Monday, December 31, 2012


This is the time of year where I get all weepy and reminisce about that has happened. 2012 has been a year of great joy and opportunity and some let downs for me. Although so much good has come from 2012, I am not sorry to see it go.

I am extremely thankful for my children, Gabrielle, Jason, and Daniel, for they are a constant source of happiness for me. My friends, new and old are what keep me going. My cousin Chanel, who always is there to listen, I LOVE YOU. My ever-present Book Obsessed Chicks, Denise, Francesca, Holly, Terry, Penny, Jennifer, Nina, Margaret, Katie, and Sara, I thank you for your help and support this crazy year. My newest ladies in the mix, Lisa, Jenn, Taryn, Heather and Maria, I am so happy to have met you and consider you my closest of friends.

I want to thank all the fabulous authors who have come to book club and those we have had the great pleasure to meet in 2012. We began the year with dinner with Lorelei James, who I ADORE, and met a chica I consider to be a best friend, Francesca Bensi there, so it was double the pleasure. Thanks to Sylvia Day, Stephanie Julian, Judi Fennell, Donna Grant, Sarah MacLean, Diana Cosby, Maya Banks, Melinda Leigh, Rayna Vause, Cat Johnson, CH Admirand, Tara Nina, Mari Carr, Jayne Rylon, Bianca D’Arc, Hope Tarr, Maya Rodale, Tarah Scott, Gabrielle Bisset and Caridad Pineiro for joining in Book Obsessed Chicks good times like the Beach BBQ and the Christmas Party.

2012 was a conference year for me. March began that fun with Liberty States Create Something Magical conference in NJ where Larissa Ione was subjected to some Book Obsessed rowdiness at our pajama party. Thank you Larissa for being so good about our not so normal crew!

Next conference was Lori Foster’s Reader Appreciation weekend where I finally met my amazing new friend and constant source of confidence in the form of author Linda McMaken. I love her and her amazing family and wish the best to them all, especially my sweetie, Samara, who is going to have a precious bundle of joy this year. Gayle Donnelly and Robyn MacKenzie rock my world on so many levels. I love these talented ladies more than they can imagine. They have been so good to me and I hope I can return all the good they do tenfold! 

I met so many awesome authors and readers who I now consider my most awesome friends now at Lori Foster’s weekend.
Cassandra Maguire, Michelle Boone, Paige Tyler, Wendi Zwaduk, Drea Beacraft, Jambrea Gaff, Margie Hager, Valerie Cozart, Barb Hill-Kidd and last but certainly not least, Joni Anderson, who makes me laugh. Thanks to this crew for a life altering experience… I look forward to the next one!

One event I had been anticipating all year was Lara Adrian’s first official LAMBCON, which took place in August in Boston. This event was so very special to me because if it were not for Lara Adrian, I probably would never have begun Book Obsessed Chicks book club or my blog. I certainly would not have gone to conferences and met so many stupendous people. Lara Adrian and her husband John are two of the best people I know and am so proud to call my friends. Lara is the classiest woman I know and her constant grace always has me in awe. She is also one of the hardest working ladies who always makes time for her readers. Helping with LAMBCON was a highlight for me. I met so many more people who share the same passion I do. Big Hugs to Lara, John, Debbie, Paula, Courtney, Carla, Gwen, Pat, Melissa, Angie, Kara, Lynn and Loren, who along with my Scarangella Posse, made that weekend so memorable.

The final conference was Lora Leigh’s RAW in Pittsburgh, PA. There, I was reunited with my absolute favorite ladies, Beth Williamson, Amanda McIntyre, Mary Wine, CH Admirand, Monica Burns, Stephanie Julian, Bianca D’Arc and Sahara Kelly. I became great friends with Sandy Dillon, Carrie Ann Ryan, and Dana Marie Bell. By the way, TEAM DAVE RULES… Hope I didn’t scare you too much Dave Admirand.

Lora Leigh’s RAW was like coming home to old friends and meeting new. I couldn’t wait to hug Donna Williamson, Beth’s awesome Mom and catch up with the rest. There wasn’t enough hours in the day to give everyone the time I wanted. I hope to be able to make up for that.

