ORDER A COPY: The Hook Up (Game On Book 1)
Publishing Date: September 2, 2014
eBook: 335 pages
Rating: 5 Star Touchdown!
I did it. I judged a book by its cover…and its back cover. I pushed this one off because I wasn’t in the mood for a college drama where the big pompous jock just wants to get laid by the one girl who doesn’t want him. I was so wrong. God, I love when a book kicks my ass for making it wait. Drew and Anna dragged me through a roller coaster of emotions. I felt such chest pains waiting anxiously to see which one would give into their fear first and tear them apart.
The last New Adult jock “romance” I tried to read included a baseball star who was dying to fuck his friend’s girlfriend. He wanted her to find out what a cheating bastard her boyfriend was so he could tap that. His observations about her ass were so…moving. The stuff of poetry.
So bad girl that I am I prejudged this book. I enjoyed Kristen Callihan’s Dark London books so I originally took a review copy because I was interested in reading how she would approach something not paranormal. But by the time this hit the top of my TBR list and after a few paranormal books, I was meh about this college jock book. I couldn’t have made a bigger mistake and I am so glad I didn’t push this one aside entirely.
And just like the spark that hits Anna and Drew the first time they lock gazes, I was immediately drawn into their passion.
Drew Baylor is the star quarterback in his last year of college, being scouted by NFL teams. He is the shining star of the school and every eye turns to him when he walks into the room. But it is sassy, red-headed Anna Jones that catches his eye and leaves him tongue-tied.
Drew grew up with parents who were college sweethearts and their love was still strong when they were taken from him in a tragic accident. His mother always told him “You’ll see, Drew. One day, love will creep up and smack you upside the head. Then you’ll understand.” And he did. From the moment he met Anna he started losing his heart. He is completely frustrated because no matter how hard he tries, Anna treats him like a leper and it’s making him crazy.
While Drew shines in the spotlight, surrounded by lots and lots of female fans, we learn that Anna spent most of her life in the shadows. She was slightly overweight in high school, an awkward introvert that no one paid attention to or befriended. She doesn’t like the attention being drawn to her, and the catty comments being made by the co-eds who want to take her place. She also can’t let herself believe in Happily Ever After for someone like her, not with someone like Drew. Unlike Drew’s happy home life, Anna’s father abandoned them when Anna was just a child, and her mother’s endless string of loser boyfriends doesn’t encourage Anna to put faith in forever love.
When their passion for each other can’t be denied, Anna agrees to a Hook Up with Drew but won’t acknowledge the word “relationship” at all. In fact, to protect herself from heartache which she is certain will come when Drew comes to his senses and returns to his Barbie blonde cheerleader types, she refuses to allow kissing, sleeping over, and she barely allows touching after the sex is over.
Yet is it not the kissing, or lack thereof, that cements their relationship. No matter how hard Anna tries to fight it. It is the fact that Drew opens up his heart and his pain and fear to only Anna. Their heartfelt conversations where Drew shares his pain over the loss of his parents and his fears for the future and simply opens up to her encourages Anna to share some of her secrets as well. But she does not tell him her deepest fear, which is falling in love with him and having him toss her aside.
Drew realizes that Anna is always ready to flee and every time he pushes to hard at her walls, he knows he has to pull back or lose her completely. Whether it will be her fear or his frustration that will put too much pressure on the relationship, we have to wait and see. Thank God this was a romance or I don’t think I would have survived. After the “break up” (because you know it’s gonna happen) every page I turned I grew more frustrated at friends, teachers, Anna’s mother, waiting for someone to shake the sense back into them or to be the voice of reason to do something, ANYTHING, to get them back together. Idiots!
And just like in Pretty Woman you are just waiting for that first kiss with as much anticipation as Drew and it didn’t disappoint at all. *fanning hot cheeks*
I freaking love Drew and Anna and I was so drawn in by them and their passion that I was anxious and nervous for them. I went into work to my books friends and grumbled “Someone’s going to screw it up!! I know it! I can’t breathe.” Then I told them I was passing my Nook around when I was done because they all have to read it.
Must read! Must read! Must read! Did I mention that YOU MUST GO READ THIS!
Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I’m thinking about her voice, that syrup-thick southern drawl that makes my skin prickle. I’m in the South now. Accents like hers surround me on a daily basis. Why it is that her voice affect me more than others, I don’t know. Nor do I care. She talks and I want to listen. Endlessly.
