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Monday, February 12, 2007

Secrets Volumes 9 and 10

Secrets, Volumes 9 & 10. Erotic romance.

Secrets, Volume 9.
  • *** "Wild for You" by Kathryn Anne Dubois.

    College intern Georgie gets lost in the Congo and is rescued by a modern-day Tarzan (Mark) who's never seen a woman before. Despite that, he's a pro at foreplay. She helps him remember how to talk; he teaches her about sex.

    It gets a little more far-fetched when they get "rescued," with a strange interlude with a native tribe, and then when Mark is reintroduced to civilization.

    It's a cute story, but required too much suspension of disbelief for me.

  • ***½ "Wanted" by Kimberly Dean.

    Dani is wanted for stealing computer codes, and Reno is the FBI agent on her trail. Think The Fugitive. She's innocent, but is on the run until she can prove it. She and Reno have been emailing each other during their chase and have formed a connection.

    It's a fun, exciting story, but again, there were some things I just couldn't buy. And the scene where Dani ****spoiler**** gives Reno a lap-dance when she's working as a stripper to get some quick cash and neither of them recognized the other **** just seemed gratuitous and hard to believe.

  • ***½ "Secluded" by Lisa Marie Rice.

    Quick giggle: this story starts with the sentence "I want your daughter." We just watched The Blues Brothers, and I flashed on the scene with John Belushi in the restaurant.

    Nicholas is no longer a gangster, but he's got a very dangerous enemy, so he's come to terms with the fact that he can never have a long-term relationship because anyone he might be close to would become a target. So he has a series of short affairs.

    Isabelle is different--Nicholas actually feels something for her. He tries to stay away, but when she's mugged, he rescues her, stays with her until she's healed, then takes her to his secluded hideout, fully expecting to give her up after 2 weeks.

    It's a very sweet story, but I really questioned the premise. There didn't seem to be any danger when he was staying at her house, and then at the end, when ****spoiler**** the bad guy was killed, it made no sense that they'd have to go into hiding at that point****.

  • **** "Flights of Fantasy" by Bonnie Hamre.

    Journalist Chloe has been "invited" on a cruise on a yacht, the Fantasy. Her boss essentially told her to go or lose her job, but she has no idea why, as the yacht's mysterious owner "doesn't do interviews." The plot thickens when she discovers two ex-lovers on the cruise, with orders not to talk to her about why they're there.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story--figuring out what was going on, and just who was supposed to be the hero. I'm a big sucker for intrigue. And there was some pretty steamy sex.

    But the hero was a pretty major stalker, which spoiled some of my enjoyment of the story. If he'd even talked to her before, I'd have been fine with it.

Secrets, Volume 10.
  • ** "Private Eyes" by Dominique Sinclair.

    *blinks* Well. That surprised me. My least favorite story of all 8 in this omnibus, and most of the Amazon reviewers cited this as the best story. How very odd.

    I guess the story itself is pretty entertaining--private eye Nikki specializes in catching cheating husbands, and between that and her mother's past, she has a low opinion of men and of relationships. But a mysterious man keeps running into her, and there is a pretty clever misunderstanding-type plot between them.

    However. I absolutely could not get past the writing. I wanted to take the author's (or the editor's--I'm not picky) thesaurus away and bury it. Seriously purple prose, and some misused words that set my teeth on edge (the heroine thinking that "her body was scintillating after a night of vivid dreams"? I don't think so.)

  • **** "The Ruination of Lady Jane" by Bonnie Hamre.

    This was a sexy Regency romance. Lady Jane's guardian has arranged a marriage for her with and old, thrice-widowed man, and she, quite sensibly, IMO, has run off. The guardian asks his younger brother Havyn, who remembers Jane as a teenager with spots (zits, for those of you unacquainted with Regency lingo), to go find her.

    He does find her, and she's definitely improved with age. What's more, she begs him to "ruin" her so she won't have to marry the old man.

    It's a nice story, particularly if you enjoy the Regency period--it's just a little predictable, also particularly if you enjoy the Regency period. The sex scenes were quite sensual, even though I found the Kama Sutra references to be a little self-conscious.

  • ***** "Code Name: Kiss" by Jeanie Cesarini.

    Wow. This novella pushed every one of my buttons: spies, and friends turning into lovers, plus a hefty emotional punch. It was well-written, and I was on pins and needles through the entire story.

    And of course, the Amazon reviewers hated it. I'm seeing a trend.

    Lily is a spy, and her mission is to infiltrate a terrorist camp as a sex slave, make contact with a double agent, and through him get close enough to the leader to plant a tracking device on his skin.

    Seth is the agent in control of the mission, which he's leading via video feeds back at headquarters. Both Seth and Lily have a thing for each other, but due to their positions, neither has acted on it.

    The story alternates chapters between Seth and Lily, keeping track of the mission time, which adds tension. Lily's chapters are in first person and are very deep POV, which is very affecting. Even though Seth's chapters are in third person, his emotional turmoil as he's forced to watch from a distance as the woman he's realized he's in love with has sex with another man is vividly clear.

    "Code Name: Kiss" is emotionally wrenching, and better yet, the sex is an integral part of the story.

    I was surprised to see in the "about the author" that Jeanie Cesarini = Jeanie London. I guess I'm going to take those recommendations for Jeanie London's books seriously now.

  • ***½ "The Sacrifice" by Kathryn Anne Dubois.

    Anastasia is about to become a nun, but she has definite ideas about those vows. She believes that for the vows to truly be meaningful, she has to know what she's giving up. For example, she was raised in a wealthy family, so taking a vow of poverty has meaning. However, she has no knowledge of carnal pleasures, so taking a vow of chastity is, to her mind, meaningless.

    So she sets out to change that by going to the castle of the notorious debaucher Count Maxwell. It's a bit of a goofy premise, but I do rather like her reasoning about the meaning of sacrifice.

    The first half of the story is sensual and sexy, but then it turns into something else. ****spoiler**** a secret baby story **** I found myself irritated that the oddly principled, determined young woman of the first half of the story turned into such a coward in the second half. It ended well, but I didn't quite get over that.


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