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  • Tara Sonin 6:00 pm on 2017/12/12 Permalink
    Tags: , a christmas promise, a cold day for murder, a highlander christmas, a kiss for midwinter, a rose in winter, a seduction at christmas, a winter scandal, becca fitzpatrick, bed of roses, biting cold, black ice, boy snow bird, bring me home for christmas, , candace camp, cathy maxwell, , chloe niell, , christmas angel, Cold Mountain, , , dana stabenow, dark celebration, deep kiss of winter, , , , elizabeth chadwick, elizabeth essex, , , gaelen foley, , Get a Clue, girls made of snow and glass, grace burrows, , ice, jane villaneuva, , , , , john green maureen johnson, , , , la casey, lady sophie’s christmas wish, lauren myracle, let it snow, , , lord of ice, , , marissa meyer, , , maya banks, melissa bashardoust, mercedes lackey, , never love a highlander, , northern lights, once upon a winter’s eve, , , , shadows and lace, , , snow falling, , susan wigs, , , , the bite before christmas, the scandal before christmas, the snow queen, , the winter crown, , the winter sea, , winter fire, winter garden, , winter stroll   

    50 Delightful Winter Romances 

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but with bare trees and freezing temperatures, it can also be pretty bleak. That’s why we’ve got fifty winter romances on tap; so you can spend the long nights with couples falling in love instead of shivering under the covers.

    Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas
    What’s the best way to get away from a conniving family? Marry a notoriously terrible man, of course. But there’s a catch: when she demands that her rake of a husband stay celibate for six months, Evangeline finds his icy exterior thawing enough to let her into his heart.

    Deep Kiss of Winter, by Kresley Cole
    An ice fey, Danii possesses a dangerous ability to cause excruciating pain to anyone not of her kind who touches her skin. But Murdoch, a vampire, is not one to be dissuaded by the cold…especially when his passion for her burns hotter than any flame.

    Once Upon a Winter’s Eve, by Tessa Dare
    This novella stars Violet Winterbottom, who is swept away by a mysterious stranger at the Spindle Cove Christmas Ball, when a man stumbles into the ballroom and collapses. The mysteries surrounding him are numerous, but none more than the heat between them…which Violet will lose forever if she does not figure out who he is, and what he wants, before the sun rises.

    A Kiss For Midwinter, by Courtney Milan
    Christmas is Lydia’s favorite time of year, but even holiday cheer isn’t enough to erase the scourge of an event that could have ruined her reputation. Thankfully, only one other person knows about it: Dr. Jonas Grantham. She would rather forget he existed, but Jonas has other plans: he’s in love with Lydia, and intends to turn all her winters warm for as long as they live.

    A Rose in Winter, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
    Erienne Fleming’s beauty is legendary in her village of Mawbry. Everyone wants to marry her, but unfortunately, Erienne does not have a choice due to her father’s debt. So when she is married off to the mysterious Lord Saxton, known for his terrible moods and disfigurement from a fire years before—Erienne knows happiness will elude her forever. That is, until she learns his true heart, and finds herself falling for a man she once thought of as a beast. It is at this inopportune moment that a childhood love tempts her away, and Erienne must make a choice.

    The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley
    Carrie is an ambitious author who has her sights set on turning the story of a Jacobite invasion in 1708 into a successful novel. Especially since one of her ancestors lived the event. But Carrie soon finds herself lost in the snowstorm of truth and fiction, where they begin to merge.

    A Christmas Promise, by Mary Balogh
    Ellie and Randolph are meant to be: their perfect match and impending wedding is the perfect balance of wealth and title, and they are destined for a perfect union. Except that Ellie does not love him…and all she wants for Christmas is to marry a man she loves.

    Girls Made of Snow and Glass, by Melissa Bashardoust
    Mina’s life is upended when it is revealed her heart is not human—it is made of glass, and does not beat. Her magical father performed the devastating transformation with a terrible consequence: a glass heart cannot know love. But Mina is determined to know love, and will seduce a king in order to do so…

    Lord of Ice, by Gaelen Foley
    Damien lives alone, haunted by the trauma of war. But when he is named the guardian of a young ward, he is tempted both to re-enter society. Though he may have fallen prey to the chill of war, learning to love again will warm his heart.

    Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, by Grace Burrows
    Sophie does not treasure her place in society the same way her family does—which is why a few nights alone in an empty mansion sounds like her Christmas wish has come true. But when a snowstorm, an abandoned child, and a brokenhearted man kind enough to offer assistance all conspire to disrupt her plans, she finds herself wishing for something new.

    A Winter Scandal, by Candace Camp
    Thea Bainbridge has always played by the rules of her society—and so when an infant is discovered in her church manger, she knows a man who does not abide them is to blame: Gabriel, the Lord Morecombe. But Gabriel is not afraid of scandal…instead, he finds himself drawn in both by the mystery of the child’s true parentage, and Thea’s determined spirit.

    Never Love a Highlander, by Maya Banks
    Caelen made a terrible mistake, but now he’s making things right: by marrying the bride his older brother jilted to heal the ongoing feud between two Highland clans. Rionna, his bride, may be interested in preserving the peace, but she’s vowed never to give her heart away—especially not to someone cold and guarded like him. But when a mutual enemy threatens their family, Rionna and Caelen unite to defeat it…and in the process, fall in (very, very steamy) love.

    Christmas Angel, by Jo Beverley
    Leander knows women love him. That’s why he wants a convenient marriage, one that will allow him to live life as he chooses—on his terms, and in anyone else’s bed. So when Judith Rossiter, the widow of the late poet Sebastian, decides to marry him to provide for her children, the arrangement couldn’t be more perfect. But she has secrets, and Leander finds himself wanting to uncover them, like plundering a virgin snow…

    The Scandal Before Christmas, by Elizabeth Essex
    Holiday novellas are short, sweet, and have just enough steam to keep you warm in winter. Ian Worth, a soldier, needs to marry before Christmas—days away from his next deployment to sea. So when he decides to marry Anne Lesley, a spinster with no other prospects (so she won’t ask questions), he believes all is well. But a snowstorm means they are trapped together, along with their secrets, and the desire growing between them…

    Bed of Roses, by Nora Roberts
    Nothing more romantic than a winter wedding! Wedding florist Emma has it all: her dream job, dream friends, and a dream love life. What she doesn’t have? One great love…and that’s where Jack comes in. But love isn’t always a bed of roses, even for those in the business of making it beautiful.

    All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire, by Kerrelyn Sparks
    This book combines my favorite things: holiday cheer, and vampires. Toni is on a mission to do the impossible: prove that vampires exist, so she can spring her BFF from a mental institution, where she’s doing a terrible job of convincing people she was attacked by them. So she decides to be a bodyguard for the Undead…never intending to fall in love with Ian, a five-hundred-year old vampire.

    Bring Me Home for Christmas, by Robyn Carr
    Denny broke Becca’s heart three years ago…and then he went off to war. By Christmas this year, she is going to rid her heart of the memories of him by crashing her brother’s hunting trip in search of some distraction (and maybe a tempting guy or two.) But of course, she finds Denny, and the snowstorm between them is even more powerful than the one raging outside.

    A Highlander Christmas, by Janet Chapman
    Camry was a NASA scientist…so why on earth did she leave her job to be a small-town dog-sitter? Only she knows, and she’s determined to keep it that way, by avoiding her family for the holidays. But when her rival, Luke, shows up to bring her home, a battle of the wills erupts between them.

    The Winter King, by C.L. Wilson
    We have reached the fantasy portion of this roundup! This gorgeous romance stars Wynter, a man determined to seek vengeance on a foreign kingdom’s King by marrying his daughter. Khamsin is afraid of marrying the notorious Wintercraig king…but nothing could be worse than her father’s abandonment. And so what starts as an act of revenge soon becomes an act of love—even as evil rises up around them, and a dark magic must be defeated.

    Shield of Winter, by Nalini Singh
    Vasic is a soldier with too much blood on his hands to fathom. Living on the fringes of society, he is drawn back into action to protect people against a deadly virus. Especially Ivy, who is determined to fight back against the contagion—and who gives Vasic something else he is afraid to lose.

    Winter Fire, by Elizabeth Lowell
    Sarah Kennedy needs no one to survive. Not after everything she’s been through. But against the backdrop of the Civil War, she finds herself caring for a wounded Civil War soldier, haunted by a past of his own.