I’ve got it bad. Bad enough to be sporting semi-wood in the middle of a crowded room. And she’s not even here.
I take a sip of water, not really listening to the chatter around me. What does she do on her nights off? Frequent clubs? Hang out at a coffee house and chastise unsuspecting men on the unfairness of the glass ceiling? That makes me smile. I love the way her pert nose scrunches up when she’s irritated and her wide green eyes narrow into slits. Like she won’t hesitate to kick someone’s ass if she thinks they deserve it. Totally hot.
The water I’m drinking is warm and tastes of plastic. I set the bottle down harder than necessary. An antsy, irritable feeling grows within me. I don’t want to be here. I’ve heard all these stories and jokes a thousand times before. And while I love my guys, I’m bored. I want to hunt down Anna Jones, rattle her cage, and see what she throws at me. But I don’t know where to start looking. And it pisses me off.
I’m about to tell Gray that I’ll see him tomorrow, maybe hit the sack in an effort to at least try to get some needed sleep, when I feel a familiar tightening in my groin and along my back.
I have no explanation for how or why it is that I know when she’s near. I just do. Like a magnet to metal, my body swivels and my head lifts. And there she is.
Everything stops. My heart in my chest. My brain function. Fuck me sideways. Just someone stick a fork in me. I’m done. She isn’t in her standard t-shirt and jeans, or one of her soft little sweaters. She’s in some strappy top that barely contains her breast, those creamy, beautiful breasts that bounce and jiggle with each step she takes. Those breasts are going to be the death of me. I’m afraid I’ve audibly groaned.
And damn if I”m not the only one who’s noticed her. Too many eyes are glued to her chest. My hands clench. I’m no different than them, maybe worse, because I’ve made a habit of staring at her. But I’m itching to smack heads, send those eyes forward and off of her. I also have the sudden urge to whip off my shirt and tuck her into it.
She makes her way farther into the room, and I see the skirt. A swishy black thing that clings and sways around her pale thighs. Strong yet soft thighs that I know would feel so good parting for me, that would wrap me up and hold me tight. Je-sus.
A frown mars her face, drawing her auburn brows close and pinching her lips. If there is anything I love more about her than her breasts, it’s her lips. Deep pink and plump, those lips entrance me. Lips I’ve wanted to kiss since I first laid eyes on them.
She isn’t happy to be here. And she scowls back at a pair of girls who look at her as if she’s an intruder. I know those girls. Sports groupies. “Cock Jugglers” are what Gray calls them. And though it’s crude, it’s fitting. They’ve serviced more than half the team. Ugly experience has taught me to keep far away from them. I don’t like the smirks they’re giving Anna. She shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t. I want to take her out of here and just drive somewhere. Maybe to that coffee house in my imagination. I’d be happy to have her lecture me on all the ways I annoy her.
Her eyes scan the room as if seeking a way out.
Look this way, I tell her in my head. Look at me. Give me those wide, green eyes. Lock them on me with that intensity I feel down to my bones.
Look at me.
Look at me.
As if she hears me, her pale shoulders tense, and my body seizes with hot anticipation. Her long lashes sweep upward and, bam those eyes find mine. It’s like being blindsided, only heat and breathless pleasure overwhelms me instead of pain.
Her full lips part as if she’s taking a shocked breath, and I find myself doing the same. Jesus, I want her. She watches me, a mixture of anxiety and raw excitement gleaming in her eyes. I need to find a way to erase that anxiety. I need to know her better. Nothing on earth is stopping me from going to her.
Adrenaline rushes through my veins and my heart rate increases. Game on.
Title: The Hook Up
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Date: September 8, 2014
Genre: New Adult
Enter the publisher’s Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a Gift Card or copies of The Hook Up.
The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love
Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?
Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…
Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she’s shut him down. Completely.
That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It’s a good thing Drew knows all about winning.
All’s fair in love and football…Game on
My mother once told me that the most important moment in my life wouldn’t be when I won the National Championship or even the Super Bowl. It would be when I fell in love.
Life, she insisted, is how you live it and who you live it with, not what you do to make a living. Given that she told me this when I was sixteen, I basically rolled my eyes and worked on practicing my pass fakes.
But my mother was insistent.
“You’ll see, Drew. One day, love will creep up and smack you upside the head. Then you’ll understand.”
