Review: The Sex Solution by Kimberly Raye

the sex solutionTitle: The Sex Solution

Author: Kimberly Raye

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2004

The heroine: Chemist Madeline Hale

The hero: Rancher/cowboy Austin Jericho

The blurb: Madeline Hale has come back to her Texas hometown on a mission. Twelve years ago, she’d been a chubby bookworm infatuated with bad boy Austin Jericho. She still has the brains — after all, she’s chief chemist for a cosmetics company — but now she also has the body and attitude to match. And she plans to use them — along with a new aphrodisiac lotion she’s created — to finally get Austin where he belongs… in her bed.

Austin doesn’t know what’s hit him. He’s wanted Maddie forever, but he always figured she was too good for him. Only suddenly, the tables have turned. The sweet girl has turned into a sex siren, and Austin has ditched his wicked ways to settle down with a nice little wife.

But Maddie smells so sweet, feels so soft and tastes so wonderful. There’s only one solution. The Sex Solution. And it’s going to be very, very good….

Standalone or series: Book three in the Jericho brothers series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Madeline “Don’t call me Maddie even though every person in town does” Hale has come back to her hometown of Cadillac for a friend’s wedding. She’s been living in Dallas for twelve years and works for a cosmetics company; in order to get the promotion she’s been eyeing, she decides to take the two weeks she’s home to create a new lotion that will tease all five senses (I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d want to lick a body lotion. Just saying).

Maddie had a huge crush on Austin Jericho (whose brothers are Houston and Dallas, natch) in high school and when she runs into him, it’s game on. She’s determined to prove she’s changed from a shy, nerdy teenager into a sex kitten, and apparently the only way she can do that is to entice Austin into bed. Never mind that he turns her down flat on more than one occasion and is borderline rude. She’s having none of it and is determined not to stop until he gives in.

Austin thinks Maddie’s attractive but he’s not interested, because he has two weeks to find himself a potential wife in order to inherit one hundred acres of land from the lady who helped raise him as a child. This trope – where usually the hero has a certain timeframe to marry/produce an heir in order to inherit money/land/business empire – seems to crop up a lot, and I just don’t get why people put such restrictions on an inheritance.

Anyway, Austin finally agrees to help Maddie test her new lotion, he ends up at her place and they have sex. It happens over and over, although one night Austin gets all hot and heavy and then just walks out. This guy is so fickle it’s hard to know what he wants. But that’s okay, because Maddie’s going to get what she wants whether he likes it or not.

I couldn’t connect to either character, and I certainly didn’t buy their romance at all. There was an elderly relative of the bride who popped up more often than he should have, and all he kept telling Maddie was how fat she was o_0  This book was very much a case of tell, not showing. Don’t tell me they’re falling in love, show me. They were virtual strangers and they’re in love in less than two weeks? I can usually buy the short timeframe, but it didn’t work for me this time.

 

 

 

Review: Major Attraction by Julie Miller

major attractionTitle: Major Attraction

Author: Julie Miller

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2004

The heroine: Relationship therapist/writer Josephine Cynthia Gardner

The hero: Marine Ethan McCormick

The blurb: Popular Dr. Cyn’s latest sexual advice columns are sending military men in D.C. running for cover–except Major Ethan McCormick. Cyn–real name Josephine Cynthia Gardner–is out to prove that guys in uniform don’t make good relationship material or lovers.

Ethan is unfazed by the attack on his profession. Sure, he’s a stickler for the rules, and you could bounce a dime off his neatly made bed. But he’s more than ready to muss those same bedclothes with the right woman….

Dr. Cyn’s on a mission to scout out a hot military man, seduce him and report back to headquarters. But after one sizzling night with Ethan, she’s willing to confess to a major attraction. One that’s far too real and all-invasive. But what will happen when Ethan discovers she’s an “under-the-covers” operative?

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: Another awesome book by Julie Miller! I don’t think she can write a bad one. This book was fun. Josephine Gardner, known as JC to everyone, writes a sex column called Dr Cyn. Her editor challenges her to write about relationships with military men, something JC is reluctant to touch because her father, in the Navy, cheated on her mother for years while he was on leave. She has no interest in military men at all and believes they’re not capable of long term relationships, so she takes the bet to prove her editor wrong.

Ethan McCormick is in line for a promotion, but feels he won’t get it unless he has a partner, something his boss is big on. He needs to find a fake fiancée, and quickly, or the promotion’s down the drain. After rescuing JC from being harassed by two drunk marines at a bar, he persuades her to pose as his fiancée for two weeks. JC accepts, because it means she can write her series about military men with first hand experience.

Except somewhere along the way, their relationship becomes more than just show and tell. They can’t fight their attraction, and when JC is threatened by someone who has taken exception to her comments about military men in her columns, Ethan will do whatever he has to to keep her safe. She tries to tell him she’s Dr Cyn, but he brushes it off, not realising what she’s saying. When he finally finds out, he’s understandably angry, believing he was being used all along (he admits he was using her, too, but at least he was up front about it). He’s mad for a week, until JC goes to his commanding officer to confess all, and he realises he’s in love with her. Luckily for him, she feels the same, and it turns out she was wrong about military men after all 🙂

Review: Conquering the Cowboy by Kelli Ireland

conquering the cowboyTitle: Conquering the Cowboy

Author: Kelli Ireland

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Search and Rescue Team Leader Taylor Williams

The hero: Climber/Rancher Quinn Munroe

The blurb: When a mission goes disastrously wrong, search-and-rescue team lead Taylor Williams is left with indescribable terror at the prospect of climbing. But she knows she has to face her fear to overcome it. Now she’s at a ranch in New Mexico, where her climbing recertification is in the hands of cowboy climber Quinn Monroe. Only this devilishly handsome rancher is about as friendly as a spur in the backside

As they prepare for the climb, Taylor can’t ignore Quinn’s rugged physicality. The scorching heat between them helps distract Taylor from her fear, but her growing feelings make spending time with him dangerous. In the end, conquering her past may be a small feat compared to conquering this cowboy…

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: This was an unusual book for the Blaze line, in that it was emotionally intense. You wouldn’t want to be reading this book if you are in a funk or feeling down, because there’s a lot to deal with.

Taylor Williams was leading a team of six in a rescue operation that went horribly wrong. Not only did she lose all five of her team members, she also lost the helicopter pilot and the man they were all rescuing. She was badly injured herself physically, but mentally and emotionally she’s scarred. Her guilt is overwhelming her to the point where she can’t function. However, she’s decided that she must get back in the saddle and back to her job, but in order to do that, she needs to be recertified to climb.

Quinn Monroe was a well-known professional climber, but eighteen months previously his father was killed in an accident on the family ranch while trying to fix a windmill. Quinn blames himself, because he thinks that if he’d been there, he’d have been the one fixing the windmill and, being a climber, he wouldn’t have fallen.

So you have two lost souls, both suffering terrible, crippling losses and trying to rebuild their lives. Their first meeting ends up with them clashing, but as they spend more time together and find out about each other’s grief, they bond in a unique way. I found this book hard to read – not because it was poorly written or the storyline sucked, but because I have recently lost a parent, so I can understand their grief in many ways.

Taylor and Quinn need each other, and they’re drawn together. Taylor has meltdowns where she goes into catatonic states when something triggers a memory of that terrible day (and she can’t remember what happened, probably because her brain has compartmentalised it to protect her from losing it), and Quinn manages to bring her out of it and take care of her. She lets him in, and he puts down his walls, too. He’s also finding the knowledge of his mother having moved on with a new companion hard to take, too, so he’s struggling a lot as well.

Some scenes are very hard to read with their intensity, but do stick it out. This is a really good book worth reading.

Review: Seduced in the City by Jo Leigh

seduced in the cityTitle: Seduced in the City

Author: Jo Leigh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Journalist Sara Moretti

The hero: Businessman Dominic Paladino

The blurb: In the loud, vibrant Little Italy community, family is just as important as history. Dominic might be the youngest–and most charming–of the Paladino brothers, but he wants a future that doesn’t involve the family business. He also wants temptingly sexy Sara Moretti…and he’s not letting a little thing like “bad blood” keep him away.

