GILBERT, AZ, United States | Member Since 2009
Well, I'm not sure what I was expecting when I read this book, but it's not that the book was a disappointment, but not what I expected. It seemed like the book was setting a foundation for the series...but not in the typical way.
The best part of this listen was the incredible narrator....WOW, what a voice! Phil Gigante has a gigantic talent in voicing. I was even pleased with the female voices. Wow, what a dreamy, throaty, sultry voice!
I liked the leads & other characters in the book. The leads, Nicholas and Rowan were interesting and had great chemistry. This book was about their friendship, courtship, bonding and at the very end of the book (last 5-8 minutes literally) their marriage & consummation. I liked how Nicholas became Rowan's coach, encourager and strength when she was learning to harness the power of her gift in relation to the Targe.
The book left you hooked as the epilogue revealed the Kind of England's wrath about the outcome of his mission and his next move to capture the Targe......so creepy & scary. It leaves you with the feeling that NIcholas & Rowan have not reached their "ever after." There is a lot more adventure & danger for the clan in store for them.
There are less than a handful of book series that have been emotionally compelling and have made an indelible mark upon my heart…..and even though this is the 1st book in the series that I have read, I know (in my gut) that this will be counted among those I treasure.
The romance between Frannie Darling and Sterling Mabry, the eighth Duke of Greystone reeled me in right away, and it all has to do with the way this book is written….it's beautifully written. The writing is quite powerful. Heath uses metaphors, analogies and descriptions that are vivid and float off of the pages evoking deep emotions between the characters, in regard to both the challenges and triumphs of their life.
THE LOVE STORY:
Sterling can't keep his gaze off of Frannie. He is absolutely drawn to her and keenly aware of her presence (even before meeting her personally). Frannie, feels his attention and when they both finally meet the experience is completely visceral. It's all about the breathing, the excited thrill of momentum and being touched in a way that expresses a deep hunger, and a promise of things to come.
It all started with one night, as propositioned by Sterling. Sterling who arrived from traveling various continents, presents as a mystery. He wants Frannie, but can only give her one night as he feels the plans for his life are cemented, in part due to his station as a duke, but also because of a secret that will inevitably come out that will cause others to reject him completely.
Sterling is such a delicious hero. Frannie describes him as "courageous, determined and intriguing." AND, he has a dragon tattoo across his back and shoulder!--Talk about being way too sexy for his era!
Sterling is attracted by Frannie's beauty, but also by the mixture of her innocence and street smarts. She intrigues him like no other. I like how he studies her and learns what is important to her. Sterling commented that she "has so much compassion, with no bitterness" (after getting to know her and her life story).
When Frannie & Sterling are together is as though they are incubated in the happiness of their own bubble. Their love is an unselfish bond that includes an even amount of giving and receiving.
"She felt as though her body was the world and he was traveling across it, sampling every aspect."
Sterling was just so sweet and tender with Frannie. When he found out about how she was brutally raped at the age of 12 years, he makes sure to go at a pace sensitive to Frannie's needs. And, believe me Frannie feels a strong need for this man. He is the only man who has awakened her appetite for passion. Frannie is such a loving, compassionate, beautiful woman (inside & out) that you can't help but feel triumph in her love of Sterling.
As you can imagine, this romance outgrows the constrictions placed by society, it outgrows his own fear of his secret and it outgrows even the time they spend apart. To Sterling it comes to a point that nothing, not even his title is as important as she is. There is a part where he risks his own life for her…..OMG, this is just a beautiful romance…I could go on and on!!!
FAGAN LADS (AMAZING!!!):
I loved how Frannie is so cherished and loved by the "Fagan lads" who are the boys she grew up with in the rookeries of London who are now very successful adult men. Luke, Jack, Jim and even Bill, the physician, are a powerful shield of protection for her. I love how they were so opposed to Sterling's advances to Frannie & stepped in right away! They truly acted like a overprotective brothers. Sterling finally earns their trust, but oh the journey! LOL I love how they come together after Sterling is set to marry Frannie & they approach him formally wanting to provide a dowry for Frannie. When she objects, their response is, "It is necessary because you don't go to him with nothing." OMG..that part was awesome, especially when the surprise about how much money she actually has comes out---Awesome moment!!!