My mom, it turns out, was wrong in one regard. Love, when it came for me, did not creep. No, it walked up to me, bold as you please, you know, just in case I wasn’t paying attention. It did, however, slap me upside my head.
And while I’d be happy to tell my mom that she was right about that, she’s dead. A fact that hurts even more now that I’ve been struck down. More like shot down. Cut off at the knees. Totally fucked. Whatever you want to call this disaster. Because the object of my affection hates me.
I am man enough to acknowledge that the cluster fuck that is my current love life is entirely my fault. I wasn’t prepared for Anna Jones.
I still cringe at the memory of when I first laid eyes on her at the beginning of the semester. Being late for class, I’d rushed to a seat in the back row, and was trying to remain unnoticed. I can’t go anywhere on campus without getting attention. And though it sounds like an awesome thing, it gets tiring.
When the roll call reached the back row, a soft voice, rich and thick as maple syrup, slid over me.
Just her name. That was all she’d said. It was like a hot finger stroking down my spine. My head snapped up. And there she was, so fucking pretty that I couldn’t think straight. I might as well have been sacked.
Breathless, my head ringing, I could only gape. I’m not going to say it was love at first sight. No, it was more like oh, hell-yes-please, I’ll have that. With a helping of right-the-fuck-now on the side.
Thinking maybe I was overtired and simply overreacting to something that wasn’t really there, I stared at Anna Jones and tried to make sense of my extreme reaction.
As if feeling my gaze, she’d turned, and fucking hell… Her eyes were wide, almost cat-like, with the corners tilting up just a bit. At first, those eyes appeared brown, but they were really bottle green. And so clear. And annoyed. She glared at me. I didn’t care. One word was playing a loop in my head: mine.
I don’t remember the rest of the class. I watched Anna Jones like a condemned man getting his last view of the setting sun. While she tried to ignore me. Admirably.
The second class ended I shot up, and so did she. We nearly collided in the middle of the aisle. And then it all fell to shit.
Amazon – http://bit.ly/HookUpGameOn
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather do. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.
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ORDER A COPY: Entwined (Darkest London)
Publisher: Forever Romance
Publishing Date: November 5, 2013
Ebook: Says 40 pages, seemed like more.
Rating: 4 stars
Eamon Evernight has always lived in his older brother’s shadow. While his brother is fair of hair and lithe in body, Eamon sparks fear with his fiery locks and massive frame-and rumors of a mysterious power. But when his brother has the good fortune to be betrothed to a beautiful stranger, it’s Eamon’s help-and quick wit and romantic heart–that he needs. Eamon agrees to write the noble lady…a generous offer that will forever leave him a changed man.
Lady Luella Jane Moran has no interest in an arranged marriage and tries valiantly to dissuade her betrothed from afar. Though her own letters plainly state her case, the words her husband-to-be writes her leave her aching for his touch. Will Lu give in to the desire the missives have kindled within her? Or will desire turn cold when she discovers their true author?
Aidan Evernight received a letter from his intended bride, a bride arranged between the families, begging him to rebel with her against the archaic arrangement and set them both free. But Aidan wanted a bride in name only so he could have someone to keep his home and allow him to lead his own life. Aiden begged his brother Eamon to write to her and convince her that she needed to go through with the marriage when she came of age.
Except when Eamon agreed to assist his brother, his first desire was to convince the young woman to continue to fight the arrangement. He didn’t like the idea of his brother trapping the girl in a loveless marriage for his own benefit. But from their first correspondence, their wits and intelligence meshed and began a four year love affair between Eamon and Lu, and as the time came for Lu to meet her intended husband, Eamon’s mistake hit him full force. He had woo’d the woman he loves for someone else to possess, and he would have to step back and watch her be joined forever to his brother.
Eamon had lost all hope, but when fate intervenes on his behalf, will he be able to confess his fraud to Lu and claim her as his own, and if he does, will she ever forgive him?
Eamon was a quiet, gentle man but he was also very large with shocking red hair. His appearance along with his father’s ranting of him being a demon’s spawn, made the Town’s people wary of him. So it is not surprising that his romance begins with letters allowing his intelligence and his humor to shine through before Lu ever meets him and allowing both to form strong bonds of love before ever meeting face to face.
