web analytics

Archive for August, 2012

Stygian’s Honor by Lora Leigh

Aug 31

Title: Stygian’s Honor

Author: Lora Leigh

Series: Breeds, book 27

Grade: C

Publication date: August 7, 2012

Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis: Window Rock, Arizona, is the last known location of Honor Roberts, who vanished when she was just thirteen. It was her only sanctuary from the Breed research that would surely have ended in her death—one such insidious experiment should, indeed, have killed her. That she lived is both a miracle—and a great mystery.

Stygian’s mission is to find Honor Roberts, no matter the cost. Now, with the help of Liza Johnson, assistant to the chief of the Navajo Nation, he is closer than ever to his goal. But will the discovery of Honor Roberts mean the destruction of the mating heat that has developed between Stygian and Liza?

Review: I’ve always enjoyed Lora Leigh’s Breeds series, so I decided to go ahead and buy this book and post a review. “Stygian’s Honor” got a C/3 stars from me because about a third of the way through the book, a major secret in the book was obvious to not only the reader but to at least three main characters in the book.

I agree with other reviewers that this was frustrating at times but I believe the author was trying to show the struggle Liza was going through and how it impacted Stygian’s mission. Even so, Lora Leigh could have revealed it earlier and let the H/H deal with it in the open rather than avoiding the truth for so long.

However, I still enjoyed reading the story of Wolf Breed Stygian and Navajo Nation member (or so it seems at first) Liza, as well as learning more about what happened to the ‘Mystery Four’ as I’ve dubbed them – Honor, Fawn, Judd and Gideon. The four children who escaped an experimental Breeds lab about 20 years ago and who’ve been hunted down ever since by The Genetics Council and The Bureau of Breed Affairs.

I wish some progress could have been made though on solving Amber’s illness. Amber is the daughter of Rachel and Jonas Wyatt, head of The Bureau of Breed Affairs. Jonas adopted her and considers her just as much his daughter as a child that had his DNA.

Amber was injected with a DNA-altering serum by a former Council member who went mad trying to use the Breeds’ genetics to reverse his age/find the fountain of youth.

The search for the ‘Mystery Four’ is being driven by Jonas’ belief that they hold the key to healing her yet no real progress is made in “Stygian’s Honor”, a very  frustrating thing indeed for Jonas and the reader. I hope book 28, which may feature Liza’s friend and fellow Navajo Nation member, Claire Martinez, moves things along.

Review: “The Dark Side Of Desire” by Julia James

Aug 29

Title: The Dark Side of Desire

Author: Julia James

Grade: C

Publication date: June 2012

Publisher: Mills&Boon UK / Harlequin Presents

Synopsis: Offered by her father…

English rose Flavia Lassiter has never been comfortable in her father’s glitzy world. Summoned to yet another of his ostentatiously lavish parties, she has one order: to be ‘nice’ to a wealthy investor. Her body may be on offer, but she shields her heart behind an icy shell.

                       Taken by the billionaire!

Leon Maranz emanates a dark power that sends shivers through her body – threatening to shatter her frosty facade. To let the self-made billionaire bed her would be to do her unscrupulous father’s bidding. But to turn Leon down would be to deny her body’s deepest desires…

Review: A very interesting and at times frustrating read. I borrowed this book from my book club because it seemed different to the usual category romance plot and Julia James was a  new-to-me author, so I though I’d give her a try.

A friend told me JJ usually has heros you dislike for about two thirds of the story and then she turns things around for the H/H and for you the reader. In DSOD it’s the heroine who frustrated me no end, with lots of internal dialogue about the same angst-ridden topic. “OK, I get your between a rock and a hard place but move on already!” That’s what I was thinking for the first third  of the book.

Then I saw glimmers of promise, and bearing in mind what my friend had said, I kept on reading. Progress was made in the plot and in Flavia and Leon getting together but Julia James just had to throw in some more angst.

In the last third of the book real progress is made, with Flavia deciding to take something for herself rather than continuously sacrificing herself for her grandmother’s sake. She does so because her grandmother has very little awareness of who’s with her, so Flavia knows she won’t be missed too much. Then her grandmother takes a turn for the worse and the H/H break up.

How Julia James resolves these conflicts is what truly saved “The Dark Side of Desire” from a Grade D. The last third of the book almost makes up for the struggle I faced in reading the first third. Hence the Grade C. Maybe you will like it more but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the start. 🙂

Beyond The Page: Marin Thomas on the appeal of cowboys

Aug 27

Happy Ever After…The Cowboy Way

That’s the title of today’s “Beyond The Page” guest post by author Marin Thomas.

Marin and I both love gifts, so she’s agreed to GIVEAWAY two, yes two, of her books. Simply (1) COMMENT BELOW then (2) ENTER the Rafflecopter.

CABR: Welcome to Caribbean Accent Book Reviews Marin. You’re my first ever guest blogger! 😀

MT: Thank you, Sasha, for inviting me to Beyond the Page today!

I’ve been writing series romance books for Harlequin American since 2004 and if you check out the books listed on my website, Happy Ever After…The Cowboy Way, you’ll notice I write a lot of cowboy stories!

CABR: You don’t say! 😉 I do love a good cowboy story myself.

OK, over to you Marin…

MT: To say I have a passion for cowboys is putting it mildly—lucky for me, so do many romance readers.  So what is it about the cowboy hero that fascinates women of all ages?  Is it because these guys are inherently sexy, charismatic men?  Is it the boots, the buckle, the chaps or the way they drawl, “Ma’am” and touch their fingertip to the brim of their Stetson when they pass a woman on the sidewalk?

At their core cowboys are decent, God-fearing men who hold time-honored values and beliefs close at heart and will do almost anything to protect the land, the lifestyle and the lady who captures their heart. The cowboy way is often a difficult one but all that hard work serves a purpose—to protect a way of life that has stood the test of time for centuries.

This month the fifth book in my Rodeo Rebels series for Harlequin American Romance hits store shelves.  A Cowboy’s Duty (Aug 2012) is a story about a special breed of cowboy—a soldier cowboy.

Book Blurb: Never Trust A Man!

That’s what Dixie Cash learned from her mother. That and fathers don’t stick around. She’s pretty independent, and doesn’t need help from her baby’s daddy, sexy rodeo rider and ex-soldier, Gavin Tucker. But he seems determined to do right by her. Just as Dixie starts to imagine together they might be a family, tragedy strikes—and Gavin shows his true colors. She knew he wasn’t honorable!

After what Gavin went through in Afghanistan, he was more than happy to lose himself in the rodeo circuit—and in sweet Dixie’s arms. But doing the right thing can be hard sometimes, and when Dixie—Gavin’s lifeline—doesn’t need him anymore, he’s at a loss. His heart still longs for Dixie, though he’s not sure he deserves a second chance…

If you haven’t read many cowboy romances you might wonder if there’s a difference between a regular ol’ cowboy and a rodeo cowboy.  You betcha!

A rodeo cowboy (the ones in my Rodeo Rebels serioes) possess the same values and beliefs as regular ol’ ranching cowboys but they also possess a little extra “something” in their cowboy DNA—a sense of recklessness.  The rodeo cowboy has a lot in common with the bad boy archetype and what woman in her right mind doesn’t fantasize about being swept off her feet by an adventurous bad boy?

