Abbey’s Tale by Katherine McDermott


Abbey’s Tale by Katherine McDermott
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (202 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

An immigrant from Ireland, Jeremy McKetcheon took the place of a wealthy New Englander drafted into the Union Army during the Civil War. Jeremy, terribly scarred by a shell that set fire to his tent, is now a reclusive lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of Maine. He is haunted by flashbacks of the war, and never expects to find love, understanding, or acceptance.

Beautiful but blind from birth, Abigail Morrison sees the world through the intricate carvings her father brings back from Lighthouse Island when he takes supplies there. She wonders about the artistic carver and why he hides from the world. But when the opportunity arises for her to visit the island, she and her father are tossed overboard in a raging storm. Having seen their distress from the lighthouse, Jeremy attempts a rescue in the frigid waters, and all their lives are changed forever.

Abbey’s Tale was a sweet, endearing love story between Jeremy and Abbey. Jeremy, whose face was scarred while fighting in the Civil War, and Abbey who was born blind, were given a chance at love. While together they learned about inner beauty. They both helped each other to overcome their insecurities. Jeremy felt his face was repulsive and would rather be a recluse. Abbey worried no one would fall in love with a blind woman because they’d think she was a burden. From the moment Jeremy and Abbey met their lives changed for the better. If you add an amazing dog named Bailey, meddling relatives, crashing ships, and a criminal who threatens, robs and lies, then you have a recipe for a 5 star book. Oh! Let’s not forget Jeremy’s Irish accent, it was completely irresistible.

In a world that is full of judgmental people it was nice to read how Jeremy and Abbey showed the community what true love is. The plot thread with the criminal added an interesting twist with a bit of suspense throughout the story. I’d like to point out the plot thread when Abbey’s aunt and uncle meddled in Jeremy and Abbey’s relationship. It was well intended meddling and as a parent I understood, but I understood how Abbey felt as a child. As a wife I understood how Jeremy felt. I was all emotionally mixed up but then realized that is what family is about. It all worked out for the good. It’s a perfect example and lesson of why the young should respect and listen to their elders.

This was a well written story that progressed nicely and held my interest from the beginning to the end. I’m glad I chose Abbey’s Tale to read by the pool on my weekend. It was a wonderful, heartwarming love story. There was so much more to this tale that you just have to read it for yourself.

It definitely was a quality read that I’d recommend to others, especially to a reading club because there are thought provoking discussion questions at the end. I could see this book being turned into a movie in the theaters with a young Mel Gibson playing the hero and Julia Roberts playing Abbey. I’d love to see the lighthouse scenery that Katherine McDermott described come to life. I do think this novel would make a beautiful historical romance movie. Abbey’s Tale is a must read!

Steele and Stone by Kay Phoenix


Steele and Stone by Kay Phoenix
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (170 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Elle Thompson was raised in Denver. She paints. She hikes. She knows how to avoid cougar attacks.

The only cougars Michael Williams usually worries about are the ones that wear leopard print leggings on 5th Avenue.

But, when his acquisition firm sets its sights on Elle’s family business, his tidy life goes awry. As things unravel, so do all his preconceived notions of love and what makes a perfect partner.

Steele and Stone was a short story that can be read in a small amount of time. It captured my interest from the first page and managed to keep me turning pages until I reached the end.

Michael, the hero, wasn’t quite my type of man so I had trouble relating to him but for the heroine, he was Elle’s type of man and together they were relatable. I prefer a strong and decisive hero. I had more respect for Elle for staying focused on her priorities. Together they had to get past previous emotional hurts before their love for one another could flourish. It was a bit slow and tedious, yet still an enjoyable process that was accomplished before the book ended.

The plot wasn’t original and was quite predictable yet I still enjoyed the journey. The writing style was average. I think the characters, such as Michael’s Uncle John, could have been more developed to add a bit more substance, suspense and drama to the plot. I just felt like this book didn’t meet its full potential. However, my curiosity was able to overlook those flaws. I was like a fly drawn into the trap. I couldn’t look away. I needed to see how it was going to end. Actually, the ending was wrapped up quickly. Perhaps even a bit too quickly but at that point I was ready to move on.

I would recommend Steele and Stone to someone who is looking to pass time with a quick, easy and uncomplicated short story. This would be a great book to read on a two hour plane ride. I look at it this way – if you are starving to read a romance story then this would be a great appetizer!

Sins of the Father by Winter Austin


Sins of the Father by Winter Austin
Publisher: Crimson Romance/Adams Media
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (191 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Newly pinned deputy Jolie Murdoch’s first big job as a McIntire County deputy is to locate a missing girl. What Jolie doesn’t expect is to stumble upon a corpse—the girl’s father—with a prime suspect still hanging around. But why would local bartender Xavier Hartmann go off the deep end and bludgeon a man to death?

