Secrets: Volume 15 the Best in Erotic Romance Paperback – Dec 30 2005
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"SIMON SAYS" by Jane Thompson - Simon Campbell is the typical rich playboy American with a dream job writing a column for a newspaper, one where his weekend exploits, partying and hook-ups are center stage for all the world to read. Georgina Kennedy is the typical spinsterish librarian that turns her nose up at the mere thought of socializing with the likes of Simon and she vows NOT to be one of his many conquests. The two think they have nothing in common, but looks are almost always deceiving and fate has thrown them together for an entire weekend, one where each realizes there was more to the other than they thought. This was by far the most enoyable of the four stories. Simon is hiding an intelligent and sensitive demeanor under his wild party boy armor, while Georgina finally decides that now is her opportunity to let someone see her for who she really is - a total wild woman on the lookout for someone that can handle her more "kinky" desires in the bedroom. Both characters turned out to more than this reader bargained for and each made "Simon Says" a spectacular read.
"BITE OF THE WOLF" by Cynthia Eden - Trinity Martin is your everyday girl-next-door type, happily going about her everyday life till Gareth Morlet, alpha werewolf, steps in to turn her normal routine upside down. Gareth believes Trinity is his destined mate and is determined that she will be his, despite her feelings on the matter. Too, he knows he must keep her safe from his enemy, who hunts her in order to hurt Gareth. Trinity is understandably resistent to the idea and fights him and her own body's desires, which certainly agree with Gareth. I felt that "Bite of the Wolf" suffered from the short story format in that it seemes rushed to a completion. One minute Trinity is determined to resist Gareth, the next she's happily getting intimate with him and then she's on the defensive again. Yes, no, yes, no...Please, let this author have more space in the book next time! Maybe then the story could have panned out to make more sense and seem more feasible. I liked the story, but I could have loved it if it had been more developed.
"FALLING FOR TROUBLE" by Sakia Walker - Sonia Harmond is an intelligent gal living in London and working on the political research scene. When her boss needs a courier to deliver some important papers, she knows her brother, Alec is just the guy for the job. However, he's gotten in way over his head when said papers turn out to be questionable and a possible threat to the world's safety looms. In walks Oliver Eaglestone, good cop with a bad boy reputation, who is friends with Alec. He's going to get Alec out of the tight spot he's in, but he needs Sonia's help to do it. Together, they go traipsing across Europe on a mission impossible-esque trip that, while fun to read about, would be completely unlikely in the real world. First of all, who in their right mind would put the "sfety of the world" on the line just so their beautiful, sexy companion (a.k.a. Sonia) could help clear a family member's name? The premis is that the papaers are of major importance to the world, but Sonia, and sometimes Oliver, doesn't seem to take it that seriously, unless it's in the bedroom. I did actually enjoy reading this one, I just had to remind myself that it is fiction and therefore at liberty to take leave of everyday common sense. Take it with a grain of salt and enjoy the initimate scenes if nothing else.
"THE DISCIPLINARIAN" by Leigh Court - Jared Ashworth is a teacher, a master in the art of the submissive, dutiful wife. His career is built on taming the wives of prominant society into the way women "should be". When he takes on teh job of Clarissa Babcock, he gets more than he bargained for. Her brute of a husband actually expects Jared to "warm up" Clarissa for him! Certainly a scandalous idea for Victorian times. While horrified at the idea, both Jared and Clarissa meet in the middle and come to care for one another. This could have been a really sweet story to me - if I hadn't wanted to laugh at so many of the things happening in it. The idea for this story has been done so many times that I admittidly wasn't expecting much out of it. But what really spoiled it for me was the repeated referral of Jared as "The Disciplinarian". I kept hearing hokey suspense-like music in my head (DUH-DUHNNNN!!!) whenever it was mentioned, like when some dumb point is brought to light in a bad movie. Yes, Clarissa did not actually know Jared's name, but every other line, it's The Disciplinarion this, The Disciplinarian that...enough with the disciplinarian! And when Jared finally unbends enough to declare himself at the end of the story, instead of "soulfully" pouring his heart out, he "hisses" his proposal to her. I kid you not. "When the kiss ended, he hissed, Marry me Clarissa." Please, get down on bended knee, something, anything romantic, but don't hiss the important question! I was rolling on the floor at that point. This was the only story of the four I could have completely done without.
In Jane Thompson's "Simon Says," the hero rubbed me the wrong way at first, but like Georgina, I grew to understand and like him more and more. Married to a frat boy myself, I can vouch for the fact that they can grow up!
Cynthia Eden has a talent for writing erotic, and her hero Gareth is deliciously alpha, but I think "Bite of the Wolf" needed more room to develop. I didn't get enough of the werewolf "world" to fully understand it.
Saskia Walker did a fantastic job with "Falling for Trouble," intertwining a credible suspense plot and a romantic one, especially considering the short length of the story. It's tough to satisfy my standards when it comes to characters being thrown into life-threatening situations. Too often a woman miraculously knows how to fight off someone as if she's developed the physical skill by just watching action flicks, but Sonia acts and reacts in a completely believable way.
This volume just strengthens my opinion that when compiling an anthology, publishers place the strongest story at the end of the book so the reader goes away with that wonderful feeling of completeness. "The Disciplinarian" was a terrific read. Leigh Court balanced all the elements of an erotic romance masterfully. Not only did she include frequent, well-written, sex scenes (a must in this genre!), she wove them into a story about a woman who learns to trust a stranger, and a man who battles his honor. I won't give away the ending, but want to say that it was also satisfying to see Ms. Court stay true to the demands of the historic period and the requirements for society gentlemen of the period.
So, if you like your stories short, hot, and romantic, I recommend this book quite highly!
I must admit, my favorite story was The Disciplinarian by Leigh Court. While I admittedly rarely read historicals, this story was so gorgeously written I couldn't put it down. I loved the unique and clever premise, and this author writes with riveting attention to sensual detail. Truly one of the sexiest stories I've read in a long time with enough emotional conflict to please any die-hard romance fan.
My other favorite, and in a completely different tone, was Jane Thompson's Simon Says, a refreshingly humerous tale with a to-die-for hero and smokin' sex scenes. Hot and funny-what more could you ask for?
While the other two stories by Saskia Walker and Cynthia Eden are quality work, these two in particular really stood out to me.
Simon has a lot to say about love, life, and the pursuit of happiness and Georgina takes the words right out of his mouth; even though he didn't intend to say them aloud.
It's a romantic, and yes, erotic love story of two ordinary people that just happen to have an extraordinary attraction for one another. It's the sort of fantasy love story we all dream of discovering.
And I'm glad I discovered Jane Thompson's writing. I am officially a fan as of right now.