The rodeo-bad-boy Cowboy chases a dream he lives every day.  It can be a lonely life, traveling from rodeo to rodeo and when it’s all said and done most cowboys are left at the end of their careers with is a beat-up suitcase, their saddle, arthritis and nothing but memories.

The rodeo cowboy possesses a special mindset and a special kind of courage that most people find difficult to understand.  Perhaps that’s why we’re so attracted to these heroes—they’re unlike any other man on the planet.  They live life on the edge and when the chips are down this guy does not whine, complain or ask for sympathy.  He is a breed apart.

Rodeo is perhaps the most violent and dangerous sport on the planet and that’s part of the reason my hero in “A Cowboy’s Duty” joins the circuit when he returns from duty in Afghanistan.

A self-admitted rodeo junkie, Gavin gets high on the buzz and danger of riding bucking stock.  Feeding his adrenaline addiction is his number one priority, because it fuels his strength—strength he needs to run from the demons that have followed him home from war.

Here’s an EXCERPT from “A Cowboy’s Duty”:

“Where the hell was he?

Gavin stood in the dark shivering.  He knew he was in the desert, because coarse grains of sand prick his feet.  But where in the desert?  And what had happened to his weapons?  He wore nothing but his sweat-soaked fatigues.  The booming sound of a rocket-propelled grenade sent him running, his lungs burning with each gasp of air.

The target exploded in the distance and streaks of bright light lit up the night sky.

Nate!  Nate, where are you?

Gavin glanced over his shoulder and a second explosion illuminated the darkness.  In that instant of clarity Gavin spotted Nate a hundred yards behind him.  Run, Nate!  Catch up!

Something wasn’t right—Nate wasn’t moving.  Gavin turned back, determined to reach his friend, but each step, his feet sank deeper into the ground as if the desert had turned into an ocean of quicksand.

Nate reached out his hand for help and time passed at a crawl as Gavin pressed forward, muscles burning, sweat stinging his eyes.  Fifty yards of Nate another explosion rent the air and suddenly half of Nate disappeared.  Gavin stared in horror.  Where were Nate’s legs?

A thud hit the ground by Gavin’s combat boot.  He looked down.  Half buried in the sand was Nate’s leg.

Gavin woke with a start and bolted from the motel bed.  He stumbled into the bathroom, ran the cold tap and splashed his face, choking on the water that hit the back of his throat.

Damn it.

He lowered the toilet cover and sat with his head in his hands.  He hadn’t had a nightmare like this in weeks.  Why now?

Maybe he was pushing himself too hard.

Or maybe you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

Whatever the reasons behind his recurring nightmares, as long as Gavin ignored them they’d eventually go away.

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

“Another tough night for Gavin Tucker,” the announcer said at the Growler Stampede Rodeo in Growler, Arizona.

Gavin picked himself up and dusted off his jeans, then waved his hat at the crowd as he jogged out of the arena.  Dumb bronc.  Thunder Rolls had tossed him on his head as soon as he’d cleared the gate.  Ignoring the twinge in his wrist, Gavin stuffed his gloves into his gear bag.

“Better luck next time, soldier.”  Mitch Farley, a Colorado rancher approached.

Gavin shook hands with the retired Marine.  Mitch’s son had been stationed with Gavin in Afghanistan.  “How’s Scott?  Still overseas?”

“Yep.  He’s coming home for Christmas.”  Left unsaid…if he doesn’t get killed first.

“What are you doing in Arizona?” Gavin asked.

“Drove down with a neighbor to watch his nephew compete in bull riding.”  Mitch cleared his throat.  “What made you decide not to reenlist?”  The older man had spent twenty-five years in the military before taking over the reins of his family’s cattle ranch.

Gavin didn’t mind discussing his military career with fellow servicemen and women, but he didn’t care to share the information with his rodeo competitors.  He grabbed his gear and motioned for Mitch to walk with him.  “After Nate got killed nothing was the same over there.”  Nate had been Gavin’s best friend.  They’d gone to high school together and had joined the Army on a whim.

“Is it true one of the villagers you were helping planted the roadside bomb?”

“Yeah.”  After that day, the goodwill Gavin possessed toward the Afghan people had died a quick death.  Gavin thought of the sacrifices he and Nate had made while living in the hostile region.  And for what?  Nate had given his life and Gavin couldn’t shake the dreams that had followed him home.

“You did good work in Afghanistan, son.”  Mitch clasped Gavin’s shoulder.  “Don’t let one idiot take that away from you.”

“After Nate died—” Gavin shrugged off Mitch’s touch.  The last thing he wanted was pity. “—I knew I wasn’t going to be any use to the Army, so I checked out.”

“What about a military position stateside?”

Staying in one place wasn’t an option.  Keeping on the move was the only way Gavin felt as if he could breathe.  “I wanted a change.”

Mitch chuckled.  “Getting your ass kicked by a wild bronc sure is a change.”

“It’ll come back to me.”  Gavin and Nate had competed in rodeos throughout high school and during their military leaves, but admittedly Gavin was rusty and needed a heck of lot more practice before he’d become competitive.

“You can’t rodeo forever.  You got a plan B if you end up injured?”

“Not really.”

“When you get ready to call one place home, come see me.  I could always use a good ranch hand.”

The word home generated an uncomfortable feeling in Gavin.  Settling down was the last thing on his mind.  “Nice to know there’s a place to hang my hat if I need one.”

“Take care.”  Mitch walked off.

Now what?  The next rodeo on Gavin’s schedule was in Chula Vista, California—a week from today.  He should hit the road but a sixth sense warned him not to be in a rush to leave the Grand Canyon State.  His years in the military had taught Gavin never to ignore his instincts.

He chalked up the doom-and-gloom thought to his recent nightmare.  He sure in hell didn’t want a repeat of that terrifying hallucination.  Maybe a drink would settle his nerves and numb his brain while he listened to eight-second stories.

The one thing he missed about the army was the camaraderie of fellow soldiers.

“Hey, Waters.”  Gavin called across the parking lot.  “Where’s everyone hanging out after the rodeo?”

The calf roper tossed his gear into the back of his pickup.  “Mickey’s.  A few miles east of here.”

“Thanks.”  Gavin got in his truck and checked his cell phone for messages.  None.  A short time later he parked at Mickey’s.  Standard cowboy bar—a dump, save for the fancy red door.  Neon beer signs brightened the windows, reminding Gavin that he was hungry and thirsty.

The smell of sweat, spilled beer and cigarette smoke greeted his nostrils inside.  A thirty-foot bar sans stools stretched along one wall behind which a pair of bald, tattooed bartenders filled drink orders.  The rest of the place was crowded with mismatched tables and chairs.

A country western song wailed from the jukebox as Gavin zigzagged through the maze of rowdy cowboys.  “Bud Light.”  He tossed a five-dollar bill on the bar.

“You win or lose today?” asked the barkeep with a snake tattoo slithering up his neck.

“Lost.”

“Tough draw?”

“Not really.”  He took his beer and strolled through the crowd listening to a country ballad of love gone wrong.  Why the lyrics made him think of Dixie he had no idea.  He’d regretted making love to her, even though it had been a long time since he’d been intimate with a woman.  If only the taste of her bold kiss hadn’t drowned out the warning voice in his head.

GIVEAWAY:

So… tell me who your favorite romance hero is and why?