Of course, we have the whole Cyrano-type storyline where his brother doesn’t find out about the four years of letter writing until just before Lu shows up at their door. Now I adored sweet Eamon and thoroughly enjoyed the story, although I did have a few issues. Eamon’s mother died in childbirth bearing him, the younger son, and his father held him responsible for his mother’s death and treated him like the proverbial ‘redheaded stepchild.’ So why was Eamon the smarter and more educated of the two brothers? Aidan couldn’t read and write no matter how hard the tutor’s tried to teach him, which is why Eamon had to write to Lu. Maybe he was dyslexic?? Aiden also had an English accent while Eamon had a Irish lilt. They grew up together, how did that happen? And although Eamon and Lu end up getting married (It’s a romance. I’m not giving anything away.), it bothered me that on their wedding night, Eamon is hesitant since he steps in for his brother and he believe Lu loves Aidan, and he tries to get the unpleasantness over for her as quickly as possible where he barely lifts her nightgown, in/out and he leaves the room as quickly as possible. It wasn’t even just because they were both virgins that it was awkward. I felt like she agreed to marry you, she agreed to not put off the consummation of the marriage, and you couldn’t start off with a little kiss? Having sex with her is okay, but a kiss is too personal? It was awkward for them and it was awkward for me, the reader. Later in the story when we get to the kissing part, they do just fine.
Other than the awkward consummation and a few contrived plot twists, I like the way Eamon and Lu meshed. This is a novella from a regency/paranormal themed series. If you have not read the series, you can still enjoy this story. It seems Eamon is a minor character to the Darkest London series. The last few sentences point out who he is, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the exact content from the Winterblaze story and my review copy disappeared long ago so I couldn’t flip through it. Obviously, it wasn’t necessary to know that to enjoy Lu and Eamon’s story, and for only $.99 (on Amazon), it was a sweet romance with enough of a plot twist to make it interesting novella.
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
“Keep going that way and you’ll find the garden wall.”
Lu came to a sudden halt at the sound of the deep voice. It wasn’t Aidan’s; his was a bit lighter in tone. No, this voice was warmer and tinged with more of an Irish lilt than her fiance’s well-bred English diction.
A note of humor colored it as the man continued, “Besides, the stables are in the other direction.”
She turned and found Eamon Evernight sitting in the shadows with his back against a large rowan tree. The younger Evernight brother hadn’t spoken a word in the house. He’d simply eased away from conversation until he’d blended into the woodwork. A fine trick for one so large as he. But Lu had been aware of him, or his stare rather. She’d felt it linger across her neck when her back was turned and heat her checks when she’d faced his way.
Oddly, he never outright stared, but tracked her from under his lashes. Which made it all the more unnerving that she’d known he’d been watching her.
He watched her now as well, his gaze steady and waiting.
“How did you know I was headed for the stables?” She’d been out of her room and headed for them as soon as the weather had cleared.
The corners of his eyes crinkled just a touch. “I recall hearing you had an affinity for horses.” His lids lowered, a slow perusal that had her skin prickling. “Seems inevitable that you’d suss them out as soon as you could.”
The way he spoke to her, as if to tease; she did not know why, but it roused her. Why hadn’t Aidan taunted her in this manner? She’d expected it of him, even hoped for such an exchange.
“Oh?” she said lightly. “And what if I was merely going for a walk?”
“Well, your muttering ‘where the bloody hell are the stables’ might have provided me with further clues.”
She laughed. “I must say, Mr. Evernight, your powers of observation are keen. Though it wasn’t very nice of you to repeat a lady’s indiscretion to her.” Good Lord, she had been swearing like a stable hand, hadn’t she? Ladies did not do such things. She’d have to repeat that fact until she remembered. Damn it.
A deep, slow chuckle drifted over to her. Strangely, she thought that Eamon Evernight did not laugh often. Which was a shame because it was a very nice sound.
“I won’t think any less of you, I promise,” he said. “Especially when I have uttered a few of those words a few times myself today.”
Shaking her head slightly, Lu stepped closer, bringing herself under the shade of the tree, and Eamon came into better focus.
My, but he was large. His shoulders were twice the width of hers. His arms beefy with muscle, now on display behind the thin, improper lawn shirt he wore. Massive, scarred, and callused hands hung limply upon his bent knees. She looked away from them and into his face.
