Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review: "Marrying the Captain" by Carla Kelly

Marrying The Captain (Channel Fleet, #1)Marrying The Captain by Carla Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars

This was only my second book by Carla Kelly, but I can already say for sure that she is one of my favorite authors now. I love her writing and the way she fills her books with accurate and realistic historic details without turning them into a textbook... Well, that's how I feel after reading only two books, but I doubt they're exceptions to the rule. :)

Marrying The Captain (Channel Fleet, #1) is the first book in the Channel Fleet trilogy. The story takes place during the Napoleonic Wars and, unlike what I've become used to read in other Regency books, the H/h are common (but not ordinary) people: Royal Navy Captain Oliver Worthy, a simple country vicar's son who's achieved his current rank by merit, and Eleanor "Nana" Massie, a scheming lord's illegitimate daughter.

Nana's been living in Plymouth with her grandmother (from her mother's side, of course) and running the Mulberry Inn with her for the past five years, since her father tried to give her to one of his "friends" as payment for his debts. Oliver has the unfortunate luck of crossing paths with Lord Ratliffe, Nana's father and an undersecretary of Admiralty House, and is asked to spy on Nana - just to make sure she's doing fine, assures Lord Ratliffe. Oliver doesn't buy it, but fate plays its hand and he ends up staying in Mulberry Inn anyway - and as they say, the rest is history...

I loved Oliver and Nana. They were fully developed characters, admirable and flawed at the same time, and their falling in love was very poignant. At first, I was afraid Oliver's connection with Nana's father would lead to a Big Misunderstanding, but Ms. Kelly knows better than that and showed me that such plot device isn't necessary to add conflict to a story and keep it interesting. The uncertainties brought by war were enough to give my heart a little squeeze.

This was a very enjoyable read to me, slow paced at times but never boring. I never doubted Oliver and Nana's love for each other, even when they tried to fight it - for sensible reasons and not just for the sake of adding angst to the story. If I have one complaint, it's the ending: this book needed an epilogue, IMHO. Call me greedy, but I needed to see Oliver and Nana living HEA after the war was over. That's the only reason I couldn't give this book 5 stars. Hopefully, I'll get to seem them again in the next books, The Surgeon's Lady (Channel Fleet, #2) and Marrying the Royal Marine. :)

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: "Master of the Mountain" by Cherise Sinclair

Master of the Mountain (Mountain Masters, #1)Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

The book description gives more than a good insight of the story - in fact, it tells the whole story! - so I won't bother writing a plot summary here. I'll just say that the premise was interesting, but I didn't like the way the story unfolded.

Rebecca was too hesitant and insecure - so much that I didn't know if she still considered Matt her boyfriend or not when she had sex with Logan. Before anyone shouts "Cheater!" at her, let me explain that Matt and Rebecca had an open relationship - even though she only became aware of that when the douchebag told her he was a swinger and asked her to join his swing club on a long weekend retreat - so she wasn't cheating on him when she decided to explore her sexuality with Logan. Even so, I still felt uncomfortable with her decision, mostly because she was uncomfortable with it too. She was clearly not a swinger and not into any kind of sexual sharing, so why didn't she break things up with Matt when she realized that? Considering he was "busy" with another woman (and therefore, didn't have time to speak with his own girlfriend) and how he was okay with her having sex with other guys, I'd have been fine with Rebecca breaking up with Matt "telepathically" until she could do it face to face. She did that (the "telepathic" breakup) later, but the damage - the way I saw it - had been done.

Logan was sexy as sin - and a bit scary for my sensitive taste. He was definitely a Dom with a capital D and wasn't afraid to push Rebecca out of her comfort zone. He never went over what he knew she could take, which was a relief - to her, not to me. And that's where I had some issues with this book. Logan and Rebecca were more than happy with their BDSM plays - well, she wasn't exactly laughing with joy when he punished her, but you know what I mean - and they really knew how to set the sheets on fire, but some of their sex scenes were out of my comfort zone. I shouldn't care - I mean, as long as everyting is sane, safe and consensual, everything goes - but I couldn't help being put off by some of their sexcapades. Since I read for fun and that affected my enjoyment while I was reading this book, I had to take that in consideration when I decided on my rating.

