The winner, chosen at random is....
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|Image from IMDB|
"The earth cradles us, and to you she has given great gifts." Davidov's voice grew deep and lyrical. "A mere week ago you burrowed into her and she saved your life. What do you think will happen if you ignore the call? She is the goddess earth. She is powerful."
"I know. I know I should obey. I know I'm needed." Charisma whispered. "But I'm afraid."
Her hand on the Guardian's arm trembled. "Afraid of what?" he asked.
Her eyes lost their focus, and she seemed almost to be talking to herself. "It's so deep. The passages are dark and dangerous, and at the end... what is within is beautiful and terrible."
|Cover art obtained from publishers' website|
No safe word can protect the heart...
Infamous erotica author and accomplished dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is doing something utterly out of character: hiding. While her longtime lover, Søren–whose fetishes, if exposed, would be his ruin–is under scrutiny pending a major promotion, Nora’s lying low and away from temptation in the lap of luxury.
Her host, the wealthy and uninhibited Griffin Fiske, is thrilled to have Nora stay at his country estate, especially once he meets her traveling companion. Young, inexperienced and angelically beautiful, Michael has become Nora’s protégé, and this summer with Griffin is going to be his training, where the hazing never ends.
But while her flesh is willing, Nora’s mind is wandering. To thoughts of Søren, her master, under investigation by a journalist with an ax to grind. And to another man from Nora’s past, whose hold on her is less bruising, but whose secrets are no less painful. It’s a summer that will prove the old adage: love hurts.
The sound of falling water roused Michael from his sleep. Rain pelted the roof above him and the window next to him. Usually he loved the sound of rain, especially a morning rain in the summer. But now his first thought upon waking was of Griffin on his motorcycle, wet roads and screeching tires.
So this is love, he decided. Love was fucking terrifying.
"I've never understood it. That is always the first thing someone asks: Where are you from. Not 'What do you like?' or 'What do you believe?' or even 'What is your mother like?' which all have more bearing on the person I am. And if I don't tell them where I'm from, they try to guess. Even though there are other people with my color spread all over the New World, they assume that I'm Liberé-- until they hear me speak. They know by my accent that I'm not black Irish, and not from Manhattan city-- though that is partially correct-- and not from Lusitania or Castile or the disputed territories. It drives them mad, as if to know me they need to know where I am from."This rant from Annika - and it's just the beginning of the rant, mind you - is terribly ironic because the secret Icelandic community that Annika grew up in informs her whole character: what she knows, what she doesn't know, what she thinks she knows. She is on a quest to find her sister Källa, who was wrongly exiled from their town of Hannasvik. The crime? Carelessly lighting a beach fire which resulted in the town narrowly missing being discovered by outsiders.
Extending a friendship was all well and good, but Annika knew that her attraction to him could easily deepen, she *knew* that a part of her longed for more... and he didn't. Continuing their acquaintance would only serve as fodder for her silly daydreams. For her own sake, she should end this now.Fortunately, the forced proximity of their journey and adventure prevents them from giving up too easily.
She couldn't find the words to do it. Each one seemed to catch in the ache beneath her breast and refuse to surface. Perhaps they didn't have to. David seemed to take her silence as a response and looked away from her with a weary nod.
Her throat tightened. This wasn't what she wanted, either.
How can she dare to imagine he loves her…when all London calls her The Ugly Duchess ?Multiple Personalities
Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke's passion.
Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.
Theo would have given it a lifetime…until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry. Society was shocked by their wedding; it's scandalized by their separation.
Now James faces the battle of his lifetime, convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swan.
And Theo will quickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate, All's Fair in Love—or War.
In the weeks and years to come, when she looked back she identified that as the precise moment when her heart broke in two. The moment that separated Daisy from Theo, the time Before, from the time After.Oh. Ouch.
In the time Before, she had faith. She had love.
In the time After... she had the truth.
The woman poised at the top of the stairs, looking down at all of them with a little smile that indicated absolute self-confidence, looked like a goddess who happened to come down to earth by way of Paris. She radiated that sort of ineffable glamour that simply cannot be learned...At the same time, the hero takes a journey of his own. In the opening days of the book, he is a mere 19 years old, and known as one of the prettiest young men of his day. He is, in fact, mostly decorative, as his attempts to understand the estate business illustrate. The author here hints at a Regency version of ADHD:
...[SNIP]... there was something magnificent about the countess tonight, almost hypnotic. The pièce de résistance of her costume was a formal cape that gleamed under the light, soft and lustrous, almost as if it were made of fur.
...[SNIP]... It sprang out from Lady Islay's shoulders and then swirled to the ground, managing to look surprisingly light. The inside was lined with a gorgeous rosy silk, and the outside...