His coloring was unfortunate. One could not shy away from it. Vibrant, angry red hair swirled into a thick wave from his crown, giving the impression of a flame. On this towering brute of a man, the color was excessive. And not at all fashionable. Indeed most people in England looked upon red hair as a defect. Ridiculous notion, but one that did not abate. Regardless, her preference was for golden hair and light blue eyes.
“I merely wanted to brush down the horses, perhaps have a chat with them,” she said to him. “I am quite accustomed to caring for them, you know.”
The corners of his mouth curled in a hint of a smile. “It’s the grooms, you see. They do not yet know you. If you wander in, they won’t know what to do with themselves.”
The quiet way in which he spoke was firm but not reproachful. Even so, her shoulders slumped. No servant wanted an unfamiliar woman drifting into their territory. Especially the stables. How long had it taken her to win over the hands at her father’s stables? “Well, I suppose I shall make do with roaming the garden.”
She must have made a face, for he smiled then, and his face was transforming to something almost boyish, with little dimples appearing on each side of his wide mouth. Strong, white teeth flashed in the shadows.
“Ah, now, don’t go fretting. You simply need an able escort. I can take you to the stables, if you’d like—” He stopped, his high cheeks coloring in that strong, ginger way that he must abhor. “That is, Aidan can escort you, of course.” His gaze settled on his hands.
Yes, Aidan could take her. Only the thought made the horrid lump within her chest grow. She did not want to face the man who called himself Aidan yet treated her as if she were a stranger.
“I’ll go fetch him, shall I?” He moved to get up, and Lu put out her hand.
“Oh, no. Don’t bother. Truly, it’s all right.”
An uncomfortable silence descended.
“May I sit with you, Mr. Evernight?” Lu did not know what had prompted her to ask. And when he looked at her with his dark brows raised in surprise, she wished she could take back the request. But only a little.
There was something oddly comforting about Eamon Evernight. She fancied that whatever she said or did, he would not sit in judgment.
“Call me Eamon,” he said, shifting over so that she could sit with her back supported by the tree. “Mr. Evernight makes me think of my father.”
Lu arranged herself, and her skirts, at the base of the tree. There was not much room, Eamon being as large as he was, and their shoulders were close enough to feel his body heat. “So then you did not get along with your father either?”
“Either?” Eamon frowned.
“I merely meant that Aidan told me he did not have a close relationship with your father, and it sounded like you did not either.”
Eamon cleared his throat. “Right, of course. Well, ours was not the best of accords.” With a distracted air, he scratched the back of his head, and the curve of his biceps bulged against the tight stretch of his sleeve.
By Saint Joan, she shouldn’t be looking at the man’s muscles, or noting the way they moved. She bit her lip in annoyance and tried to focus on his face. But that did no good. For she realized, with a bit of a start, that he was quite handsome when one looked past that flaming red hair. Classically so.
His nose was strong and straight, his jaw squared and graceful.
She was staring now. She knew it, yet Lu could not help but keep looking. To find such masculine beauty here was like discovering a secret treasure.
With such bright red hair, one would expect him to have freckles and pale eyes, but his skin was mellow ivory, and beneath sweeping brows of auburn, his eyes were deep, saturated cobalt blue, such as found in Chinese porcelain.
Looking into them, she felt a strange sort of hitch in her chest, as if someone had stolen her breath for a moment.
Perhaps she made a sound or something showed in her expression, for his brows drew together and a small half-smile pulled at his lips. “What is it?” His voice was soft and searching, as if he worried he’d offended her.
“You’re…” she trailed off in a mad blush.
“I’m what?” he prompted gentle, yet looking a bit apprehensive.
Lovely. Rare. Unexpected.
ORDER A COPY: Winterblaze (Darkest London)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: February 26, 2013
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 5 star
Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections.
Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.
In the third installment of the Darkest London series, Poppy Lane, also known in the supernatural world as “Mother”, finds herself alone. Her husband Winston has left her after 14 years of marriage after his nearly deadly attack by a werewolf. As a Police Inspector, Winston faces liars every day. He can’t stand liars and he is devastated that his Poppy has been the biggest liar of all. She has hidden the supernatural world from Winston, right under his nose—hidden her true self from him, and it is more than he can bear.
When a deadly demon is freed from his hellish prison, sent there by Poppy herself, he has sworn to pay back Poppy by destroying “her heart.” So whether Winston wants her or not, Poppy will be there to protect Winston from the evil which his coming for him.