This was my third read by this author and I don't know where I stand when it comes to her books. I like her writing, but I'm wary of her stories. I loved The Dom's Dungeon, I didn't like Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands, #1) and even though I thought that this book was better than okay, it wasn't a winner. What to do, what to do? I guess I'll have to keep reading. ;)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: "Mistress Christmas" by Lorelei James

Mistress ChristmasMistress Christmas by Lorelei James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can always count on Lorelei James to deliver hot, steamy and fun stories. I just wish the cover of this book wasn't so, ugh, tacky. But hey, I've got it as an e-book, so why am I complaining? LOL!

Holly North is a shy accountant who, for reasons I'll never fully understand, agrees to don a dominatrix costume and fill in as Mistress Christmas at Sugar Plums, a "gentleman's" club - aka a high-class strip joint.

Detective Nick West isn't a regular at Sugar Plums - or any other strip joint, for that matter. He's there to take down the famous Mistress Christmas, who alledgedly robbed one of his friends during a lap dance. As his friend was too embarassed to press formal charges, Nick has to work undercover and off the clock, trick Mistress Christmas to give him a lap dance and catch her in the act of trying to rob him too. But one look at her has him doubting his ability to keep his mind - and another very distinct body part - focused on the legal matter at hand.

The attraction between Holly and Nick is immediate and combustible, and they don't take long to act on it. But neither knows who the other truly is, so what will happen when the truth surfaces? Is there any future for a relationship that basically starts with a misunderstanding and is based on deception? Well, this is Romancelandia. Need I say more? ;)

As expected, this was a hot, quick and very entertaining read. Nick and Holly were very likeable and the sexual chemistry between them was great, which always leads to scorching love scenes. On the "negative" side, the setup of the story annoyed me, because I don't think a shy accountant can pass for a seasoned stripper that easily. Anyway, that wasn't "bad" enough to ruin the read. All things considered, this was very good.

Note: The Wild West Boys series is kind of a spin-off of the Rough Riders series - the West "boys" are cousins of the McKay "kinky loonies" - but each series stands on its own and you don't have to read one to follow/appreciate the other.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

It's time for a nap!

I don't like Mondays, especially after a long weekend. I usually feel tired - I don't know why, considering all the rest I have, or should have had, during the weekend - and wish I could take a nap after lunch. If only I had someone like David lying on my couch like this...

Oh boy, I think I'm about to have a heart attack!!! *fans herself*

Review: "Feels Like the First Time" by Tawny Weber

Feels Like the First TimeFeels Like the First Time by Tawny Weber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, the sex scenes in this book were very, very steamy! I didn't expect HQ Blaze novels to venture into (light) bondage and stuff like that, but I should have seen it coming when I found out that the heroine wears a dominatrix costume to go to her high-school reunion party. That was all good, but the story as a whole didn't work too well for me.

My biggest problem was its "high-school vibe": all the characters in this book, from the geeky hero and the angsty heroine to the arrogant football jock and the jealous cheerleader, acted like they were still in their teens and not in their late twenties, and I didn't care for it. Dex was sexy but too needy for my taste, Zoe was nice but too hung-up on her dreadful high-school years, and I felt that their relationship was unbalanced (his love was stronger than hers). My favorite character in the story was Dex's grandmother - the woman was a hoot! - and it's never a good sign when I'm more interested in reading about a secondary character than in following the H/h's relationship.

Overall, this was a so-so book that was saved by the love scenes. If you're in the mood for a titillating read and don't mind the teen angst, go for it.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review: "Past Promises" by N.J. Walters

Past Promises (Jamesville, #7)Past Promises by N.J. Walters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The seventh - and so far, last - installment in the Jamesville series, Past Promises tells the story of former Army (Special Forces) operative Levi Mann, who was introduced in By The Book, and antiques and collectibles dealer Linda Fletcher, who was introduced in The Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke.

Coming from a wealthy but dysfunctional family, Linda Fletcher is the proverbial "poor rich woman". She was supposed to follow in her family's tradition, joining the prominent law firm that was founded by her great-great-great-grandfather more than a hundred years ago and marrying one of her father's associates, but that life isn't for her. The only person in her family who's ever understood her was her maternal grandmother, so now that the old woman has passed away, Linda feels like she has no family anymore. Her ruthless father, distant mother and uncaring brother don't count. As the sole heir to her grandmother's estate, Linda has packed her bags, cut her family loose and moved to Jamesville, ready to start her new, independent life. She gets a bank loan, which she'll pay as soon as her grandmother's will is settled, and buys a three story building: she opens Past Promises, an antiques and collectibles store, on the main floor, revamps the top floor for her own personal use, and rents out the 2nd floor apartment to a friend of a friend.