I’m giving away the first two books in my Rodeo Rebels series, “Rodeo Daddy” andThe Bull Rider’s Secret” to one lucky commenter.

Marin and I both love gifts, so she’s agreed to GIVEAWAY two, yes two, of her books. Simply (1) COMMENT BELOW then (2) ENTER the Rafflecopter.

Entries close at midnight EST on Thursday, August 30 and WINNER announced on Friday, August 31.

Upcoming book reviews

Aug 25

I’ve been reading up a storm, in between my busy day job, so you can expect a set of reviews to be posted in the coming days. 🙂

Included among them is Julia James’ “The Dark Side Of Desire” from Mills&Boon Modern.

This was a book I borrowed from my book club because it seemed different to the usual plot, and Julia James was a  new-to-me author, so I though I’d give her a try.

Don’t want to give away my review here so come back soon for more info. 🙂

Another book I’ve recently finished reading is Lora Leigh’s “Stygian’s Honor”, the latest book in the Breeds series.

This had mixed reviews on Amazon, most of them good, so I decided to go ahead and buy the Kindle version.

I agreed with some of the criticism but still enjoyed this book and look forward to sharing my thoughts with you.

Looking for some undercover spice?

Then check back for my review of Lisa Renee Jones’ latest “Tall, Dark & Deadly” series –  “One Dangerous Night.” It’s a prelude to “Beneath The Secrets.”

Those of you who love ‘cowboys and Indians’ (Native Americans) will enjoy what I have to say about Abby Wood’s “Consent To Love.”

You’ll also be happy to know that famous ‘cowboy’ author, Marin Thomas, has a guest post on Monday, August 27.

Marin’s gonna share her love of all things cowboy and western, as well as dish on the popularity of this genre.

Being a generous lady, Marin has included an extended excerpt from “A Cowboy’s Duty” and a Giveaway of two books – “Rodeo Daddy” and “The Bullrider’s Secret”.

Wait! There’s more. LOL (Silly aren’t I)

I’m currently reading Natalie Anderson’s

“Flirting To Win” anthology from Indulgence; a Entangled Publishing  imprint.

The three novels are “Bargain in Bronze”, “Seduction in Silver” and “Gamble in Gold”.

Filed Under: News

Giveaway: An autographed copy of “No More Wasted Time” by Beverly Preston

Aug 24

Who wants to WIN an autographed copy of Beverly Preston‘s debut novel, “No More Wasted Time”?

This competition is open to readers in the continental USA only. Apologies to those of you living elsewhere. You know I try to make all Giveaways international.

Entering is easy and the winner’s name will be chosen by Beverly in a random drawing.
Simply POST A COMMENT* below and leave your email contact information.

Example: reader at yahoo dot com

*Comments on Beverly;’s “Beyond The Page” interview will also be included in the draw.

Entries CLOSE on Tuesday, August 28 at 10pm EST.

The WINNER will be announced on Wednesday, August 29.

Filed Under: Giveaway

“Beyond The Page” with Beverly Preston

Aug 23

Today it’s my pleasure to welcome Beverly Preston to Caribbean Accent Book Reviews. 😀

Beverly’s debut novel “No More Wasted Time” has become an instant classic and is actually the first in a four-book series.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with NMWT, here’s the book blurb:

After losing her husband to a sudden heart attack, Tess Mathews escapes to Bora Bora to lay her husband and sorrow to rest. What she doesn’t expect is a new beginning. Tom Clemmins is an A-list actor whose life revolves around work and an onslaught of women. He travels to Bora Bora for a much-needed break. Tom has a few ideas of how he’ll enjoy his vacation, but love isn’t one of them. Until he sees Tess. Reserving a private shark-feeding excursion to scatter her husband’s ashes into the lagoon, Tess is furious when Mr. Hollywood bribes his way onto the boat, leaving her no other choice but to share the boat ride. Tess is torn between tremendous guilt and zealous lust when their boat ride turns into a week full of romance and desire neither thought imaginable. Utterly smitten with a woman for the first time in his life, Tom casts his commitment phobia aside and whisks Tess off to Malibu where he introduces her as his “girlfriend” on the red carpet. As the paparazzi besiege, can Tess survive the media blitz that ensues in order to find her second chance at love?”

On to the interview 🙂

 

BP: Thank you for having me, Sasha!

CABR: Happy to have you over Beverly.

NMWT was released seven (7) months ago. How has your life changed since then, both professionally and personally?

BP: My life has changed drastically! I’ve been a Domestic Engineer, aka stay at home mom, for twenty years and I now consider myself an Author. Granted, my husband and I worked together for years designing and building custom homes, but this is my personal baby.

When I finished “No More Wasted Time”, I didn’t know if I’d be able to write another book, but by removing the Epilog it set me up for the Mathews/Clemmins series. Personally, I’ve gained a sense of empowerment through writing and I’ve come to realize that I’m very driven. The fact that my children are growing up and leaving the nest doesn’t hurt either. So for right now, I’m searching for balance in my writing, promoting, family, friends and making time to spin. I’m addicted to my spin bike.

CABR: Spin bike you say. I’m impressed.

Lots of people fell in love with Tess Matthews and Tom Clemmins from NMWT and are looking forward to your next book. Are the other three books in this four-book series about a completely new set of characters or are they connected to Tess and Tom?

BP: Each book will highlight a different family member, as it a series about the family. All of your favorite characters will play a part and readers can look forward to meeting many new exciting additions! Book two is Shayla Clemmins’ story.

CABR: Great news for NMWT fans.

You decided to self-publish your book on CreateSpace. Why’d you choose this route?

BP: Like so many other newbies, I had no idea what I was doing. I sent out several rounds of query letters and got tired of being rejected. After attending Arizona Dreamin’ a writer/readers event, I came home with a new found attitude of “Hey I can do this myself!”

Shortly after that, cover model Jimmy  Thomas spoke at my local RWA meeting about branding and promotion. I left that meeting, drove home, bought my domain, made a webpage and exactly three months later I published NMWT. CreateSpace gave me the tools to format my paperbacks.

CABR: That’s inspiring Beverly 😀

Who helped you decide what to edit and when the book was ‘ready’?

BP: I used Natasha at SPJ Editing for critiquing and editing. I fully admit that I didn’t listen to all of Natasha’s suggestions. My story is a bit non-traditional and I like it that way, so all of the final decisions were mine. My daughter Caylee and I did final edits and she also did my formatting and uploading too. I owe her!

It took me a year to write my story and another year and half to make it perfect. I joined the Las Vegas RWA and attended several writers groups and workshops. I became a sponge, determined to learn at least one thing from every meeting. I’m still soaking it up!

CABR: Your dedication to getting it right shows in the many positive reviews and fan comments I’ve come across for NMWT.

Have you attended any author conventions?

BP: I’ve attended Arizona Dreamin’ for the last two years. It’s a romance reader event and I love going! The women are wonderful and I’ve made dozens of friends. I have gained some wonderful readership from online book clubs and a group called, What to read after Fifty Shades of Grey. Ladies, if you’re reading this, you rock!

CABR: Aww. Be sure to let them know to stop on by then. 🙂

Were you awestruck upon meeting any particular authors? Were you able to ‘keep it together’?

BP: Well…Lisa Kleypas wasn’t there so I managed to keep my wits about me!

CABR: LOL

OK, let’s shake things up a bit…

If you could be someone else for a day, from any time in history, who would you be and why?