I can't wait to read Luke, Jack and Jim's books. It's like a feeling of Christmas, with so many gifts awaiting to be opened!
There are a lot of touching moments in the book….like poor Jim & his unrequited love for Frannie (poor guy, but can't wait to read his book!), Little Peter (OMG..what a precious boy), Nancy (Frannie's childhood friend from the rookeries), and CHARLS DICKENS (OMG…his inclusion was such an awesome element), and lastly…Frannie's dad…wow, made me tear up.
Narrator: I really liked Susan Erickson. I think she did a great job in bringing the characters to life.
Imagine being raised to hate a man who was responsible for the violent death of your beloved mother, only to be forced into marriage to his eldest son, and swept away to live among a sworn enemy…..This was the fate of Fiona Sinclair, eldest daughter of deceased Laird Sinclair.
Fiona was ushered as the sacrifice for peace between the Campbell and Sinclair clans, by decree of King James. Laird Campbell and her two older brothers, John and Laird Simon, follow the orders of the king in agreeing to the match and therefore establishing a fragile alliance.
Fiona is told that if she does not follow through with this arrangement, her 13-year old sister will have to marry in her stead. Feisty and beautiful Fiona faces her fate with courage, and an inner conflict that storms deep within her heart. But, as her fate is sealed through marriage, questions about a previous generation's actions and stories she has been told as a girl seem to meet the harsh truth that there are other family secrets that cannot be ignored, and a change of heart and mind toward her husband is inevitable.
I really LOVED the hero, Myles Campbell, the eldest son of the Laird & Earl Campbell, and I thought his approach with Fiona was just perfect in every step of their relationship. I felt sorry for the warrior because although he was taken aback, and very attracted to Fiona (since the beginning), for her beauty and fiery spirit, he was also in for a rough ride due to her scorn. I liked his strong principle and belief in marriage. Once he said his vows, his mind was set toward Fiona and he left his previous love behind and put everything into making his marriage work. He was constantly trying different strategies to make Fiona warm up to him. Myles is was a strong, confident and humorous man who had a great depth for compassion and love. He was immensely patient with FIona as he worked hard to reach out to her and persuade her that their marriage was one worthy of love and happiness.
Fiona was beautiful, passionate and fiercely loyal to those she loves, namely her family and clan. She was devastated to have to live with her sworn enemy and worse that her new father in law was responsible for her mother's death. Whenever I became annoyed with the way Fiona treated Myles (believe me her tongue had a sharp edge that could cut down any man), I thought about her pain which was palpable, as she mourned the death of her mother. It's hard to dispel years of being taught to hate.
However, when Fiona learns the truth surrounding her mother's death, she finally allows herself to love Myles, and her new family, and this part of the story is simply MAGIC. The love between the two is shared like a flood, and you just feel their absolute bliss and elation. The two give in to each other and there are moments of ecstasy, with steamy love and intimacy.
This story captured my attention from beginning to end. I was sad that it ended, but so relieved there was an epilogue. I would really LOVE to see this made into a series. There are many elements that just worked out so nicely in this story. This novel is very well written and enjoyable. There are many side characters to the leads who are wonderful and interesting. There is humor, persistent romance, great family moments, treachery, but also tragedy that make this a great, Scottish adventure.
By the way, the narrator was FABULOUS! I will be looking for other books narrated by Sarah Coomes…she's simply amazing and she really brought all of the characters to life. This was a nice little piece of delicious.
I will also be looking for other books by this author….I'm impressed.
Eloisa James's writing is exquisite. Many times, I felt that I was taken away to an English country side because of her picturesque descriptions of the setting and background.
