoria Holt and Anya Seton. Clearly I was headed towards historical romance as a lifelong obsession!


If you had to pick one, which author or books most influenced your decision to become a writer?


What a great question. You know, I think it might be Enid Blyton. I can remember reading her under the covers with a torch and she introduced me to that burning need to finish a story, even if the world collapsed around me. She had a great gift for compelling plots and characters you cheered for.


What’s coming up for you next? Can you share any part of the story’s plotline with us?


Well, this is the book currently untitled – in fact, currently in a rather messy draft on my computer! It’s a twist on a few themes that I’ve always loved – secret identity, the Ugly Duckling, the Regency rake undone by love (although it takes him a long time to accept that’s the case), revenge, redemption. There are more of the traditional Regency trappings in this story and they were huge fun to write. I got to step into the glamorous Georgette Heyer world for once!


Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers about you or your book?


I’m really excited about MY RECKLESS SURRENDER hitting the stands on 25th May. Both Diana and Tarquin were such headstrong, passionate characters, I was sorry to say goodbye to them when I finished the book. If you’d like to see a blurb or read an excerpt, please check out my website at: http://www.annacampbell.info/recklesssurrender.html

Review: My Reckless Surrender


May 20, 2010

JUNE TOP PICK!!
My Reckless Surrender

Author: Anna Campbell
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Pub. Date: May 25, 2010
Retail: $7.99
384 pages

Headlong into sin…

A well-practiced rake, weary of easy conquests and empty pleasures, Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft, knows women – and his every instinct warns him to beware of this one. Diana Carrick’s brazen overtures have thrown the haunted, sinfully handsome lord completely off his guard. Why, the exquisite temptress stated outright that she wishes to be his lover! But it is neither Diana’s boldness nor her beauty that intrigues him so – it is the innocence he senses behind her worldly mask.

Intent upon the seduction that will finally free her, Diana has set her sights on the notorious Ashcroft – never dreaming that there is much more to the enigmatic rogue than sin and deviltry. His kiss is bewitching, his caress intoxicating – and even the dangerous secret Diana must protect cannot shield her from Ashcroft’s dark allure.

Unwittingly yet most willingly, they are playing with fire. Now the fuse has been lit and there is no escape…except surrender.

~*~*~

Anna Campbell’s My Reckless Surrender starts with a story of undeniable lust that burns throughout the first half of the book only to continue in the second half with a charming story that tears at your heartstrings. Readers will not be disappointed in this splendid tale of an infamous rake’s fall and the dazzling widow who caught him.

“I want to be your lover.” Diana Carrick utters this shocking line to the infamous rake Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft. Therein starts this seductive and deceptive tale of a mischievous plan that begins innocently but ends differently than anyone expects. The Earl’s initial response is confusion, unable to conceive what brought Diana to his library and what made her make this shocking claim. While every instinct tells him to cast her aside and forget her, he cannot deny their attraction and his ultimate fascination with this alluring widow.

Diana has made a deal with the devil, or rather her father’s employer the Marquess of Burnley, a terminally ill man with vengeance on his mind. His deal? Sleep with the Earl and become pregnant with his child. In return, Burley will marry her, claim the Earl’s child as his heir so she can become the mistress of Cranston Abbey, a property that is worth everything to Diana. This seems simple enough…dangerous, yet a small road block to overcome in order to lead her to the ultimate prize. The only difficulty is hiding this deceit from the Earl and not losing her heart to him in the process. Unfortunately, limiting their association to be just another summer affair is easier said than done for both Diana and Tarquin. If or when Tarquin discovers the truth, will it be too late for their happily ever after?

The first half of this story is scorching. The real basis for the beginning of Diana and Tarquin’s affair is a physical attraction that neither one of them can control. It overwhelms them from the start, which is terrifying to this couple. Diana becomes afraid their relationship will develop into something more, something that will break her heart forever. Tarquin becomes afraid of the new emotions he feels for her and how difficult it is becoming to remain distant.

The characters were amazing. Tarquin is established as a ruthless rake early on, and the growth of his character throughout the book is spectacular. You go through the emotions with him as he develops a heart, a conscience, and an ambition to be a better person. Diana on the other hand is initially so overwhelmed with shame and despair it can feel awkward and uncomfortable at times. She is a difficult heroine to stand behind, and rightly so. Her actions and reasoning are confusing and difficult to understand. She is as intriguing to the reader as she is to Tarquin.

The second half of the story lets go of the lust and cranks up the heartache. Each page brings another element to complicate their relationship and that brings with it more uncertainty as to the outcome of the story. The book wraps a spell around you to the point that you cannot quit turning the pages and cannot for any reason whatsoever, put the book down. It touches every possible emotion and sweeps you away into a beautifully written story that is impossible not to love. The characters, the plot, the emotional adventure all make for one irresistible story. To surrender your time to reading this book and money to own it is anything but reckless.

Rating: 10 (Perfect!)