BP: This question stumped me, so I decided to go with sentimental humor and say Penelope Pussycat from Pepe Le Pew! She has a great swish to her tail!

CABR: I love it. 🙂

Which character from fiction, yours or another author’s, would you like to spend time with and why?

BP: Holy cowboy, Hardy Cates from Lisa Kleypas’s “Blue-Eyed Devil”! He’s hard working and sexy as hell all wrapped together with a Texas accent!

CABR: That sure seems to be a popular book. Guess it’s a sign I need to add it to my TBR.

You have four children of varying ages. Have they had any funny stories about how they’ve told people what you do for a living?

BP: My oldest son is 22, I have boy/girl twins that are 19 and my youngest daughter is 12. My older kids totally pimp me out! My youngest had three favorite teachers last year, so you can imagine what they received on Teacher Appreciation Day. Each teacher asked her, “Have you read it?” She handed them the carefully wrapped package and replied, “I’m not allowed to read it until I’m 16.”

CABR: Your 12-year-old is adorably funny. 😀

Beverly has agreed to share an EXCERPT from “No More Wasted Time” below. Enjoy.

 

Tess had never been so audacious in her life. Asking Tom to ditch his date to meet her for dinner wasn’t her style, but today, she didn’t care. She wanted Tom more than she could’ve ever imagined. Loving another man was something she knew she’d never be capable of, and Tom Clemmins wasn’t the kind of man who fell in love. But for the first time in her life, a carefree vacation full of passion, lust and great sex might be just what she needed.

The guilt she felt subsided. I’m not cheating on Richard. Nothing I do now will change the fact that I was a faithful wife. Whether he meets me for dinner or not, I’m not going to be miserable any more. It’s time to move forward and be happy.

Anxiety kicked in as she took her time getting ready. She swept her dark brown hair across her eyes, and gathered the rest loosely in a sterling silver clip. What if he doesn’t show? He probably acts like this with every woman. He’s a total flirt. What the hell was I thinking? Great, I just made a complete ass out of myself…again. 

She rummaged through her clothes, finally deciding on a scoop neck black dress showing off all those hours Tracy had dragged her out of bed to run. Thanks to the Tahitian motto, No Shoes Required, Tess usually went barefoot. She put on her cutest black sandals and silver hoop earrings before heading out the door.

Tess took the five-minute boat ride to the main island. She meandered down the barely paved road, passing several dive shops and restaurants. I hope he shows. Then what? Will he come back to my bungalow? Will he ditch his date and stay with me? I haven’t slept with another man in twenty-five years. The possibility of a mere kiss, let alone going to bed with him, fueled a fire within her.

When she reached Bloody Mary’s, several couples entered, but she didn’t see Tom. She paced back and forth outside. Should I wait outside or go in?

“Tess.”

The deep sexy voice came from behind and she turned to see Tom leaning against a palm tree, looking more gorgeous than she thought humanly possible.

“Hey.” She beamed, sauntering over to join him under the palm tree.

“You look stunning.”

“Thanks, handsome.” She scanned over his flip-flops, jeans and nice black shirt. “I hoped you would show,” she stammered anxiously.

He held her hands in his. “Before you say anything Tess, I need to ask you something, and I don’t want you to get upset with me. All right?”

“Okay.”

“Are you sure you’re ready for this? I mean, are you really ready to be with another man because this isn’t something I want you to regret later.”

She gazed into his dark eyes and considered his question. “Yes, I’m sure. I want to stay with you, for the rest of my trip.” She clarified with a slight nod.

His cocked his head to one side. “So if I told you right now, at this very moment, all of your belongings are being packed up and brought to another resort, you’d be okay with that?”

“That depends. Are all of your things being packed up and taken to the same resort?” she questioned timidly.

“Yes, whether you decide to stay with me or not. I sent my date home. I changed resorts and I’d like it if you’d stay with me.”

“I’m sure.”

“Are you hungry?”

Hungry for you. “Actually, I’m starving from all the snorkeling today.”

“Do you have your heart set on eating here? I had something a little different in mind.”

Room service in bed? “Wherever you want to have dinner is fine with me.” 

“I was hoping you’d say that. I have a surprise for you.” Tom led her across the street to a boat dock. “After you.” He held his hand out to the side so she could step onto the boat before him.

“Where are we going?”

“I think you’ll like it.”

The Tahitian man introduced himself. “Ia Orana, I am Mr. Rene’s cousin. My name is Tayia.”

Ia Orana,” Tess said.

The boat skimmed across the lagoon, casting ripples through the reflection of the fiery sunset. Cool, moist spray tingled her warm face. She sat between Tom’s legs and leaned back against his chest. I haven’t done this in so long. I hope he’s a good lover. Please, please, please be good in bed. She glanced over her shoulder and he grinned at her. Crap! Is he sitting here wondering if I’m going to be a good lover? Tess sat up a little taller. Oh, I am definitely going to be good for him.

With every draw of breath, her chest lifted and lowered. Tom must’ve noticed her nervousness. He placed his palm over her heart. She felt the hint of his smile as he nuzzled her neck.

She inhaled the scent of his skin. “You smell delicious.”

Tom held her arm out to the side and lowered his nose to the inside of her elbow. “So do you.”

Her gaze drifted to his profile, watching as his eyes closed, taking in the scent of her perfume. The heat from his breath tickled her skin as his lips pressed against her arm. Tess’ lips parted and her tongue toyed with the corner of her mouth, wanting to taste his mouth.

The boat slowed, interrupting her gaze. Tess couldn’t believe what she saw as they pulled up to a deserted motu. “How did you do this?” she whispered in awe.

Tiki torches surrounded a lovely table set with a white tablecloth and a bouquet of flowers. The setting sun cast a glow on the white sand, turning it nearly pink. She held up her dress a little so it wouldn’t get wet, hopping off the boat.

Tom stood in the sand and wrapped his arms around her. “Do you like it?”

“It’s beautiful.” She turned to face him, reaching her lips up to kiss his.

“Not yet Tess, not yet,” he whispered in a teasing tone.

Slighted by Tom’s response, her eyes filled with disappointment.

“Awe, don’t look at me like that.”

Her expression didn’t change, yearning to feel his lips.

His thumb coasted gently over her cheek. “Do you trust me? Hmm? I trusted you with the sharks. Remember? Will you trust me now?” He brushed his lips against her neck, causing goose bumps to cover her skin.

“Yes, I remember. But-”

“I assure you, I’ll make it worth the wait.” He toyed, whispering in her ear. “I promise I won’t disappoint you.”

She remembered how fantastic his hands felt. “I have no doubt.”

Filed Under: Menu

Beyond The Page & Giveaway: Shadowed Love series by Kinley Baker

Aug 18

I’d like to welcome Kinley Baker to Caribbean Accent Book Review’s (CABR) very first Beyond The Page interview.

One of you lucky readers also has the chance to win a PDF copy of “Denied”, book 2 in Kinley’s fantasy romance series, “Shadowed Love.”

It’s all part of the interview, GIVEAWAY and Excerpt special I’m having this weekend, all thanks to Kinley’s generousity. (English spelling folks  😉 )

Get familiar: 

Kinley Baker is the author of the fantasy romance series, Shadowed Love. She read her first romance at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband, Benjamin, and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. Ruined and Denied are available now. Look for Freed in July 2012. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and futuristic romance. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com.