I want to thanks all the special people in my “Secret Group”, beginning with Chastity Bush, who is pretty much a sister to me. Lori, Cindi, Kim, Sandi,  Sonia, Pua, Gina, Nancy etc…. YOU ALL KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!! Thanks for listening to my RANTS and bouts with insanity. Thank you to Beth Williamson for allowing me to help out with your Cowgirls etc…  Mary Wine for letting me get the inside on her Mistresses, Colleen for the fabulous Mavens and Amanda for allowing me to keep the Muses in line.

Thanks for all the mind-blowing book dedications and acknowledgments, Cat Johnson, Donna Grant, Larissa Ione, Amanda McIntyre, Gayle Donnelly, Robyn Mackenzie and Chastity Bush. It has been so exciting to be mentioned in your works of art.

Thanks to all who have helped in our charity endeavors for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer walk and Homes for Our Troops.

I hope to heaven I haven’t forgotten anyone. If I have, I am so sorry. It’s been a whirlwind adventure from start to finish. Sometimes words cannot express the depth at which I feel for all my friends and family have done. Thanks to every single person who has touched my life in some way in 2012. I don’t think I could have stayed sane if you all hadn’t had a part in it and I wish you all health, happiness and much success in 2013.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Title and author: Against the Odds, by Kat Martin
Publication date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: MIRA
Format: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle, Nook



There's silver out there: Sabrina Eckhart is sure of it. And when she finds the hidden mine on that big piece of West Texas desert, all of her financial problems are solved. That is, if she can find it. The man with the skills she needs is private investigator Alex Justice─a former navy fighter pilot and a current pain in the neck.

When mysterious "accidents" start to plague their search, it seems Rina's multi-acre inheritance might be more of a curse than a blessing. And yet, there's still something sensual about the heat...his arrogance...her stubbornness...being thrust into each other's arms by danger...But the vultures are circling, and if they don't watch their backs, the relentless desert sun could be the last thing they ever see.

A bit about writing the book from KAT MARTIN 

The book was interesting to write, a different kind of story that deals with survival in the harsh, inhospitable desert, family betrayal, and long-buried secrets.  The characters had to overcome stereotypes and learn to trust and love.Alex and Rina are two of my favorite characters, so different on the surface, yet oddly suited.  Though it takes a life-and-death struggle before they begin to see the truth.


Rina’s adrenaline was pumping.  The thrill of being so high in an open-air helicopter was a rush unlike anything she had ever felt before.  Add to that, flying with Alex Justice, watching his long-fingered hands work the controls, seeing the capable way he handled the machine, made her heart rate soar even higher.  There was something about a man taking charge, a man who was good at what he did, that turned her on.
Not that she would ever admit it.
Alex wasn’t her type and she wasn’t his and both of them knew it.  Still, she wasn’t dead and Alex was definitely eye candy and more.
She forced herself to concentrate on the search they were making.  They’d been flying for more than an hour, had located the property but not the mine itself--assuming there was one.  There’d been nothing in the will to indicate its location or anything about it.  Just the legal description of the land itself, three-thousand acres, five-square miles, of what appeared to be dirt, rocks, and cactus.
Her gaze followed the contours of the property.  Ravines scarred the landscape, and ridges of granite rose out of the sloping desert floor.  Chaparral, mesquite, and scrub brush dotted endless stretches of rocks and sand. 
“Not much out there,” Alex said above the whip, whip, whip of the rotors.
“We haven’t covered that much area yet.  Maybe we’ll find something that marks the mine.”
“If there is one,” Alex said, reminding her there might not be anything more than exactly what they were seeing--miles and miles of vast, empty desert.
The hours began to blur together.  Once they had reached the property location, Alex had begun searching in a grid pattern to cover as much of the area as possible.  The temperature was rising, the heat building inside the chopper, the afternoon slipping away.  Rina yawned and rubbed her eyes, which felt gritty from the wind and heat.
An odd noise caught her attention.  The whop, whop, whop had been so regular she’d been trying not to fall asleep.  This sound was different, a kind of grinding that had her gaze shooting to Alex, who features suddenly looked grim.
Sabrina’s heart stalled and a few seconds later, so did the engine.

RTBook Reviews"Martin just keeps getting better and better! Her characters have more depth, and her plots are more sinister, as the Against series continues. Set in the sizzling desert of Texas and rife with mystery, intrigue and twisted family secrets, this entry is sure to earn a spot on any fan's keeper shelf."