    Dark Celebration, by Christine Feehan
    The Carpathian series continues with this Christmas tale starring Mikhail, the Prince of his kind, who is determined to protect them from extinction. But when his enemies target his wife and daughter, he is forced to turn to tactics unthinkable to him before in order to keep them safe.

    Chasing Christmas Eve, by Jill Shalvis
    It’s never too early for holiday cheer…but Colbie Albright is feeling anything but cheery when she show up in the Bay Area after escaping New York and her fame as a renowned YA author. And when she ends up literally underwater and is saved by Spencer Baldwin, she wants what she knows she shouldn’t have…and come Christmas, she’ll have to go back to her old life.

    Merry and Bright, by Debbie Macomber
    Debbie Macomber returns with a Christmas story just hot enough to lift your spirits as the weather grows colder. She tells the story of Merry Smith, who is living the life she wants—family, career, and holiday cheer. But her mother decides to meddle and give her the gift she won’t give herself: a social life, with prospective matches galore! And while what Merry finds in the online dating world makes her happy indeed, will the fantasy come crashing down when reality sets in?

    A Seduction at Christmas, by Cathy Maxwell
    Fiona has learned the hard way what lengths she’ll sink to in order to save herself…even if it means taking down a rake of a Duke. Posing as his ward, Fiona does her best to get the better of a man who has spent his life distrusting women…but in this steamy tale, even he cannot help but fall prey to her charms.

    Let it Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
    Another winter-themed anthology with beautiful YA stories about a Christmas Eve snowstorm that turns the lives of three teens into a magical night of love.

    Wintersong, by S. Jae-Jones
    The Goblin King steals Liesl’s sister, drawing her into the strange and magical world of the Underground in order to save her. This YA novel is rife with gorgeous descriptions, forbidden romance, and the devastation surrounding what happens when a girl is torn between family and fate.

    Ice, by Linda Howard
    I love a good military thriller…especially one starring a guy good enough to make sure his dad’s neighbor is safe during an ice storm. Except Gabriel is not that guy; he doesn’t even LIKE Lolly, the neighbor he finds himself having to rescue from masked strangers in her window. United against a mysterious enemy, determined to survive the storm, Gabriel and Lolly make their way to safety, and to steamy romance.

    Get a Clue, by Jill Shalvis
    Breanne has been jilted, so getting snowed in on the honeymoon she should have had sounds like exactly what would happen to her. But when she discovers her room—the last room in the lodge—is already occupied by a very cute, very cynical cop, they strike a bargain to share the room.

    Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts
    Nate Burke got burned watching his police partner die, and so he chooses to start over in Alaska, prepared to endure the cold weather. In a town called Lunacy, what else could he expect but to have an affair with a pilot named Meg…while stalking a murderer on the loose that only he can track down.

    The Bite Before Christmas, by Lynsay Sands and Jeaniene Frost
    This book has multiple stories for the price of one! An anthology focused on Yuletide romance starring immortals from both of these authors’ bestselling series, you’re in for a bloody sexy read.

    Frozen, by L.A. Casey
    Neala and Darcy have a love-hate relationship for the ages. But when they both wind up at the toy store determined to buy the last toy in stock, their battle of wills…and sexual tension…burns brighter than a Christmas tree.

    Shadows and Lace, by Teresa Medeiros
    Rowena has been gambled into service for a mysterious—and potentially murderous—knight. Little does she know that her situation has been his ploy all along in a quest for vengeance. This pawn does not expect to love her captor, and the knight never expected to desire his pawn…

    Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
    One of the most beautiful and devastating historical novels in modern times, Cold Mountain tells the story of a couple torn apart by the Civil War. Inman, a Confederate soldier, is determined to trek across the mountains to return home to Ada, the woman he loves. But home is not the same place it was when he left it, and danger abounds as Ada discovers the lengths she will go to in order to survive without him.

    Winter Stroll, by Elin Hilderbrand
    The Quinn family returns in this novel full of holiday hope and laughter…that is, until a series of unexpected guests show up at the Winter Street Inn and throw a few wrenches in the romances everyone thought were going so well.