Sara’s never forgiven Dom for hurting her feelings all those years ago. So how come her heart beats like crazy every time he stops by her family’s pizza shop? Suddenly she’s having a seriously hot, X-rated fling with the guy she used to hate. It can’t possibly last. But in the Big Apple, half the fun comes from rewriting history…

Standalone or series: The third and final installment of the NYC Bachelors, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Sorry, Ms Leigh, but I think this is where you and I must part ways, because if I had to sum up this book in one word, I’m sorry to say it would be ‘boring’. It took me four days to read this, twice as long as is normal for me. There was just nothing that interested me. I don’t know what it is about Jo Leigh’s books, but they just don’t work for me.

So Sara and Dominic have known each other since they were kids. Dominic made a typical unkind teenage comment about Sara to his friends that Sara overheard, so a few years later she got revenge by writing a horrible piece about him in a school newspaper or something. Thirteen years later and she’s still pissed – honey, let it go.

She’s back in NYC after going through college and she’s got a fiancé who’s living in Rome. She’s supposed to join him once she finishes her thesis for her master’s degree, but he’s – wait for it – cheating on her, so it’s over. Dominic is genuinely unaware of what he’s done to piss Sara off and he’s determined to find out, because she’s grown up to be quite the hottie. Sara rebuffs him, but then does a 180 turn so fast you’ll get whiplash and hops into bed with him.

Anyway, there’s this whole subplot about the subject of Sara’s thesis; she’s writing about the history of Little Italy and stumbles upon some mafia type group that was around a hundred years ago. The older generations she interviews are inexplicably horrified by it, even though this group is long dead, and make her out to be a pariah *rolls eyes*. Dominic’s father is worried she’ll stumble upon the Paladino family secret: they have a trust fund, founded about a hundred years ago, and the trust has been subsidising low rents for Italian families. It’s also worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Why it’s such a big secret that it has to be kept from Sara is not clear, given that what is clear is that Dominic is in love with her. She works it out anyway, agrees not to mention who owns the trust in her thesis, and agrees to marry Dominic even though they’ve never told the other they love them.

Not even the sex scenes were hot. And WTF is with that cover? Sara has an Italian background and is described as having light brown hair. Methinks someone’s definition of light brown hair seems to differ from mine.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

 

 

 

Review: My Sexiest Mistake by Kristin Hardy

my sexiest mistakeTitle: My Sexiest Mistake

Author: Kristin Hardy

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2002

The heroine: Trainer/Writer Ryan Donnelly

The hero: Online education start-up founder Cade Douglas

The blurb: A simple mistake… a sexy mistake…

In fact, it would be the most incredibly sexy mistake of their lives. One minute, Cade Douglas, delectable Boston businessman, is signaling for a waitress in the bar of a very fashionable hotel. The next, he’s nearly racing upstairs with a beautiful stranger, who’d answered his summons instead.

Gorgeous Ryan Donnelly can’t believe it’s all happened so smoothly. Before arriving, she had imagined how awkward it would be to meet the gigolo who’d been hired for her. Her gigolo. Her secret lover. The one who would ignite the intense passion she wasn’t sure she’d ever experienced.

She was the one, the one who would fill his senses, save his soul. Cade was certain of it. He was the one, summoning her so casually, so confidently. Ryan was certain of it, of him. If they’d only known.

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: Ryan Donnelly teaches managers how to handle their employees by day, but by night she writes romance novels. Her agent, Helene, has managed to secure her a four book deal if the publishing company likes the first one she delivers, but Ryan is suffering from writer’s block while writing the sex scenes. Helene’s solution? Hire her a gigolo. It’s been eight years since Ryan had sex, so she agrees to go along with it.

When she turns up at the hotel bar, she thinks Cade Douglas is the gigolo Helene hired for her. He’s there to celebrate his start-up securing a multi-million dollar deal, and his partner, Patrick, told him it was time for him to let loose after the end of his marriage. So when this gorgeous woman comes up to him and invites him to her room, he finds he can’t say no.

Cade realises who Ryan thinks he is after she makes a few strange comments, but he can’t bring himself to tell her because he’s attracted to her. So he doesn’t, and they have oral sex, but decide to wait until the next night to finish the deal. The next morning, when Helene rings to find out why Ryan stood the gigolo up, Ryan realises Cade wasn’t her hook up and she’s fuming. So she sets up the meeting with Cade, ties him up, and then tells him she knows he wasn’t the gigolo and she’s furious he lied to her. Not furious enough not to have sex with him, of course, because she’s hot for him, but furious enough to leave him tied up and his clothes wet in the tub so he can’t chase her.

She thinks that’s the last time she’ll see him, but she finds out she’s wrong when her boss makes a deal with Cade’s business, which means Ryan will be working with Cade. He’s amused to see her again and she’s horrified. She tries to stay away from him, but their attraction is too hot and she eventually caves into seeing him again. Ryan realises she’s in love with Cade when she sees him playing with Patrick’s young children, and she tells him later that night – but he pretends to be asleep. He starts freaking out because his heart was broken by the ex and he thinks he doesn’t want a serious relationship, so he breaks it off, leaving Ryan heartbroken. She gets her book deal, quits her teaching job, and tries to get over Cade… but can’t.

Patrick manages to make Cade see he’s being an idiot and he enlists Helene’s help in setting up a meeting with Ryan, because she won’t return his calls. When Ryan turns up, he tells her he’s an idiot and begs her to forgive him. And of course, she does. Awww.

On a side note, that cover. They look like they’re having a staring contest, not looking dreamily at their sexiest mistake. The female model is clearly blonde, but Ryan is stated several times as being a brunette. It bugs me when the cover is so obviously wrong…

 

 

 

Review: A SEAL’s Surrender by Tawny Weber

a seal's surrenderTitle: A SEAL’s Surrender

Author: Tawny Weber

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2013

The heroine: Vet Eden Gillespie

The hero: Navy SEAL Cade Sullivan

The blurb: Lieutenant Commander Cade Sullivan is the job. His commitment to the Navy SEALs is absolute – almost. Worse still, he’s been summoned home, where his privileged family is the town royality and women vie to be one of Cade’s conquests. One of them in particular….

Ever since they were kids, Cade has been rescuing Eden Gillespie. Now she’s decided she owes him one heck of a thank-you-one that involves a bed, naked bodies and sweet satisfaction. But when their sexy trysts are discovered, Eden becomes a bit of a town sensation-and not in a good way. Can she convince her SEAL to risk one last rescue operation?

Standalone or series: Part of the Uniformly Hot! series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Almost a dozen of the Uniformly Hot! series are currently on sale as e-books for $1.99 at Amazon.com.au and even cheaper at Amazon. com, so if you like e-books and want to get them cheaply, go now! I bought all the ones on sale bar one which I’d already read.

This is book two of the SEAL series, which appears to be a sub-series in the Uniformly Hot! range. I’ve gotta say… this didn’t read like a Blaze book. It didn’t feel as polished, for some reason. Which is an odd thing to say, I know, since I can’t really articulate why I feel that way. Alas.

Eden Gillespie has been in love with Cade Sullivan, her next door neighbour, for years. Cade has a bit of a reputation amongst the local ladies, and everyone wants into the exclusive club of women who’ve slept with Cade. Eden is a vet and has just opened her own practice, and since she won’t kiss ass to the rich, snooty townsfolk and doesn’t get invited to everything, she’s struggling to get customers.

On top of that, she finds out – on her birthday, no less – that her mother has taken a $30,000 loan against the house that Eden owns. She took over the mortgage from her mother but her lawyer cousin persuaded her to leave her mother on it since she was a student, and now that’s come back to bite her. She can’t get in touch with her mother, who’s gallivanting around the country in an RV, and the bank has given her one month to come up with the money.