Kat Martin's website:

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012


The men of Hell's Eight have begun to settle down into comfortable and happy lives with wives and children, but Caden Miller itches for action. He watches each of his friends fall at the feet of their women and he cringes at the thought of that happening to him.He decides he is going to restore Shadow's wife, Fei Yen's claim and search for lost gold.

Maddie O'Hare has had a ghastly existence being forced into prostitution at a very young age and having been abused most of her life. Rescued from the brothel by Hell's Eight, her saviors take her back to the ranch and make her own of their own, but Maddie has issues. She often withdraws into herself and has many at Hell's Eight believing she is beyond repair, but not everyone. Maddie has had serious feelings for Caden since her rescue as he treats her with the respect she has never had in her life. In fact, Maddie is in love with Caden even if he has no clue.

When Caden breaks his promise to Maddie about not leaving Hell's Eight without saying goodbye, she is bereft at his dismissal. When Sam's beautiful wife, Isabella confronts Maddie about her feelings for Caden and the fact she knows Maddie is not a lost cause, Maddie realizes she must go after what she wants if she is to ever be happy. When she follows after Caden and is captured by Hell's Eight nemesis Culbart, Caden sets upon rescuing the damaged girl only to find himself in a shotgun wedding with her perpetrated by Culbart.

The honeymoon however is far from a delight, as Caden cannot bring himself to take advantage of the ill-used Maddie and she can't put aide the fact that she was a whore for most of her life. These two struggle with the darkness that threatens to poison their lives.

After having mixed feelings about Shadow's Stand I was so happy to finally read and enjoy Caden's Vow by Sarah McCarty. This book gets back to the meat of the very series and the depth of the stories of each of its characters. Maddie being hurt so much in her life makes the reader only want the best for her, and it makes her journey to find herself so rich. Maddie's ingenuity and need to survive makes her one of the most intriguing heroines of this series. Caden Miller,  or resident Irish boy feels the need to fulfill a promise he made upon his father's murder, but this quest could very well break him. Caden's Vow has brought back my confidence in Hell's Eight and now I am eager for the continuation.


Arc provided by Netgalley and Harlequin

4 Stars (Brilliant)

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Review by Jenn Fraser of The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

Nora is an erotica novelist, working on making it big.  She has a devoted following, but wants to break into mainstream with her erotic romances. She's sexy, provocative and in control, despite her submissive past.  Zach is her recently separated English editor, living in New York and assigned to the most difficult and frustrating assignment of his career: edit Nora and turn her work into a best seller.   Zach and Nora have instant chemistry, but she still craves the very man she walked away from: her former Master, Soren.   Soren is the man she could never have completely, with a deep dark past and an even more shocking present.  To complicate matters, Zach still loves his wife.  And Nora has a live-in intern who inspires some hot fantasies.  Their relationship crosses some lines while steering clear of others.   This is supposed to be Zach’s last New York assignment before he moves to LA.  But will he and Nora find a way to work together without crossing their own lines?  

I have a new obsession and it’s The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz!  When I stumble upon something so good, I feel like I've won a prize.  It’s highly atmospheric…like, turn off all outside distractions and dig in to a very serious and very sexy read.  I crave intelligent, complex characters and dialog. The Siren delivers on all fronts.  Nora is a multifaceted character and I loved seeing all of her sides.  She and Zach have a chemistry that burns up the pages.  Wesley is beautiful, funny, and infectiously endearing.  And Soren…I was frightened of him, felt like I held my breath and barely moved when he appeared on the page.  Over six feet tall, muscular, blond…a true sadist who loves Nora beyond reason.  Delicious to read his scenes.    As you can see, this is not a tale of one man and one woman.  It’s not erotic romance, but more erotic literature.  Dark BDSM is featured heavily, though some is implied and not played out in front of the reader. It's an examination of palpably real characters that can't be boxed into the usual archetypes.  How each of these characters navigates through the complex interplay of emotions is extraordinary and beautiful.  I rooted for all of them to find their way to happiness and fulfillment.  Next up is The Angel and I am starting it NOW!


5 Orgasms Read (Mind Blowing Hot)

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Even eleven years after the murder of Ginny West, the town of Beartooth, Montana still reels from the unknown, especially when suspected murderer , Carson Grant returns home. Carson and Ginny had been an item before her gruesome death and even though no evidence pointed directly to Carson, many in the small town believed he was getting away with murder. Carson's sister Destry was his staunchest supporter. At the other end of the spectrum was Rylan West, Ginny's brother and the love of Destry's life, who believed completely that Carson was to blame for his sister's death.

