Highland Spitfire

highland spitfire

Highland Spitfire by Mary Wine

Overview by Netgalley:

Passion flares between enemies
Two hotheaded Highlanders, the offspring of feuding lairds, are tricked by the King’s Regent into a desperate choice: marry or die. Bhaic MacPherson is more disposed to lead his clan into battle than stay married to the daughter of his enemy. But perhaps the intensity of his feelings has more to do with desire than hostility.

And the Highlands ignite
Ailis Robertson wanted a husband, not a savage—but when her family was faced with a deadly ultimatum, she had no choice. The union of a MacPherson and a Robertson could end three generations of hostilities between the two families, but can bitter rivals truly become lovers?

This book was amazing!  I have been contemplating all day long what is the difference between a strong story and one that has a lot of flaws.  As the reader, when you start that book that is solid, well developed and written, it is all about how you feel.  I feel safe while reading it.  That may sound silly, but I know that my time is going to be well spent.  I enjoy what I am reading and not having to fill in gaps or make conjectures about what I am reading.  It’s the excitement of giving yourself over to a competent author who weaves a magical story.

This story reminded me a lot of Monica McCarty’s writing.  Obviously they both feature Scots, but the similarities continue with strong male characters and feisty women.  I think the female leads were just amazing in this book.  Ailis has been dealt a tricky hand and forced into marriage.  It wasn’t that she was perfect, there were times that she wanted to gnash her teeth or just give up and cry, but she was so strong.  I loved that she had a strong perspective and an understanding of the collective good.  It wasn’t that she was sacrificing her life, but rather taking charge when the men had their heads up their backsides.

Bhaic is trapped just as much as Ailis.  Things are easier for him, as Ailis joins his clan, so his life is not as disrupted.  There is a strong Romeo and Juliet feel to the story.  The two of them seemed to be the voice of reason in a mad world.  Bhaic was a treasure because he recognized the value of Ailis.  Not just as a wife, but as a partner, a lover and a political ally.  It definitely didn’t hurt that Bhaic had the patience of a saint and the lips of a sinner.

The clan politics were really interesting.  I think this is why it reminds me of Monica McCarty’s books.  She explores some of these issues in her series, but Mary Wine takes it deeper.  The stubborn Scot mentality of generational feuds is deeply explored and the impact on the average person.

The secondary characters were excellent.  Ailis’ guards reminded me of Angus and Rupert from Outlander.  The relationship between Helen and Marcus was so interesting and engaging.  I really hope that Mary Wine writes their story next!

I think the word ‘engaging’ is the best to describe my experience with this book.  I found it highly interesting, emotional and rewarding.  The passion between Ailis and Bhaic was a large part of the story and it was exceptionally well done – don’t worry – if you like your historical romance with time in the bedroom, you won’t be disappointed.  It was a really great love story full of politics, romance and challenges.  A definite must read!

The Hunter

the hunter

The Hunter (Victorian Rebels Series) by Kerrigan Byrne

Overview by Amazon:

A scandalous proposal…

Christopher Argent lives in the shadows as the empire’s most elite assassin. Emotion is something he tossed away years ago, making him one of the most clear-eyed, cold-hearted, wealthiest, and therefore untouchable men in London. But when his latest target turns out to be London’s own darling, Millicent LeCour, Christopher’s whole world is turned upside down. Overwhelmed by her stunning combination of seduction and innocence, Christopher cannot complete the mission. She has made him feel again. Now, he will do anything to save her life, even if it means risking his own…

A perilous passion…

When Millie learns what Christopher was hired to do, she is torn between the fear in her heart and the fire in her soul. Putting herself in this notorious hunter’s arms may be her only path to safety–even if doing so could be the deadliest mistake she’s ever made. But how can she resist him? As the heat between her and Christopher burns out of control, danger lurks in the shadows. Is their desire worth the risk? Only the enemy knows what fate has in store…

I have recently discovered Kerrigan Byrne and it has been such a pleasure reading her books.  There is a depth and soul to her characters.  The inner dialogue and torment could be trite and repetitive in the hands of a less skilled author.  Her stories have everything in them that you want – a great story, steamy love and action.