This was a delightful read about how the hero, Tarquin, Duke of Sconce, found his perfect duchess. For the duke the connection to Olivia Lytton was as quick as lightening when he first met her as she came to his door step one stormy night soaked through and ah-hem.....very indisposed. So pretty much the chemistry was on-fire immediately between the two. The problem presented in this story is that there are 2 dukes for 2 sisters, but the matches between these couples are all wrong.
I loved the challenge presented immediately in these mismatched couples as all of the characters were seeking some type of fulfillment while trying to please their parents.
It was so tricky as to how the resolution came about because the love between Tarquin and Olivia was the worst kind of forbidden love. I mean seriously.....Tarquin was Olivia's sister's dream, and Olivia was meant for another. Olivia was betrothed to the Rupert, Duke of Canterwick and it was clearly not going to be a fulfilling marriage, yet Olivia was very kind and caring toward Rupert and his predicament. I really liked how everything resolved itself.
In reading this fairy tale series, I have found that I really LOVE the verbally-intelligent characters James creates. Just as in "WHen Beauty Tamed the Beast" the verbal sparing and banter is excellent between the leads. I loved the quips, the metaphors, the innuendos, and so many twists of language that made this read so enjoyable! I love it when there are really smart, funny, sassy, and memorable leads in a love story; and Tarquin and Olivia were just fabulous.
I did not like the part of the book that covered the couples trip to France. I got turned off when Olivia pushed Tarquin into allowing her to come with him to rescue Rupert. It was a stupid move that endangered herself & Tarquin. However, part of that is just that Tarquin can't seem to say no to the girl LOL...(so it's his fault too). I just kept telling myself that James must have thought that the story needed a more dramatic conflict aside from the relationship conflicts already presented in the book. So...oh well...it worked out.
The epilogue was great because it gave you a sense of the HEA for all of the characters including the dowager duchess, Tarquin's mom. I love how even though she was diametrically opposed to Tarquin & Olivia's match...in the end she was thankful for indirectly being responsible for Olivia coming to their home and meeting her prince charming.
Nice HEA..... I have to read some more of James' books in between darker books because her books are smart, funny and overall enjoyable reads...
Oh how I love this book! This is an all time “Lisa Kleypas Classic” for me. I like to revisit this book every once in a while when I feel like listening to a great romance. I also love that the story centers around the chief magistrate of Bow Street and the historical snapshot that is captured in that world of crime fighters.
The love story between Sir Ross Canon and Lady Sophia Sydney is written in a manner that weaves you in with a curiosity and a desire to learn more about how their romance will unfold. I thought I was refreshing how both Sir Ross and Lady Sophia are mature, older adults (well for a regency novel that is!..lol) I believe Lady Sophia is in her late 20’s and Sir Ross in his mid to late 30’s.
Sir Ross is so freaken appealing because he is unattainable. As a widower, he has not sought to fill the vacuum in his heart and no one has come close to making him want to, until Lady Sophia strolls into his office interviewing for the position of his assistant. In modern times, this would be a lofty endeavor, but in 1830’s London, it’s completely unheard of! Good for Sophia! She is beautiful, intelligent, educated, resourceful good in the kitchen as well as in the office…I mean the woman is undeniably fabulous! So why wouldn’t she be the one to capture Sir Ross’s attention and heart! The impending challenge is that she wants to capture his heart only to break it, as she lays the responsibility of the death of her brother at his feet.
Sir Ross’s appeal is undeniable. His sex appeal just flows off of the pages…he is powerful as the chief magistrate, and a fair, and just man who lives by an oath of unyielding morality. I think this is one of the reasons so many women were after him. Who wouldn’t want to be the object of attention from such an intense, dedicated man. Although Sophia thought the worst of him, this hate began to melt away as she worked day in and out next to the man who she was destined to love.
I love all of the slack that Sir Ross received from those in the office & from the bow street runners for hiring Sophia. I loved how Sir Ross always treated Sophia with respect, interest and was just flame-torch hot with her once they began to give in to their attraction.