But unbeknown to all, Winston is hiding the worst secret of all. A lie so great it could prove their whole lives as a lie.
Now they will have to play the demon’s game in order to fight for their very lives.
It is undeniable that passion still flare between Winston and Poppy, but can they both look past the lies and betrayals and rebuild the lives they once had full of undying love and mutual respect.
When I first read Firelight (which I loved), I wasn’t at all interested in Poppy and Winston. After Moonglow (which I didn’t like as much), they suddenly had my full attention. I was a lot more interested in Poppy and Winston and wanted to see if they could repair their shattered marriage.
Since this story mostly involved the fact that Winston and Poppy were separated and had an emotional wedge between them, I liked how we kept jumping between the present and the past so we could see how Winston and Poppy met, how they overcame their differences in station so that they could get married, and how much they wanted to be with each other before things went so wrong.
I was disappointed, as I usually am, that our hero and heroine both wanted to get past this chasm in their relationship, that they both missed each other and that they both loved and desired the other, BUT when it came to putting themselves out there and possibly to be hurt again, neither one of these brave, strong people were willing to be the one to take that step. My little brain keeps going, “You’re facing evil that wants to hurt you. You might die shortly, but you can’t tell the person you love the most in the world that you love them and miss them in what could be the last hours before you might die? Really? What are you waiting for the regretting part as you lay dying?” Stupid characters.
I also liked the fact that our secondary characters weren’t content to stay in the background as secondary characters are supposed to do, part of that is the set up for the next story. I am excited to say that there will be more stories now that we have finished with the tales of the Ellis sisters.
I am looking forward to seeing where we go next.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“You do not think it romantic that her love for Hamlet was so great that she fell into unending despair when he left?” he asked.
Sharp red brows snapped together, and he wanted to kiss the little furrow between them. His hand curled into a fist as she, oblivious to his lust, proceeded to lecture him. “Romantic? Bah. Such a man’s idea of how a woman ought to love. By all means, let us poor, emotionally weak females fall into utter helplessness for the want of a man. Especially a man who couldn’t be bothered to treat her with any sort of—“
He kissed her. Because he couldn’t stop himself and didn’t have to. Her lips were soft, her tongue tart and slick and he slid an arm about her slim waist and suckled her lower lip before breaking away. “You’ll soon have me in despair,” he whispered, smiling against her mouth, “if you don’t believe in all-consuming love.”
Her arm snaked around his neck, her cool fingers slipping into his hair to toy with it. Had he the ability to purr, he would.
“That isn’t love,” she said.
He nuzzled closer, brushing his mouth against hers. “Kiss me again.”
“We are in public.” But she sipped at his upper lip as though she liked the taste of it.
Winston chuckled and reluctantly stepped back a pace. His gaze landed again on the storefront window beside them, and he looked back at a wonderfully flushed and mussed Poppy. “Do you realize you take us past this empty shop with every walk we take?”
Her cheeks darkened more. “Do I?” She moved to go, but he blocked her way with his shoulder.
“Yes.” He nudged her chin with his knuckle. “And you won’t get me to believe it’s by chance, either. Confess, Boadicea. Why this shop?”
Standing straight and smoothing her hair back into place, she attempted to look past him, her sweet lips pressed into an annoyed line. But then a noise of defeat sounded in her throat, and she glanced at the shop before meeting his eyes. “I want to let it.”
When his brows rose in surprise, she pushed on. “It is a book shop. Or was.” Her nose wrinkled as she made herself speak. “I would like to see it reopened. I—I have always wanted…It is a silly dream, I know.”
Her words cut into him. He hadn’t expected her to have dreams. Why? Why hadn’t he thought of her wants? It shamed him that he’d been so oblivious. Putting a staying hand around her waist when she squirmed to get away, he looked over her shoulder and studied the shop. “Have you any experience in running a book shop?”
Poppy’s expression closed. Tension tightened the muscles along her back. But she did not drop her gaze from his. “No.”
He looked into her dark eyes, his hand firm upon her. “Then you shall learn.”
She flinched. “What?”
He smiled then, tucking a stray lock of fire-bright hair behind her ear. “We have need of funds and a place to live. There is a flat attached to the shop, I see. You want this shop. So you will have it.”
Her breath left in a gust. “Win..How can you…” She drew herself up. “What if I fail?”