"What on earth is that made of?" Claribel couldn't help asking as she reached out to touch it.
"I can guess," Cecil put in, the thread of amusement in his voice even stronger.
"Oh can you?" Theo remarked. "Then tell me this: am I being altogether too obvious?"
Claribel hadn't the faintest idea what she meant. But Cecil, clever Cecil, obviously did, because he bellowed with laughter.
"Swansdown," he said. "Gorgeous swansdown, and every man and woman in this room has taken note of your swanlike triumph."
By the time the meeting was drawing to a close, James felt like jumping out the library window and running into the street, screaming. He was an idiot who would never be able to manage his own estate because he couldn't bear thinking or talking about numbers. As Reede prosed on, his entire body tensed with the fervent wish to get the hell out of the library.When James returns to Theo, he is no longer an elegant, lean, handsome dandy. Seven years at sea have left him scarred, tattooed, and far bulkier than when he left. This might sound appealing to a modern reader (um, yeah...) but the facial tattoo in particular puts him beyond the pale of Regency society, even as Theo conquers it. Eloisa James executes these two arcs with perfect symmetry, giving us the fairy tale's moral about "judging by appearances" forward and backward.
...[SNIP] It wasn't that he couldn't do mathematics or accounting; he'd learned both in school. But his concentration constantly slipped in the face of such calculations, and he found himself thinking about not selling horses for profit but about the ways he planned to repair the stables.
...[SNIP]... The truth of it was that he was a fool who was really only good for scything, because if he didn't get into the fresh air and exercise hard every day, he couldn't control his bloody, bloody temper.
His Duty is to Fulfill Her Every Desire...A Little Bit Paranormal
Brandr the Far–Traveled has seen the world and a good many of the beautiful women in it. His bed skills are the stuff of steamy legend, his sword sings death, and he can call up fire from thin air. No one in a hundred years ever thought he could be enslaved through trickery and forced to wear the iron collar of a thrall—least of all him.
Until All She Desires is Him...
Katla the Black isn't just called so for her dark, silky hair. His new mistress has a temper as fierce as a warrior's and a heart as icy as the frozen North. But inch by delicious inch, Brandr means to make her melt...
Brandr's hands had driven her to such madness, she was helpless before him. He'd seen her as no one in her whole life had.Contradictorily, she still longs for the mythical inn matki munr, the great passion, so intimate that the bonded pair can speak to each other telepathically. The story of the romance here is really the story of Katla allowing herself to become vulnerable and to accept Brandr, love, and help into her life. She's spent a lifetime compensating for inadequate men in her life - taking care of her steading and its dependents, while her erstwhile husband and brothers serve more to drag her down than to help her.
Needy. Weak. Vulnerable.
Osvald [her deceased husband] hadn't wakened that deep hunger in her, never made her lose her calm reserve.
She dared not allow it to happen again.
She had to show this man his place and quickly. "I saved you from the gelding knife this night. You will show your appreciation by kissing my foot."Obedient, but clever and not subservient in the least (although I can't help but think he might have bashed her head in with this move - this is a problem I have when I start getting analytical....) Anyway, Brandr is a pretty simple guy - he thinks he and Katla will knock along fine in life, and sets about to thoroughly seduce and keep her in a fairly linear-- and successful-- way. I wouldn't say there is tremendous character growth for him, but since he's such a fun character to begin with, I'll forgive it.
She lifted her nightshift to ankle height and presented one to him, toes pointed.
*That should wipe the smug expression from his face.*
He shrugged, bent over, and grabbed her ankle. Then he yanked her upside down. Her bottom took a glancing blow on the floor before she found herself hanging precariously, her foot level with is mouth when he stood back upright.
...[SNIP]... He glared down at her and bared his teeth in a wolf's smile. "Want me to kiss anything else, princess?"
Beneath the elegant façade of Victorian high society, the mysterious men of the St. James Society play only by rules of danger and desire.The Characters
Rance Welham, the Earl of Lazonby, has survived scandal and disgrace, even evading the Queen’s justice at the end of a hangman’s rope. Now he’s about to gamble everything on something far more dangerous—desire.
An exotic and elegant beauty, Lady Anisha Stafford fled her native India to seek refuge within London’s secretive St. James Society. But accepting protection from someone called a cold-hearted killer is a double-edged sword . . . especially when he’s the most intriguing man Anisha has ever laid eyes upon.
In a world where treachery abounds, no one can be trusted—and no true passion can be denied. Together, these two tempestuous souls will risk their lives for a love that could redeem them . . . or destroy everything they hold dear.