Not being able to live in Beartooth any longer with constant reminders of Ginny and her demise, Rylan leaves town and stays away for all this time, returning shortly before Carson, who was sent away by his influential father WT. Throughout this entire time, Destry has been holding down the fort, so to speak. She has been practically running her father's ranch , the W Bar G, even as WT dislikes the thought of Destry working the ranch. The two never saw eye to eye on that and many other matters and WT's cool indifference for his 28 year old daughter has left an ache in Destry, who often wonders what she has done wrong.

At Sheriff Frank Curry's behest, Carson is back in town to answer some questions about the eleven year old cold case and arrives with a surprise fiancee, which angers his father, WT. Once word gets around that Carson is back, old animosities that were carefully hidden for the passed decade, rise once again to create turmoil in the otherwise quiet town.

Separated after the murder, Rylan and Destry try to put aside their feelings for one another, as they both are still in love with the other, but that bone of contention called the murder of Ginny West, hangs overhead preventing the pair from finally being happy. Now with new evidence,  Destry and Rylan attempt to sort out the facts of the murder and their relationship. Rylan still believes Carson is to blame but when said evidence says someone else is in the mix here, Rylan begins to doubt all himself and the belief that Carson is the murderer.

UNFORGIVEN is B.J. Daniels at her finest. I used to read mystery ad suspense solely in the past, but virtually gave up on them when they all became so predictable. Guess what? I'm back! B.J. Daniels had my head spinning with suspects, second guessing myself constantly at who done it. In addition, Ms. Daniels has a way of giving you the inside on all the players in Beartooth and making you a part of its community. I felt right at home with her colorful cast of characters like the general store owner, Nettie, who is the town gossip. You either love Nettie or you want to smack her, which I would have liked to have done several times. We all know someone like her. Every little back story added to the whole and I cannot wait for more. I highly recommend UNFORGIVEN by B.J. Daniels. I loved it and think you will as well.


4 Stars (Brilliant)
4 1/2 STARS


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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Operation Cinderella by Hope Tarr ~ Reviewed by Lisa Marie

Republicans, democrats and teenagers, oh my! Operation Cinderella is the first in what appears to be a 4 book series by vetted romance author Hope Tarr. When we meet our heroine, Macie J. Graham, she appears to be a tough as nails New York City reporter looking to make her name in the world. Started off as a personal vendetta, she goes undercover as a squeaky clean Martha Jane, live in Nanny and Housekeeper (mind you she can't cook or clean to save her life) for Washington D.C. political radio personality Ross Mannon, who almost single-handedly ended her career. As she gets to know him better, she sees a side of him that she didn't expect to see, that maybe... perhaps... her Prince Charming. A Texas transplant (save a horse, ride a cowboy) he has all the makings of a genuine gentleman, something that Marcie has no experience in dealing with, as we learn of her damage as the tale unfolds. As her 6 week deadline approaches, she comes to realize that she has broken her number 1 cardinal rule, do not fall in love with your subject. As a single dad to a 15 year old, Ross worries about the harsh world that his daughter Sam is growing up in, and hopefully does not make the same mistakes that he and his ex wife had made (teen pregnancy, gasp!). They had married for all the wrong reasons and he never thought that love would come his way. The heat between Martha Jane (Macie) and Ross was unmistakable. Could they find love? Could Macie admit to Ross her true intentions and would he be able to forgive her so that they could have their very own “happily ever after”? With several “Fairy God Mothers” (and let's not forget those wonderful “Fairy God Fathers” too), and her very own pair of “glass” slippers (sparkly red ones really but who cares, they are GORGEOUS!) has Macie met her Prince Charming? There are so many likeable characters that I look forward to getting to know as this saga continues. The Grimm brothers may not have pictured their cinderella quite in this way, but Ms. Tarr certainly made me feel like I had been swept away into her modern day fairy tale. I give it 4 glass slippers.