Levi Mann is the "friend of a friend". He's friends with Jonah Sutter (the hero in By The Book), who's married with Amanda Barrington, Amanda Sutter now, who's friends with Linda. Got it? It's a small, small world. :) Anyway, Levi is an ex-military man who also moved to Jamesville a few months ago, needed a place to stay and was willing to work in exchange for rent, and that's how he ended up living "with" Linda and developing a friendly relationship with her. He's got the hots for her, but he thinks she's too classy for him, the rough son of a drug-addict mother and unknown father. So he stays away... until her family starts to harass her. He doesn't know much about her personal life, but it's obvious to him that her family is a sore issue. He can't not try to help her and when he pushes her into confiding in him, the attraction that both of them have been holding off for months takes over and things get hot and heavy pretty fast. Neither thinks the affair will last - she's sure he isn't in Jamesville to stay, and he still thinks she's out of his league - but we all know they're wrong, don't we? ;)

Overall, this was another nice and "feel good" story by Ms. Walters. I liked both Levi and Linda, even though I didn't feel that I got to know him as well as I could. Levi's inferiority complex wasn't completely believable, especially considering that Linda didn't have a snobbish bone in her body and he knew that. Anyway, not much angst was put on that, so I'm not going to hold a grudge against him. He also didn't know the meaning of the word "privacy", but I kind of understood where he was coming from. Linda's family was a bit OTT in their nefarious dealings, and so was the resolution for her conflict with them. Her confrontation with them would have been enough to settle the matter and I could have done without Levi's final blow, but I guess Ms. Walters wanted to make sure they were down for good. Oh well, bad guys can never be punished enough...

Now that I have no more new books in this series to read, I can't help hoping that Ms. Walters isn't done with it yet and keeps writing about the good people of Jamesville. If she writes it, I'll read it.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Review: "By the Book" by N.J. Walters

By The Book (Jamesville,  #6)By The Book by N.J. Walters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The sixth installment in the Jamesville series, By The Book tells the story of former Army (Special Forces) operative Jonah Sutter, who was introduced in A Legal Affair, and antiquarian and rare books dealer Amanda Barrington, who was introduced in The Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke.

After the death of her elderly mentor and grandfather figure Seymour Morton, who'd unexpectedly made her the beneficiary of his entire estate, Amanda Barrington has packed her old life in Vermont and moved to Jamesville, ready to start a new chapter in her life. Having spent most of her formative years being shuffled from foster home to foster home, Seymour was the only family Amanda has ever known. Now that he's gone and she's alone again, she feels a change of scenery is due and Jamesville, where her friend Cyndi (the heroine in The Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke) lives, is the place to start anew. She's barely moved into her new home when a tall, dark and handsome man comes knocking on her door... Oh yes, moving to Jamesville was the best move she's ever made, all right!

The man on Amanda's doorstep is Jonah Sutter, an ex-military man who was born in Jamesville but has only been back to his hometown a few months ago, after dedicating the last fifteen years to the Army. He's instantly attracted to Amanda, but he doesn't do relationships and doesn't want anything permanent. He knows she's a forever kind of woman, and therefore "dangerous" to his bachelor ways, but that doesn't stop him from trying to convince her to have a temporary affair with him. At first, Amanda is wary of getting involved with Jonah, because she isn't sure her heart can survive an affair with him, but when she's almost killed in an attempted robbery of her newly opened bookstore, she realizes life is too short and decides to give in to her attraction to Jonah and enjoy their affair for as long as it lasts. But will this be enough for her? Will she be able to prevent her heart from breaking when their affair ends? For she's sure it will end eventually. Won't it?

After being somewhat disappointed with the previous book, A Legal Affair, I'm happy to say that this series is back on track with By The Book. Jonah and Amanda were very likable, and their falling in love was believable. Their loves scenes were hot and, thankfully, not kinky at all. Sometimes sweet and classic vanilla is all I want... ;)

The story was fast paced and entertaining, but the mystery/suspense regarding who attacked Amanda was very simplistic. It was pretty obvious who the "perp" was and his actions didn't make much sense, but since that wasn't really the main focus of the story, I let it go.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable and easy read. I really like the "feel good" atmosphere that's part of the Jamesville series, and these books have become comfort reads to me. Well done again, Ms. Walters! :)

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Friday, April 6, 2012

David Gandy - Interview

An interview with David Gandy - one of the world's leading male models and face of Dolce & Gabanna - on the backstage at the FW10 Dolce & Gabbana catwalk show.