    Winter Garden, by Kristin Hannah
    Russia is known as a cold place, especially during World War II. In this romance that spans time and space between 1941 and 2000, the story of a mother’s determination to survive a war transforms her relationship with her estranged daughters.

    Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
    This paranormal YA novel has serious swoons! The heartbreaking love story of Grace—a girl fascinated by the wolves who live in her backyard, and Sam, a human boy cursed to change with the cold—is dark, romantic, and perfect for chilly nights.

    Winter, by Marissa Meyer
    This sci-fi epic tells the story of a Princess named Winter who dares to fall in love with a palace guard in defiance of her stepmother. A revolution brims beneath the surface and she must decide whether to team up with a group of brave girls to fight—even if it means losing the man she loves.

    Snow Falling, by Jane Villanueva
    I’m super excited about this winter romance—because it’s the “book-within-the-TV-show from the CW’s hit show Jane the Virgin! In Miami at the turn of the 20th century, a girl named Josephine believes her life is perfect: she has a good job at a hotel, and has just gotten engaged…but then a mysterious railroad tycoon shows up to disturb all her plans.

    A Cold Day for Murder, by Dana Stabenow
    A classic detective story that takes place in the Alaskan north. Kate has left the D.A.’s office for a return to her job as a cop…and when a ranger goes missing, she’s the only one brave enough to face the cold.

    Black Ice, by Becca Fitzpatrick
    The classic snowstorm thriller gets a YA twist: Britt is ready to hike the Teton Range, but then her ex-boyfriend shows up. The ex-boyfriend she can’t stop thinking about. The one she gets separated from by a snowstorm…only to be taken hostage, at which point she can only hope that he still loves her enough to find her.

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes, by Diana Gabaldon
    So, since this is the 6th book in the Outlander series, I’d recommend reading the other books first…but the title is so wintery, I couldn’t resist including it! (Mild spoilers ahead.) This installment of the epic romance finds Jamie and Claire on the verge of the American Revolution, and worried about whether they will survive the battle to come.

    Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi
    A fairytale retelling like no other. In 1953, Boy travels to a small town and marries a local man, becoming stepmother to his beautiful daughter, Snow. But Boy’s growing hatred towards Snow only increases when her baby, Bird, is born dark-skinned, revealing her husband’s family as African Americans passing for white.

    Snowfall at Willow Lake, by Susan Wiggs
    Sophie travels to dangerous places to help those in need—but after surviving a terrible trauma, she returns home to Willow Lake. She’s spent enough time saving others; now it’s time to save herself. And what she finds does exactly that: a love with Noah, the local vet, who ignites a passion within her she never thought she’d feel again.

    Biting Cold, by Chloe Neill
    Imagine being turned into a vampire without your consent…that’s what happened to Merit. But she’s made lemonade out of a dark situation, turning her position into one of power, tracking down a supernatural creature with the goal of causing havoc.

    Cold-Hearted Rake, by Lisa Kleypas
    Devon Ravenel is a rake, and proud of it—he wants no other responsibilities than figuring out which woman to charm that week. But when he finds himself responsible for the fates of three young girls after inheriting their father’s earldom—and one of them, in particular, who beguiles and tempts him—he knows it’s time for his cold heart to let in a little warmth.

    The Snow Queen, by Mercedes Lackey
    A queen with a heart of ice is accused of attacking innocent people, and in response she decides to journey through her kingdom of winter to find the imposter responsible for damaging her reputation.

    The Winter Crown, by Elizabeth Chadwick
    Fans of the classic movie Lion in Winter will love this historical novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine. Frustrated with her role as mother, isolated from her husband, and tempted by the promise of power, Eleanor makes a dangerous choice to defy her King and seize power for herself.

    Marrying Winterbourne, by Lisa Kleypas
    Ambition can turn the heart cold, which is what has happened to Rhys Winterborne; a common-born man who has risen to success. So when he decides he must bed Helen Revanel, he is unprepared to be met with ice. Helen finds herself tempted by Rhys’ passion and looks, but when an enemy threatens their growing love, she finds herself willing to risk it all to keep it.

    The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin
    Okay, I admit it: this one is kind of a joke. Winter has come, but will The Winds of Winter ever be published?? Only time will tell, and we all know Westerosi winters are long.