A former marine, Xavier is barely coping with a traumatic brain injury, and he has no memory of what happened at the crime scene. He came to Eider to confront his past, not get embroiled in a murder as the number one suspect. To make matters worse, as the mystery deepens, Xavier finds himself drawn to the reluctant deputy.

As Jolie fights against mounting pressure to get to the truth, she realizes there’s more to Xavier than meets the eye. But someone is lingering on the fringes, determined to put a stop to her investigation and Xavier’s freedom. Will Jolie do her sworn duty or buck the status quo to give her and Xavier’s newfound passion a chance?

OMG, I don’t think I’m going to sleep tonight. I need to sign up for another self-defense class since it’s been a few years. I own a gun but now I want a concealed-to-carry permit. If only my husband was a former marine like Xavier, the hero in this book. It’s amazing how I can get so wrapped up in a book and feel like everyone I know is a suspect.

Seriously, this was a great book! More suspense/mystery than romance but there was so much going on that there wasn’t much time for romance. Jolie, the heroine, had a lot on her plate as the newly pinned deputy. The moments Jolie and Xavier had together were spent on trying to prove his innocence. However, the couple of kisses they shared were breathtaking. I’d like me some Xavier kisses. 🙂

I had no idea that this was book three in a series until I had finished reading it. You don’t need to read the previous books however I am interested in doing so. Based on the well written plot in this story which blew my mind away, I’d like to read the other two. I loved the well-developed characters in Sins of the Father so much that I would like to get to know them a bit more by reading the two previous books. I enjoy reading strong leading heroines who stand up to their leading men. I think Winter Austin will have to be added my list of “favorite authors”.

I definitely recommend this book if you like suspense/mystery romance. It should keep you on the edge of your seat rapidly flipping pages like it did for me. The mystery kept me guessing until the very end and then everything is nicely wrapped up with no loose threads. While there isn’t an epilogue one wasn’t needed; Jolie and Xavier made their “decisive decision”. 🙂

Salvaged by J.S. Marlo


Salvaged by J.S. Marlo
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (226 pgs)
Heat level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

STAR FISHER refuses to let the scar marring her face dictate her choices or the dreams haunting her nights affect her life. A skilled underwater investigator, she is hired as a scuba diver in an underwater salvage operation.

Captivated by the feisty young woman who shares little resemblance with his glamorous conquests, captain HAUK LUDVIKSON struggles against his attraction as they explore a century-old relic linked to the unsolved disappearance of a rich heiress.

With danger lurking under and above the water line, Star fights for her future-a future she may not salvage twice.

If you love an unpredictable suspense/mystery romance then this book is for you. Hauk Ludvikson, the hero, and Star Fisher, the heroine, as well as the other prominent characters, really kept me on the edge of my seat. J. S. Marlo created a complex plot that demonstrated originality. The cast of characters were brilliantly interwoven in a suspense/mystery that incorporated generations of families. I couldn’t read this book and multitask because I needed to concentrate or else I’d get confused with the web of characters. I grew to appreciate the dynamics of Hauk’s dive team. They couldn’t exist without each other working together to solve the mystery and protect each other’s back. I grew fond of Kyle’s humor, Scott’s wit and Arnie’s sensitive side. I could see Kyle and Scott being the heroes in their own books.

The chemistry between Hauk and Star was excruciatingly slow to blossom. Yet, when it did it was well worth the wait. Their focus was on solving the mystery and protecting each other from the consistent suspenseful danger. I personally would have preferred a little less suspense and danger and more romance but that’s just me. I definitely would have enjoyed an epilogue. The story concluded with a happy ever after ending between Hauk and Star, and the mystery was solved but there was no justice. Without justice or vindication how can there be closure?

With all the suspense and danger, the pace was smooth and quick. The writing style was flawless. I was engaged from the beginning of the book until the very last page. I didn’t want to put the novel down. I enjoyed discovering all the secrets along with the plot twists and turns.

I recommend this book for those who want to experience some action, suspense, solve a mystery all while getting romanced for a few hours. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. You won’t be disappointed.

Rescued By the Captain by Laura A. Barnes


Rescued By the Captain by Laura A. Barnes
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (300 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Abandoned at sea.

When Ivy Mallory awakens; she finds herself on the ship of the man who rejected her love years earlier. While he was away working for the Crown, she embraced the London Seasons trying to forget him. Caught in the middle of a treason plot; she must help save her brother. To do so she needs to put her trust in the one man who can protect her. But can she protect her heart from loving him again?