Beyond The Page

CABR: “Freed”, book 3 in the Shadowed Love series, is actually a prequel novella. What made you decide to go back and tell the story of Queen Ella and King Falon this way?

KB: Readers were asking how the Shadow Shifters entered the Realm of Shadows from the Mortal realm in the first place. I knew I wanted to write a novella to show what happened since there wasn’t an opportunity to include it in the first three full-length books. King Falon and Queen Ella’s journey started to form in my mind, and I’m glad I fleshed out the story because their relationship is very different from anything I’ve written before. I think a lot of people can relate to their feelings of being misunderstood and isolated in a way.

CABR: Will they get a full-length novel of their own? If yes, when?

KB: Wow, that’s a good question. I don’t think anything is ever completely out in terms of what I’ll write next. My overactive imagination always ensures there are opportunities. If readers want to know more about Queen Ella and King Falon, I have a few ideas. The external conflict would be difficult since Ruined says the Shadow Shifters lived in peace for centuries before they were invaded in the first book in the series. But not everything makes the history books. We’ll just have to see. There’s nothing contracted or planned for now.

CABR: It’s been 20 months, over a year and a half, since you sold your debut novel, “Ruined”, to Crescent Moon Press. How has your life changed since then, both professionally and personally?

KB: Has it been that long? Time sure flies. Life is the same in a lot of ways. I still live in the same house with the same husband and the same dog. A few challenges in my personal life regarding family have really tested me. This hasn’t been the smoothest year, and it’s definitely been one of growth. Professionally, I’ve really realized this is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m working on building a new blogging platform, which I’m looking forward to. It will have a focus on readers and community. I’ve really realized how important having that is to me. I’m also always working on growing as a writer.

CABR: I love dogs. In fact my family has five of them. Has your dog Joker ever inspired a scene or cheered you up if you were stuck writing a scene?

KB: I’m completely jealous you have five dogs. I love dogs and all their unique personalities. Joker is a male wire-haired terrier. He’s two years old and very dramatic. He amuses us with his constant sighing and world-wary personality. He definitely keeps us laughing. Occasionally he tries to type for me or gently bites the top of my screen if he thinks he’s not getting enough attention. Vale’s dog in Ruined is based on my experiences with owning dogs, but I can’t say there’s a specific scene that was inspired by Joker. Joker is always a comfort though, unless he’s whining for attention while I’m on deadline. 😀

CABR: Can you tell us what’s next for the Shadowed Love series and Kinley Baker the author?

KB: Next up is the third full-length book in the series. It will be Arianna’s story and I’m working on finishing up the first draft now. I also have a new futuristic romance series coming out in 2013. It’s much sassier than my Shadowed Love series. I’m looking forward to letting my hair down.

CABR: Ooh. Looking forward to hearing more about that. Be sure to keep us posted.

What’s the funniest fan interaction you’ve had?

KB: I think the funniest interaction I’ve had is when I’ve been at family parties or somewhere I wouldn’t expect people to bring up my writing. Then I find out so-and-so has read both books and loved them. I think: Wow! Thanks! I didn’t even know you knew I wrote.

CABR: Were you awestruck upon meeting any particular author/s at conventions? Were you able to ‘keep it together’? 

KB: Definitely! When I went to the Romance Writers of America National Conference in 2011, it was before my first book released, so I wasn’t signing. I went around the huge literacy signing grinning like an idiot. One memorable experience was when I went completely fangirl on Larissa Ione. She was so nice and awesome! I think I used the word brilliant when I told her how great I thought it was that she made one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse female. If you haven’t read Larissa Ione, do so now! Start with The Demonica Series. Pleasure Unbound is the first one. I love her writing!

CABR: Good tip.

Here come the fun, quirky questions…

If you could be someone else for a day, from any time in history, who would you be and why?

KB: I think I would want to be one of the Presidents of the United States of America. I just want to know if they really know about the existence of aliens . . . once and for all.

CABR: LOL. Excellent choice. You’d get to know the answers to a lot of questions, being POTUS.

Which character from fiction, yours or another author’s, would you like to spend time with and why?

KB: This is so hard! There are so many worlds I want to hang out in. I can’t imagine picking just one character! I guess I would pick Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling world. I really love Hawke and the wolf den. This series is amazing if you haven’t read it. I love how the wolves interact and their code of honor.

CABR: Me too! If I could get a day-pass to the Psy-Changeling world, I’d be there in a heart beat. 😀

What’s the best thing about living in the Pacific Northwest?

KB: The rain! Everyone complains about it, but I love it. I also grew up near a ferry dock. I love the water and the fresh air. Combine the two, and I’m not sure I’d want to live anywhere else. Except maybe Ireland. I love the cliffs and the green lands. I’ve always wanted to go there. But I haven’t yet convinced my husband that we need to live in a castle. He just doesn’t have a sense of the fantastical. I’ll convince him one of these days.

CABR: Ireland’s on my bucket list too. Seems we would get along famously in person Kinley 😀

KB: Thank you so much for allowing me to visit today! I’m more than happy to answer any questions in the comments and I’ll be checking back.

CABR: Thank YOU for agreeing to be the first author in my Beyond The Page interviews and for giving my readers a chance to WIN “Denied” 😀

Kinley will be giving away a PDF copy of “Denied” to 1 lucky winner.

http://authorkinleybaker.blogspot.com
a Rafflecopter giveaway

TO WIN: Please  POST A COMMENT below and ENTER your information in the RAFFLECOPTER.

Synopsis of “Denied”, Shadowed Love book 2:

When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.

Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.

When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most–including each other.

Excerpt from “Denied”:

Right before entering the next clearing, Caleb caught a flash of color contrasting against the green. He paused, moving aside a few leaves so he could peer through the opening. His attention caught on a tantalizing sight.

A woman moved in a dance of lethal grace with her eyes closed. She swung her blade with the skill of someone long trained. Challenging only the air around her, it was clear she strived to improve her form.

Her beauty was only enhanced by her bare, capable arms. The sleeveless shirt and pants she wore were nothing like the robes of the Shadow Shifters’ traditions. Her biceps and triceps flexed, illuminating well-formed muscles.

Amusement slid through him. This was the first time he’d ever seen a woman with a blade. And he couldn’t help but admire her. Part of him knew he should admire no female other than his aroha, his fated mate. But the other part of him was intrigued by this display of warrior patience.

The women of his people had never been trained in battle. It was Caleb who had failed to protect them. The female in front of him didn’t look like she needed protection, and the concept baffled him.

A man should always stand between a woman and a fight. And if they failed to protect as Caleb had his own people, then the man should carry that weight around forever, and the guilt, just as he did.

Need for redemption soaked into his veins. Perhaps he could help this female improve her form to make up for his other failures.

“You’re dropping your left side,” he said, moving out from behind his cover.

Her head whipped around, her sword following with force. The very tip aimed toward his heart. Five feet separated him from the lethal point. He was not yet in danger so his gaze trailed from the sharp blade to connect with her gaze.

Honey-colored eyes clashed with his. Awareness shot through him. He did his best to hide his response. His entire world shifted, the foundation reforming in the blink of a second. The change. The moment every man of the Varner desired. The finding. Of the one woman meant to be his mate.

How many times had he imagined this moment?