    What winter romances do you love?

    The post 50 Delightful Winter Romances appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 4:00 pm on 2017/11/16 Permalink
    Tags: a devil in scotland, a duke in shining armor, , , , beyond scandal and desire, blood fury: black dagger legacy, , , , , ella quinn, , headmaster, hello stranger, highland ever after, , , , , , , , maya banks, , , , surrender to the highlander, suzanne enoch, , tempted, the marquis and i,   

    Your Guide to Winter Romance: 16 Novels to Get You Through the Season 

    Even though the seasons change, there are always new romances to be read! Get your TBR ready for these winter reads to keep things steamy as snow starts to fall.

    Darker: Fifty Shades Darker, by EL James (11/28)
    The world of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele continues to grow and deepen with this new installment, Darker. Following the same storyline as the original second novel, there’s a special twist: the book is from Christian’s POV! He’s lost the love of his life, but this billionaire is not the kind of man who takes no for an answer.

    A Duke in Shining Armor, by Loretta Chase (11/28)
    Hugh is the seventh Duke of Ripley, and he’s totally a rake. But the one night he chooses to do the right thing and return his best friend’s bride to her wedding when she attempts to flee. They fall in love instead, and in this humorous and passionate novel a rake must romance a runaway bride.

    Past Perfect, by Danielle Steele (11/28)
    Danielle Steele returns with a sweeping romance that spans centuries. When Sybil and Blake Gregory move their family from the city that never sleeps to San Francisco, they find more than a fresh start. They find the ghosts of a family who lived there over one hundred years ago. How can two families—one living, one dead—share the same home?

    Enchantress of Numbers, by Jennifer Chiaverini (12/5)
    A woman’s love affair with numbers is told in stirring detail in this novel from a New York Times bestseller. Ada Lovelace was a nobleman’s daughter, but she far outshined his looming shadow thanks to her work in computer programming. Detailed and entrancing, this one is not to be missed.

    Year One, by Nora Roberts (12/5)
    Nora Roberts returns to the paranormal, exploring a dystopian, speculative future where a mysterious condition destroys all of humanity…except for those left behind, who now possess powers thanks to the blight. Called Uncannys, Max Fallon and Lana Bingham suddenly have more power than they ever have before, but can they protect their love while saving the world from the terrifying Doom?

    Any Dream Will Do, by Debbie Macomber (12/26)
    Shay Benson went to prison for a crime her brother committed, but now she’s determined to start over. A new town, a new job, and a new chance at love with a widowed pastor, Shay is feeling like her dreams have finally come true. That is, until her past sneaks up behind her and threatens to take it all away. Suspenseful yet hopeful, this is the perfect romance to give you some holiday cheer.

    Headmaster, by Tara Sue Me (1/16)
    A second chance at love and a BDSM romance all in one: Lennox owns the RACK Academy, where Dominants and submissives can practice their lifestyle in a safe environment…except for him. Lennox no longer participates in the lifestyle after the death of his submissive, Winnie. So he never intended on falling in love with her best friend…

    Blood Fury: Black Dagger Legacy, by JR Ward (1/9)
    The brothers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood are back, and sexier than ever. A fight is brewing against the dangerous society determined to wipe out their kind, but love has a way of distracting them from the danger around them. Except for Novo, who wants no part of love. Peyton was supposed to marry a female of his class and standing…but then the one he wanted fell for someone else. Together, they confront the demons of their pasts and present while their passion consumes them.

    Beyond Scandal and Desire, by Lorraine Heath (1/28)
    Mick was raised a commoner, but his dirty secret is that he’s a dirty bastard: born illegitmately to a Duke. He’s moved up in the world thanks to his own wit and grit, but his success has only emboldened his thirst for vengeance. On a quest to punish his father’s recognized son, he meets the lady Aslyn Hastings and finds himself equally possessed by her. The problem? She’s engaged to another.

    About that Kiss, by Jill Shalvis by (1/23)
    Kylie and Joe had one incredible kiss. And then he never called again! But when something valuable gets stolen, the only one she can turn to is the one guy who rebuffed her.

