Jack is a walking contradiction. He has a master’s degree in particle physics, yet he works as a pool cleaner. He is married, yet has affairs with any woman willing to give him the time of day. He drinks and takes any drugs he can get his hands on. He’s the type of guy you would run from in real life, yet in this book he is charming and likeable.
He takes a chance one time too many, and it lands him in jail for drunk driving. Fortunately one of his lady friends is rich enough to hire him a decent lawyer, and he gets minimal time in jail. Unfortunately, she is not his true love. That would be Sarah. Not his wife. She is named Elle.
I got dizzy trying to keep track of all his women. His one saving grace is that he is a good cook. He make delicious meals for Sarah. That’s almost enough to redeem him in the reader’s eyes. He’s a charming scamp who refuses to grow up, and that is his charm.
By the end of the book, there is some hope for him.
This is one of the best in the series. Beth is terribly scarred, physically and mentally, by a sadistic husband. She is a true submissive, but afraid to let down her guard completely. She chooses inexperienced doms who won’t challenge her, so she doesn’t find the freedom she is looking for.
Master Z threatens to cancel her membership unless she agrees to partner with an experienced dom who can give her what she needs.
Master Nolan agrees to take her on with one stipulation: that she never lie to him. Beth agrees, but withholds the fact that she is still married.
This is the second book in the Shadowlands series, and Sinclair seems more comfortable with her characters. Kari is a schoolteacher, raised by nuns, and not sure Shadowlands is the right place for her. Her boyfriend, an inexperienced Dom, is a real douchebag. Kari is ready to leave when Master Z offers her the opportunity to work with an experienced Dom. She agrees.
Master Dan is still grieving the death of his wife three years ago, and has never played with a Sub more than once. He agrees to take Kari and finds himself drawn to her sweetness, innocence and inexperience.
Watching these two characters work through their problems together was a real treat.
Every couple of years, usually around the holidays, I feel the need for a comfort read and turn to Cherise Sinclair. Usually I just read the Shadowlands books, but this year I determined to read them all. And I did. Shadowlands, Dark Haven, Mountain Masters, Shifters, and a SF book.
This is where it all started for me. A dark and stormy night, a deserted road, and Jessica’s car in a ditch. Only one set of light visible, a private club where she takes shelter. She signs the membership papers without reading them (bad move, Jessica) and finds herself inside a private BDSM club.
Lucky for her, Master Z is honorable and honest, not to mention protective to a fault. Jessica stumbles around, making a fool out of herself, but Master Z keeps a close eye on her to prevent any permanent damage.
Later, when she returns to real life, she just can’t get that sexy man out of her mind. Neither could I. You always remember your first.
‘They put up with me for one reason, and one reason only. I call it the heiress effect.’
Jane Fairfield is no dummy. Her poisonous color combinations, loud laughter, and blunt speech are designed with one purpose in mind: repel suitors. You see, her younger sister lack only four hundred and eighty days until she attains her majority and can leave their guardian. Until that day, Jane refuses to leave her sister alone and helpless in his care. He isn’t a bad man, only a insensitive one. He truly thinks the medical experimentation he subjects her to may help heal her of her fits, and the pain and the scars he inflicts on her are not enough to stop him. Jane wants to free her sister while she’s still alive, and for that, she does everything she can to make men forget her enormous fortune.
Then she meets Oliver Marshall, a man perceptive enough to see the women beneath the dress. He likes what he sees, but he is blind in his own way. The bastard son of a duke, he wants revenge on a society that rejected him because of his birth. Politics is the chosen path to attaining this purpose, and the last thing he needs is a relationship with a woman who talks too loudly, who dresses the way Jane does, and who doesn’t keep her self or her opinions in the background.
The working out of this dilemma is classic Courtney Milan. After reading this book, I bought the boxed set.
Fluff. Piffle. Light reading. Entertaining, but no substance. These words are frequently applied to romance novels. They completely disregard the craft necessary to write a satisfying romance novel. Nobody mocks a souffle because it isn’t roast beef, and much more art and craft are required to create a souffle. A light hand and a sense of timing are of the essence if you are to have a tasty dish instead of a wreck on your plate.
Julia Quinn demonstrates a light hand and a knowledge of how to keep it light. Her dialogue sparkles. Her characters are likeable and believable even if the situation is not. I particularly like her clear-headed, sensible hero. His straight thinking comes to his aid at the end, but all along it is his friend. In contrast, Miss Bridgerton shows an impetuous nature and an ability to get into trouble. They make a good pair.
Roast beef can be had anywhere, but a perfect souffle is harder to come by.
JoAnn Bassett has started a new series, this one set on the island of Maui. Featuring a different woman’s story in each book, Mai Tai Butterfly starts us off with the story of forty-something Nola Stevens. A dutiful, if dull wife and mother, she does her best to fulfill everyone’s expectations. Until she receives shocking and irrefutable proof of her husband’s infidelity and her life turns upside down.
Persuaded by a friend to fly with her to Maui, she find herself falling in love with the island and the people she meets, especially that hunk of manhood, a sculptor who likes to work with his shirt off.
This bit of fluff is nothing but fun.