Slowly he shook his head. “My love, I have no doubt that if running a bookstore is what you want to do, then you will do it. And do it well. You are too strong-willed to fail at anything.”
She gaped at him, and he cupped her cheek. “I believe in you, Pop. I always will.”
ORDER A COPY: Moonglow (Darkest London)
Publishing Date: July 31, 2012
Paperback: 327 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy’s door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .
Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.
This second book in the Darkest London series focuses on Miranda’s sister Daisy, who has recently been widowed after years of a loveless marriage to an abusive husband. Finally free to live her own life, she plans to take a lover and live outside of the Ton’s strangling rules. But those plans are thwarted when she attacked in an alley by what looks like a werewolf.
When Ian Northrup, the Marquis of Northrup, comes upon the commotion outside the London alley, he can smell the werewolf, worse he can smell the disease which is leading the lycan to give in to his baser werewolf form. Since Ian is a lycan, he knows the danger this werewolf presents not only to the helpless citizens of London, but to the rest of the lycans living quietly among the unsuspecting human population. He will do anything to catch this mad wolf. He will also do anything to protect the beautiful and spirited Daisy, who is now the focus of the werewolf, whether she likes it or not.
But the biggest problem could just be the fact that the immortal Ian is in more danger…of falling for the lovely Daisy. Ian gave his heart to a human woman decades earlier and had to watch that love wither and die as his wife aged and grew to resent Ian’s eternal youth. Can he risk his heart and soul to another mortal woman no matter how perfect she is for him?
This was an intriguing, well written continuation of the Darkest London series which leaves us wanting more. We were introduced to various new and interesting characters and learned some deep dark secrets hidden by both Ian and by Daisy’s family. Ian is sexy and charismatic and Daisy is spirited and brave like a good hero and heroine out to be.
What I think says most about the author is that I had no real interest is sister Poppy and his husband, Winston, after I read Firelight (Poppy=meh), but after Moonglow, I have to know where they will be going in the next story, Winterblaze.
Kristen Callihan is proving herself to be a very talented author and I am looking forward to more from her in the future.
See our past interview with Kristen Callihan.
Lucien became utterly still, and his gleaming eyes immediately dimmed. A caress of ice-cold air touched Daisy’s cheek and then surrounded her breasts. Icy prickles rippled over her sensitive flesh, beading her nipples. She sucked in a gasp as a cold draft blew between her legs. “Oh!”
A viscous snarl burst from Northrup, and he was out of his seat, his hands fisting Lucien’s collar. The man’s head flopped to the side as if he were stunned. Northrup gave him a violent shake. Fangs sprang long in Northrup’s mouth, his eyes going round and filling with blue. “I’ll tear yer fuckin’ head from yer neck, if ye don’t leave off!”
The air around her whooshed past her. Lucien’s prone body jerked and he blinked, his eyes returning to normal. Still caught in Northrup’s grip, he offered an innocent little smile to the snarling lycan bearing down on him.
“Temper, Ian. It was only a bit of fun.”
Northrup was past hearing. His jaw cracked as it lengthened, the fangs in his upper and lower jaw growing longer. “Not with her.” A snarl tore out as his claws sank into Lucien’s neck.
The man gurgled as Daisy leaped up. “Northrup! Stop.” He bared his teeth at Lucien, and the muscles along his forearms bulged. Crimson blood ran in rivulets down Lucien’s neck and into his snow-white cravat.
“Ian.” With a shaking hand, she touched his arm. He jerked as though shocked, his eyes, gleaming ice blue, turned to her, unseeing and wild. “Let him go, Ian. You don’t want to kill him. Not truly.”
Northrup cocked his head, his nostrils pinching as though he were inclined to disagree. His tense frame vibrated as a series of low growls rumbled in his throat. Daisy blanched but did not let him go. She had to trust in his promise not to hurt her. “Ian. Stand down.”
On a shudder, his body began to ease back to normal and the confusion and rage in his eyes cleared, to be replaced by a possessive heat that made her blush. A grunt of acknowledgment left him before he turned away from her.
Northrup hauled his prey close, his nose butting up against Lucien’s. “Play with your own lass, aye?”
With a final snarl, he shoved Lucien back into his seat. The chair slid a foot before Lucien’s boot heels stopped it. “A thousand pardons,” Lucien said, panting. “I forgot myself.”