    Tempest, by Beverly Jenkins (1/30)
    Regan Carmichael is a free-spirited woman even in the Old West…and so she plans to marry a man she’s never met, so her freedom can’t be tamed by the lasso of love. Those plans change when she finds herself falling for her intended groom.

    A Devil in Scotland, by Suzanne Enoch (1/30)
    It’s the early 19th Century in Scotland, and Callum MacCraeath is perfectly fine being a bachelor. That is, until his older brother decides to marry a woman he wants for himself. This one is sure to be a deliciously steamy romance full of temptation and torment!

    Surrender to the Highlander, by Lynsay Sands (1/30)
    In this Highland romance, after being sent to a nunnery, Edith Drummond’s life changes drastically when she awakes after a mysterious illness to find herself surrounded by rugged, brutish Highlanders. Niels Buchanan saves her life by informing her that she isn’t ill; she’s been poisoned. While he helps her heal, Niels finds himself falling for the lovely lass, and is determined to rescue her from the nunnery by marrying her himself.

    Highland Ever After, by Maya Banks (February 2018)
    We’re so excited to return to Banks’ dangerously seductive Scottish world in the second installment of her Montgomerys and Armstrongs series. The King demands that Talisan McHugh marry a man to secure an alliance….which she reluctantly submits to, as she believes her physical disability would prevent a man from choosing to love her naturally. Until she meets Brodie Armstrong, who chooses to defy the king and save Talisan from a marriage without love and passion, and take her for himself.

    Hello Stranger, by Lisa Kleypas (2/27)
    Dr. Garrett Gibson is the only female doctor in all of England, and that’s not the only way she defies convention. Determined to pursue passion just as voraciously as any man would, she meets Ethan Ransom, a former detective turned rumored assassin…and she never shies away from a bit of danger.

    The Marquis and I, by Ella Quinn (2/27)
    When Charlotte Carpenter is kidnapped, she learns the reason why: her brother-in-law put a brothel out of business, and they intend to hold her until his pays. When Charlotte attempts an escape, she is rescued by one of the men who frequented the former establishment. Will Charlotte trust a known rake, or put her fate in the hands of men who want to see her family pay?

    The post Your Guide to Winter Romance: 16 Novels to Get You Through the Season appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Cristina Merrill 10:00 pm on 2017/06/04 Permalink
    Tags: just one touch, maya banks, on fire, , slow burn   

    Maya Banks’ Just One Touch Strikes Sexy, Excellent Balance 

    A relationship that strikes a balance of tenderness and intensity is at the center of Just One Touch, the latest book in Maya Banks’ Slow Burn series. The series centers around women who have been deeply traumatized by various forms of violence, survived, and found love with men who are exceptionally overprotective of them. Oh, and these ladies might possess some otherworldly abilities.

    The fifth book in the series tells the story of Isaac Washington, a member of the Devereaux Security agency, and Jenna, a young woman who has just escaped the cult she’s lived in for the past 20 years or so. (She was placed there as a small child and barely has any memory of her life prior.)

    Jenna and Isaac first meet when he catches her trying to steal his car in a desperate effort to escape her pursuers. He’s more interested than anything else, not to mention mega-attracted to her, and immediately decides he needs to help this very vulnerable-looking woman. Then he gets shot by one of her enemies. Jenna, to Isaac’s shock, magically heals the wounds that otherwise would have killed him. That is their meet-cute.

    What follows is a relationship that is deceptively dependent. Jenna certainly needs protection, but she is not one for all take and no give. We first get a glimpse of a woman who can’t seem to do anything for herself in this new world she’s escaped to, and fair enough. She’s been abused and brainwashed for many years. Indeed, she’s so fragile and young-looking that it’s almost funny when Isaac asks her to confirm her age before kissing her for the first time. (He’s certainly obsessed with this rare creature, but he’s not about to engage in illegal behavior.) It’s a good thing he was the one to find her, because he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make her feel safe and happy. Considering the life Jenna has lived, it’s wonderful to see someone take such a vested interest in her welfare.