The warrior woman was his aroha. His body pulsed to life. For the first time his lust awakened in response to another, just as the old tales stated. His muscles tensed, everything inside him urging him to act, urging him to brand. He was ready to make her his.

The fire in her eyes held him back. As well as the vivid distinction that this woman with a sword was far from a delicate female of the Varner. From his experience the past two years and the difficulty of fumbling his way through foreign cultures for the same length of time, he knew it was better to keep his revelation to himself. For now. She might not sense the connection like he could, like the women of the Varner had been able to.

His fascination overwhelmed the new ache in his groin. She was extraordinary. He’d never seen another woman like her. Fierce and strong with steel in her gaze. Beautiful, mighty . . . his. The core of him roared that this miraculous creature belonged to him.

“Who are you?” She jabbed her blade forward an inch.

He barely kept from smiling at her demand. “You’re dropping your left side when you turn.”

Her chin jutted up. “Are you such a fine warrior that you feel yourself worthy of dispensing unsought advice?”

“Some would say.” He moved closer to her.

She tensed, but didn’t attack. Perhaps it was the foot and inches of his height advantage that stalled her.

The sun shining through the trees bestowed a glow off her light brown hair, giving her an ethereal aura. Strong features curved with womanhood invited him to touch.

His hand almost reached toward her before he stopped himself.

Every inch of him yearned to claim his woman, his destined mate, his aroha.

His fingers ached to touch her and make sure she was real. Even if it was only to correct her sword form. Could he really have found the woman he’d searched for all of his adulthood after thirty-three years of living? He needed to brush her skin and make sure he wasn’t fantasizing. Although he knew this must be real because he had never imagined a woman like her.

He closed the distance between them.

“What are you doing?”

“Showing you how to keep your side up.”

After hesitating, she finally lowered her blade. “They say we aren’t supposed to speak with men from the Varner. The villagers call you giants.”

“We aren’t much different from you. And I’ve never seen a female Shadow Shifter train with a sword. I don’t think you’re a woman who abides by the rules.”

Was that a flush in her cheeks? He moved around to direct her arm. When he hovered near her, his front almost touching her back, she glanced over her shoulder warily. He kept himself far enough away so she couldn’t feel the press of his male interest. He ignored the flustered feeling inching up his spine. He’d never been snared by a woman’s scent.

He wanted to inhale her natural fragrance and brand it to his memory. In this open area near the forest where so many aromas mingled, hers stood out—a citrus blend of foreign fruit mixed with the spicy scent of flesh dampened from exertion.

His fingers closed over her grip on the blade. He showed her how to turn without dropping her side.

“Perfect,” he said, unsure if he meant the improvement in her form or the feel of her soft flesh against his roughened palm. He freed her with reluctance.

With a little space between them, she tried again, flawlessly turning.

She frowned. “Thank you.”

“I am impressed by your skill.”

“It’s not enough.”

Add DENIED as To-Read on GoodReads! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13646204-denied

THERE’S MORE. I also have an Excerpt from “Freed”. Read on 😀

Synopsis of “Freed”, Shadowed Love book 3/prequel novella 

After mortal invaders slay a Shadow Shifter woman, Queen Ella knows there is more blood on the horizon. As the most powerful Sensitive in the village, Ella has always known she’s destined to save the kingdom. But her task seems impossible. She must move the Well of Souls to a new realm to save her people or risk failing the Ancestor gods.

The woman King Falon loves will never love him back, despite a binding marriage built on regal decorum. Falon’s first duty is to his people, and he only wants to provide the Shadow Shifters with a safe future. He must assert his power to gain the respect of the warriors.

Harder still, King Falon must accept the salvation of his people lies with his own Queen Ella, a woman who speaks madness… a woman he’s always loved, but hardly knows.

Excerpt from “Freed”:

Chapter One

The Mortal Realm, 657

King Falon looked up at the darkening sky, and a heavy burden settled inside his chest. Where were their Ancestor gods?

From his castle balcony, he stared over the hills of his homeland in Northern Britain, the place the Shadow Shifters had always called home. Their history and their hearts were embedded in these lands.

The mortals had always been a danger, but his people had escaped their persecution. That was no longer the case. The martyrs wanted to annihilate the Shadow Shifters, a race who thrived in the darkness, who thrived in the shadows, who thrived in the night.

Holy believers were coming for them, without any understanding of what they attempted to fight. The Shadow Shifter village had remained protected on these hills, with their Ancestor gods watching over them. Now, their existence was threatened.

“It isn’t your fault.” The sound of Pavel’s voice came from behind him.

Falon couldn’t bear to face his oldest friend and advisor. “Then whose is it?”

“We knew we couldn’t stay hidden here forever.”

“Why must they attack during my reign? Why must this fall to me?” He sighed. “For centuries, peace existed for our people.”

New to the throne, newly wed, newly orphaned. Too many firsts weighed on his shoulders. He didn’t know how to handle the burden.

Pavel seemed to read his mind. “The Ancestors would never give you this challenge if they didn’t believe you capable of discovering a way to provide for our people.”

His friend had so much faith in bodiless apparitions. As the Spirit Teacher, perhaps Pavel had to have faith. But Falon struggled. He’d always struggled.

“That girl–” He couldn’t finish. Seeing the mutilated body of one of his people had made bile rise to his throat. His people had looked to him for answers, and he’d nearly crumbled in front of them.

“You did your duty per our traditions and honored her family.”

Falon had done his duty, but the young girl’s face. He’d never forget it.

“When do you think they’ll come?”

Pavel sighed. “After their savagery, it could be this night, it could be a fortnight. I do not have the answers.”

“We must prepare the Warriors.” To stop his people from being destroyed.

“Then you’ll fight?”

“What other choice do I have?” He glared at his friend, freeing his frustration.

“None that you see.”

“I don’t have time for riddles.”

Pavel smiled. “You never did.”

“I’ll do whatever’s necessary to protect our lands and the Well of Souls. We can’t afford to allow the mortals access to our sacred power source.”

“I trust you’ll do what you must.”

His friend might have too much faith. Falon studied their lands for another long moment, watching the sun fall into the lure of the mountains.

“Of course I will.” But when he glanced back again, Pavel was gone. He had a way of disappearing.

Falon knew he couldn’t dwell on the events of the past week. A young girl was gone, killed by bloodthirsty strangers, but the rest of his people remained. He could not allow her tragic death to befall the whole.

He strode through his private chambers to an adjoining room, deciding not to use the shadows to shift so he could take a deep breath and collect himself. After passing through the doorway, he came to an abrupt halt.

His breath caught at the sight before him. A woman of supreme elegance stood in the last flickers of light, staring out at the disappearing sun from her balcony.

Heavy, thick robes lined her luscious form. Beautiful velvet in a rich blue color fit snugly to her curves. A crown of entwined flowers sat proud atop her head. Her delicate profile showed her true regal magnificence.

Light hair curled down long and brushed against the fabric of her dress.

She stood, ethereal, like an Ancestor goddess in his midst. Perfect. Untouchable. Supposedly his. She didn’t turn to look at him, although he knew she always knew when he entered the room. This was a woman of ultimate power, the strongest Sensitive in the kingdom. And one of only a few in the village who seemed to glow with magic.

So soft. So kind. So distant.

She was his wife. His queen.

And so far out of reach. He wanted her with a desperation that made him ache. But he often thought his wanting of her would be the death of him. He couldn’t allow it to be the death of his kingdom.