4 Stars (Brilliant)



I suppose you could say I've always been a dreamer. In my mind's eye, I can still see my first-grade teacher shaking her head and scolding, “Hope, stop daydreaming and pay attention!”
I tried, really I did. But how could the dreary assignment on the chalkboard begin to lure me away from the dashing Disney fairy-tale figures populating my head? Cinderella and Prince Charming, Snow White and Prince Charming, Sleeping Beauty and Pr—
Well, you get the picture.
In middle school, I “graduated” from romance a la Walt Disney to grownup love stories by the likes of Victoria Holt, Anya Seton, and Daphne Du Maurier. Someday, I promised myself as I thumbed through my dog-eared copy of “Forever Amber,” I’d write a romance novel of my very own.
That dream has weathered a Master's degree in Psychology, a Ph.D. in Education, a four year stint as a federal government research consultant, and several years as a freelance writer. In 1994 I finally packed up my graduate school texts, purchased Kathryn Falk’s small, pink paperback entitled How to Write a Romance and Get It Published and joined the Romance Writers of America. I’ve never looked back.
As a romance writer, I get to spin fairy-tales of my very own—life-affirming stories in which the hero and heroine find not only their soul mate but their souls into the bargain. And much like fiction, "real" life comes with its share of twists and turns. In 2008 I packed up myself, including cats and books, and quit the quaint historic town of Fredericksburg, Virginia for the Big Apple—talk about a big change! I'm entering my fourth year in the city and for those of you who follow my blog, you know the move to Manhattan has worked out to a Happily Ever After best, bringing wonderful new experiences, friendships, and projects. Among the latter are two very special-to-me firsts: Beer Gardens NYC, the first app guide to beer gardens anywhere in the U.S., and Lady Jane's Salon, New York City's first and only monthly romance fiction reading series. Like me, Lady Jane is also entering her fourth year in the city and now has four satellite salons nationwide.
Huzzah to Happily Ever After!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


One minute Angel Marie Sutter is sitting at the piano taking lessons in a saloon in the late 1800s, the next she is sitting at a Billy Joel concert in the present. When a confused and out of place Angel goes in search of the Magnolia, the brothel she worked in, she stumbles upon a murder and almost becomes a victim of murder herself.

Undercover officer, Shado Jackson has been on a mission to bring down crime lord, Espinoza, who had his brother killed. He has isolated himself from his surroundings in order to achieve his goal. When he meets Angel, who has amnesia, and may in fact be involved with Espinoza, his protective instincts kick into full gear. Shado brings the confused Angel to stay with him at his apartment while he figures out what to do. His intentions of keeping the beautiful woman at arms length become a struggle of sorts as he still has to overcome the guilt he has over his brother's death.

Little by little, Angel's memory returns with the realization that the life she led in 1881 , is not the life she wants to lead now. Shado begins to wonder if this enigma of a woman could have a future with him. When the danger of Espinoza's wrath hangs overhead, Shado must see that history does not repeat itself and take another person he cares about from him.

Fallen Angel by Amanda McIntyre is a timeless tale, one of hope. I love stories that bring two somewhat damaged people together and has them begin to heal each other's wounds, and this story has that and more. Amanda McIntyre breaches that wall between the past and the present with such perfection, that the reader begins to believe that all things are possible. I honestly didn't think it could get any better than Sheriff Jake in Wild & Unruly, the first book in the Sweet Magnolia series, but Shado is a definite rival for my attention. I thoroughly enjoyed Fallen Angel and I know you will as well!


5 Stars (Hook Line and Sinker)

Amanda’s father was in the publishing business. From her early days reading of Vampirella and Alfred Hitchcock, to writing a Fine Arts column supporting music education, her quirky zest for experiencing life has provided fertile ground for her creative story ideas. These have transpired into a number of published works in contemporary, paranormal and historical women's fiction, as well as non-fiction books. She is published internationally and in both eBook and audio formats. Readers describe her work  as "superbly sensual, powerful, and character-driven."  She enjoys taking readers on a ride, with a few twists and turns along the way, with the belief that life and love is messy, but overcoming the obstacles makes the HEA even more sweet. She loves to challenge her characters and readers to look beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary, where anything is possible! Besides loving to travel, watching BBC, she has an avid fascination of the Great Lakes and its lighthouses, and a penchant for walking in old cemeteries and abandoned houses!  My website is and I love to hear from readers at


I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda McIntyre at my fist Lora Leigh's RAW in October of 2011, where she welcomed me with open arms from the first moment I arrived. She even took the time to make my youngest son a part of the event. She is humbled when a reader tells her she likes her books. Well of course we like her books, they are well written works of art. Amanda is also a super fun lady, even trying her hand, or should I say feet at line dancing at this year's RAW in Pittsburgh. I adore Amanda McIntyre. Here's a little look at the lady behind the busy author.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Excerpt #2 of ~THE TEMPERATE WARRIOR~ by Renee Vincent

The Temperate Warrior
Book 1 of the Warrior Sagas
By Renee Vincent

Turquoise Morning Press
December 2012
ISBN: 9781622370924
Genre: Historical, paranormal romance, Viking

He was her champion. She was his weakness.
Together, they loved with wild abandon.