Heat-Level: 5 (Scorching)

It’s JUNE on THE SEASON!


May 20, 2010

Everything has been flipped. Yep, The Season website has been updated to feature all the great June stuff.

*Feature Interview ~ Anna Campbell (Come back tomorrow, May 21st, for the interview and when Avon Books will be giving away 5 copies of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, which received a 10 Star review and is a Top Pick). :)

*Feature Review ~ TEMPTING EDEN by Margaret Rowe – Wow, this was a heartfelt love story but darkly, disturbing read. It’s not for the faint of heart. Check out my review.

*Hero To DIE For ~ THE IRISH WARRIOR by Kris Kennedy – Finian is the BEST! LOVED HIM!!! Even if you don’t ‘do’ medievals, you need to ‘do’ Finian! Check out my review. Top Pick!!

*Readers’ May Top PickSWEETEST LITTLE SIN by Christine Wells – The readers have picked and they love this spy historical with a mega-alpha hero. Sizzling.

*Other Top Picks - KNIGHT OF PASSION - Margaret Mallory, OPEN COUNTRYKiki Warner, WHEN MARRYING A SCOUNDRELKathryn Smith, TEMPTING A PROPER LADYDebra Mullins
**Click the covers to read the reviews.

Review: Behind the Red Door


May 19, 2010

Behind The Red Door
Author: Jackie Barbosa
Publisher: Aphrodisia/Kensington
Pub. Date: June 1, 2009
Retail: $13.95
304 pages

Forbidden fantasies and hidden pleasures are waiting. Enter the Red Door, a most exclusive brothel, where men enjoy all the sins of the flesh and women surrender to their own secret desires…

Wickedly Ever After

Known for his wicked ways, the Marquess of Grenville is far from marriage material. But when Miss Eleanor Palmer tries to tell him so, she quickly finds the heat of his kiss melting her determination to say “no” into an uncontrollable desire to say “yes…”

Scandalously Ever After

Most men who visit the Red Door brothel enjoy sampling the variety of feminine delights, so Calliope is surprised when Captain Jack Prescott claims her for a week of passion. But satisfying his every sexual desire provides them both with complete carnal pleasure…

Sinfully Ever After

Lady Jane St. Clair loves her fiancé, but Gerard Nash is a notorious rake who likes adventurous women. Wanting to show him just how bold she can be, Jane masquerades as a young ingénue at the Red Door where she and Gerard experience sinfully erotic ecstasy…

~*~*~

BEHIND THE RED DOOR if is a collection of loosely connected short stories that gets better with each turn of the page.

When I first began BEHIND THE RED DOOR I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I had some serious issues with Wickedly Ever After. The POV shifts weren’t smooth. They happened in the middle of paragraphs and I had to constantly go back and re-read so I could get grounded in what was going on. I also didn’t feel there was anything between the Greenville and Eleanor besides strong sexual chemistry, and couldn’t understand how the Marquess of Greenville was under his father’s thumb when he had his own independent income.

Some background: Nathaniel (the Marquess of Greenville) fiancée runs off with Eleanor’s fiancé. Nathaniel has always been attracted to Eleanor and needs to get married so that he’ll be able to increase his income and get out from under his father’s thumb. Eleanor wants nothing to do with Nathaniel because of his wild reputation, but Nathaniel has a secret, he’s not as wild as everyone assumes. Nathaniel tries to push Eleanor’s buttons in ways that would spoil the plot if I told you what they are.

Speaking of despoiling, I was seriously annoyed with where Eleanor’s deflowerment occurred. That reinforced my belief that there wasn’t anything between the hero and heroine besides lust. I also had a problem with the historical time period. I didn’t feel rooted in the time period. However, I’m positive I only felt that way because prior to opening the BEHIND THE RED DOOR, I had just finished two historical romance novels where the authors are well known for rooting their reader into the history.

Once, I got over my need to compare what I had just finished reading, I found myself really enjoying BEHIND THE RED DOOR.

In the next story, Scandalously Ever After I loved the fact that the heroine is a prostitute. Her hero is a war hero who comes into an unexpected inheritance. I found it original. I was also able to buy into the relationship more, as well as the conflict. My only complaint with Scandalously Ever After was the POV Shifts were still jarring.

Sinfully Ever After was my favorite story. It was the tale of a “plain” Jane who has been love with a man all of her life. A man who sees her as a “friend” only. He proposes to her because he feels if he has to get married, he might as well do it with his best friend. Of course, Jane is tired of just being a friend and takes lessons on how to please her future husband. Gerald believes he’s breaking in a new courtesan but what he’s really doing is falling in love with his wife. The characters were well drawn out, the motivations and conflicts were believable and it was the only story in the bunch where I completely bought into the happily ever after.

Despite the problems I stated, I’d recommend BEHIND THE RED DOOR, it keep my attention more than all the other books I attempted to read around the same time. This is an author I’d try again!

Rating: 7 (Good)

Heat-Level: 6 (Erotic)

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