“We’re expected for the evening meal.” His tone was rigid.

Her stance remained the same, as if she couldn’t hear him.

“Ella,” he said.

She didn’t move.

Ella made him question himself in a way no one ever had. As a royal and now a king, he wasn’t used to scrutiny. No one seemed able to read his shortcomings as easily as his wife.

His patience frayed. Defiance was not a battle he needed to wage this day. Especially against the one woman who was supposed to stand by him always. Newly married and he’d already learned. The wife he’d married for love would never love him back. And she’d never be on his side.

***

War. Ella’s blood boiled with the truth. The scent of blood drifted on the horizon. As the sun faded behind the mountains, her people’s safety faded with it. She felt this truth as surely as she felt her nails curling into her palms.

Loss. The wind swirled with it. Inevitable sacrifices lingered in their future, but she couldn’t define what they risked. Everything inside her yearned to place the pieces into a discernible pattern, something she could give to the king to use. But for the first time in her life, answers eluded her.

Were the Ancestors punishing her? She stared into the angry gray clouds and questioned. Something she’d rarely had to do. As a Sensitive, she’d always known the truth. Not now. Everything was changing, evolving, yielding, one day into the next, a whirlwind she couldn’t stop.

Despair. She could feel the pain in the air, like a blade suspended in time, destined to kill through the ages, destined to harm. A tear slid down her cheek. She was supposed to save her people. She’d always known it. But how?

Add FREED as To-Read on GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15810351-freed

Stay connected with Kinley Baker:

http://www.goodreads.com/kinleybaker

www.twitter.com/kinleybaker

www.facebook.com/kinleybaker

Filed Under: Fantasy romance, Giveaway

Upcoming “Beyond The Page” Interviews and Giveaways

Aug 10

Hi everyone

Thanks for your support and comments on my new blog. 😀

More reviews are coming soon but that’s not all.

Two fantastic authors will be going “Beyond The Page” with us very soon.

Kinley Baker, author of the “Shadowed Love” series & Beverly Preston, whose debut novel “No More Wasted Time” has been getting rave reviews.

Kinley will be giving away a PDF copy of book 2 in her series, “Denied”, while Beverly will be giving away a PDF copy of “No More Wasted Time.”

PDFs were chosen because I wanted to make the giveaways international and open to persons who don’t have a Kindle/Nook.

So join me next week for @KinleyBaker’s interview, followed by @BeverlyPreston’s.

Filed Under: News

REVIEW: The Admiral’s Bride by Suzanne Brockmann

Aug 6

Title: The Admiral’s Bride

Author: Suzanne Brockmann

Series: Tall, Dark & Dangerous #7

Publication date: November 1999

Publisher: Silhouette Intimate Moments

Synopsis: His Mission

When six canisters of a lethal nerve agent are stolen from a military testing lab, Admiral Jake Robinson must recover the chemicals — by any means necessary. He defies convention and decides to infiltrate the compound where religious fanatics have stored the deadly toxin.

His Partner
Dr. Zoe Lange is a biological warfare specialist and an expert in espionage. Zoe agrees to assist Jake on the case, and, posing as husband and wife, they manage to gain access to the compound. But Jake fears his instant attraction to Zoe might compromise the mission.

His Crisis
Their marriage may be a hoax, but Jake’s growing feelings for Zoe are anything but make-believe. With each hour he’s in Zoe’s company, the stakes get higher, the game more real. And the dangers within the compound escalate out of control.

Now everything is on the line.

Grade: A

Review: This is the finest example of a May-December romance I’ve ever read, though in the name of disclosure I haven’t read that many. This book may have been written 13 years ago (1999) but it resonates even more today because terrorism has ‘come home’ to many of us, be it domestic or foreign in origin.

We first meet Admiral Robinson in 1969 Vietnam, where he rescues US soldiers who had been left for dead in enemy territory. This is not the first time the SEAL and his team perform a miracle and those they rescued became known as Jake’s Boys.

Fast-forward to ‘present day’ 1999 where we meet scientist Zoe Lange, on her way an important meeting at the Pentagon. Right away you get the sense that Zoe is a no-nonsense, smart woman who isn’t easily swayed by the charming, sexy military men in the meeting. Yet she has a major crush on the Admiral, has had one in fact since childhood.

There’s an instant attraction and chemistry between these two, even as they work to figure out how best to get back the six canisters of a lethal nerve agent that have been stolen from a military testing lab.

I loved how Zoe called Jake on his issues with being 30 years older than her even as she respects his choice to avoid physical contact. Things get shaken up when they practice being a couple prior to going undercover. I loved that scene 🙂

Jake’s age was also an issue for his team on the mission, which provided some laughs at the young men’s expense. (Read the book to find out how)

Far from being an instant ‘hook up’, the literal and emotional dance between Jake and Zoe that night continues inside the militia’s compound…until they finally have sex for real. Their relationship grows from that point toward something beautiful and lasting.

Note: The Admiral’s Bride was reissued in paperback on March 29, 2011 alongside another book from the Tall, Dark & Dangerous series, Identity: Unkown, under the title TALL, DARK & DARING from Harlequin.

REVIEW: Duty and the Beast by Trish Morey

Aug 5

Title: Duty and the Beast

Author: Trish Morey

Publication date: May 2012

Publisher: Mills & Boon

Synopsis: Rescued from the clutches of a lascivious prince, Princess Aisha Peshwah quickly realizes she’s jumped out of the frying pan and headfirst into the fire. Her rescuer is Zoltan Al Farouk bin Shamal—an unashamed barbarian!—who must marry Aisha himself to ensure he is crowned king.

Commanding, stern and brutally attractive, Zoltan is as untamed as the desert he will be master of. Aisha wants to resist, but is drawn to this enigmatic man, and soon her innocent body begins to unravel beneath his powerful possession…

Review: The action starts in scene 1, chapter 1 and doesn’t let up in “Duty and the Beast”. Trish Morey skillfully weaves between physical action; Princess Aisha being rescued, and emotional action; a proud Aisha losing hope of a marriage for love during a phone call with her father that is witnessed by Zoltan.

If you love a good sheikh story, a little desert romance, then get your hands on a copy of this book. It’s not your typical desert abduction story. Aisha and Zoltan both have issues to work through and the reality of a constitutionally required arranged marriage to come to terms with.

TM is a ‘new to me’ author but I’m already looking forward to reading more of her books. I wish her website was up-to-date but there’s always Amazon or Barnes & Noble for current release dates.

Grade: A

Excerpt: They came for her in the dead of night, while the camp was silent but for the rustle of palm leaves on the cool night air and the snort of camels dreaming of desert caravans long since travelled. She was not afraid when she heard the zip of the blade through the wall of the tent. She was not even afraid when a man dressed all in black, his face covered by a mask tied behind his head and with only slits for his eyes, stepped inside, even though his height and the width of his shoulders were enough to steal her breath away and cause her pulse to trip.

Instead it was relief that flooded her veins and brought her close to tears, relief that the rescue she had prayed and hoped so desperately for had finally arrived.

‘I knew you would come for me,’ she whispered as she slid fully dressed out of bed to meet him, almost tripping over her slippers in her rush to get away. She swallowed back a sob, knowing what she was escaping, knowing how close she had come. But at last she would be safe. There was no need to be afraid.