Review: "A Legal Affair" by N.J. Walters

A Legal Affair (Jamesville #5)A Legal Affair by N.J. Walters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The fifth installment in the Jamesville series, A Legal Affair tells the story of Alabama cop Gill Baron, who was introduced in The Return of Patrick O'Rourke, and Jamesville lawyer Alicia Flint, who was introduced in The Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke.

Gill has just retired from the police force in Alabama after twenty years on the job. He's forty-two years old and slightly burned out, and that's how he ends up in Jamesville for some R&R while he figures out what he's going to do with the rest of his life. Then he meets Alicia, and suddenly he's got more than his professional future to think about...

Alicia has been born and raised in Jamesville, and she's content with her life. A successful lawyer, she's worked hard to build a solid reputation in a small town where being a female lawyer still makes some people raise their eyebrows. So she doesn't date and doesn't indulge in love affairs, but she's starting to feel restless. Her battery-operated toy isn't helping anymore. She needs more. And more is what she gets when she meets Gill...

Gill and Alicia are instantly attracted to each other, and act on it. They're strangers, and she doesn't want more than a one-night stand with him, but she's in for a surprise if she thinks she can shake him off once he finds out who she is. He wants to pursue a relationship with her, but she's afraid to risk her reputation. So where does that leave them?

This was only an OK read to me. Gill and Alicia were nice, but I didn't connect much with them. I couldn't understand Alicia's train of thought: one moment, she was saying she wasn't the type of woman to have a one-night stand with a stranger; the next, she was boldly taking Gill, a complete stranger, to her home - danger, danger! - and getting down and dirty with him. Oh, I know all about becoming overcome with lust and forgetting who you are and what you stand for, but I didn't buy it. The problem is, the whole story felt rushed, it lacked real character development, and the conflict was "forced".

Overall, this wasn't up to par with the previous books in the series. I hope this was just a minor bump in the road and the next books get the series back on track.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

David Gandy: becoming a Gentleman

February 13, 2012 - In an interview with Swide, David Gandy talks about his life and reveals to his fans that he is not only the best on the runway, but he is a real gentleman with a big heart off it, too.

Review: "The Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke" by N.J. Walters

The Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke (Jamesville, #4)The Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke by N.J. Walters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great installment in the Jamesville series! Can this series get any better? :)

Cyndi Marks, formerly known as Cynthia James, is returning to Jamesville after fourteen years, to settle her deceased father's affairs and to finally face her past. She knows people won't be welcoming her back with open arms, mostly due to her father's less-than-pleasant dealings with the town folks but also due to her own wrongdoings, but she's back to stay. As fate would have it, the first person she meets when she arrives is Shamus O'Rourke. They feel attracted to each other almost immediately, but this is one aggravation she doesn't need. Cyndi did some very hurtful things to Shamus's sister Dani and brother-in-law Burke in the past, and there's no lost love between Cyndi and Shamus's family. Plus, Cyndi is wary of being nine years older than Shamus. So she's got all the excuses she needs to avoid getting involved with him, right?

Not exactly, because Shamus is a goner from the moment he meets Cyndi and he won't let her go. His family is more than upset to see him pursuing a relationship with her and basically orders him to stop seeing her because they don't trust her. He won't cave to their demands, because he's learned the truth behind Cyndi's past behavior and, more than ever, believes she deserves a second chance. But his family isn't willing to give it. Will he have to choose between his family and his woman?

Wow, how the world turns! I absolutely hated Cynthia James when I read Discovering Dani and could never picture her as the heroine in a future book, so imagine my surprise when I found out that she was not only the heroine in this book but she was also being paired with sexy, lovely Shamus O'Rourke! This isn't going to work, I thought. How would Ms. Walters be able to redeem such a villainess?... Well, I stand corrected. Cynthia was more than redeemed, and I found myself rooting for her and cursing Shamus's family for the way they treated her in this book. That was some great writing, if I may say so.

As for Shamus, he was just wonderful through it all. It was nice to see that the easygoing teenager introduced in Discovering Dani wasn't as oblivious as it seemed back then, and I loved the way he made his family realize that. He was the "baby" of the family, the good guy always willing to give a helping hand and smooth things over, but he also knew what he wanted and how to get it.