Cade has never been particularly close to his father, since the latter was disappointed that Cade did not want to take over the family business and became a SEAL instead, but when Robert has a heart attack Cade reluctantly comes home. He seems to turn up just as Eden gets stuck in a tree or needs rescuing from something, and this time is no exception.

Eden’s birthday wish has been the same for the last few years – have sex with Cade. She invites him out for a drink to thank him for helping her out of a tree, and it turns out that Eden gets more than a drink. She tells herself she only wants a fling with Cade, since he’s only in town for a week or so, and Cade has always found her attractive but off limits… but they start having sex anyway.

Once the townsfolk get wind of Eden hooking up with Cade, her vet business gets busier than it’s ever been – because everybody wants to know if they’re actually having sex or not. Man, this is a gossipy town. Cade is having doubts about whether to remain a SEAL after losing a teammate, and his father is badgering him to chase Eden for the $10,000 he loaned her mother that Eden has no idea about.

Cade’s uncle, who is also in the Navy, wants him to become a trainer, and although Cade resists at first, he starts to think that maybe it’s the right path for him. The more time he spends around Eden, the more he falls for her, despite saying that was never a life he wanted. Eden, for her part, has already fallen in love with Cade, but doesn’t want him to resent her down the track if he takes a different job.

In the end, Mama Gillespie is found and hands over all the money she owes from having sold her sculptures, Cade realises he wants a life with Eden, and she agrees to split her time between him and San Diego, where he’ll be based. I really liked Eden, she was a great heroine who refused to kowtow to the snobs and wanted to be seen as more than being an accident-prone klutz. And you know how it ends – with a happy little epilogue, yay!

Review: Sweet Seduction by Daire St. Denis

sweet seductionTitle: Sweet Seduction

Author: Daire St. Denis

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Baker Daisy Sinclair

The hero: Lawyer Jamie Forsyth

The blurb: Daisy Sinclair knows how to make a guy moan with pleasure – she’s the owner of the best bakery in Chicago! But standing in front of the city’s biggest – and sexiest – food critic in her underwear isn’t the most professional first impression. Especially when he has a wicked glint in his eye…

Jamie Forsythe isn’t a food critic; his twin brother is. One look at Daisy’s delicious curves, and Jamie knows only that he wants to have his cake and Daisy, too. Attraction mixed with deception is a hot and naughty recipe for disaster. And there’s no way Jamie can resist being sent to bed…with Daisy as dessert!

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: Daisy Sinclair inherited Nana Sin’s bakery from her grandmother, and she lives in the tiny unit above the bakery. Her baked goods are well known amongst the locals and regular patrons of the store, but she has a chance to boost her profile when Colin Forsyth, a well known food critic, drops by unexpectedly to try her goods.

Except it’s not Colin, it’s his twin brother, Jamie. Jamie’s doing the review as a favour to his brother, and the two men couldn’t be more different. When the review comes out and it’s full of praise, Daisy’s bakery is suddenly Chicago’s hot spot. When she encounters the real Colin at a restaurant, she’s floored at the difference in the man… and also notices subtle differences in his appearance. Attending a charity dinner, she finally sees both brothers and realises she’s been duped. Jamie explains he’s actually a lawyer who was helping Colin out, and Daisy forgives him enough to invite him up when he drops her home.

Daisy has other things on her mind: she’s divorcing her cheating ex, and he wants $750,000 as his share of the bakery. Daisy doesn’t have that kind of money and she’s buried her head in the sand about it. She turns up to the lawyer’s office to have another meeting about the divorce… and is stunned to find that her ex’s lawyer’s partner, who is temporarily handling things, is none other than Jamie.

When her best friend finds out how dire the situation is – Daisy will have to sell the bakery and the building it’s in to pay the ex – she organises a fundraiser. It’s a success, but Daisy doesn’t raise enough money and she loses the bakery. What she doesn’t know is that Jamie helped make the fundraiser the success it was. She’s ended the relationship before it ever really got anywhere, and losing everything devastates her.

But she refuses to give up, and after an unexpected boost from her distant mother and the mother’s fiancé, Daisy is back on her feet. But what she really misses is Jamie, and in the end, she decides to go get him. There’s the usual angst and turmoil about whether they can make a relationship work long term, but you know they can. And they do 🙂 I also adore the cover! It’s so cute.

Review: Her Sexy Marine Valentine by Candace Havens

her sexy marine valentineTitle: Her Sexy Marine Valentine

Author: Candace Havens

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Interior designer Marigold McDaniels

The hero: Marine Brody Williams

The blurb: When First Lieutenant Brody Williams rescues Mari McDaniels from an awkward run-in with her ex by pretending to be her boyfriend, Mari knows she’s got it bad for the gorgeous, ripped military man.

They’re friends first, and friends help each other out. Mari needs a hand renovating her old Victorian and Brody needs a girlfriend to secure his promotion. It’s the perfect temporary arrangement – and then there’s the sizzling chemistry. It’s wickedly racy and addictive. But neither of them expects Cupid’s arrow to aim for their hearts!

Standalone or series: Part of the Uniformly Hot! series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: I really enjoyed this book. I liked both the leads and I enjoyed their romance. There were a few clichéd subplots happening – she lacks confidence in bed because her douchebag ex said she sucked (and not in a good way), and he’s led to believe he needs a partner to secure a promotion – and I’ve read quite a few books with the same themes. But it didn’t detract from the story.

Brody lives across the road from Mari, and when he rescues her from her ex at the supermarket, she makes him dinner. She then asks him to help her restore the house she bought with her ex, who then dumped her the day she signed the papers and she can’t afford to sell it as is, and Brody finds he can’t say no.

They both agree this is just a temporary fling while they’re restoring the house.  They’re attracted to each other – can’t keep their hands off each other – so they agree to a fling and they both walk away at the end. Brody is not a forever kind of guy, and Mari is happy to having great sex. Her parents’ marriage has been the yardstick with which she bases all relationships, so she’s horrified when they confess to her at an inopportune moment that all is not what it seems. Stunned and angry, she pushes everyone away… including Brody. She tells him she loves him and then shoves him out the door. He’s never said it back, but then she finds a card in which he’s written he loves her.

When the renovated house sells, Mari is distraught because it’s the house she and Brody renovated together. But this wouldn’t be a good romance without the happily ever after, so you know Brody refuses to let her push him away and they get to keep the house after all. Hurrah!

Review: Indulge Me by Isabel Sharpe

indulge meTitle: Indulge Me

Author: Isabel Sharpe

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2008

The heroine: Darcy Wolf

The hero: University professor/painter Tyler Houston

The blurb: Darcy Wolf has three wild fantasies she’s going to fulfil before she leaves town. But after seducing her hot housepainter Tyler Houston, she might just have to put fantasy #2 and fantasy #3 on hold!

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: When I read romance novels, I’m generally willing to go with the flow, even if I don’t find some premises particularly plausible. That’s why it’s called fiction, after all. But this book? Ugh. Here’s what I did love: Tyler. He was absolutely adorable and I loved that he was willing to take a chance on Darcy, even though he’d had his heart broken by his previous lover.

Here’s what I didn’t love: pretty much everything else. Darcy wasn’t a particularly likeable heroine. She’s spent years caring for both her sick father and her previous boyfriend, so once they’re both out of the picture she seems to think that leaving town for eight years – two years in four different cities – is the answer to everything. Despite the fact she’s leaving all her friends, including her best friend, behind. When she sees Tyler on the crew painting the house her father left her, she decides to seduce him. Which involves her stripping naked in front of him while he’s on a ladder outside her bedroom. Despite the fact they don’t even know each other’s names – they’ve picked a random name out for each other (and no, Tyler. I’m sorry, but Rosemary is not a sexy name. I apologise to all the Rosemarys out there). It turns out they do know each other; Tyler’s cousin is married to Darcy’s best friend and they went to school together.

So they have hot sex, and Tyler feels the connection but Darcy is reluctant to get involved because she’s leaving town. Her best friend, Molly, is convinced that Tyler’s the one for Darcy from the beginning, so she tells Tyler about Darcy’s second fantasy and he intervenes. They have more sex.