Excerpt #2:
Gustaf had only one thing on his mind—well, many enticing thoughts, truth be told—but they all involved getting his hands on Æsa.

By the time he caught up with her, she was standing at edge of the water, the roaring sound of the waterfall competing with the thrum of his racing pulse. She had unraveled her braid and was making quick work of the two cloaks around her shoulders. Her wavy locks hung down her back, almost reaching the captivating curve of her hips.

When she turned to hang her cloaks over a nearby tree limb, she froze and locked eyes with him. Her breath could be seen on the brisk morning air as well as the tautness of her nipples through the thin fabric of her tight-fitting kirtle. He swallowed hard, imagining the taste of her favors, eager to lave the hard peak with his tongue and suckle as much of the soft globe as he could fit in his mouth.

Unable to stand there any longer, he strode toward her, his eyes drinking in her sumptuous curves. His hands automatically reached for her narrow waist and jerked her body into his before he crushed her against the tree. She whimpered under his assault and braced her hands on his chest, her meager attempt to hold him back inciting him that much more.

The voice in his head interrupted the rush of blood coursing through his veins. You are losing control again. Get a hold of yourself.

It took everything he had to release her. His legs shook beneath him as if they were mere saplings trembling under the brunt of a forceful wind. Stepping back, he stood before her disoriented and flushed beyond all reckoning. “’Twas wrong of me to follow you.”

“Why? Because your excessive desire for me outweighs your commitment to getting your men home in a timely manner?”

Gustaf took a deep breath. “There is that. But ’tis not the only reason.”

She approached him in the most seductive way, eyeing the expanse of his shoulders as she unlatched the brooch at his right. She removed his wolf-skin cloak, the chill of the invigorating air doing little to douse the raging fire in his loins. He left his arms dangling at his sides, fighting the urge to touch her, to grab her with both hands and press her curvaceous warmth to his rigid body.

She draped his cloak over the limb beside her and returned her attention to divesting him of the other adornments strapped to his body. Her eyes gazed at the bulge rupturing his breeches as she unbuckled his belt. Leaning his scabbard against the trunk, she licked her lips and cupped his bollocks in her palm. “What is it you fear, my lord? You can tell me.”

Her whispered words, falling from the alluring pout of her luscious lips, stroked him as soundly as if she’d dragged her fingertips over his bare flesh. “I want you. More than I wanted you yesterday. And with each passing day, my hunger for you grows in fiendish proportions. I want to ravish you, Æsa. I want to feast on you and feel you quiver beneath my tongue. I want to spread you wide and thrust deep within you as you call my name. I want to hold you down and for once,” he said, clenching his teeth, “just try to sate my appetite for you, though I know better.”

Perhaps he’d disclosed the list of his objectives in an effort to make her think twice about provoking the feral beast within him. The corner of her lip, marked with mischievous intent, hitched upward and he knew he’d failed to discourage her. In fact, he realized he may have provoked his own bewitching beast in the form of sweet femininity.

“Does time allow us to partake in such wanton acts,” she taunted, stroking his erection through his breeches.

“Time is not what concerns me, Æsa. ’Tis what will happen next once I get my hands on you.”

“Then touch me not.”

He stood helpless as she touched him. She slipped her hands beneath his tunic and splayed her long fingers across his abdomen. She skimmed over every ripple of muscle in his stomach and climbed each rung of ribs in his torso in the most deliberate fashion, making it that much harder for him.

When her fingertips grazed his chest, she sought through the thin layer of his curls and found that his nipples were just as taut as her own. Unmercifully, she stroked her thumbs back and forth, pressing her pelvis into his groin.