This book is an absolute dream for the romance reader because it follows Sir Ross & Sophia’s love affair from acquaintances, to lovers, to marriage partners. Through every step of the way this romance is luscious, intimate and so dam good!
The narrator, Susan Duerdon, was wonderful. I love her work……she created a deep, masculine voice for the hero and a sweet, feminine one for the heroine.
I will always revisit “Lady Sophia’s Lover.”
This listening experience was comparable to taking my first bite into the chocolate ganache cupcake at SPRINKLES! Decadent, unbelievably delicious, and this is what this little series is all about…. I mean what can be more decadent, and fantastical than the relationship between Bennett Ryan and Chloe Mills?
Bennett Ryan earns his name of "Beautiful Bastard" because he is such a high-powered, executive with impressive business skills shrouded by a no-nonsense attitude that can be intimidating to most, but not his intern Chloe. Chloe is a gorgeous intern, who is intelligent, works hard, and gives as good as she gets. She is no push over whatsoever, and that is one of the things I love about her! She's quick on her toes with come backs that are just awesome! I really wish they would make a movie based on this book because the banter between Bennett & Chloe is absolutely hilarious and hot & would be great to see unfolded on the silver screen! Now, there are f-bombs everywhere in this book & between the leads, but it just works.
If you start this book, there's no getting away from these characters…their chemistry is off the charts and their fun romps will leave you breathless & reaching for your own significant other…I mean what can get the blood boiling more than clandestine rendezvous in the 18th floor stairwell, in lingerie dressing rooms, on desks, in restrooms…..OMG, and that's just to name a few…LOL. Bennett & Chloe's explosive attraction for one another was fabulous to follow as they settle into the realization that it's not just about the greatest sex of their lives…these two are meant to be as they equal one another in every way.
While Bennet & Chole's relationship is on fire, you also get other treats in this book, such as Bennett's wonderful family. His parents, brother, Henry, sister-in-law, Nena, and adorable niece Sophia are a great surprise in this book. It was nice to see that Bennett came from such an awesome, supportive family who were totally Team Chloe..LOL (to his annoyance). I also enjoyed Chloe's friend Sarah Dillon who is the heroine in the next book….
Thankfully, the series continues & Christina Lauren is probably one of the most conscientious authors when it comes to her readers because of the trace of sexalicious bread crumbs she's leaving with her 1.5 novella books..Can't wait to read Beautiful Bitch next!
Lastly, loved the narrator! She was fabulous! Grace Grant the listening experience all the more enjoyable!
This book tells the story of Gideon Drake, a male prostitute who is forced into this lifestyle by the very powerful, but petite Lady Lavender, the owner of the upscale male brothel called Lavendar Hills. Gideon has been forced into this servitude for over a decade. Gideon tends to be rougher with clients and is the type who takes total control in the bedroom. For his “skills” he is a much desired commodity among the ladies of London who frequent the brothel. Gideon had been planning an escape for years, with no success. However, when Lady Elizabeth Ashton visits the brothel, little does Gideon know that his freedom has arrived……
THINGS I FOUND HARD TO PROCESS:
I suppose I had a hard time with the thought of forced prostitution, especially for a man like Gideon Drake. There is an underlying sorrow that a strong, independent man, with Scottish heritage, could be kept in servitude against his will. I suppose I don’t like the thought of anyone being enslaved and forced to perform on command. The good news is that he escapes!
GREAT & UNIQUE LOVE STORY:
From the very opening of the novel, you just know it’s going to be a gritty & provoking read. Elizabeth is in a carriage on her way to the brothel when she spots the carcass of a rabbit being ripped apart by vultures. She identifies and feels that if she does not play her cards right, she could also represent that carcass on the side of the road being picked apart by her enemies.
The aspect I found so intriguing about the relationship between Elizabeth and Gideon is the shift of control that flips as a fish out of water, from side to side, between the two. After Elizabeth slyly manages to take Gideon away from the brothel, it is made clear to readers that she must seduce him (which should be pretty easy), make him fall in love with her, and eventually marry the man.