Here’s what was ridiculous: Darcy realises she loves Tyler and he proposes just before she’s due to leave town. Instead of being an adult and staying with the man she loves, knowing she’ll be miserable without him…. she goes anyway. She spends a miserable month in the first city before hotfooting it back home. What I didn’t understand was why she was so insistent on leaving. Yes, I understood she felt tied down because of caring for the two men, but they were both gone. There’s no reason she couldn’t have made a life for herself where she was. Her father left her a house and enough money that she never needed to work again. So why flee a place she’s finally happy in? It just made me angry that she broke Tyler’s heart for no good reason.

I also found myself cringing a lot throughout this book because the writing was tacky. The third fantasy was just crass. If I hadn’t adored Tyler so much, I wouldn’t have bothered finishing this book. You know what? He deserved better than Darcy.

Closer… by Jo Leigh

closerTitle: Closer…

Author: Jo Leigh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2006

The heroine: Designer Christie Pratchett

The hero: Ex-Delta Force soldier Boon Ferguson

The blurb: A stalker has destroyed Christie Pratchett’s life. He’s stolen her job, her friends and her freedom. The police can’t help her, nor can the FBI. Now with a single call for help, it’s all up to ex-Delta Force member Boone Ferguson

Boone lives under the radar … with a secret that could cost him his life. But he’s going to train Christie to become a warrior princess – and his lover. Together, they’re going to risk it all… on the street and in the bedroom.

Standalone or series: Book one of the In Too Deep series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I have mixed feelings about this one. Christie has been terrorized for five months and she’s lost pretty much everything – her job, her friends, her freedom. She’s terrified of her own shadow, and the stalker has friends in high places – he’s had the IRS freeze her bank accounts so she can’t even flee the house she loves. All she has left is her dog, Milo, after the death of her older brother, Nate, seventeen months previously.

He gave her a phone number and told her to call it if she was ever in trouble, so in desperation she rings… only to get a pizzeria. Soon afterwards, Boone turns up. He was in Delta Force with Nate, and once he realises Christie is being stalked, he agrees to help save her life as Nate once saved his.

So he starts to train her to defend herself and teaches her how to shoot a gun, all the while ignoring his attraction to her. Theirs was a bit of a strange romance, I found. Christie ran a bit hot and cold – one minute she just had to have sex with Boone or she was going to die, the next she was mad at him for some perceived slight. She knew something had happened on a mission that Nate, Boone and co did in the Balkans, and Boone reluctantly admits they were all working for some shadow company that sat outside the government, and therefore the law, but with their approval. The team was told to take down a scientist, but when they got there they discovered they’d been lied to and refused to do the job. Now, they’re all on the run and off the grid – they’ve changed their names, their appearances, and only pay in cash.

Christie saw Nate get blown up in a car bomb, so she wants to know what happened in this mission and why her brother had to die. Boone is reluctant to tell her, not wanting to drag her into their mess on top of the stalker she’s dealing with, but eventually he relents. SPOILER ALERT – Nate is not dead! He rocks up towards the end of the book, having been in hiding like the rest of them, because they’re all targets and someone is after him in particular. The stalker is caught when he tries to kill Boone and Christie and dies when Nate shoots him, and Christie is forced to leave her life behind and go on the run like the others because now she knows too much and is a target.

At the end of the book, she’s living in Montana under an assumed name and working as a waitress. One day, a man shows up on her doorstep… and you know who it is. Boone has finally tracked her down and decides that if they both have to live on the run, they may as well do it together.

Red Hot by Lisa Childs

red hotTitle: Red Hot

Author: Lisa Childs

Mills & Boon imprint:  Blaze

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Insurance agent Fiona O’Brien

The hero: Firefighter Wyatt Andrews

The blurb: Fiona O’Brien knows how to minimize risk…by never, ever falling for a guy in a hazardous job. And when her brother applies to become an elite Forest Service firefighter, Fiona hits the roof. She’ll do anything to keep him safe—even if it means using every sexy tool in her arsenal to seduce the one firefighter who can change her brother’s mind.

Hotshot Wyatt Andrews swore to avoid controlling women like Fiona. And he has no intention of intervening in her family business. Still, he can’t resist the fiery redhead with the deadly curves. Soon they’re engulfed in a blaze of lust that incinerates their self-control. They’re playing each other, but if they’re not careful they may both get burned.

Standalone or series: Part of the Hotshot Heroes series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Lisa Childs writing Blaze books? Yes, please! I wanted to love this book, but there was something about the plot that just didn’t gel with me.

Fiona O’Brien has a younger half-brother (they share the same mother), Matthew, whom she finds out has applied not only to be a firefighter, but part of an elite team called the Huron Hotshots. Matthew’s mentor on the team is Wyatt Andrews, so Fiona decides to talk with Wyatt and see if she can get him to talk Matthew out of dropping out of college to pursue being a firefighter.

Wyatt is attracted to Fiona, and knows that there’s nothing to talk Matthew out of – his application will be unsuccessful because he has a juvenile record – but can’t tell Fiona that because a) he’s not part of the selection panel and b) they can be sued if Matthew finds out through Fiona before he gets the official letter.

When talking to Wyatt doesn’t work, Fiona decides to seduce him in the hope that will help her cause. Wyatt knows exactly why Fiona wants to sleep with him, but since he’s attracted to her, he doesn’t really care that she’s using him for sex. Only once they start sleeping together, they both realise it’s more than just sex.

Here’s what didn’t gel for me: Matthew is a douchecanoe. He claims Fiona is manipulative and he’s pissed at her for leaving him with their airhead mother when he was five and she was eleven, but that’s because her paternal grandparents got her mother deemed unfit to care for her and they moved her to another state. Fiona was a child who had no say in it, and as soon as she was old enough she looked out for Matthew. So his childish behaviour was just odd. I didn’t find Fiona manipulative at all – she was a big sister, trying to look out for her younger brother. Her mother has buried two husbands (their fathers) due to their reckless behaviour (her father died in a crash because he was racing, Matthew’s father died of a drug overdose), so Fiona doesn’t want to lose her brother the same way.

Here’s what also didn’t gel for me: Fiona gets mad at Wyatt when she finds out he knew all along Matthew’s application was unsuccessful. He couldn’t tell her. HE COULDN’T TELL HER. Not because he didn’t want to, but he risked losing his job and leaving the fire department open to a lawsuit. And then Wyatt decides she’s right to be angry and he should have told her. Uh, no. But when Wyatt is trapped in a fire trying to save a troop of boy scouts, Fiona realises she’s in love with him and they get their happily ever after.

What did work, though: the sex. There was lots and lots of hot sex. If reading lots of hot sex scenes works for you, read this book. Oh, and the cover? Yes, please! I’ll take two 🙂

Daring Her SEAL by Anne Marsh

daring her sealTitle: Daring Her SEAL

Author: Anne Marsh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: DEA agent Ashley Dixon

The hero: Navy SEAL Levi Brandon

The blurb: Devil-may-care Navy SEAL Levi Brandon faces a terrifying task: telling Ashley Dixon that their faux wedding during their last mission together was actually real. It’s bad enough that she completely loathes him, but she’s DEA. Levi will be lucky to get away with his life…

Now Ashley and Levi have returned to Fantasy Island to sort things out…and are tempted to play a dangerous game of lust and restraint. A game of dares. All Levi has to do is keep himself from having sex with the hottie DEA agent. But Ashley’s playing to win—and darers always go first.

Standalone or series: Part of the Uniformly Hot! series, but can be read as a standalone. However, it will make more sense if you have read Pleasing Her SEAL first.

The review: Oh boy. When I found out that Levi and Ashley from Pleasing Her SEAL had their own book, I just had to buy it! I loaded it up to my e-reader and devoured it.

In Maddie and Mason’s book, Maddie asked Levi, one of Mason’s teammates, and Ashley, a DEA agent who sometimes works with the SEALs, to stand in for the bride and groom who ditched her at the last minute so she can take some photos for her wedding blog. Levi and Ashley agree to go through a mock ceremony and Maddie gets her photos.