He refused to give in and reach out for her, turning his head to the side in hopes that averting his eyes would aid his torment. If anything, it made matters worse. His vivid imagination kicked in and ran wild with the notion of her roaming hands meandering south. Before he could stop it, he envisioned her dropping to her knees, fisting his girth and taking him all the way in to the back of her throat. He staggered backward, his blood hammering. The transient fantasy accosted him so fiercely he thought he’d spilled himself in his breeches.

Æsa gazed at him as he clutched the tree limb for stability and tried to gather his wits. “It seems you have just as much difficulty being touched as you have touching me with your own hands. Perhaps ’tis best if you watch.”

He stared at her as she inched her kirtle higher and higher. First her shapely calf took form, then her knees, then the outward curve of her creamy thighs. Gustaf’s throat felt dry and constricted. He could barely breathe. “Æsa, please.”

“Please what?” she cooed. “Show you more?”

Any subtlety she utilized before now perished as she lifted the fabric over her head and discarded it on the ground. His eyes swept over her naked body. The mesmerizing sight of her full breasts and rose-colored nipples drew most of his attention.

She walked backward toward the stream and allowed him all the time he wanted to stare shamelessly at her private parts. With each slow step, she tortured him, luring him to follow lest he be out of arm’s reach of the tempting favors she offered.

He knew why she was doing this. She wanted the man who could not hold back. She wanted to prove she was woman enough for all of him, that no matter how unruly his primal urges became, she would suffer the wicked pleasure of his total abandonment and reap every blessing she hoped to gain from it.

Foolish woman. Did she not understand how difficult this was for him? Did she not truly comprehend how crazy passionate he could be when thrown into a wolves’ den? He recalled her reference to punishment and pleasure. For him, the fine line was drawn between love and rage. Just as he’d gone berserk over the men who’d killed his father, he knew the compulsion for losing control in the heat of rapture was not far behind—especially where Æsa was concerned.

He’d never loved a woman as much as he loved her, and the feelings bubbling up inside him when he was on the brink of release was nigh the same as the fury he encountered in past battles. He was a dangerous man in either of those combustible situations, and Æsa was perilously playing with fire.

Unbeknownst to him, his foot lifted and stepped forward. He tried to stand firm, to keep his other boot planted, but he was drawn by forces more compelling than his own might. More definitive than his own fears. The need to have Æsa close, the need to feel her smooth skin and buxom body in his grasp, preyed on his mind until he had no choice but to close the distance between them.

If she wanted the man who was not so temperate, then she was about to have him. There was no turning back if he set this animal free. With his concern of going too far in the forefront of his mind, he kicked off his boots and ripped his tunic over his head. Inwardly, he’d made a deal with himself: he’d surrender to Æsa’s desires and forsake his reluctant tendencies as long as he brought her pleasure. If he thought at any moment she was second-guessing her plan of unfettering the temperate warrior, then he’d pull away.

He only hoped he could.

As he unlaced his breeches and stepped out of them, his heart pounded against his ribs and he felt as if his chest was expanding to the point of hyperventilation with each ragged breath he took. He snatched the pile of draped fur cloaks from the limb, slung one of them across his shoulders, and raced to the water’s edge to meet Æsa. He skidded to a halt in front of her, his body inches from hers.

She stood stock-still in all her naked glory. Goose bumps flourished across her porcelain flesh and her lower lip quivered from the cold. He gazed at her one last time before swathing her in her own cloak and pulling her close. The cool flesh of her lovely breasts smashed against the warmth of his, her glinting eyes heavy-lidded with lust. She tipped her head back, holding his gaze as she snaked her dainty, chilled arms around his back.

As automatic as breathing, he reached up and brushed his thumb across her shivering lower lip. “When I am finished with you, you will be trembling for a whole different reason.”

“Swear it, m’lord.”

His smile returned, though it portrayed anything but amusement. She and all her frisky aggressiveness was the very reason he wished to ravish her. He adored her feisty nature and her exceptional confidence. Those uncommon traits in a female, along with her stately beauty, made her the most erotic woman on this earth. And she was his.

He wound his arms around her middle and cupped both hands firmly on her backside, hoisting her higher so her delicate womanhood would feel every throbbing inch of him. “I swear on Thor’s hammer that no one will love you more than I. Or as fiercely.”

Renee Vincent
(Historical & Contemporary Adult Romance)
From the daunting, charismatic Vikings, to the charming, brazen Alpha male heroes of modern day, you'll be whisked away to a world filled with fast-paced adventure, unforgettable romance, and undying love.
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