Elizabeth has promised her late husband, that she will remarry Gideon, the notorious and handsome rogue. So, as a reader you feel this strong need to rehabilitate Gideon and position him to be the proprietor of the vast expanse of wealth and properties of the family. This mystery about his connection to the Ashton family is so interesting and you just eat up every little clue or detail that gets you closer to finding out the truth behind Gideon’s background. Gideon, himself, is sharp, strong, but very emotionally numb. He comes across as a tiger out of a cage who is devising how to proceed with his newfound freedom. Gideon must heal from past traumas that still haunt him. I thought Elizabeth, the sweet and courageous heroine, was the key to this romance. She is an epic heroine. She is beautiful, she is kind-hearted, the woman has great business sense, but most of all, she is wise. I can’t say enough about her. She is the most trusting, self-sacrificing character in the book. She lays it all on the line: her life, the life of the children in her care, and puts all of her eggs in one basket as she gives her life without restraint to Gideon Drake.
This is a great read. The villains are lurking and there is much suspense about who is behind the murder attempts on Elizabeth’s life. One by one, both Elizabeth and Gideon defeat their enemies. Perhaps the greatest conquest is their defeat of fear, which could have crippled their love. Both the H/h are gloriously successful in their quest for a love that is liberating. At the end, Gideon said that he felt like he cheated life (in reference to the miserable trajectory his life was on before Elizabeth), as he told his friend, “we could have it all and don’t have to live in the shadow of our past.”
I really liked the narrator, Fiona Underwood, I think she did a great job! I have to say that even though I liked this book, I'm not in a hurry to read the remaining books. I think it's hard to wrap my head about the forced bondage....I think I will have to be in the right mood to continue with the series....
The underlying emotional current this novel evokes is ANGST! Oh my goodness, this novel will summon up your fight/flight responses and make you feel on edge due to the suspenseful, and revealing moments! There is adventure in this book, plenty of it, but most of all, this book chronicles the journey to love for a relationship that seemed doomed from it’s beginning.
This novel is beautifully written. At first, it takes some time to get used to the amount of detail and historical presence in the book. Blake’s writing style unfolds a vision of a southern society with polite gentlemen and ladies who live vigorous lives. Yet, the luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by the upper class are built on the backbones of African slaves whose wills have been swallowed up. This book gives a complex historical perspective that may be hard to digest for the modern reader. I know I had a hard time with the reference to slaves and some of their situations. Blake also spares no sentiment when creating dangerous villains who are vicious in their intent in hurting the leads, especially the heroine. This novel is definitely what is known as a “bodice-ripper” novel. Those parts are very hard to read because they just make you feel sick to your stomach.
My favorite part of this book was the hero, Roland Donavan. Jennifer Blake has given us such a worthy hero! I mean the man has been through so many regretting events in his life that he should be afflicted with poor self-esteem. His father (plantation owner) rejects him; he returned from the war with a stained reputation; he gets caught up in various misunderstandings that lead him to marry a woman who despises him, and the list goes on and on…. Yet, Roland emulates strength of build, and character; he has a noble heart; he fiercely protects his wife, he works hard for her….And, he is a tall, handsome man with green eyes!!—He’s simply delicious! Roland does have flaws that impact his already trouble marriage though. During hard times he tends to withdraw, and he does not communicate his emotions with his wife.
The heroine, Melanie Johnston, granddaughter of Kernal Johnston, takes a bit of getting used to, as she is somewhat of an ice princess. I warmed to her character by allowing some of her motives to be explained by reason of grief over her grandfather’s death, she lost her parents early in life in a tragic accident, was alone, and emotionally bereft. Also, on her grandfather’s death bed, he charged her with the responsibility of destroying Roland Donavan who he blamed for tarnishing his reputation in the war with Mexico. I have to say, Melanie does have nice qualities, but certainly her reasons for marrying Roland were vengeful and unfortunate. Melanie is described as a very beautiful woman, with auburn hair and blue eyes with an hourglass figure.