However, three months later when this book opens, Levi receives a wedding certificate in the mail. A real one. It seems that someone on Fantasy Island didn’t get the memo that the wedding was fake, and Levi and Ashley are hitched for real. Levi finds it doesn’t bother him that much, because he’s attracted to Ashley and she’s hot, but Ashley apparently hates him so breaking the news is going to be hard.

Levi blackmails her into going back to Fantasy Island for a week so they can sort out this mess once and for all. However, when they get there, Ashley is drawn into a game of truth or dare with Levi, and she can’t help but notice how hot Levi is. Turns out she’s never hated him, but doesn’t care much for his apparent love of bedhopping with his flavour of the week. Levi is actually more discerning about who he beds, and has a hard time getting Ashley to believe it.

She dares him to go without sex for a week, and he agrees on one condition: for every night he goes without, she agrees to act out the name of a drink on a secret cocktail menu the island has, which is just code for ordering sex. Ashley can’t resist a dare, especially one she’s going to win, because she thinks Levi doesn’t take anything seriously. However, Ashley finds herself giving in to her attraction to Levi before the week is over, an attraction that has been simmering for a year, and they have hot sex. Levi asks Ashley to marry him for real, and she turns him down because she thinks he’s a player who can’t settle with just one woman.

Levi’s determined to prove her wrong, especially when they find out that the marriage isn’t real after all. They eventually leave the island and Levi realises he wants Ashley to be his wife for real, so he drives from Louisiana, where he’s attending a joint bucks night for Mason and their team leader Gray, to Virginia where Ashley lives. When Ashley gets home, she finds Levi naked and waiting for her. She has a surprise of her own – she’s gotten him an engagement ring, because she’s also realised she loves him and wants to marry him for real. She asks the question, he says yes, she puts on the pearl and diamond ring he gave her on the island, and they live happily ever after.

Another excellent book from Anne Marsh. A hot Navy SEAL, even hotter sex, and a happy ending. What more could a girl want?

Pleasing Her SEAL by Anne Marsh

pleasing her sealTitle: Pleasing Her SEAL

Author: Anne Marsh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Wedding blogger Maddie Holmes

The hero: SEAL Mason Black

The blurb: Wedding blogger Maddie Holmes is always the bridesmaid and never the bride. Still, being on the sidelines of everyone else’s happy endings has its perks, like staying at the luxurious, decadent Fantasy Island. The resort isn’t just romantic—it’s filled with sinful temptations…like delicious hottie resort chef Mason Black. And Maddie can’t wait to take a bite!

There’s just a problem with her plan. She has no idea that Mason is an undercover Navy SEAL who needs photographs Maddie took that put both his mission and her life at risk. Mason’s plan? Retrieve the pics and indulge in a few X-rated fantasies with the curvy redhead…and hope like hell that being between the sheets doesn’t blow his cover.

Standalone or series: Part of the Uniformly Hot! series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I think Maddie Holmes is one of my favourite heroines ever! Redhead? Check. Not afraid to tell a man exactly what she wants? Check. Not afraid to go after Mason, despite her misgivings? Check. She proposes to Mason first? Check. Maddie is sassy and sexy and straight forward, and I absolutely loved her.

Fantasy Island flies her there on an all expenses paid week holiday, so she can review the resort for her popular wedding blog and hopefully bring in more business for them as a luxury wedding resort. Maddie lays eyes on Mason, the resort’s chef, and can’t get him off her mind. Unfortunately, what Maddie doesn’t know is that Mason is not only a good cook, but an undercover Navy SEAL on a mission to capture a wanted warlord. When Maddie inadvertently takes pictures of the SEALs and becomes a potential target, Mason is assigned to not only protect her, but get to her laptop so his team can destroy any photos that could put them in danger.

Mason is attracted to Maddie and loves her lack of shyness, but he was married and divorced by the age of twenty, and his job isn’t exactly conductive to a long-term relationship. But he finds himself unable to resist Maddie’s repeated and blatant attempts at seduction, and they have majorly hot sex. I loved the teasing and lead up to the initial sex scene, and I also loved that while Mason went down on Maddie several times, she didn’t reciprocate – not for lack of trying, but because they were too hot for each other and couldn’t wait.

Maddie follows her heart and takes a leap, asking Mason to marry her. He doesn’t actually say no, but knows he can’t possibly give her the life she deserves and he’s pulled away from the island, so he flees, leaving a heartbroken Maddie behind. When the SEALs storm the compound of their target and find photos of Maddie everywhere, Mason bolts back to Fantasy Island. Maddie finds out the truth about him and is understandably so angry that she ends their relationship and walks away without a second glance.

But, three weeks later, while once again a bridesmaid, Maddie admits to herself that she misses Mason. When he turns up in uniform at the wedding and proposes with a gorgeous ring, Maddie can’t say anything but yes.

This book could definitely have been part of the Dare imprint (had it been around at time of publication) and I actually enjoyed this more than Anne Marsh’s Dare book. The language was certainly racy enough for Dare. Loved, loved, loved, and will be seeking out more Blaze book by Anne pronto 🙂

Intimate Knowledge by Julie Miller

intimate knowledgeTitle: Intimate Knowledge

Author: Julie Miller

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2002

The heroine: FBI agent Grace Lockhart

The hero: FBI agent Logan Pierce

The blurb: Grace Lockhart: Behind-the-scenes FBI agent. Shy, naive…and a sex kitten waiting to happen.

Logan Pierce: FBI field agent and the best of the best. Confident, cocky…and incapable of saying no to a beautiful woman.

The case: Agent Grace Lockhart has spent months developing a computer program that will put the city’s biggest crime lord behind bars. And now that it’s ready, all the FBI needs is somebody to smuggle it in to Harrison Mitchell’s estate. Only, because Mitchell is notorious for surrounding himself with a harem of beauties, that somebody has to be a woman….

Grace Lockhart wants to be that woman, but she’s anything but a femme fatale. But not for long. Because she’s heard that her new partner, sexy superagent Logan Pierce, is an expert at “hands-on” training….

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: When I found this Blaze book by Julie Miller, I moved it to the top of my to-read pile… and it didn’t disappoint. Logan Pierce is one of the best FBI field agents out there, so he’s pissed when his boss assigns him a new partner: Grace Lockhart, a computer expert, who’s never been in the field before. Logan is reluctant to partner up with her because the last time he had a field rookie with him, that agent was shot and killed.

Grace needs Logan’s help. She’s written a computer program that will infiltrate the records of Harris Mitchell (not Harrison, as listed in the blurb), wanted by the FBI for a slew of bad things. However, Harris is a known playboy who only surrounds himself with females, so Grace has to go undercover to install her program. Problem is, Grace doesn’t have a lot of experience with men, and she needs Logan – well known for loving the ladies – to help her become a femme fatale that Mitchell will hire.

Logan reluctantly agrees, not wanting to see Grace get hurt. He comes to realise that underneath the drab, baggy clothing, glasses, severe bun and endless note taking, Grace Lockhart has awesome curves and an even better personality. When he moves his lessons into the bedroom, she’s more than willing to learn, and the sex between them is hot. By the end of the assignment, Logan realises he can’t Grace go. Ever.

There’s an amusing sub-plot involving Grace’s mother, the delightfully named Mimsey, who is a b-grade actress in bad sci-fi movies. I’d also like to think that Grace is related to Hope and Harry Lockhart, from Julie’s Intrigue series 🙂

Wild And Wicked by Joanne Rock

wild and wickedTitle: Wild And Wicked

Author: Joanne Rock

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2003

The heroine: Horse trainer Kyra Stafford

The hero: Custom house builder Jesse Chandler

The blurb: Kyra Stafford is tired of being overlooked by her best friend and local bad boy Jesse Chandler. She needs to get him out of her system so that she can move on. And burning up the sheets for a night…or two…should do the trick. Since he’s not noticing her subtle seduction, she’s getting obvious. Capturing him at a local festival and making him trade sensual favours for his freedom should convince him to get a little wild with her.