There was a secondary plot involving some attacks on Cyndi's life - someone was more than unhappy with her returning to Jamesville - and it gave the story a hint of action and danger. But that wasn't the focal point of the story, so I wouldn't call this a romantic suspense novel, per se. This book was basically about Cyndi, and I think that 'The Redemption of Cynthia James' would have been a more apt title. Probably not as appealing to us romance readers, though.

Overall, this was an excellent read and I loved everything about it. I'm not sure I want to move to Jamesville anymore because those town people can be mean when they set their minds to it, but I'm definitely going to keep reading this series.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

David Gandy - Interview

December 5, 2011 - David Gandy speaks to UK during the 'Online Fashion Week' about his life, career and future ambitions from the London Eye.

Review: "The Return of Patrick O'Rourke" by N.J. Walters

The Return of Patrick O'Rourke (Jamesville, #3)The Return of Patrick O'Rourke by N.J. Walters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was dying to read Patrick's story since he was introduced in Discovering Dani, and I'm happy to say his book is a winner! Man, oh man! He was adorable when he was nineteen, but he's to die for now that he's thirty-one. He can do my laundry anytime he feels like it, that's all I'm going to say. ;)

For those who've read the first two books in the series and expect this one to be as sweet and "innocent" as those, beware: the love scenes in this book are sizzling hawt and way steamier than the ones features in the previous books! This is Ms. Walters as she's usually known, i.e., sexy, a bit naughty and oh-so-delicious... Suffice it to say that I'm packing my suitcases and moving to Jamesville! I know Patrick has already been taken - lucky, lucky Shannon! - but his brother Shamus is still on the loose... that is, until the next book in the series, LOL. Should I wait awhile before I read Shamus's book so I can pretend he's still available and make him the star of my dreams in the meantime? Nah! *runs to get The Seduction of Shamus O'Rourke*

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Monday, April 2, 2012

David Gandy's Spicy Interview

September 7, 2011 - Dolce & Gabbana's columnist Mondo Trasho has asked the questions that we have always wanted to ask David Gandy. She doesn't want to know about his favorite color, where he grew up or what he likes to eat when he is relaxing, no no. She is far more interested in what goes on between the sheets... and aren't we all?
THANK YOU, Mondo Trasho!

Review: "The Way Home" by N.J. Walters

The Way Home (Jamesville, #2)The Way Home by N.J. Walters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the Jamesville series, this is another sweet, "feel good" story that's miles away from the steamy hot erotic novels usually delivered by N.J. Walters.

Jake Tanner has a "business proposition" for his friend Rebecca Gentry: marriage. Jake's brother and sister-in-law have just died in a car accident, leaving their 4-year-old daughter Casey orphaned. Jake's been named Casey's legal guardian, but he would have taken her anyway because she's family. He needs help raising his niece and his brother's death makes him think that maybe it's time he got married and had children of his own, so Rebecca is the perfect answer to all these "problems". He doesn't love her - not in the romantic way - but they've been friends for seven years, he likes her and she's the only woman he will ever consider marrying.

Rebecca has been in love with Jake since she met him, and marrying him should be a dream come true. But his proposal is less than romantic and he makes it clear that even though he cares for her and their marriage will be a real one - after all, he wants kids -, she shouldn't expect him to love her. Ever. He doesn't do love, because life has taught him that you can only get hurt when you love someone. Can Rebecca accept Jake's "conditions"? Of course she can, because she believes he'll grow to love her over time. As this is a romance novel, it's a given he will but they'll have to face some bumps along the way, mainly because Jake's a bit thick in the head...

Oh boy, I lost count of the times I found myself wanting to shake some sense into Jake... He just didn't have a clue and kept making one mistake after another. At one particular moment, I actually winced when he went a little too far and said some cruel things to Rebecca. He didn't know when to shut up and when to speak up, and Rebecca refused to help him. Here's how one of their arguments went:

Rebecca: "It's not enough. I need more than that from you."

Jake: "What game are you playing? Tell me what you want me to say and we can go home."

She knew he didn't understand what she wanted and it wasn't something she could tell him. Either he loved and trusted her or he didn't.

Jake: "Tell me what to say."

Rebecca: "I can't. If you don't know, I can't tell you."