The love development between Roland and Melanie drove me nuts! My heart went out to Roland because it was apparent from the beginning that he entered the marriage with more honorable feelings than Melanie. I like how Roland made Melanie share his “marriage bed,” even though she wanted them to have a marriage, in name only. Roland was such a tender lover that Melanie became a participant in love-making with him right away (even though she would never admit it). Melanie tried to set up emotional barriers, but the man just melted her cold heart, in miniscule, but consistent steps….This is why the book is soooo long! There are sweet, tender moments between the couple, but there are also many stupid misunderstandings that could have easily been solved it they would have communicated with one another.
Unfortunately, as in a poker game, both of these lovers played their cards very close to their chests, not allowing too many advantages to the other. Finally, at the end, both bare their true feelings to one another and Melanie confesses her love for Roland (he of course confessed his love way before her…I believe..the book was so dang long, I lost track). Through many trials, separations, misunderstandings, tragic events, great losses, the couple finally come together in heart, and you just know that they are going to live happily ever after with a deep, abiding love. An epilogue would have been nice…but, what can I say?--I was happen to finally finish the long book!!!
I really enjoyed the narrator. Her southern accent was great!
I decided to embark on this reading/listening adventure because of Braden Wright, the narrator and because of the front cover….Well, I know that neither of those reasons may seem too substantial, but oh, am I so glad I read this book! This is one of those stories that gets into your heart and will never leave it, and mainly because of the hero in this story….Mr. Cutter McKenzie! By the way, Braden Wright's sultry, deep, masculine voicing was just perfect for Cutter! Wow! Just an amazing listen!
LET ME COUNT THE WAYS I LOVE CUTTER MCKENZIE!
This story is set post Civil War in the ever-expanding Dakotas. Cutter is referred to as a 1/2 breed (due to his Cheyenne and Irish descent) and has lived a life full of discrimination that has served to create a tough outer shell of his person. However, if you look at the core of him, you will find the most giving, noblest of hearts who is searching to belong. Cutter is fantastically appealing because he is not only a strong man (I mean swoon-worthy, gorgeous man), but because of his willingness to pursue love despite the risks. He's a take-charge kind of guy who guards his heart and emotions above all else, however, nothing could have prepared him for this journey of love, in his conquest of the heroine's affections. Although the odds were against Cutter (for unfair reasons!!!--I might add), he did not shy away from taking a chance at love.
Some reviewers have noted how unlikeable Elizabeth Bowcock, the heroine is. However, I felt more sympathetic toward her. Elizabeth, or Doc Liz, replaced her father as the doctor of Sioux Falls, after his death. Elizabeth, herself, is wound up too tightly and reasonably so. Her father nudged her to dress a certain way (baggy clothes about 3 sizes too big, old-rimmed glasses and hair in a tight pony tail). And, I believe it was to protect her from the unwanted advances of men, especially since they lived in such unstable parts. However, Elizabeth's iron clad hold on her independence is also an extension of her stronghold on her appeal as a woman--I mean, she has it ALL on lock down…LOL So, when Cutter offers to step up to help her in her dilemma (acting as her husband so she can present as married and qualify to adopt her niece), she rejects him. But, the problem is not just in Elizabeth's stodginess, it's also in her soft bigotry for the hero due to his Cheyenne heritage. Doc Liz also needs to conquer her mild hurt or fear of Native Americans in order to open the floods gates of her heart to Cutter (at least that was my take on it). She also just needed to LET GO…let go of her defenses, fears, past traumas, and stubbornness in terms of giving in to the hero completely.
THE LOVE STORY
This love story was so sweet and endearing. I really enjoyed how the journey of the leads to St. Louis also paralleled their attachment to one another in a cementing, beautiful love. Along the journey you will find out more about Cutter's outer and inner scars and will be absolutely touched at his patience with the heroine and how big his heart is. Cutter sees beyond Elizabeth's defenses (even her baggy clothes etc). He encourages her (pushes her) to break out of her shell and shine as the beautiful woman she is. Cutter is such a lover (and a fighter by necessity). Seriously, he is just precious!