Jesse may have earned his bad boy reputation but he’s proud of one thing – he’s never seduced Kyra. Then again, she’s never abducted him before. When she states the terms for his release, he can’t see past her sexy self to resist. By the time their steamy night is over, Jesse just can’t let her go. Too bad she’s not listening to any talk about commitment. Looks like he’s going to have to use a little wicked persuasion…

Standalone or series: This is the sequel to Wild And Willing, which features Jesse’s brother, Seth.

The review: I think I’ve mentioned previously that best friends to lovers is my favourite romance trope, hands down. All I have to do is read that the hero and heroine are best friends and I’m in. So I wanted to love this book, but I didn’t. I didn’t really feel that Jesse and Kyra were best friends for a number of reasons. Normally, a difference in age doesn’t bother me, but Jesse is five years older than Kyra and she was ten when they first became friends, which would have made Jesse fifteen – and I honestly feel that kind of age gap at those ages would have been too much.

Kyra is a horse trainer and Jesse is a partner in the ranch; he played minor league baseball, so is financially comfortable. Kyra is now twenty four and wants to buy Jesse out, which suits him fine because he’s starting his own business building custom homes. Kyra just needs to sell a horse with behavioural issues and she’ll have the money to be the controlling partner, so she hires a man named Clint, another rancher who’s known as a horse whisperer, to help settle the horse so she can sell him and buy Jesse out.

Kyra has had a thing for Jesse for years, but he’s never looked twice at her in that way; he values her friendship too much. All of a sudden, Kyra decides she must have Jesse pronto, so she uses a local festival to ‘kidnap’ him and have her wicked way with him. Jesse has a problem in the form of a fling named Greta, a German model who has it in her head that she’s the woman who’s going to get Jesse to settle down into marriage and a house with a white picket fence. Greta also happens to be nuttier than a fruitcake, so she has no qualms in warning Kyra away.

Kyra knows Jesse well enough to know he won’t commit to her, so she decides she’ll settle for letting him take her virginity (he’s her best friend, but didn’t know she’s a virgin until after they had sex? Uh, okay). However, somewhere in the mix, Jesse suddenly decides he’s ready to settle down, and it’s going to be with Kyra. She’s not interested in commitment, so he has to convince her.

I wish I’d felt more convinced by their relationship as best friends, because I would have enjoyed their romance more. There was also a subplot with Greta and Clint, in which she agreed to pretend to date Clint to make Jesse jealous and see sense, but then Clint really fell for Greta. They have sex near an airport under a runway and Clint manages to convince Greta to move to his ranch in Alabama. I could have lived without the whole subplot, because I wasn’t reading the book for Greta and Clint – it was supposed to be about Kyra and Jesse, and I felt this detracted from their story. I’m bummed I didn’t enjoy this more.

 

One Hot Weekend by Katherine Garbera

one hot weekendTitle: One Hot Weekend

Author: Katherine Garbera

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2004

The heroine: Assistant District Attorney Sophia Deltonio

The hero: Lawyer Mitch Holloran

The blurb: Assistant District Attorney Sophia Deltonio is squaring up against hotshot lawyer and ex-lover Mitch Holloran. Their scandalous court case is the talk of steamy Florida. But it’s the explosive heat the two of them generate outside the courtroom that really rattles Sophia.

She proposes a little fun bet: if Mitch wins the case, she’ll be his love slave for the weekend, ready to participate in all his deep dark sexual fantasies about her. If she wins—he’ll leave town pronto. So why is Sophia hoping that for once her winning streak—in court—is over?

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: If I had to pick one word for this book, it would be “confusing”. The blurb is wrong – Sophia and Mitch do agree to a bet, but if she wins he doesn’t have to leave town. Regardless of who wins, they agree to spend a weekend together; the winner will be the master and the loser the slave.

Sophia and Mitch were college sweethearts when they both attended Harvard. For reasons that are never really made clear, Sophia sends Mitch on some sort of false trail (for what? who knows) and somehow makes him seem incompetent to a law firm where they’re both pursuing an internship. Because apparently, there was only one law firm offering an internship at that time.

Mitch was planning to ask Sophia to marry him, but then he found out about her betrayal and she got the internship. He moved to California, she ended up in Florida. They end up taking opposite sides of the same case, and Mitch decides to use this case as an excuse to get revenge on Sophia for breaking his heart.

They’re instantly still attracted to each other, and while Mitch keeps going on and on about getting his revenge – his plan is apparently to have sex with her and then walk away, like she did to him ten years previously – he suddenly decides half way through the book that he doesn’t want revenge anymore. But then a few chapters later, he’s back on the revenge train. I found the back and forth very confusing. Sophia’s behaviour in college made no sense. It turns out that she was afraid of choosing him over her career, but why? They could have made their relationship work if they’d really wanted to. This is the first book I’ve read where I honestly felt like the hero and heroine were probably better off without each other.

It also made me wince in a few places, because there are three words I never want to read when it comes to a woman and sex: “moist”, “creamy” and “humid”. These words should never be used to describe a woman’s vagina. This book had two of ’em. That took me right out the scenes I was reading. Alas, earwax.

One Breathless Night by Jo Leigh

one breathless nightTitle: One Breathless Night

Author: Jo Leigh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2015

The heroine: English teacher Jenna Delaney

The hero: Storm chaser Rick Sinclair

The blurb: Jenna Delaney has her life all mapped out — work, fiancé, financial plan. But when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, Jenna’s best-laid plans disappear. Instead, she finds herself lip-locked with the hunkiest of all hot male strangers. And whoa, serious fireworks. The kind that makes a girl plan on how to get best laid!

Rick Sinclair is blown away by the sheer force of their chemistry, especially when they end up at his borrowed high-tech ‘smart’ apartment. Except that this apartment seems to know just how to set up a seduction because suddenly Jenna is in Rick’s bed. And this one breathless night could take them anywhere…

Standalone or series: Part of the Three Wicked Nights series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Jenna is with her fiancé at the same New Year’s Eve party they’ve gone to for five years when she catches him kissing an old acquaintance at the stroke of midnight. This woman isn’t alone, either – her boyfriend, Rick, who has a diamond ring in his pocket, also spots them. Jenna and Rick, both devastated by the betrayal, don’t want to stick around. After kissing each other, they flee the party and head to where Rick is staying – his friend Sam’s amazing apartment, which also features in One Sizzling Night. This apartment is technologically a marvel – mood lighting that automatically comes on, rooms that adjust the temperature to suit the individual, etc.

They’re snowed in, thanks to the blizzard outside, and Jenna tries to sleep but finds herself freezing in the bedroom she’s in. So she wanders into Rick’s bedroom and climbs into bed with him at his invitation, and the next thing you know they’ve found a very enjoyable way to heat each other up.

Once they finally leave the apartment, they realise they miss each other and don’t miss their exes, so they end their relationships and see if they can forge one together. Living in separate states makes it harder – she’s in Boston, he’s in Oklahoma. There is a bit of anxiety; he thinks she wants someone with a stable job, and as a professional storm chaser he has to leave at a moment’s notice at any time of the day or night. They meet up a few times for hot sex, but come to realise they want more.

I enjoyed this book more than I did the previous one, because I liked both Rick and Jenna. Worth a read.

Feels Like The First Time by Tawny Weber

feels like the first timeTitle: Feels Like The First Time

Author: Tawny Weber

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2009

The heroine: Freelance consultant Zoe Gaston

The hero: Video game designer Dexter Drake

The blurb: Zoe Gaston needs to unmask a mystery man for work. She also must survive her dreaded high school reunion—and the costume party that opens it. So Zoe, once voted Girl Most Likely to Die a Virgin, comes dressed as a dominatrix…whip and all!

Her scandalous costume catches a secret lover. But Zoe is shocked to discover the sexy body she’s been so thoroughly enjoying belongs to Dexter Drake—her oldest friend! And he’s hiding something bigger than just his identity….