Daisy, on the other hand, having just realized that the cold touch was Lucien, suddenly felt far from appeased. “That was you?” she said through her teeth.
The man held up his hands in apology, and she turned to Northrup. “I was wrong. Tear his hands off.”
Northrup’s eyes glinted with wicked humor as he winked at her, his smile feral and still showing a bit of fang. He turned back to Lucien and let his claws free. Lucien backed into his chair, his handsome mouth opening in alarm. “Here now!”
Daisy gave him an evil smile. Now that Northrup had calmed, he wouldn’t follow through, but he put on a very convincing show. “I wouldn’t be too alarmed, Mr. Stone,” she said. “After all, I appears you do not need your hands to get into mischief.”
ORDER A COPY: Firelight (Darkest London)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: January 31, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Once the flames are ignited . . .
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family’s fortune decimated and forced her to wed London’s most nefarious nobleman.
They will burn for eternity . . .
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it’s selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can’t help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn’t felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
Lord Benjamin Archer made a fateful decision one night long ago, one that left him cursed and horribly disfigured. Hiding his face behind a mask, he has come back to London to claim the only thing he desires above all, the hand of the beautiful and spirited, Miranda Ellis.
Miranda Ellis might not be hiding behind a mask, but she too hides a secret as dangerous and deadly as Lord Archer’s. It is Miranda’s special gift that caused her family to lose their fortune; leading her father to use her to steal to support the family. Miranda decides to accept Lord Archer’s proposal of marriage. Maybe, just maybe, this man would understand her pain, and not turn away from her if he learned the truth.
When bodies start to turn up around London, all eyes are turning to Lord Archer as the murderer. Can Archer and Miranda learn to love beyond the masks and secrets; and can they find the true perpetrator, or will they are forever be torn apart by the murder?
This novel needs a category all it’s own; part-historical, part-paranormal and all wonderful romance. When I requested a copy of this novel from netgalley.com, it sounded interesting, but I was not really sure what I would be getting. Let me tell you, as a romance, this book was sexy, sweet and funny. As a paranormal mystery, it kept me guessing until the final reveal.
This story kept me enthralled until the very end, and I am refusing to tell you anymore since the very mystery of what happened to Lord Archer is the driving force of this story. Added to that mystery is the wonderfully written beauty-and-the- beast/phantom-of-the-opera type romance between Miranda and Archer. Who could not fall for the vulnerable, tortured Archer, or the bright and strong Miranda?
If paranormal romance is your thing, then I can’t recommend to you enough that you should try this story.
I am definitely picking up the prequel: Ember, as well as the sequel Moonglow in August.
Received an ARC from Netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
Check out my interview with Kristen Callihan for more information about this series.
Go to the Kristen Callihan’s website for bonus scenes.
He glanced at the stairwell as though he’d like nothing more than to flee. “Perhaps we should go. It is getting late.”
He moved to put on the mask once more, and her hand flew to clutch his arm.
“Don’t,” she said gently. The muscles beneath her hand hardened like granite yet he did not pull away. He loomed over her, his newly revealed features inscrutable, all the more because she did not yet know the subtleties of them. Without the warm rumble of his voice, she seemed almost a stranger to her for a moment, but for the scent of him and the familiar lines of his form.
“You startled me, Archer. That is all. I had no right to rail at you.” Absently, her thumb caressed the fabric of his coat. She forced it still. “Thank you. It is a gift you gave me, and I am the richer for it.”
Flushing and unable to meet his eyes another moment, she let him go. His silence was almost unbearable, but she could not turn from him. She had promised to stay. She gripped the cool balustrade and hoped it might keep her in place.
On a sigh, his stiffness released, and his hand came down to rest next to hers. “I felt you,” he whispered. “That is how I knew.”
She raised her head, and the world seemed to fade down to a narrow focus of just him, just her.
“I feel you,” he said, “whether stalking me through the streets of London, or hiding behind a screen in my library.” His words were soft as bunting, buffeting her skin, shivering inside of her.
Her hand opened on the balustrade, fingers stretching toward his. The very tips of their fingers met, the touch sparking between them like a current.
Archer’s fingers grazed hers. “I feel you. As if you were connected to me by an invisible string.” He touched his chest. “I feel you here. In my heart.”
She couldn’t think past the mad pounding of her blood. She swallowed painfully. “I feel you too.”