Anisha turned, her spine elegantly aligned, her breasts still beautifully high amidst the untidy tendrils of tumbled-down hair. "I do not own a corset," she said simply.I liked Anisha a lot, most of the time. She's forthright, pragmatic, sensual, and has priorities I can understand. She's got a strong touch of the exotic to her character which overall I liked, but there were times when I felt like the Indian cultural pieces were laid on a bit heavily. It was consistent with her character and did serve to underline her torn-between-two-cultures conflicts; I just felt that it was a tad awkward or lecture-feeling at times.
She smiled faintly. "I find them unhealthful," she added. "They restrict one's vital life forces - one's *prana* - and that hampers *citta*--"
"Ah," he said. "Which is...?"
Anisha paused to think. "Well, awareness of life," she said. "Consciousness."
In Africa he had lived a life sunk so deep in licentiousness that he was ashamed to remember much of it; lain so long and so often in a drug-hazed stupor with God only knew who, he had become more animal than man. But in that moment of perfect innocence beneath the arbor, he felt Anisha's need wash through him like a pure, clean thing. He believed for a moment that he was that different man; forgot for a few fleeting moments the accusations that had ruined him.Yeah. I love that.
|Publisher Name:||Shiloh Walker, Inc|
|Reviewing:||eARC from NetGalley|
My sword arm is mighty.Descended from the legendary Amazons (the ones from the Hercules myth, not the ones from South America), Kit is only a half-breed, and her gifts are subtle, seemingly weak. From a childhood of brutal training and emotional abuse, Kit has made the most of her human strengths too-- muscular toughness, persistence, self-reliance, unshakeable loyalty to those who are lucky enough to win it, and a sort of preternatural cleverness for riddles (I think it must be very hard to write this as a character's true skill and not authorial intrusion- we have to believe she really figures this stuff out). She also has a very handy trick with weapons. I think that a fun part of the series will be to watch Kit come into her own, and really understand what she is capable of. An interesting twist is that the aneira themselves are not widely known about, and Kit can "pass" for Muggle... er, non-paranormal. And yes, I think the echoes of racism and segregation and civil rights are interesting and intentional.
I will not falter.
I will not fail.
My aim is true.
My heart is strong.
He pulled me against him and I went, sinking against his chest. I could lean on him, I realized. I really could. And it wasn't so bad to do it.This is an amazing moment for an independently-inclined woman who's falling in love, and you don't have to have magical powers to recognize it, to feel it resonate.
"Don't touch me." She barely managed to get the words out.These two quite literally go through Hell to be together (how often do I get to say that? Abuse of the word "literally" is one of my hot-buttons) and when they get their resolution, I think you'll be as pleased as I was. I'm not sure I can use the term "Happily Ever After," because the series arc calls into question the longevity of the World As We Know It (heh), plus the meaning of words like "ever" and "dead" and so forth becomes a bit hazy when you're dealing with immortals.
"You want me to touch you."
His hands were on her, his touch burning. Ana's eyes flew open and she whirled around, knocking his hand from her body as she did so.
"No." Her chest was heaving, her hands clenched into fists. "I don't want your touch, Declan, let's be honest here. I want to *eat* you." Ana said every word carefully as she glared at him. "There's a huge difference between the two."
As part of the 64th Aggressor Squadron, Major Ryan “Fang” Haverty flies like the enemy to teach Allied pilots how not to die. The glittering excess of the Strip can’t compare to the glowing jet engines of his F-16. But a sexy, redheaded waitress in seamed stockings? Now she gets his blood pumping.This book and its partners in the trilogy easily qualify as romance as well as erotica. With a typical romance, we have sexual chemistry early on, and usually the author lets the tension sizzle and build while they fall in love. In the Vegas Top Gun books, each couple indulges in some extremely hot sex right at the beginning, and the tension comes from their emotional journeys, not from sexual anticipation. Each of the three books ventures a little bit afield of vanilla sex, but not terribly "out there." (Unfashionably, there is no menage, go figure.)
Cassandra Whitman’s good-girl ways haven’t earned any slack from her manager ex-boyfriend, or prevented a bad case of frazzle from holding down two and a half jobs. She sure wouldn’t mind letting the handsome Southern charmer shake up her routine.
Their wild weekend lives up to Sin City’s reputation. Especially when they discover a matched passion for roleplaying. For Cass, it’s an exciting departure from her normal, shy persona. But for Ryan, it triggers memories of a time when his fetish drove away the woman he loved—leaving him reluctant to risk a repeat performance.
Except Cass refuses to settle for ordinary ever again. She’s about to show the man with hair-trigger hands that she’s got a few surprise moves of her own.