Standalone or series: Part of the Dressed To Thrill series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: This is another book I have mixed feelings on. Zoe Gaston decides to attend her ten year high school reunion because she’s looking for a classmate known online as Gandalf – he’s one of the hottest video game designers in the business. Everyone is talking about him at the reunion, but she needs to find him because her sister-in-law is convinced Gandalf can help turn Zoe’s brother’s fledging business around.

Zoe was never popular in school; she was a goth geek whose only real friend was maths geek Dexter Drake. A year younger than her, he stuck by her when her parents died in a car accident at sixteen. Despite them being the best of friends, they lost touch when she left school – and town – and they haven’t seen each other in ten years.

When Zoe spots Dex at the hotel his parents own where the reunion is taking place, she’s stunned. He’s grown into a tall, sexy guy she finds herself lusting after. What she doesn’t know is that he had a crush on her all those years ago, and that crush is reignited when he sees her again.

The opening dinner is a costume party, so Zoe’s sister-in-law orders her a costume but the shop delivers the wrong one – she gets a dominatrix costume. She wears it anyway and runs into a masked man called Aragorn, with whom she makes out in the dark. He kisses and runs, and she wants to hook up with him again.

You can see where this is going, right? Masked man = Gandalf = Dexter. Zoe figures out the masked man is Dexter before she has hot sex with him, but he doesn’t know that until the next morning. Anyway, in the end, Zoe decides she loves Dex enough to stay in her hometown; he reveals himself to be Gandalf and helps her brother.

What made this a mixed bag for me was Zoe. I really couldn’t get much a feel for her character, and I can’t really say why. I absolutely adored Dex, and his grandmother was a hoot. I can see why Zoe fell in love with Dex, but couldn’t see why it was mutual. Various characters kept listing all of Zoe’s attributes, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Le sigh.

The sex scene had a major error, which threw me out of it: before they start, Dex decides he wants Zoe to leave her boots on and nothing else. He takes her boots off to pull her jeans and underwear off, but two lines later… he’s kissing her leg just above her boots. Zoe apparently owes magical boots that put themselves back on after thirty seconds! Worth a read for Dex.

 

Dangerous Curves by Karen Anders

dangerous curvesTitle: Dangerous Curves

Author: Karen Anders

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2009

The heroine: DEA agent Rio Marshall

The hero: FBI agent Max Carpenter

The blurb:  FBI agent Max Carpenter is assigned to protect irresistible DEA agent Rio Marshall. They’ll be whisked away to Hawaii – for security purposes, of course – for sun, sand and plenty of hot, sweet sex…

What Max doesn’t know is that Rio has been assigned a task of her own. A task that will require using every asset in her considerable arsenal. But nothing – not even fear for their lives – can keep them apart for long….

Standalone or series: Part of the Undercover Lovers series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: I have mixed feelings about this book. On the whole, I enjoyed it – it had plenty of action and hot sex. I liked Max immensely, but didn’t feel the same about Rio (and her name, honestly, made me think of Duran Duran every time I saw it!). Max is assigned to protect Rio, who is apparently being targeted, but she’s been told it’s really to keep him out of the way. Max is pursuing a known felon called the Ghost, because one of his sisters was almost killed by the Ghost, and he wants to capture him. However, the DEA apparently has an undercover agent infiltrating some Colombian drug lord’s smuggling operation which is linked to the Ghost and Max is jeopardising that, so Rio is supposed to keep him occupied long enough for the DEA to take him down.

It doesn’t take them long to get it on. They go straight from meeting each other to the airport, where they’re being hidden away in Hawai’i (if I ever need to be hidden away, I hope it’s in Hawai’i!), and on the plane they make out in the bathroom. Uh huh. Once in Hawai’i, they head to the beach and have sex. They’re all over each other throughout the entire book. I know the relationships in M&B books tends to happen pretty quickly, but they’ve literally known each other for hours.

Anyway, I can go with that, because the sex scenes were hot and they do end up falling in love, but here’s what didn’t work for me: Max has twin sisters whose names are Allie and Callie. Really? Allie and Callie? I get that twins can have rhyming names/names that start with the same letter, but…. no.

There was also a minor Australian character called Thad (no, I have never met another Aussie called Thad – that has always been an American name to me), and he’s apparently a walking cliché. He only has a few lines, but every single one of them had me cringing. For the record: no, we do not call women ‘sheilas’. No, we do not say ‘true blue’. Ugh. I’m glad he was only in a few pages.

 

 

Cowboy Up by Vicki Lewis Thompson

cowboy upTitle: Cowboy Up

Author: Vicki Lewis Thompson

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2011

The heroine: Receptionist/Surfer Emily Sterling

The hero: Rancher Clay Whitaker

The blurb: After Emily Sterling’s parents divorce, she promised to never fall for a cowboy. Now Emily has returned to her father’s ranch… only to find herself face-to-face with unbelievably hot rancher Clay Whitaker!

Clay is the resident stud expert at the ranch and isn’t too keen on city slickers… until Emily arrives. Now he’s showing Emily just what a ranch – and a cowboy – has to offer. And it’s an offer Emily can’t refuse!

Standalone or series: This is book five of the Sons of Chance series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Let’s talk about that cover first, shall we? If the cowboys in Wyoming are this hot, I’m moving there!

I think the blurb above is a bit misleading. Emily was two when her parents divorced; they married because the sex was hot, but her mother wants a California lifestyle and her father is a cowboy and being on a ranch is in his blood, so they divorced and Emily went with her mother. She was raised a California girl and loves to surf. But now she’s in her late twenties and still doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Her father, Emmett, is the ranch foreman and it’s his sixtieth birthday, so she’s in Wyoming to celebrate with him.

When she was last on the ranch ten years ago, Clay had a huge crush on her, but Emily’s mother had drilled into her that ranching life wasn’t for her, and she should stay away from cowboys, so she dismissed him. However, Emily has changed a lot in ten years, and she realises how much she’s missed her father and how much at home she feels at the ranch.

Everybody on the ranch dislikes her because they’ve worked out that Emmett is sending her monthly cheques out of his pay. What they don’t know, however, is that Emmett has been lying to Emily – he told her that it was an inheritance from her grandparents. They also don’t know that Emily hasn’t spent a penny of it; she’s invested the money until she works out what she wants to do with her life.

It turns out what she wants to do at the ranch is Clay. Their attraction is instant and swift, and it’s not long before they’re sneaking around having sex. She’s not planning to stay long, so they both know it won’t lead anywhere, but they can’t stay away from each other. Emmett works out what’s going on and tries to warn his daughter because of what happened with him and Emily’s mother, not because he doesn’t like Clay – he loves Clay like a son. But he knows Clay will never leave the ranch because it’s the only home he’s ever known (Clay was orphaned at three and lived in foster homes until he was eighteen and ended up at the ranch, where the Chance family looked after him).

In the end, Emily decides she doesn’t want to leave the ranch or her father… or Clay.

I enjoyed this book, but one thing that seems to crop up a lot also happened in this book. Let’s talk about sex, baby – more specifically, names for genitalia. I’m generally fine with whatever name is being used, but let’s just stick to one, shall we? In this book, Clay had no less than three different names being used – penis, cock, and johnson, which always makes me laugh and brings me right out of the scene. As for Emily, she referred to hers as a hoo-ha. Again, another juvenile term that just brings me right out of the scene, which is a shame because the sex scenes were hot.

Clay’s in charge of the stud program, which involves collecting horse semen and selling it to various buyers. By the end of the book, you’ll know more about the process than you ever wanted to, trust me.

The editor in me also wants to point out that Emily is referred to as Emily Whitaker in one scene, rather than Sterling 😉

Wicked Pleasures by Tori Carrington

wicked pleasuresTitle: Wicked Pleasures

Author: Tori Carrington (aka husband and wife team Tony and Lori Karayianni)

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2011

The heroine: Waitress Regina Dodson (real name Willa Nelson)

The hero: Former Marine & FBI agent/current security specialist Lincoln Williams

The blurb: Former marine and FBI agent Linc Williams is on a simple surveillance job monitoring his target’s ex-girlfriend, Regina Dodson. But nothing is simple when he’s watching a woman who makes him forget everything!

The best way to observe someone is to get as close as possible and Linc can’t get any closer – the sex is absolutely mind-blowing! But what will Regina do when she discovers these wicked pleasures started as deceptive measures?

Standalone or series: This is part of the Pleasure Seekers trilogy, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Okay, let’s get the cover out of the way first. It’s a good cover, but Lincoln is described as being mixed race on the first page of the book – his mother is white, his father is black. It would have been nice to see M&B portray that on the cover.

Lincoln has followed Regina and her friend to a nightclub, where things get very heated very quickly. Her friend, Vivienne, invites him back to Regina’s place for a threesome, but the girls are drunk and the only thing that happens is that Linc gets a blow job from Regina (which, of course, he never meant to let happen because he’s following Regina). When she wakes up the next morning, however, she doesn’t remember straight away what happened.

The reason Linc is following Regina is because her ex-boyfriend is a bank robber who has escaped from prison, where he was put after a security guard died during the robbery. Billy Johnson believes Regina took his share of the money from the robbery and he wants it back. Regina doesn’t appear to have the money, so that’s going to be a problem.

Linc can’t stay away from Regina, or get her out of his mind. Regina can’t stay away from Linc, or get him out of hers. After several days and a few failed attempts, they fall into bed for hours of hot sex. Linc finds himself becoming very attached to Regina and he knows he has to tell her about Billy, but he’s reluctant to ruin the connection they share.

She eventually finds out, Billy turns up to get his money and isn’t very nice about it, and he’s eventually killed. Linc tells Regina why Billy’s case was so personal to him and why he was so determined to put Billy back behind bars (he was the FBI agent who put him away in the first place). She leaves to go back to Maine, where she’s from, to be with her ailing mother, and Linc follows her there. You know they get their happy ending.

One thing I found confusing, which I’m guessing was just an error, is that once Regina is back in Maine she finds a carving she did with her and Billy’s initials in it when they were together years previously, but the initials carved for her are RD. Regina had only changed her name eighteen months previously when she moved to make a new life for herself, so her initials would have been her real name: WN, for Willa Nelson. A minor thing, though. A good book overall.

 

 

 

One Sizzling Night by Jo Leigh

one sizzling night

Title: One Sizzling Night

Author: Jo Leigh

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Curator Kensey Foster (Roberts)

The hero: Former black ops soldier turned security specialist Logan McCabe

The blurb: First come lies…then comes temptation.

Former Black Ops soldier Logan McCabe is in high-tech heaven. The ‘smart’ apartment he’s staying at has it all — luxurious amenities, walls that change colour and a seductive and nearly naked woman in the living room. Now that’s everything a man can ask for. Except Kensey Roberts is no pixel pinup…and the sexual tension between them is most assuredly real.

Kensey is in way over her head. She’s undercover to expose a possible art thief and clear her absentee father’s name. She doesn’t need a distraction — especially the ex-military, crazy-sexy hot kind. ‘Captain McBabe’ is over six feet of pure, delicious temptation. But one sizzling night won’t just compromise her reputation…it could blow her cover sky-high.

Standalone or series: Part of the Three Wicked Nights series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I’ve read some books by Jo Leigh before and I’ve always enjoyed them. I liked this one, but I felt myself going back and forth about the romance between Logan and Kensey. They seemed to vacillate between hot and cold just a little too much for me, and neither of them appeared to trust the other a whole lot. They were both hiding secrets, and while I understood the reason for them, it just didn’t seem to be a good basis to build a relationship on.

I loved the supporting characters, especially Sam (who features in the last book of the series). She’s a tech genius and the apartment she’s designed sounds absolutely amazing – I’d love to live in it! Lighting that adapts to your mood. An awesome bathroom. The ideas were incredibly clever.

Kensey’s on a secret mission to prove her absentee father didn’t steal a painting worth millions, and she goes to the home of the man she suspects stole the original painting in an attempt to prove it – knowing he plans to have sex with her, and she has no idea how she’s going to get out of it. Even when she does end up proving it (with Logan’s help), she still doesn’t know if she even wants to make amends with her father. That had me wondering: why did she bother?

I noted that this is the first M&B book I’ve ever read that used the technical term for going down on a woman, and it jarred. I’m surprised they put it in, to be honest.

I liked Logan, but I found Kensey annoying at times. I wanted to like her more, but I just didn’t. Alas, earwax. But hey, let’s hear it for that cover – hot!

Pulled Under by Kelli Ireland

pulled underTitle: Pulled Under

Author: Kelli Ireland

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2015

The heroine: IRS Senior Field Investigator Harper Banks

The hero: Stripper and part club owner Levi Walsh

The blurb: Levi Walsh is the part-owner of a bar featuring the sexiest exotic male dancers – including himself. But as Levi goes over the books, he realises something is not right. Then the IRS comes knocking…

Investigator Harper Banks is determined not to notice that Levis is seriously sexy. But even as his skilled seduction melts her rigid self-control, Harper is certain Levi is lying to her. Which means she’ll have to strip him down… and pull him under!

Standalone or series: This is book three in the Pleasure Before Business series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Okay, let’s check out the cover first. Yum! Now, the title. One thing I have noticed about the majority of the Mills & Boon books is that the titles are, well, awful. I sometimes wonder if the powers that be have some sort of competition going to see who can come up with the worst title. Half the time, it doesn’t even have anything to do with the story. I’m really not loving the title for this book. Pulled under what?

Moving on. Oh, Harper and Levi. They both have trust issues, poor dears, and rightly so. They’ve both been betrayed by people they should have been able to trust, Harper more so, which means she finds it hard to trust Levi and the feelings she develops for him. It doesn’t help that Levi lies and withholds information she needs to do her job, and of course, when it finally comes out, she arrests his ass as any good IRS agent would do… even though she’s already in love with him.

Throw in some seriously shifty partners on his part, a somewhat strange one on hers, and it’s a wonder they weren’t both nervous wrecks by the end of it. They’re both miserable for a little while after the investigation goes south, but in the end, Levi is not going to give up on Harper and he goes to get his girl.

He talks her into attending a show the first night she’s there and involves her in the ridiculously hot dance he does, which is fun. I do think the way they sparred on the first day was a little unprofessional on her part, and the way he called her “Harp” here and there was annoying, but otherwise it was a good read and the sex scenes were hot *g*

 

Anywhere With You by Debbi Rawlins

anywhere with youTitle: Anywhere With You

Author: Debbi Rawlins

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2015

The heroine: Deputy Sheriff Grace Hendrix

The hero: Stuntman Ben Wolf

The blurb: Blackfoot Falls has a new deputy – and she just gave stuntman Ben Wolf a speeding ticket. He is no longer a troublemaker but if the law looks like this… he is tempted to misbehave!

Deputy Grace Hendrix doesn’t want to be sweet-talked by a sexy stranger. To be the next sheriff, she’ll have to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, trouble is over six feet of hard-bodied gorgeousness. Soon this good cop indulges in a little bad-boy diversion…

Standalone or series: This is book ten in the Made in Montana series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: I like that this book reversed the typical gender roles and made the heroine the law enforcement officer, because it’s usually the other way around. Ben Wolf has come home for a family wedding and to confront the mother he hasn’t seen in fifteen years about the identity of his father. Grace Hendrix has just moved to Blackfoot Falls to start over, having lost her partner on the job and been embroiled in a secret he was hiding.

I liked both Grace and Ben, and I felt for Grace. The other deputies she had to work with were douchebags, especially one in particular who deserved a punch in the nuts for his behaviour. The romance was nicely done, although I do find myself questioning how the characters can fall in love in the space of a week (this is quite common, though). Grace had me cheering for her ability to rise above it all, and Ben’s willingness to give up everything and go wherever she was made me happy.