There is also satisfaction in the growth in character of the heroine, Elizabeth. She learns to release herself to love, to healing, to a change of heart and to courage. She definitely loosens up! (Thank God!) LOL
The villains in this book are loathsome and the ruthless part of me would have liked to have see a more gruesome end to their lives. By the way, Katie, the niece is adorable. She's wild, funny and so cute! I really liked her. And, "Jo" (Josephine), Cutter's sister (who is Elizabeth's best friend) is also very interesting. I would really like her to have her own book.
The epilogue was such a gift! I loved it! I wish there was a Volume 2 of Sagebrush Bride because I would so much like to learn more about Doc Liz and Cutter's marriage life as they settle down in Sioux Falls.
This will be one of my tear-jerking favorite Westerns!
"One Night with the Laird," followed book 1, "the Lady and the Laird," and let me say, I was excited to get back into the social world of highlanders in the 1800's that Nicola Cornick created.
The romance between Lady Mairi MacLeod and Jack Rutherford starts off with a night of anonymous passion that proves to be searing in their ties to one another. Lady Mairi takes a chance and lures a gorgeous man from a masquerade ball to a small private home she owns to escape her present worries and lose herself in a night of passion with a stranger. Little did she know, that the man she ravages (or vise versa) is none other than Jack Rutherford, a relative of her sister's husband whom she loathes! Well, maybe "loathe" is too strong of a word. ---The man who she finds to be dangerously attractive and arrogant who she avoids at all costs. YEOW!
In book 1, Jack propositions Mairi to be his mistress and she sent him to hell as any decent widow would….LOL. However, the chemistry and draw that each of these two have with one another is inescapable. Jack, himself, is a total babe. He is charming, handsome, and a favorite among ladies, men and society, alike. The ladies love him for his sex appeal and men admire him for his fierce fighting abilities and business savvy.Yet, Mairi can't get away from him fast enough. After that night of destiny, she leaves him without a goodbye or proper identity, and the man goes wild trying to find her as he just can't get her out of his mind. So, when both characters meet in that moment of revelation, sparks fly and what can I say, their fate is sealed….pretty much!
This story is a great read because of the unfolding sexual appeal that blossoms into an unwavering love that melts alway the strong defense mechanisms that both characters erect. In this book, you will find adventure, steamy love (with some BDSM scenes that are like WHOA!!!--hot in here!), family interactions, deep family secrets, castles, society events, evil villains, but most of all a love that is healing and irrevocable. The end "danger" scene was so riveting and heart warming. Wow! What a man Jack is! I love how he rescued Mairi.
I gave this book 4 Stars instead of 5 for some missed opportunities…
#1-- When Jack & Mairi were already lovers and "betrothed," he asked her to ride off with him on his horse and even though she wanted to, Mairi held back and didn't.
#2--Also, in the green room (I think that's what it's called), Jack and Mairi take shelter from the storm and this could have been a perfect rendezvous, but instead it was awkward and stilted.
#3, NO EPILOGUE!!! Are you freaked kidding me???? I hate it when authors don't add epilogues to great love stories…it's so unfair!
As a reader, I thought those were missed opportunities, but it was evident that the author used these two experiences to showcase the fear that both Jack and Mairi still had to conquer before their inevitable HEA.
Overall, great book that I will re-visit from time to time. BTW, loved the book cover. Some book covers are so off and this one was very, very nice!
P.S. the narrator was great! I thought she did a wonderful job and complemented the story.
From the first moments, I just knew I was in for a beautiful, very different listening experience. The narrator, Gemma Johansson, was superb as she masterfully injected excellent tone, and voicing for the males & females, alike. She created the mood that brought this story to life and in a way that complimented the beautiful writing of the author, Juliette Miller.
This story is unraveled through the lens of the heroine, Stella Morrison, one of the younger daughters (out of 5) of Laird Morrison. In this book, the reader is channeled through a labyrinth of emotions and experiences that make you feel like you are living and breathing the story of the leads within the lively, and dangerous backdrop of the Scottish, Highlands.
I was equally fascinated by both the Hero and Heroine. Yet, Stella's life story really touched me. I felt pain through her abuse and elation during her triumphant moments.
Stella is a rare beauty, and does not know her effect on men. Aside from being beautifully captivating, she is innocent, but wounded within her spirit. Stella has lived a very isolated existence that bothers her more than it does her sisters and female cousins (7 young ladies in total). Stella's father rules over her life with an iron fist, and his physical abuse is carried out through his sinister top officers. Alec, the main officer, is fascinated by Stella and wants her as his wife (even though he's below her station), yet he has beat her countless times (and seems to like it) as a part of orders from the laird. Due to this abusive history, Stella feels uncomfortable around men (especially strong men) and comes across to them as distant, mysterious, and quite alluring. In fact, at a social gathering, the warriors are somewhat intimidated by her beauty and even fear her rejection. Yet, little did Stella know how much her life would change in her forced marriage to Cade MacKenzie.
Stella did not know it, but she needed a hero and Cade was just the man to bring her world to life and release her from her caged existence.
OMG!! Cade Mackenzie (3rd son of MacKenzie brothers) is freaken amazing!!! What impressed me most about the hero is his unquenchable, undeniable, love for the Heroine from the MOMENT HE LAID EYES ON HER. So, from that moment on, he was committed, in love, and determined to make her his…at all costs. I thought that was a unique quality because most heroes (even though they are attracted to the heroine) have to conquer their fear of love, at some point. Yet, Cade never fears love…he never fears his attachment and need for Stella.
As the 3rd son of the MacKenzie clan, Cade is part of a close-knit, healthy family. His brother is Laird over a thriving, very rich & prosperous clan and through his marriage to Stella he becomes the "laird in waiting" set to succeed Laird Morrison upon his death. This means, Cade leaves his beloved home only to settle into the dysfunctional Morrison clan which is laden with challenges and treachery at every side.
THE LOVE STORY:
Cade's love for Stella is a binding force that takes root and allows her to grow in every aspect of her person. Stella is forced to marry Cade by her father and not only was she frightened by his hulking figure, mercurial temperament, but, in addition, stories surface about his sexual escapades & she's even more freaked out. Let's just say that Cade has a sexual repertoire that is very mature, and skilled. In modern words, he has an affinity for BDSM in the bedroom. But, if you can believe it, Cade is more than just a sex god, he is introspective and sensitive. And, because he is aware of how much he frightens his new wife, he vows to allow 1 month to pass before they consummate their marriage in order to build trust and allow Stella to acclimate to the marriage.
However, by the 2nd day of marriage, Stella is like, "I'M READY."….LOL, but Cade is insistent on this vow being carried through as a way of proving his love to her (in light of her abusive background with men). So, if you would think that this means no sexual interaction between the couple, you would be DEAD wrong. Because this book is super sensual. Cade awakens a sexual appetite in Stella that builds upon each sensual experience. And, my feeling was like, OMG…what's the big deal about waiting to consummate the marriage??---Cade leads her into so many sensual experiences that I'm like…Oh right already just seal the deal!!! [and that reflects Stella's feeling as well]LOL
Yet, even though the marriage was consummated before the 1 month vow…OMG, what a ride to the end it was! There are countless challenges, adventures, treachery, fighting and moments of courage that will leave you breathless! (well, at least I was left breathless)….LOL And, I have to admit that I felt a little ruthless as I cheered the heroine on, in her absolute defeat of the villain.
But, the sweetest part was the bond and love that was poured out through the Hero's steady flow of gestures and words of affection for the Heroine. I have already listened to this audiobook twice and I just bought it! So, this will be a favorite in my audiobook library.
Lastly, the epilogue was an absolute delight and my only sadness is that the book is over….(If only the first book was available through audio). :-(
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