I know I shouldn't have, but I laughed out loud when I read that scene. I mean, "If you don't know, I can't tell you" is a classic, isn't it? ;) Strangely enough, I didn't hate Jake despite his jerk-ish moments. It was clear to me that he wasn't mean, he was just utterly clueless. Plus, there was a vulnerability in him that made him likable and he did make amends in a beautiful way, so I ended up forgiving him.

Rebecca was a bit too nice and perfect to be true, but I liked her too. Despite the fact that she accepted Jake's loveless proposal and was content with having only his friendship in return for her love for a while, she wasn't a doormat and wasn't going to wait for him forever.

As for the story's pace, there was too much telling and not enough showing at times. I also noticed that trait when I read Discovering Dani, but it didn't bother me then as much as it did now. It wasn't too annoying, but it was enough to dampen part of my enjoyment.

All in all, this was a pleasant read and I'm certainly going to keep reading this series.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

David Gandy on Jonathan Ross - April 30, 2010

He's drop dead gorgeous, funny and seems to be an overall nice guy. Purrrrfection in human form! Need I say more? ;-)

Review: "Discovering Dani" by N.J. Walters

Discovering Dani  (Jamesville, #1)Discovering Dani by N.J. Walters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very sweet, "feel good" story with a fairly simple plot: hero meets heroine, they develop a tentative relationship, a few conflicts arise along the way, but they manage to work everything out and live HEA. There are no mysteries to be solved and no dangerous villains to defeat, this is a straight contemporary novel set in a small town called Jamesville (I'm assuming this is a fictional town, but I might be wrong).

Dani O'Rourke is a 25-year-old virgin who's spent the last eight years of her life raising her younger brothers Patrick and Shamus. Dani and her brothers were left on their own when their mother died from cancer, no more than two years after they'd lost their father to a heart attack, and then 18-year-old Dani had to quit high-school, look for work and become the family provider. Dani doesn't regret her decision and doesn't think about what-might-have-been, because keeping the family together is what really matters to her. They don't live a luxury life, but they're happy.

Burke Black is in Jamesville on a sabbatical, after spending the last five months recovering from a car accident that made him realize how shallow and lonely his life is. He has no family and no friends, only business acquaintances and employees. He's already filthy rich and doesn't need to keep dedicating all his life to his business anymore. So he's sold his business and headed to Jamesville, where he hopes to spend some time relaxing while pondering what to do with the rest of his life. Then he meets Dani, and suddenly relaxing is the last thing on his mind...

Dani and Burke feel strongly attracted to each other, but they've lived completely different lives and have opposite expectations: she wants to build a serious relationship with him and isn't willing to sleep with him until she really gets to know him - remember, she's a virgin - but he's never done this relationship thing and wants to get physical as soon as possible. Naturally, he ends up acting like a jerk and hurting her, and must find a way to win her trust (and love) back.

Oh boy, how I wanted to smack Burke in the beginning of this story! He was cold, callous, and even though I felt he really liked Dani, he didn't have a clue about how to treat her. In time, I learned to understand (and forgive) him. He'd never met anyone like her before, so he was right to be p!ssed when he thought she was leading him on and playing with him. He also earned major points from me when he came around and set out to show Dani he was worthy of her love.

As for Dani, I really liked her from the start, even though she was too sweet and saintly to be true. If I lived in Jamesville, I'd want to be her BFF. I especially loved her relationship with her brothers and how well-adjusted they were, despite what they'd been through. I know Patrick's and Shamus's stories are books #3 and #4 in this series, and I can't wait to read them.

Overall, I really liked this story, but it had some problems. The biggest one was the way Dani kept jumping to wrong conclusions about Burke over and over again. I understood her insecurities, but she'd known that b!tchy Cynthia James all her life and she should have known better than to let that jealous tart needle her. In the end, it was kind of funny to see Burke address that issue when he proposed to Dani:

"Damn it, woman! I want to marry you. God only knows why, you jump to conclusions so fast. But there's no accounting for taste, is there?"

I also had some trouble adjusting to the pace of the story, especially near the end. I didn't need to read about all the wedding preparations, and those scenes felt like fillers to me. Maybe I was just anxious to get to Burke and Dani's wedding night, when they would finally make love for the first time, LOL. Fans of N.J. Walters's erotic novels should be "warned" that this single lovemaking scene in Discovering Dani is very tame and nothing like she's known to deliver in her spicier stories. To me, the whole scene was kind of old-fashioned, but sweet and fitting to the story.

All things considered, I really enjoyed this read and will definitely read the next books in the series.

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