Millie is a consummate actress, the belle of Covent Gardens.  She also has a price on her head and Christopher is the man who is about to collect. The evolution of Christopher is the foundation of this story and it is a great part of the book.  I truly enjoyed reading about how one small woman’s presence turns his world upside down.

We know Christopher intimately by the time he meets Millie. The story opens with a horrid glimpse into his childhood and the terror he was subjected to.  I think this was an extremely clever plot device by the author as it truly helps the reader understand why the emotions Christopher feels are so revolutionary for him.  The fact that he feels anything is remarkable, as the premiere assassin of England, he doesn’t ever feel the pain he inflicts.

There is nothing stronger in this world than the love a mother has for their child.  I would do anything for my son.  I want to fight every battle for him, swaddle him in bubble wrap and keep him with me forever.  Obviously that isn’t going to happen as we want children to be resilient, experience success and failure and to be compassionate.  Millie is that kind of mother.  She loves Jakub with all her heart and the threat against them is real and terrifying.  She makes a deal with Christopher to keep them safe and while Christopher is convinced he is the very devil, Millie gets the protection and the man she is interested in.

From the start the chemistry between Millie and Christopher is electric.  The sparks almost seem to fly off the page.  Whether he is being coarse or rude or cool, Christopher is an enigma to Millie, but one that she wants to get to know.  They are both novices at relationships.  This creates some interesting situations, but as the reader you truly knew that this was a life changing relationship and that it just had to develop into more.

What I admire about Kerrigan Byrne’s writing is how she takes deep and heavy issues and weaves them into the plot so seamlessly.  Abandonment, despair, depravity and love are all explored in this book, yet I never felt like the inclusion strayed from the plot or the development of the characters.  I truly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more about this world that she has created!

Top Ten Tuesday…on hold

Hi Everyone,

I really like taking part in Top Ten Tuesday, but recently it has become more challenging.  You may have noticed (or not) that I have slowed down my participation.  Things have been really busy at home, which has certainly contributed, but the main reason has to do with WordPress.

As much as I enjoy writing my blog and using WordPress, they have changed formats and it makes it virtually impossible to link to previous content on my blog.  So it makes little sense to make a list without being able to share with you my review or thoughts.  I have to search the internet to find the review and link to it.  This adds considerably to the length of time it takes to create a TTT post, along with all the photos and twitter handles.

I am hoping that WordPress will see how ridiculous this change is…I can’t be the only one who likes to link to their previous posts.  Next week’s TTT looks great, so if I have the time, I’ll do it.

Thanks for understanding!

What a Gentleman Wants

What A Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden

what a gentleman wants
Overview by Netgalley:

Two strangers are swept into a sizzling, spellbinding world of daring deception and unexpected passion. . .

Marcus Reese, Duke of Essex, has spent most of his life pulling his twin brother out of trouble. A thank you would suffice; instead, his resentful sibling forges his name to a marriage license and presents him with an unwanted wife. She’s a vicar’s widow with a mind of her own, and the first person in Marcus’s well-ordered life to make him feel. . .completely out of control. 

Dire straits have led Hannah to the altar with a gentleman she hardly knows. Played for a fool, she’s embarrassed, furious, and worse, married to an equally outraged, exasperating man who unleashes all manner of emotions in her–not to mention unwanted desire. Reluctantly, Hannah agrees to play the wife until he can sort out the mess. But the undeniably attractive Duke unsettles her well-guarded heart–making her want to do so much more than “act” the role of blissful bride. . .

I don’t know what is wrong with me. It took me a week to read this book. That doesn’t sound very promising does it? But, you know that I only post reviews of books I recommend here at Kilts and Swords. This book was very good. I really enjoyed reading it, but it just took me a long time to get into the book and to finish it. I think it is because work has been crazy and my four year old has to a really prolonged bed time routine.

So this book features two strangers who are tricked into marriage. It’s a great premise and one that the author manages to explore without glossing over the emotions or entanglements that occur.

You know the saying, a good deed will be repaid? Well, Hannah helped out a Lord who had been injured. He offers to rescue her by marrying her. Hannah accepts even though she knows very little about Lord David. It is to be a marriage of convenience, not a love match.

Hannah arrives in London to find out that she has been tricked. She is not married to Lord David, but rather his imposing twin, Marcus, the Duke of Essex. I appreciated that the author created such depth in the character of Hannah. While the life of a duchess would be infinitely easier than the life she was destined for, Hannah does not take kindly to the deception and wants out.

Marcus convinces her to continue the deception for a variety of practical reasons. I wish I could say that he took one look at her and her daughter and fell madly in love, but that would be unrealistic. Practical reasons keep Hannah in the Duke’s residence and in his life. It is a slow burn between these two. Marcus admires that she isn’t a chatterbox, that she has common sense – these are not the qualities that ignite passion. But as they get to know each other, a deep respect and partnership develops. Isn’t that what all good marriages should be based upon?

The author has deftly woven in a sub plot about fraudulent money that involves Lord David. In less adept hands, it would be overkill to an already interesting plot, but it works. It becomes the thing that binds Hannah and Marcus together. They see how they work as a team.

I enjoyed this book. It took me a while to read it, but I was able to thoughtfully engage in the well developed plot. The author has created a sort of fairy tale that has passion, intrigue and temptation.

The Parfit Knight Audio Book

My fellow book blogger, Carol at Rakes and Rascals really liked this book!  She gave it a great review which you can read Rakes and Rascals Review.  I have not yet got into listening to audio books, but considering my commute yesterday was over an hour and a half to go 35 km, this book may be first on my list!

The Parfit Knight - cover

Overview of book:

When the Marquis of Amberley’s coach is waylaid by highwaymen and his coachman shot, he is forced to take shelter at the first house he finds and is subsequently trapped there for a week by a severe snow storm.
Oakleigh Manor is the home of Rosalind Vernon who lives alone but for her devoted servants and an ill-natured parrot, cut off from the outside world by the tragic result of a childhood accident. But Rosalind is brave and bright and totally devoid of self-pity – and it is these qualities which, as the days pass and the snow continues to fall, touch Amberley’s heart.
On his return to London, the Marquis persuades Rosalind’s brother, Philip, to bring her to town for a taste of society, despite her handicap. But the course of Amberley’s courtship is far from smooth. Philip Vernon actively dislikes him; Rosalind appears to be falling under the spell of the suavely elegant Duke of Rockliffe; and worse still, Amberley is haunted by a dark and terrible secret that, if revealed, may cause him to lose Rosalind forever.

Try a sample https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/242628078&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false“>Sample audio

Stella Riley – author biography

Stella Riley is a British author of historical novels. Having trained as a teacher and

worked as a primary-school music and drama specialist in London, she has lived in various UK

locations but has now settled in Sandwich, Kent. She enjoys reading, dancing, theatre and

Her preferred period is mid-seventeenth century England and her Civil War novels reflect

this in their vast historical detail. She is also the author of the Rockliffe trilogy of Georgian

romances which she claims to write ‘for fun’ and which she is currently having transformed into audiobooks, narrated by Alex Wyndham.

Her writing has been described as “exciting, often funny, romantic, poignant and

intelligent” and her books have received numerous five-star reviews.

 

Alex Wyndham – bio

An Oxford University and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art graduate, Alex Wyndham has

voiced everything from Apple TV campaigns to fertilizer instructions. He’s starred in

numerous BBC 4 radio plays, and narrated documentaries for Channel 4 and The

Discovery Channel. He started recording audio books a couple of years ago – and fell in

love with it. Alex also has a successful screen career and has starred in several BBC and

HBO shows including the Emmy winning Little Dorrit and Rome, and in various films

including Kenneth Branagh’s As You Like It. Most recently he played a louche surgeon in

The Crimson Field mini-series and has just had his first stab at starring in a video game –

We Happy Few – about a dystopian 60s England.

Tangled

Tangled by Emma Chase
tangled

Overview by Amazon:

Drew Evans is handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed? He’ll tell you he has the flu. But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.

So this book has been out for a while, but I keep meaning to read it. It has been a cold and dreary weekend and I thought it was a perfect time to laugh and enjoy this book.

What makes this book so unique is that it is told from the perspective of the male lead character, Drew. He is at times an insufferable ass, but really honest. He provides all sorts of insights into the male mind. I really want to ask the author how she developed this character. In fact, with each admission or wisdom he shared, I wanted to know if men really think this way and if so, who told her?!

Drew is confident, engaging and spoiled. He has a very active sex life and follows bachelorhood rules to the T. He works at his father’s investment firm and has been very successful. Like, really successful! His world tilts on it’s access when he meets Kate. Not only is she beautiful, but she has the brains and the business acumen to challenge him. Drew vacilitates between wanting to have hot, passionate sex and beating her at business. The battle between the two was really hot and fun! I think that is what I enjoyed so much about this story. It was fun! It made me laugh – a lot! Seeing Drew get knocked down a peg or two was really enjoyable.

The love story between Kate and Drew was really well developed. I loved how their wants and needs were deeply explored. The author really works hard to create a relationship that makes you feel desperate to see a happy ending. Each time Drew acted like an idiot or Kate walked away, my heart was in my throat. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next to them!

While this story may seem really light hearted, it does have deep emotional moments. At times, it made me cry. I found this book to be really fulfilling as well as enjoyable. The novelty of having it told from the male perspective was not a gimmick and regardless of what person shared the tale, it still was an amazing romance.

If you are like me and haven’t got around to reading this book yet, make time one lazy afternoon and you won’t be sorry!

Top Ten Tuesday – New Books

I haven’t done Top Ten Tuesday in a while, so I am getting back into it!  Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  Each week features a different theme that can be applied to whatever genre of books you like to read.

This week’s theme is books I have recently added to my list to read.  I get about 99% of my books from Netgalley.  So the books I am listing below are on my shelf and I will be reading them in the next few weeks.  So if you see a book that you like, check back often and you can read a review!  I am really excited for the next few weeks of reading!  I have quite a few books on this list by authors that I am a huge fan of.  It is also a mix of contemporary and historical romance, as well as a blend of English and my beloved Highlanders.

i kissed a rogue

I Kissed A Rogue (Covent Gardens Series) by Shana Galen

Once she spurned the man…
When the Duke of Lennox hires Sir Brook Derring, England’s best investigator, to find his daughter, Brook intends only to rescue the lady and return to his solitary life. He deals with London’s roughest criminals every day of the week; surely he should be able to endure seeing his first love again—the perfect girl who broke his heart…

Now her life depends on him

Lady Lillian-Anne Lennox has always done her best to live up to her father’s standards of perfection—at the cost of following her heart. When she’s kidnapped and her perfect life is shattered, Lila has another chance. Together, Lila and Brook navigate not only the dark and deadly side of London, but the chasm of pride and prejudice that divides them.

the study of seduction

The Study of Seduction (Sinful Suitors Series) by Sabrina Jeffries

When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the witty, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife…if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Yet he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.

Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?

fighting dirty

Fighting Dirty (An Ultimate Novel) by Lori Foster

With the life he’s led and the muscles he’s gained, Armie Jacobson isn’t afraid of anything. Except maybe Merissa Colter’s effect on him. It’s not just that she’s his best friend’s little sister. Fact is, she deserves better. Women pursue him for one night of pleasure, and that’s all he wants to offer. Until rescuing Merissa from a robbery leads to the most erotic encounter of his life.

Good girl meets bad boy. It’s a story that rarely ends well. But Merissa is taking matters into her own hands. No matter how he views himself, the Armie she knows is brave, honorable and completely loyal. And as past demons and present-day danger collide, they’re both about to learn what’s truly worth fighting for…

hawke

Hawke (A Cold Fury Hockey Novel) by Sawyer Bennett

Off the ice, elite defenseman Hawke Therrien enjoys his fair share of booze and good times. And why shouldn’t he? He’s worked his way up from the minor leagues and made himself a star. The only thing Hawke misses from that life is the pierced, tattooed free spirit who broke his heart without so much as an explanation. She’s almost unrecognizable when she walks back into his life seven years later—except for the look in her eyes that feels like a punch to the gut.

Vale Campbell isn’t the same girl she was at twenty. As crazy as she was about Hawke, her reckless behavior and out-of-control drinking were starting to scare her. She had to clean up her act, and that would never happen with Hawke around. Cutting him loose was the hardest thing Vale ever had to do—until now. Because she’s still crazy about Hawke. And if he could ever learn to forgive her, they just might have a future together.

the hunter

The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne

Christopher is the deadliest assasin in London. But when his target is the most famous actress of the day, her beauty and spirit may keep him from completing his mission.

my tempting highlander

My Tempting Highlander (Highland Hearts Series) by Maeve Greyson

Cursed to live forever with neither wife nor child, Ronan Sutherland has watched all he cherishes turn to dust—more than once. For hundreds of years, he’s been trapped behind the mists of Loch Ness, hoping to identify the one woman who is prophesied to break the spell. Now, at last, the fates have aligned, and he’s being sent into the future to fetch her. After a single glimpse, Ronan knows he’s been waiting all his life for this passionate woman.

Unlike her time-traveling sisters, Mairi Sinclair is perfectly content to remain in the present. As a hospital nurse in Edinburgh, she cherishes the opportunity to put her gift of healing powers to good use. But everything changes the morning a mysterious wolf darts in front of her car. Touching the wounded creature’s tawny coat, a tingle surges through her. Yet when she returns with aid, Mairi is shocked to find instead a man with broad shoulders and fire in his eyes—a man who tempts her to unleash the animal within.

kidnapped by the billionaire

Kidnapped by the Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden

A priceless plan. An illicit attraction.
Seven years ago, billionaire-turned-bodyguard Elijah Hunt lost everything he had—his family, his future—and now he wants revenge. But when he decides to kidnap the daughter of the man who ruined his life, Elijah gets a lot more than he bargained for. Violet Fitzgerald is nothing like her corrupt wealthy father. In fact, she’s so disarmingly independent—and irresistible—that she just might be dangerous…

And a love that’s too good to be true.
Violet never thought she’d feel a connection to her captor. But there’s something beneath Elijah’s steel-bodied exterior that makes her want to know him more deeply…and surrender to his every demand. But once Elijah’s erotic fantasies become a reality—and he and Violet develop a real romantic connection—he finds himself in a quandary: Is he still the one in control? Or has Violet imprisoned him—body and soul?

tycoon

Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club) by Joanne Shupe

In Gilded Age New York City, the bachelors of the Knickerbocker Club spend their days rubbing elbows with Manhattan’s most elite citizens–and their nights with its most intoxicating women . . .

Standing on the platform at Grand Central Station, Ted Harper is surprised by a fiery kiss from an undeniably gorgeous damsel in distress. He’s certain she’s a swindler who’s only after his money, but he’s never met a woman so passionate and sure of herself. Disarmed, he invites her to spend the journey to St. Louis in his private car–perhaps against his better judgment . . .

Clara Dawson has long known how to take care of herself, but the savvy shop girl is at a loss when she witnesses–and becomes entangled in–a terrible crime. Desperation propels her into a stranger’s arms at the train station, but she hadn’t expected Ted to offer her the protection she so badly needs–nor did she expect their chemistry to develop more steam than the engine of the train. He’s everything she never thought she could have, and she’s everything he didn’t know he wanted. But as her secrets begin to unfurl, their fledgling romance could be in danger of derailing before they arrive at the next station . . .

to steal a heart

To Steal a Heart by K.C. Bateman

Forced to do the bidding of a corrupt government minister, Marianne de Bonnard agrees to plant incriminating evidence in the offices of France’s most notorious spymaster. Under cover of night, the tightrope-walking thief puts her skills to good use—until her aerial stunt is foiled when her target appears in the window and, with consummate poise, helps Marianne off the wire and into his lair. The tremors that run through her body are not just from fear; there’s an unwanted frisson of desire there, too. But is it because of her elegant, wickedly handsome host . . . or his proposition?

Nicolas Valette has had plans for his graceful trespasser since he witnessed her unique skills at the Cirque Olympique. Sinuous as a cat, Marianne is perfect for his next mission, but she refuses his generous offer for fear of disobeying her family’s tormenter. When their mutual enemy auctions off her virginity to the highest bidder, Nicolas leaps at the chance to purchase her cooperation. Keeping her will be like trying to tame a wild animal, but what’s life without a little risk? Besides, Nicolas and Marianne both want the same thing: revenge—and, perhaps, something else that’s equally delicious.

in the kingdoms name

In the Kingdom’s Name (Guardian of Scotland Series) by Amy Jarecki

Can history rewrite itself? As the time of treachery draws near, hope is but a fleeting whisper.

After his success at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, William Wallace becomes Guardian of Scotland and is thrown into the machinations of court. But when disaster strikes, the love of his life, Eva MacKay, is hurled back to the twenty first century. Frantically she tries to return, only to face failure with her every attempt. In this tale of breathtaking love and heartbreaking farewells, destiny twists and turns until all hope expires…But does it?

 

By Break of Day

By Break of Day by ML Buchman
by break of day

Overview by Netgalley:

NAME: Kara Moretti
RANK: Captain of the Army’s stealthiest remote piloted aircraft (Don’t call it a drone)
MISSION: To be the eyes of the team

NAME: Justin “The Cowboy” Roberts
RANK: Captain of the Army’s most powerful helicopter
MISSION: To redeem the past, at any cost

They Put Life, Limb, and Heart on the Line
Two new captains join The Night Stalkers with two different strategies in life, love, and combat. When Brooklyn-raised Kara joins the crew, she knows one thing as an absolute truth: to stay safe, keep everything and everyone at a distance. Born in Texas, Justin knows only one honorable way to make up for losing his first crew to a suicide bomber: he flies with all his heart. When Kara and Justin collide on a top secret mission deep in the Israeli desert, then the battle truly begins.

I have a real thing for military movies and books. It all started for me with the Vince Flynn books and his amazing lead character, Mitch Rapp. So when I find a book that combines military action and romance, I am definitely adding it to my list of books to read.

This book has tons of military information. Kara is a drone pilot and the leader of the clandestine operations the military runs. I was really impressed with the amount of research and knowledge that went into the story. Each type of helicopter, missile and nuance of military life was very well developed and that made the story richer. It did not detract from the love story between Justin and Kara, but added depth to the responsibility of their jobs. However, if a couple of pages of military information is something you are not interested in, be forewarned!

Kara and Justin work with an unusual branch of the military. It represents the elite and also has a lot of women involved. They also have a lot of marriages between the different branches that work together. I don’t know how realistic this is, as the characters themselves question it, but it is an important part of the story for Kara and Justin to have friends and colleagues who have paved the way for them.

The romance between the two starts off with heavy looks and irritated, snappy replies. Kara is all New York sass and Justin is a cowboy through and through. That is one thing about the military – you work with people from all walks of life. They couldn’t be more different, but their respect for each other’s talents and abilities draws them closer. Fraternizing is against policy, but it makes it hotter when they have to sneak around – although everyone knows! They have a very steamy relationship that was very enjoyable to witness. Kara is a bundle of hot, Italian passion and her cowboy is great with his hands.

The relationship between the two goes deeper than just colleagues and sex partners. I liked how we see them in the real world, away from the air craft carrier and the deserts of the Middle East. The interactions with their families just adds more depth to the story and when the climatic events take place, you care more about them because you understand them.
What impressed me was the author page. While I do pay attention to who writes books, I normally select books based on a plot that intrigues me. This book was written by a man! I had no idea! The romance element of the story was great and the author really captures both female and male perspectives. It really made no difference, but it was a pleasant surprise.

If you are into military action and romance, then this is definitely a book to add to your list!

I Wish You Were Mine

I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford Series) by Lauren Layne

i wish you were mine

Overview by Netgalley:

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

Oh how I love the men of Oxford Magazine!  The whole gang is back, but this time we get to know Jackson a lot better.  He has recently joined the team after his professional NFL career went up in smoke.  Bitter, resentful and standoffish, Jackson is not adjusting well to life and New York City.
Jackson is also just getting out of a horrific divorce.  His ex wife Madison is a true self-centered bitch.  She cheats on him and leaves him when the chips are down.  I loved that Lauren Layne made her a Housewife of the NFL – such a fun tweak!  This book felt a little like reading about  forbidden love – the ex-step sister and the brother-in-law.  I think that added an element of spice to an already hot story.  The chemistry they have is off the charts and the sex scenes are downright addictive to read.

Why should you read this book?  Well, Lauren Layne has chemistry down to a science.  She creates lust and passion between characters that is exciting to read. She doesn’t shy away from making her characters human – meaning that they screw up.  It’s how they deal with it that makes me love her writing.

Lauren Layne has created a wonderful atmosphere of the kind of life in New York City that most of us would give our right arm to have lived in our twenties.  Awesome job, fun group of friends and the most exciting city to explore.  I loved the camaraderie that the group at Oxford has.  This is part of the charm of Lauren’s books.  While each book can be read as a standalone, it is so fun following each of these characters as they get their shot at love.

For those that have been following this series, the author gives a great sneak peek at resident manwhore Lincoln and it looks like his story is next!

The Art of Taming a Rake

The Art of Taming a Rake (Legendary Lovers Series) by Nicole Jordan

the art of taming a rake
Overview by Netgalley:

Despite his notorious reputation, Quinn Wilde, Earl of Traherne, has mostly honorable intentions. So when beautiful Venetia Stratham boldly enters a gentlemen’s club, demanding that Quinn stop courting her sister, he does what any bachelor would do: He kisses her. With her sharp wit, intoxicating passion, and surprising vulnerability, Venetia is irresistible—except for all this nonsense about threatening to shoot Quinn. But when clandestine enemies make an actual attempt on the earl’s life, Venetia is implicated. To save her good name, Quinn does what any true gentleman must do: He proposes.
 
Thus Venetia finds herself wed to arrogant, wickedly sensual Quinn, whose devilish ways are as legendary as his rumored skills as a lover. Yet vexingly, her body rebels against her vow to remain immune to his many charms. If only she could reform the infuriating nobleman—without diminishing his undeniable allure. As Venetia discovers that a true rake is hard to tame, Quinn faces an even greater challenge: winning his wife’s fragile trust . . . while defending both their lives.

There is something so wonderful about reading a book from an author that you love. You know that the writing will be superb, the story well developed and it will be enjoyable. I recently read a book that was a disappointment. The story was all of the place, it was frustrating and ultimately unsatisfying. I was so relieved when I saw that a book by Nicole Jordan was next on my to-be-read list. I have never gone wrong reading one of her stories.

One thing Nicole Jordan does really well, is that she creates amazing chemistry between her lovers. She writes such hot scenes, full of wanting and desire that they stay with you. I can still remember with amazing clarity some of the spicy scenes she has written in past books. This story did not let me down. Quinn is so confident and sexy. He has all the charisma and charm that you want in your Regency lover. Venetia was a fabulous character who was strong and fiesty. Nicole Jordan gets creative and imaginative with her love scenes and the reader is the very lucky beneficiary of this!

Her books are not all about the sexual chemistry of the characters. There is an excellent plot here. The story develops quickly, which is fabulous as many stories take a long time to unwind. I actually couldn’t believe how far along I was in the book as I was enjoying it so much. This story doesn’t just feature a great love story. There is family strife and mysterious assassin attempts to keep the plot moving along. This book is never boring and never strays outside of the excellent formula she has created.

I could talk about how Quinn had to work really hard to gain Venetia’s trust and prove to her that he was not a licentious rake, but it’s so much more fun to read all about the convincing!

If you are a fan of Nicole Jordan’s work, then you will enjoy the secondary characters in this book. Many of them have been featured in their own books or other series she has written.

This is a great story. I think what was so great reading this book was that I KNEW I was in the hands of an accomplished author who has the skill and imagination to create a great adventure. I highly recommend checking out this book!