by Mandi Schreiner)
I have a little something for everyone this weekend — a fastpaced romantic suspense, an adorable historical romance and a very sexy, grittier contemporary.
Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane (romantic suspense). Laney is doing her best to disappear and stay off her evil husband's radar. After she married a cruel man and eventually helped the FBI put him in prison, Laney is still being followed by his men, which is how she finds herself in Bangkok as a lounge singer. In the crowd one evening is Peter Macmillan. Peter is a linguistics expert and also part of a secret spy organization called The Associates. Peter is hunting a weapon that is rumored to change hands at this hotel soon. Years ago, Peter's family was killed when a similar weapon was used and now Peter will do anything to stop this weapon — even if it means he has to use Laney in the process.
Off the Edge is such a well-crafted romantic suspense story. Full of action and sparkling chemistry between Laney and Peter, this book is so much fun to read. Peter is brilliant in analyzing and interpreting words. He wears glasses and takes care in his appearance, but is also a pretty bad-ass spy. Laney gets pulled into the action, and I really enjoyed her. She is rightfully scared of being found out by her husband's men, but she tries to not let her spirit get down. She is stubborn and feisty and her romance with Peter is sexy and cute. Looking forward to the next book!
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (historical romance). One of the most adorable books I've read in a long time. Izzy is a 26-year-old spinster who travels to an old, ruined castle when she finds out she has been left some sort of an inheritance. Residing at this castle is Ranson, the Duke of Rothbury. Several months ago, something happened to Ranson, leaving him blind, scarred and in a really bad mood. He has been hiding in his ruined castle all this time, brooding and feeling miserable. Much to everyone's surprise, Izzy learns that she has inherited Ranson's castle. Outraged, Ranson refuses to leave — and Izzy, not one to back down to a challenge, refuses to leave as well. As these two share the same space and come to know each other, a very sexy romance develops.
There are so many great moments in this book. Izzy may be a spinster who has never been kissed, but that doesn't mean she doesn't want romance in her life. She has always felt more plain, but Ranson thinks she is beautiful. He can see some shapes and sometimes in good light more, and she is an angel to him. Izzy is bold in her flirtations, which subsequently frustrates Ranson and turns him on greatly.
Tessa Dare weaves this incredibly adorable, sweet story that will just make you smile, all the while quietly inserting some very dirty love scenes. It's a very well-done romance book.
Reaper's Legacy by Joanna Wylde (contemporary romance). I love motorcycle club books and I think Joanna Wylde has a great voice in this genre. Ruger and Sophie have quite a history. At the age of 17, Sophie became pregnant with Ruger's stepbrother's baby. Ruger helps deliver this baby on the side of the road and feels a special bond with him. Unfortunately, the baby's father is an abusive jerk who Sophie finally puts behind bars, and she takes her son and moves far away. Years later, Ruger learns that Sophie is living in dangerous apartments. He shows up one night, packs her stuff and moves Sophie and her son into the basement apartment of his house.
Ruger is a member of the Reaper's Motorcycle Club. He lives and rides free, along with riding many women. Ruger is very attracted to Sophie but doesn't want any of that commitment nonsense. He would do anything for her son, but he doesn't do relationships. Sophie wants to protect her son first and foremost, but she also wants to protect her heart. After already suffering through one horrible relationship, she wants more for herself, and just being one of Ruger's club women is not enough.
This is such a well-done motorcycle club book. Ruger is so alpha and demanding and kind of a jerk, but don't run away! It all works out. Inside, he is caring and truly comes to love Sophie. It just takes a lot of time, and Sophie is his perfect match. She admits to being greatly attracted to Ruger, but she stands up for herself. She refuses to let him have his wicked way every time it pleases him. There is also some great page time with Sophie and her girlfriends, which I really enjoyed. I love the culture and world Joanna Wylde is creating in this series, and I can't wait for the next book.
Mandi Schreiner started romance review blog Smexy Books in 2009. She is obsessed with reading romance novels and collecting fictional boyfriends.