    As for Isaac, he pretty much takes one look at Jenna and decides that he wants to be all she needs. Their relationship may seem a bit disproportionate—she’s got that super-helpless thing going on while he is extremely aware and hardened and overprotective—but it turns out that she is not the only one with a dark past. Isaac, we learn, has his own demons to deal with, and he has come a long way to get to where he is today. You get the sense that he’s terrified of screwing up in some way, not just for Jenna’s sake but for his own. Jenna gives him hope for a better life. True, he has close friends from his work who are really more like family, so he’s not completely devoid of emotional connections, but romantically his life is empty. Jenna may need Isaac for her day-to-day survival, but he needs her for his soul. A major test in their relationship is when Jenna tries to abandon Isaac and his crew out of fear that they’ll get caught in her line of fire.

    As Jenna and Isaac move around and switch safe houses to keep her protected, Jenna gets introduced not just to the ways of love but to the world at large. Her more vulnerable moments in the book are balanced out by her curiosity about the outside world, and some light humor (mainly around food and television preferences) prevent this story from entering any real Debbie Downer territory.

    Readers will also get glimpses of other characters and couples in the Slow Burn universe, and will want to read more about them if they haven’t already. The comradeship Isaac has with the others, especially with his male colleagues, who are just as protective of their own women, is especially strong. His guy friends make it clear to him several times throughout the story that he is not in it alone to keep Jenna safe. When one of them is happy with his woman, all of them are happy, and Isaac’s friends are 100 percent willing to help him keep Jenna safe.

    Just One Touch is a sweet and sexy read that strikes an excellent balance. There is a very fine line between tenderness and obsession and intensity here in this Slow Burn installment, and Banks’ story walks it oh so very well.

    Just One Touch is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post Maya Banks’ Just One Touch Strikes Sexy, Excellent Balance appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Cristina Merrill 4:00 pm on 2016/10/28 Permalink
    Tags: , maya banks, ,   

    Maya Banks’ Kept is an Intense and Emotional Love Story 

    Romance readers who enjoy an intense and emotional journey to love will devour Kept, the third book in Maya Banks’ Enforcers series.

    Our heroine is Hayley, who is working herself to the bone as she pursues her dreams of becoming an accomplished violinist. She’s the kind of character you want to take out for cocktails and offer your couch for a week or so. She’s struggling to survive in New York City, working tons of terrible part-time jobs while attending a prestigious—and expensive—music school. When the story begins, she is in desperate need of a new place to stay.

    Her love interest is Silas, who works for Drake Donovan. Drake and his now-wife, Evangeline, were the subjects of the first two books in the Enforcers series. Readers who are not up to speed with this series needn’t worry—Banks provides plenty of context to give you a solid idea of what’s going on. Bottom line: Drake is in charge, his world is a shadowy and dangerous one, and his number one priority is his wife, which also makes her a major priority for his men. This group of men includes Silas, his right-hand man who helps watch over Evangeline with exceptionally protective eyes.

    Silas first sees Hayley entirely by chance, and his reaction to her is immediate. He views her through a security camera when she enters the apartment building he owns to inquire about available spaces for rent. He is immediately captivated, and rightfully sees a vulnerable woman who could use a break. Per his instructions, the building doorman chases Hayley down after she’s left and, in a true fantasy for anyone who has ever dwelled in an expensive city, quotes a ridiculously low rent price for one of the building’s units.

    Soon after Hayley moves in, she and Silas begin an acquaintance that easily rolls over into full-blown obsession on both sides. Silas is already hooked on her before they’ve even officially met thanks to seeing her on camera that first time and listening to her play the violin at night. He feels very protective of her. The turning point in their budding relationship is when he saves her one night from being raped when she’s walking home from work. He’s then truly brought out of his isolated bubble and into her life for good, and they soon become involved in an intense affair.

    While Silas is quite the sexy guy, he also had an exceptionally difficult childhood that has wholly affected the man and person he is today. He was neglected and sexually abused as a child, which has led to major, present-day intimacy problems. He prefers to keep to himself in adulthood (when he’s not working for Drake, of course), and he thrives in isolation.

    This is exactly what makes Hayley such a perfect foil for Silas. She’s virginal in the literal sense, and he’s virginal in the emotional sense. Unlike Silas, Hayley hails from a loving background. She was close to her late father, and knows what true love is. She’s a sweet person with nothing but love to give. She’s not bitter about her circumstances, just eager to make things work out for herself and willing to do what she has to do. She’s certainly not above hard work, and like any musician worth her salt she logs in her practice time. Her efforts to show her gratitude to Silas—such as baking him treats and writing thank-you notes—almost seem comical when you think about the type of man he is and the horrors he’s seen.

    Woven well throughout the story are the issues Silas’ boss, Drake, and his men have with a major crime family. Banks does an excellent job of touching upon these issues and reminding readers of the larger things at stake without letting them take over the story. Also, while the vast majority of this story does focus on Hayley and Silas, there are a few other characters who help spice things up. A classmate of Hayley’s who is interested in her proves to be a major nuisance. He aggressively pursues her without an iota of sincerity and makes Silas and his men put in some major overtime.

    One of the best parts of the book, however, are the trio of bodyguards—Jax, Maddox, and Thane—Silas assigns to guard Hayley. They are adorable softies at heart, the sidekicks or brother-type figures Hayley probably could have used by her side in life to help her build her confidence. They eagerly devour the food she cooks for them, and they even insist on hearing her play the violin—and genuinely enjoy it. You can’t help but hope that each guy will get his own spin-off. (Hint, hint, Banks!)

    Kept is an intense read, one that will immediately draw in readers who love a controlling alpha male like Silas, who possesses deep down the heart of a man who is severely damaged emotionally and who needs love just like anyone else. When he meets Hayley, whose open heart and innocence provide him with some much-needed balance, the result is a love story that is also a deeply affecting emotional journey.

    Kept is on shelves now.

    The post Maya Banks’ Kept is an Intense and Emotional Love Story appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 3:30 pm on 2016/05/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , maya banks, ,   

    Maya Banks’ Dominated is an Urban Fairytale with a Suspenseful Twist 

    In Maya Banks’ Mastered, a Cinderella story came to life: a young, innocent girl struggling to make ends meet was swept off her feet by a Prince Charming with an unlimited credit card. The only catch? He required her total, unyielding, obedience to him.

    It sounds like every girl’s fantasy, except that over the course of the first novel, the romance between the sweet yet sultry Evangeline and the mysterious and commanding Drake Donovan felt more like Beauty and the Beast; for Drake and his team of “Enforcers” were keeping secrets from Evangeline which could destroy their relationship. By the end of Book 1, being kept in the dark has forced Evangeline to flee, when she believes Drake to have revealed his true beastly nature, and thinks that everything they had together was a lie.

    Book two, Dominated, begins with Drake and his team of equally attractive and possessive-of-Evangeline thugs searching for the girl he was forced to betray in order to protect her. Although the nature of Drake’s seedy business is never fully explained—though it appears to be some sort of mob association with a resulting turf war with other powerful families. Regardless, Evangeline decides to take him at his word and try again, and they embark on a relationship with a truer understanding: Drake’s need for dominance stems not only from a sexual urge to control, but from the very basic fact that if Evangeline does not obey him, her life could be at risk.

    Both the internal relationship storyline as well as the external plot feel high stakes—Drake takes Evangeline to her sexual limits while she encourages him to reveal more about his (naturally) tortured past. One of the things I like most about Drake is his relationship with the other members of his team, his chosen family, which is often fraught with tension; Silas, the favorite of the group (and subject of a future Enforcers novel) is torn between his loyalties to Drake and Evangeline. When a leak in Drake’s team causes him to think that Evangeline has betrayed the nature of his shady business ventures to the police, he forces her to leave, even when she’s on her knees begging him to believe her—and Silas is the one who stands up to him. Drake’s inability to truly trust, paired with Evangeline’s open heart, is a recipe for disaster, unless Drake can learn to truly let his guard down, if only around the woman he loves.

    Eventually Evangeline must make a difficult choice: stay with Drake and risk her future, or leave New York and pretend their whirlwind romance never happened.

    With fast-paced plot, a well-balanced narrative between tension and romance, and some truly illicit, steamy scenes, Banks’ continuation of the series holds up well to its initial premise. Add in a mafia showdown and a few surprises, and Drake and Evangeline’s romantic happily ever after is well worth the wait. I’m looking forward to the next volume in the series, Kept, which will tell Silas’ story—and hopefully give us even more glimpses into the dark underworld that Drake Donovan controls, and which his men enforce.

    Dominated is on shelves now.

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