But when the hand clamped hard over her mouth to silence her, and she felt herself pulled roughly against his hard, muscular body, there was no denying her sudden jag of fear.

‘Do not utter another word, Princess,’ the man hissed into her ear as he dipped his head to hers. ‘Or it may be your last.’

She stiffened even as she accepted the indignity, for she had been raised to accept no stranger’s touch. But she had little choice now, with his arm like a steel band around her waist, the fingers of one large hand splayed from her chest to her belly and the palm of his other hand plastered hard across her mouth so that she could all but taste his heated flesh.

Unnecessarily close.

Unnecessarily possessive.

Every breath she took contained his scent, a blend of horseflesh and leather, of shifting sands and desert air, all laced with a warm, musky scent that wormed its way into all the places he touched her and beyond. Those places burned with heat until unnecessarily possessive became unnecessarily intimate, and some innate sense of survival pounded out a message in her heartbeat, warning her that perhaps she was not as safe as she had supposed.

Something inside her rebelled. Foolish man! He might be here to rescue her but hadn’t she been ready and waiting? Did he imagine she had prayed for rescue only to scream or run and risk her chances of escape?

She was sick of being manhandled and treated like a prize, first by Mustafa’s goons and now by her own father’s. She was a princess of Jemeya, after all. How dared this man handle her like some common sack of melons he might have picked up at the market?

He shifted and she squirmed, hoping to take advantage of his sudden stillness while his focus seemed elsewhere, but there was no escape. The iron band simply pulled her tighter against the hard wall of his body, his fingers tightening on her flesh, punching the air from her lungs. She gasped, her lips parting, and felt one long finger intrude between her lips.

Shock turned to panic as she tasted his flesh in her mouth.

She felt invaded. She felt violated with the intimacy of the act.

So she did the only possible thing she could. She bit down. Hard.

He jumped and spat out a curse under his breath, but, while he shifted his fingers away from the danger of her teeth, he did not let her go. ‘Be still!’ he hissed, holding her tighter, even closer to his rigid form, so that she was convinced he must be made of rock. Warm, solid rock but with a drum beating at its core. Once more she was reminded that this man was not just some nameless rescuer, not just a warrior sent by her father, but a man of flesh and blood, a beating heart and a hot hand that touched her in places no man’s hand had a right to be. A hand that stirred a strange pooling heat deep in her belly…

She was glad she had bitten him. She hoped it hurt like hell. She would gladly tell him that too, if only he would take his damned hand off her mouth.

And then she heard it—a short grunt from outside the tent—and she froze as the curtains twitched open.

Ahmed, she realised as the unconscious guard was flopped to the carpet by a second bandit clad similarly in black. Ahmed, who had leered hungrily at her every time he had brought in her meals, laughing at her when she had insisted on being returned to her father, telling her with unrestrained glee exactly what Mustafa planned on doing with his intended bride the moment they were married.

The bandit’s eyes barely lingered on her before he nodded to the man at her back. ‘Clear for now, but go quickly. There are more.’

‘And Kadar?’

‘Preparing one of his “surprises”.’

All at once she was moving, propelled by her nameless rescuer towards the slash in the tent wall, her slippered feet barely grazing the carpeted floor. He hesitated there just a fraction, testing the air, listening intently, before he set her down, finally loosening his grip but not nearly enough to excise the blistering memory of his large hand spreading wide over her belly.

‘Can you run as hard as you bite?’ he asked quietly, his voice husky and low as he wrapped his large hand around hers, scanning the area one last time before he looked down at her.

The glinting light in his eyes made her angrier than ever. Now he was laughing at her? She threw him an icy look designed to extinguish any trace of amusement. ‘I bite harder.’

Even in the dark she thought she sensed the scarf over his mouth twitch before a cry rang out across the camp behind them.

‘Let’s hope you’re wrong,’ he muttered darkly, tugging her roughly into a run beside him, his hand squeezing hers with a grip of steel, the second man guarding their rear as together they scaled the low dune, shouts of panic and accusation now building behind them.

Adrenaline fuelled her lungs and legs—adrenaline and the tantalising thought that as soon as they were safe she was going to set her father’s arrogant mercenary right about how to treat a princess.

From the camp behind came an order to stop, followed by the crack of rifle fire and a whistle as the bullet zinged somewhere over their heads, and she soon forgot about being angry with her rescuer. They would not shoot her, she reasoned. They would not dare harm a princess of Jemeya and risk sparking an international incident. But it was dark and her captors were panicking and she had no intention of testing her theory.

Neither had she any intention of complying with the command to stop, even if the man by her side had any hint of letting her go. No way would she let herself be recaptured, not when Mustafa’s ugly threats still made her shudder with revulsion. Marry a slug like Mustafa? No way. This was the twenty-first century. She wasn’t going to be forced into marrying anybody.

So she clung harder to her rescuer’s hand and forced her feet to move faster across the sand, her satin slippers cracking through the dune’s fragile crust until, heavy and dragging with sand, her foot slipped from one and she hesitated momentarily when he jerked her forwards.

‘Leave it,’ he snapped, urging her on as another order to stop and another shot rang out, and she let the other slipper be taken by the dune too, finding it easier to keep up with him barefoot as they forged across the sand. Her lungs and muscles burned by the time they had scaled the dune and plunged over the other side, her mouth as dry as the ground beneath her bare feet. As much as she wanted to flee, as much as she had to keep going or Mustafa’s men would surely hunt her down, she knew she could not keep going like this for long.

Over the sound of her own ragged breath she heard it—a whistle piercing the sky, and then another, until the night sky became a screaming promise that ended with a series of explosions bursting colour and light into the dark night. The cries from behind them became more frantic and panicked and all around was the acrid smell of gunpowder.

‘What did you do to them?’ she demanded, feeling suddenly sickened as the air above the camp glowed now with the flicker of flame from burning tents. Escape was one thing, but leaving a trail of bloodied and injured—maybe even worse—was another.

He shrugged as if it didn’t matter, and she wanted to pull her hand free and strike him for being so callous.

‘You did want to be rescued, Princess?’ Then he turned, and in the glow from the fires she could make out the dark shape of someone waiting for them, could hear the low nicker of the horses he held. Four horses, one for each of them, she noted, momentarily regretting the loss of her shoes until she realised all she would be gaining. She didn’t care if her feet froze in the chill night air or rubbed raw on the stirrups. It was a small price to pay for some welcome space from this man. How she could do with some space from him.

‘Surely,’ she said, as they strode towards the waiting horses, ‘you didn’t have to go that far?’

‘You don’t think you’re worth it?’ Once again she got the distinct impression he was laughing at her. She looked away in sheer frustration, trying to focus on the positives. Her father had sent rescuers. Soon she would see him again. And soon she would be in her own home, where people took her seriously, and where men didn’t come with glinting eyes, hidden smiles and hands that set off electric shocks under her skin.

She could hardly wait.

She was already reaching for the reins of the closest horse when his hand stopped her wrist. ‘No, Princess.’ ‘No? Then which one’s mine?’

‘You ride with me.’ ‘But there are four.’ ‘And there are five of us.’

‘But…’ And then she saw them, two more men in black running low across the dunes towards them when she had been expecting only one.

‘Kadar,’ he said, slapping one of the men on the back as they neared, making her wonder how he could tell which one was which when they were indistinguishable to her.

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: