Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: Heated Rush by Leslie Kelly

Title: Heated Rush
Series: The Wrong Bed
Author: Leslie Kelly
Read copy: eBook
Published: July 1, 2008
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 1426818920
ISBN-13: 9781426818929

You know you're hard up when you have to buy a date...

But Annie Davis's big family reunion is looming, and she needs a stand-in man fast or she'll never hear the end of it. Any gorgeous guy will do. Her solution? The drop-dead-sexy man at the charity bachelor auction. His good looks and blue-collar background make him perfect for her! Or is he?

Sean Murphy has a bit of a surprise for Annie. Not only is he not blue-collar, he's actually a sophisticated European entrepreneur, one who's made pleasuring women an art form. And he wants to permanently pleasure Annie! But Sean knows that if she discovers his secret, their wickedly delicious liaison will be over. Lucky for both of them, he's learned enough tricks to keep Annie distracted for a long, long time....

My rating:

Another sweet story in this two-book "miniseries". I know, I know, it’s the word sweet. What on Earth could be sweet about a jaded (ex) gigolo being auctioned off—for a measly five thousand bucks—at a bachelor’s auction for needy kids to a day-care center owner so she could use him as a pretend boyfriend at her parents’ wedding anniversary?

Well, everything. ;)

The story starts at the same auction as in Slow Hands by the same author, where the mix-up by two harried printers leads to the all-American paramedic, mistaken for the gigolo, getting auctioned off for 25 grand. Sean Murphy, the real hired escort for women, retired and with his own set of rules, suffers from the same printer’s mistake and is turned into the paramedic and bought by Annie Davis, the day-care center owner. Don’t you just love it when Kismet rears its pretty head?

Country-bred Annie has fled her overprotective family and started a business in the big city, all the while avoiding being murdered, robbed and raped (not necessarily in that order). For the past few weeks she’s been telling everybody back at home about this wonderful guy she’s been seeing and she was bringing to the anniversary celebration. Unfortunately the divorced single father she’s been falling for ended up being still married and Annie ended up without a date. There’s no chance in hell she’ll be going home alone and suffer through another bout of you-should-stay-at-home-and-marry-a-country-boy lectures, so she needs a man. Pronto!

The bachelor auction is a given and the sexy hunk of a paramedic going last, with his long, black hair, vivid blue eyes, and a golden stud in his ear is a godsend. So Sean, the globetrotting business consultant (yeah, that’s what he really does for a living) and, Annie, the girl-next-door with a body he can’t help salivating for, are stuck together until the weekend and her parents’ party.

All they get is one weekend, there could be no future for them...Yeah, right.

I’d highly suggest you read the first book, Slow Hands, first, because that one’s great, too, and you will have a better picture of exactly what went on with the program mix-up. But this story could easily be read as a stand-alone, so don’t fret if you missed the opportunity to download the first book for free. Your loss.

I loved this book. Even more than I loved the previous one. Maybe because the mix-up didn’t drag throughout most of the story, but it was addressed early on and only served as some great dinner conversation and shared laughter.

I adored this story because of the two main characters, Annie and Sean. They were both nicely developed, they had depth, they had character, and when we discovered thy shared a rather bossy family past, it was made even more clear they were absolutely made for each other.

Annie was you typical girl-next-door type who grew up in a large family, with three overprotective brothers and an overprotective father. She desperately wanted to shake off the mold of the good country girl living in the big city. She wanted to see the world, experience things other than milking cows and living only a mile away from her family. Sure, she wanted a family as well, but in her own time and under her own rules.
She was sweet, caring, and had completely no clue as to how beautiful she really was—inside and out—until Sean came along.
I loved her final reaction, how totally nonjudgmental she was, how accepting and how understanding.

And Sean. Well, this tall, dark, gorgeous, long-haired, blue-eyed, golden-earring wearing, Irish-accented, sexy devil was a masterpiece in contradiction. At first he appeared beyond jaded, reminiscing about his sordid past, his living-in-the-Dark-ages father with his penchant for arranged marriage, his mother who sold him to get her next fix, the older women flocking to his side yadda yadda yadda. Yet, when he set eyes on the woman who "bought" him, he did a 180 so fast it made my head spin. Some would say that his intimate knowledge of women made him adjust to her needs, to what he felt she wanted, but there was something in her that drew him, enchanted him, made him want to be a better man.

There’s something about taming-the-bad-boy stories that get to me. It’s great to know that he he’s still bad in the end, that he let himself be tamed, that it took one special woman to accomplish that fact. And it’s wonderful seeing such taming unfurl before your eyes.

This is what happened in this story. Not that Sean was such a bad-boy to begin with, he was more a consequence of everything that happened to him, yet just the fact he saw himself unworthy of Annie was evidence enough he was worth everything she could give him. And the fact he was ready to push her away, suffer the pain of separation so he wouldn’t hurt her (he hurt her just by pushing her away, but there’s no way to tell that to a man, because they’re so bloody smart and all-knowing!) was heart-breaking.

I was a little disappointed about how the anniversary party played out. With all that buildup, warnings, preparation I was hoping for more than a few pages. Though I loved how Sean got in her father’s good graces by beating Annie’s brothers at rugby (football is for sissies!).
And the ending was a bit of a let-down as well. It just seemed too abrupt. Instead of the epilogue the author could’ve stretched the last chapter a little more, building the suspense. I know the ending was a given, but she could’ve made us squirm more. The epilogue was a bit sappy, but a nice resolution to a great story.

This was truly a fantastic story to read, forget about everything, and just enjoy the fantasy swirl in front of our eyes. If you like reformed-bad-boy stories or just like to escape in the world of a sweet, sexy romance, this is definitely a story for you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Review: Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly

Title: Slow Hands
Series: The Wrong Bed
Author: Leslie Kelly
Read copy: eBook
Published: June 1, 2008
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 1426830718
ISBN-13: 9781426830716

This is Maddy Turner's lucky day. The civilized society girl just bid on sexy rogue Jake Wallace at a charity bachelor auction—and won! But Maddy knows Jake's dirty little secret. And it should keep her from trying out her new boy toy. Too bad she can't stop herself from indulging in raw, quite uncivilized sex all the same....

Jake Wallace is utterly bewitched by Maddy—and utterly bewildered. How can this tantalizing woman melt so rapturously under his ministrations one moment, then turn into a haughty queen the next? He's determined to get to the bottom of Maddy's agenda. One slow, delicious inch at a time...

My rating:

There is only one word that comes to mind (now, immediately after having read this story) - sweet. Oh, and throw 'aww' in front of it.

I don't think the author wanted people to describe this story along the "sweet" line, but that's juts how I feel about it.
Yeah, it had a few hot scenes (nothing extraordinary, mind you), but what truly drew me in, was the depth to the story, which is rather unusual for a Blaze book (at least for those I've read so far).

The characters were wonderful, nicely developped from the scumbag ex with his little cameo to the hunky, sweet, all-American EMT hero. The heroine was, at first glance, his complete opposite, but once he managed to get her out of her ice-princess shell, you could see they were made for each other. And through their romance, through all Jake taught Maddy, the reader as well learned a little lesson.

Yeah, luckily there was some depth to the whole thing to distract me from the utterly silly, and easily amended, misunderstanding that spurned everything into action. And the budding relationship between the hero and heroine, along with her completely dysfunctional family, and small glimpses into the upper crust of the society, made me spent a couple of pleasurable hours in the company of this sweet, sexy, poignant little story.

Which is yet another lesson in itself—not every Harlequin freebie is bad. ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Review: Leaping Hearts by Jessica Bird

Title: Leaping Hearts
Author: Jessica Bird

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: July 30, 2002
Publisher: Ivy Books
ISBN: 0804119880
ISBN-13: 9780804119887

A beautiful young woman with a defiant spirit, A. J. Sutherland spends a small fortune on a horse with a wild reputation, and is forced to sacrifice her position at her family’s stables to keep him. She plans to ride the magnificent stallion in the biggest event of the show jumping season—and she knows she can win. But without the backing of Sutherland Stables, A. J. must rely on a stranger to help her: a man who makes her heart pound, her head spin ...and who just happens to be a legend in equestrian circles.

When Devlin McCloud’s career was cut short by a tragic accident, he never expected to get back in the ring. But when A. J. asks him to be her trainer, he finds he cannot resist the chance—or his stunning new employer. And what begins as a business arrangement soon becomes something deeper, as Devlin and A. J. learn that even in a sport full of hazards, sometimes the most dangerous thing to risk is one’s heart...

My rating:

I must admit I was rather disappointed with this book. If I could I’d give this one two and a half stars, but it’s closer to three than it’s to two, so three will have to suffice.
Actually it started great, the middle was okay, but it all "went to hell in a hand basket" toward the end. And it was all the heroine’s fault.

A.J., the daughter of a wealthy stable owner, didn’t want to be bothered with anything but riding. She didn’t want her name to define her, but her skills with the horses. So one day, acting on yet another impulse, she spilled 30 grand on a Thoroughbred with quite an apropos name – Sabbath. The huge stallion was ill-tempered, prone to tantrums, and loved nothing more than to play bowling ball to the audience.

When her step-brother, tired of all her impulses, literally threw her and the horse on the street, A.J. took a leap of faith and crashed on the doorstep of a former champion and living legend, Devlin McCloud, whom she’s met for the first time that same morning at the horse auction.

In the past year Devlin has turned into a recluse, after the accident that took his horse’s life and shattered his leg. He want’s nothing to do with the circuit anymore, and even less to do with the woman (and horse) on his doorstep, especially since she stirs more than "training" instincts inside him.

Yet these two utter strangers embark on the rather perilous journey of turning the impossible stallion into a champion in only two weeks...And staying emotionally detached in the process.

A.J.’s character started off great. Despite her background, she was an independent and strong woman, determined to prove her worth as a rider without any help. Unfortunately this picture perfect façade only lasted for a few chapters, then her character literally degraded on the pages, and she turned into a spoiled brat.
Usually it’s the other way around, the spoiled rich kid grows and matures, while the author approached A.J. completely out of order. My hands itched, I wanted to slap her so bad.
And of course nothing was her fault, Devlin was always the bad guy. Just because he wanted to protect her, advise her (he knew what he was talking about, he’s been there and done it all), yet she stubbornly refused to listen to reason, and when she got hurt and he got upset, he was the mean one. Come again?!
Call me bloodthirsty, but I really hoped she’d get thrown off the horse in the big competition she used to "prove her worth". All she proved was that she was a selfish, spoiled, little rich bitch with no sense whatsoever. And then, when Devlin went off again, she still didn’t get it.
show/hide spoilerShe made a mistake. Not some small blunder like dropping something onto his head. She lied to him. Repeatedly. All he wanted was to protect her and keep her safe, and she lied to him. Destroyed his trust. What did she expect? For him to just roll over and take it all in stride?

Devlin, unfortunately, pulled the short stick with the whole world-revolving-around-A.J. thing. He was seriously undeveloped and that’s a shame, because there was so much there, lurking in the background waiting to be explored. Yet, the author sadly got pulled into the A.J. vortex and forgot about the guy. Despite everything he was a great character. The only fault I found was at the end.
show/hide spoilerHe made the biggest mistake there, if you ask me. He was the one who took the first step in the end. Sorry, but I was on the male side throughout this book, and Devlin’s final actions really disappointed me. He should’ve made her grovel!

I didn’t like how the romance progressed though. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for love at first sight epiphanies and all that jazz, but the thing between these two was too rushed and quite awkward. Maybe if there weren’t so many "horse and competition details" (though I loved Sabbath dearly), the romance would’ve progressed more smoothly...And there would me more space to put some depth to other characters beside the so-called heroine.

So, this book is quite an average romance, mostly for those who want to explore the author’s writing pre-BDB series. It actually made me reconsider reading that series as well, but since I have the rest of her JB book in my TBR pile I’ll have to persevere. Hey, maybe they’re an acquired taste and need a reread. Or it’s just the first-book curse and the writing hopefully gets better.
A C- for this one and keeping my fingers crossed for the next.

P.S. I tend to overlook inconsistencies in books, because they’re usually small and I know it’s sometimes rather difficult to spot them, but this story had one that stood out like a sore thumb. Devlin shattered his leg in the accident a year prior that resulted in a pronounced limp and he had to use a cane to move around. He even complained about the leg being stiff in the morning. The damage was such, he had to stop riding for fear of falling again (the leg’s been patched up as best as it could be, but it couldn’t sustain more damage). Yet, somewhere in the middle of the story, Devlin’s cane went buh-bye and by the end of the book he was running around and merrily jumping over fences like a goat on acid.
Interesting. Apparently shacking up with a woman indulging in hours of mattress-dancing cures shattered limbs. He should become an orthopedic and make loads of money.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Review: Mysteria (anthology) by MadyJanice Davidson, Susan Grant, P.C. Cast, Gena Showalter

Title: Mysteria
Author: MaryJanice Davidson, Susan Grant, P.C. Cast, Gena Showalter

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: July 5, 2006
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 0425211061
ISBN-13: 9780425211069

Hundreds of years ago, in the mountains of Colorado (just close enough to Denver for great shoe shopping), the small town of Mysteria was “accidentally” founded by a random act of demonic kindness. Over time, it has become a veritable magnet for the supernatural—a place where magic has quietly coexisted with the mundane world.

It’s a town like any other town, where the high school’s Fighting Fairies give fans something to cheer about, where everyone knows your name—if not exactly what you are—at the local bar, and where the wishing well actually lives up to its name.

Strange occurrences happen every day, but now the ladies of Mysteria are about to unleash a tempest of seduction that will have tongues wagging for centuries to come...

My rating:

Hmmm. I must say I expected more from this anthology. Much more and it was mostly due to the funny and funky introduction to the stories.

Unfortunately the whole didn't deliver. There were a few funny moments - especially in the first novella (monkey-shovel-baseball scene comes to mind), but unfortunately they were rather scarce and failed to compensate for the rest.

It was still a pleasant little collection, but not something I'd want to reread. Another candidate.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Review: Killer Charms by Marianne Stillings

Title: Killer Charms
Series: Darling Detectives
Author: Marianne Stillings
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 26, 2008
Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 0060850744
ISBN-13: 9780060850746

If he could really see the future...

Logan Sinclair is nothing but a fraud. Or at least that's what Inspector Andie Darling, undercover on the streets of San Francisco, is determined to prove. Sure, the sexy Scotsman may say he's a clairvoyant, but Andie's never believed in second sight—or love at first sight. So why does his sweet talk turn her into a lovestruck fool?

He'd know that Andie Darling always gets her man...

Getting the goods on the elusive con man would get Andie out of boring Vice and into Homicide, yet all she can think about is getting into Logan's arms. But juggling her job and her heart leaves her with little time to protect herself from a crazed killer hot on her heels. Logan would love to help Andie—and get closer to her—but charm might not be enough to save them now...

My rating:

This is another example of blurb-writer never reading the book. Because according to those few lines on the back cover this was supposed to be a gripping, hot and sexy, suspenseful book.
It was none of the above.

I found myself skimming the pages more and more toward the end. Though the hero was a hottie (and Scottish to boot, what more can a gal want?) the chemistry between him and his heroine was non-existent (it was only due to a couple of randy ghosts that they even get between the sheets). And I was hard-pressed to search for the suspense with a magnifying glass and a strong flashlight. The bad guy was revealed in the first few chapters, he told us everything he was about to do, and what he didn't tell us, the author showed us...And the big twist about the hero somewhere in the middle? Not a twist, but merely an "boy, did I ever see that one coming".
Suspenseful? I don't think so.

I love the Scottish accent, but the author's constant "mutilation" of the English language, by means of showing us what the accent is supposed to look like just bugged the hell out of me. Yeah, we knew he was a Scot, just write in damn English and we'll figure out the rest.

And the dreams of a woman 100-years-dead? What was that all about? If that was the ploy to increase the supposed suspense and make the book more mysterious and paranormal-like it failed on such a scale it's indescribable.
What the "gripping, hot and sexy, suspenseful" plot started, these dreams finished...Turning this book into a complete bore that almost remained unfinished. The thumbing through helped a great deal, suddenly there were no pages left. Yay!

This was a disappointing waste of time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Review: Last Wolf Standing by Rhyannon Byrd

Title: Last Wolf Standing
Series: Bloodrunners
Author: Rhyannon Byrd
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: March 1, 2008
Publisher: Silhouette Books
ISBN: 0373617828
ISBN-13: 9780373617821


That a woman who was his perfect match even existed. And that he'd find her in a bustling café. Yet just the scent of sweet, mortal Torrance Watson ignited a driving, explosive need to claim her that he knew his pack would never sanction. Worse, the rogue werewolf he'd been hunting had sensed that attraction and made Torry his prey.

Forced to safeguard her from this ruthless assassin, who already posed a threat to his pack, Mason now faced the ultimate challenge. Did he have the courage to cross the line by sealing the blood bond that would make Torry his alone—a disloyalty few of his kind ever survived—or would he live an eternity without love?

My rating:

This book started out great. The "theme" was the same as any other werewolf story out there:the tall, dark, brooding were-hunk walks into a bar (and no, it’s not the beginning of a joke) and sniffs his predestined mate—who also happens to be human (ooh, big shocker there – not!). But it was the way they hooked up that was a bit different—at least at the beginning.
The tall, dark, brooding were-hunk actually tripped his fragile, petite, human future-mate, turning her into a walking tribute to a modernist painter, since she fell into her bowl of tomato soup.
So he and his friend quickly established she was his and because she was his she was automatically in danger because of the big, bad, psycho wolf on the loose with a huge chip on his god-wannabe shoulder and an enormous grudge against the tall, dark, brooding were-hunk. At the same time the fragile, petite, human future-mate figured the two hunks were nuts and bolted...And proceeded to walk into a trap by the big, bad, psycho wolf laying in wait at her home.
The two hunks—who were not crazy, BTW—rescued this silly, fragile, petite, human future mate...And that’s when the story really started.

Unfortunately the only good thing about this book was the beginning. The rest of the story never lived up to the expectations the beginning spawned and it was mostly due to the heroine. While I somehow understood Mason’s motivations and reasons, Torrance was something else entirely. She was all over the place, first she didn’t want anything to do with him, second she wanted nothing more than to jump his bones (not that I blame her), third she was afraid of getting hurt, fourth she didn’t give a damn about anything just jumping his bones (again, I don’t blame her)...On and on it went, with the author's attempt at justifying this with the way she grew up and the number her mother did on her. Sorry, I just didn’t buy it, and it quickly grew repetitive and eye-roll inducing.

I merely skimmed the pages through the second part, just wanting it to end already.
I was curious about the rest of this trilogy at first, but now, having read this one, I’ll most certainly pass on the rest. Sad, but true.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Review: Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Title: Angels & Demons
Series: Robert Langdon
Author: Dan Brown
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: June 18, 2001
Publisher: Corgi
ISBN: 0552148717
ISBN-13: 9780552148719

When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol—seared into the chest of a murdered physicist—he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy—the Catholic Church.

Langdon’s worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the ’s holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival.

Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair...a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation.

My rating:

One heck of a mystery/thriller combo. It’s a wonderful mixture of everything. Some history, a great conspiracy theory, thrills and chills, art appreciation, loads of trivia to use as conversation fodder...And a minute romantic sub-subplot to draw a few more females. ;)
This is a combination many authors are going for these days, but unfortunately I’m not that impressed with the results.

I’m a history buff, I admit, so this one was right up my alley. The characters were nicely drawn, the facts "simply" presented, and the conspiracy (whether there is a grain of truth in it or not) nicely interwoven into what is basically a race-against-the-time, whodunit story. Major kudos for the final twist, (when I first read it) I never saw that one coming.

That is also the reason why I didn’t much care for the movie version. There were too many cuts, changes and additions.
If you want to truly appreciate this story, don’t settle for the movie, read the book. The page-count might appear a tad intimidating, but trust me, once you start reading the time (and pages) will fly.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Review: Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James

Title: Just the Sexiest Man Alive
Author: Julie James

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: October 7, 2008
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425224201
ISBN-13: 9780425224205

Cool. Calm. Collected.

Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her–not even her cheating ex-fiancé. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob’s charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews.

Confident. Famous. Irresistible.

Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he’s thrown for a loop. She’s unlike any other woman he’s ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She’s the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize that she may just be his perfect match...

My rating:

Boy, am I glad for my latest crazy book-shopping spree that led me to this little gem of a story.

With this flood of contemporary/suspense/thriller/paranormal romance hybrids out there it was refreshing stumbling upon a "straight" contemporary. They come rare these days, especially if you’re looking for a fresh and frolicking book that manages to deliver from beginning to end.

I loved the feel and the style of it. It was quirky, a little eccentric, hilarious, fast-paced, sarcastic, yet serious and sad at the appropriate moments. It’s obvious the author used to write screenplays, the whole thing had an almost movie-like feel, for me the characters and the story came alive even quicker and the book as a whole was a big more "tangible".

I absolutely adored the characters. They had depth (even the supporting cast), so many dimensions it was scary, and they appeared "real", like someone you’d meet on a street someday or read about in a magazine.

Taylor with her sarcastic defense system and that huge emotional scar she absolutely refused to acknowledge, yet it shaped her point of view and impacted everything she did and say, almost causing her to make the biggest mistake of her life. Kudos for her logical, lawyer-y brain for (once in a lifetime) being right and put its foot down.

And Jason. Oh, what to say about Jason. At first he was "a typical movie-superstar prick", but oh so slowly Taylor got to know him better, the reader got to know him better, and before you know it, we were both in love with the guy. Okay, so he was a jackass, especially the stunt with his co-star, but he did it for a good cause (his cause). And it worked! And when he finally decided to go with the flow and turned the charm up a notch…Ooh. Two thumbs up for the portrayal of the other part of Hollywood as well, the other side of Jason, beside the movie star. Because, when he finally allowed the true Jason to shine through the VIP veneer, that’s the moment Taylor fell in love with him. When he let himself be just a man instead of the actor, that’s when the arrow hit home. Yay!

Great mixing of worlds as well, Taylor’s legal one and Jason’s movie world (with all its hypocrisy and backstabbing "beautifully" portrayed by Scott Casey). These two complete opposites worked perfectly together, creating a wonderful couple…And a wonderful love story.

A highly recommended read. The author truly did one hell of a job with this one and Ms. James is already on my watch list (I’m looking forward to reading her next book – Practice Makes Perfect).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Review: The Cursed One by Ronda Thompson

Title: The Cursed One
Series: Wild Wulfs of London
Author: Ronda Thompson
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: November 28, 2006
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 0312935757
ISBN-13: 9780312935757

Wed and widowed in one day, stunning socialite Amelia Sinclair's honeymoon is anything but typical. Then again, neither is Amelia—rebellious and impulsive, marrying Robert Collingsworth was the one sensible thing she ever did. Now he's dead, and she must escape the vicious creatures stalking her—even if it means relying on a stranger. Well, maybe not a complete stranger. Amelia first glimpsed Gabriel Wulf years ago on the busy streets of London; since then he has haunted her dreams. But in the flesh, Gabriel is much more tantalizing than she ever dreamt, and much more complicated.

Gabriel Wulf, the strong one, the sensible one—the family, and the curse that plagued them, were his only priorities; there was little time for women and none for love. Now, he must protect an enticing beauty—and not just from the dangers that prowl the woods around them. Gabriel has secrets, dark ones he's sure Amelia must never know and could never understand. But she has already awakened his heart...and the beast within. Will Amelia be the key to his salvation, or the architect of her own demise?

My rating:

This book seemed the most "out there" of the bunch. Not only were the Wulf brothers cursed to turn into wolves as soon as they fell in love (which is ridiculous all by itself if you ask me), but suddenly there was another "race" of such shifters, Wargs. These creatures straight out of lore left the woods because they couldn't survive there anymore and decided, lo and behold, to join society under the guise of strangers that met their untimely death in order to facilitate the Wargs' quest for the whole society-entering.

The Wargs' next victim was supposed to be Lady Amelia Sinclair, recently married to Lord Collingsworth (or something). Unfortunately her husband died on their wedding night of a heart attack (yet another Warg plot), but a rogue Warg wanted to sample the goods and attacked her under the guise of her deceased husband.
Enter Lord Gabriel Wulf, who Amelia has been lusting over for the past couple of books (and he's been lusting after her as well, though we didn't know that for the past couple of books), knight in shining armor that saves her from the fate worst than death...

Blah, blah, blah...

So Amelia, Gabriel and Mora, a shy servant girl, the only survivor of the servants' exodus, embark on a perilous journey through the woods (on foot, the horses were scared away) toward his home.

Maybe it would've worked if the book was that short. Unfortunately it wasn't that short, the Warg plot angle was ridiculous at best, Amelia was a spoiled little bitch, Gabriel was your average brooding hero with a chip on his shoulder, and the servant girl...Well, she was just a servant girl. Or wasn't she?

Boring, uneventful, one-dimensional...Did I mention boring?