Found at sea.

Captain Marcus Thornhill never imagined he would find a lady floating unconscious in a lifeboat out in the middle of the open sea. But it wasn’t any lady, it was Ivy. Seven years earlier he rejected her love for a life at sea. As he rescues her he gets involved in a treason plot that will bring the war to their beloved shores of England. As he unravels the plot he is unable to deny his desire for her. Is he too late in saving her and the love he has for her?

This story starts with a storm and I was quickly caught in it. Thorn, the hero, was strong, brave and sexy. Ivy was strong-willed, endearing and beautiful. Together they made the pages steamy. There was nothing about them that was unappealing.

I find it hard to believe that this is Laura A. Barnes’ first novel. Her writing style needs to be recognized. I’m not a writer so perhaps what I was drawn to was a certain, well-used technique so forgive me if it is and my ignorance, however, I’ve never read a book that was written like this. The hero would have an internal dialogue while looking into the heroine eyes and based on her mannerisms, could guess or wonder what she was thinking or feeling. It left me wondering if his assumptions were correct. Immediately the author would continue with the heroine answering his unasked questions. It gave me the feeling that the hero and heroine were so connected mind, body and soul; it was as if they could almost read each other’s minds. Another aspect I enjoyed was the incorporation of a significant poem into the love story that uses their names in a clever pun, and I can’t forget to mention the name of his ship. I applaud this book’s writing style!

The plot was masterly planned and executed with a steady and smooth pace. It was impossible to put the book down because the treason and romance plot kept evolving on each page.

While Thorn and Ivy achieved their happily ever after, I was left wondering if there will be a book two with Charles, Ivy’s brother, and Raina LeClair, a lady who had a part in the unsolved treason plot. There needs to be a book two for Charles to complete his mission! I have a couple of other questions but without spoiling Rescued By the Captain, all I can say is that there needs to be a book two so that readers can be at peace regarding Ivy’s safety. If there isn’t going to be a book two, I’ll be crushed! I need total closure!

Other than a serious craving for more, this was an excellent romance story that was very entertaining. The characters are well developed and I feel like I inherited another “book family”. I’ll be thinking about Ivy and Thorn and wishing them the best in their future!

His Highland Heart by Willa Blair


His Highland Heart by Willa Blair
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (354 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Shipwrecked in enemy territory, Euan Brodie fears the rest of his crew are at the bottom of the Moray Firth. While he searches for his crew, the youngest barely fifteen years old, he must evade Clan Ross warriors. Yet when he sees a lass about to drown in the incoming tide, he risks capture to save her.

Along with two other Munro lasses, Muireall Munro was taken by Clan Ross raiders nearly a month ago. She’s yet to be claimed as a Ross bride. Still, after two failed escape attempts, her hope is waning of ever seeing her home and the younger brother she was raising. But the stranger who pulls her from the surf will change her life forever.

If Muireall reveals who she really is, the delicious man who just saved her life will want nothing further to do with her—yet she needs him if she is ever to escape her Ross captors. If Euan reveals who he really is to the woman he saved, he risks not only his life, but his clan. Left with no choice, can they save each other while they fall in love?

I knew what it really meant when I read “We’re no’ going to make it!” on the first page – I wasn’t going to get to sleep that night until I finished the book. Right out the gate I was hooked! The hero, Euan, had immediate book boyfriend appeal. When Euan responded “Aye, we are,” I just laughed because I knew I wasn’t going to put the book down and I was mostly right. I’m very elated that I read this story.

The plot was honestly a masterpiece. It was well thought out and orchestrated. Without repeating the synopsis or spoiling anything, I can only say that as I was reading it I’d think to myself “oh, that was clever” or “nicely plotted” or “oooh, that was a nice twist”. I kept having moments of pleasure instead of thinking “why?” or “…no not that”. His Highland Heart is a satisfying endeavor. There were several moments where I was on the edge of my seat.

The chemistry between Euan and Muireall was intense and powerful at times and other times barely existed for reasons I can’t explain without spoiling the story but in the end it worked. There are other relevant characters such as Muireall’s friend, Ella, and Euan’s friend, Calum, whom I would have liked to have had a better ending than they did with a bit more happily ever after closure.

Remember when I said that I was mostly right about not being able to put the book down? That was because I actually put the book down to go to bed at midnight – without finishing the story. That’s really unusual for me especially when a book captures my interest like this one did in the beginning. The pace was like being in a NASCAR race going 200 MPH while knowing I was in first place without a care in the world. The adrenaline book glow was bright. Gosh, I can’t spoil the story by saying exactly when but there is a point closer to near the end of the book where my winning racecar ran out of gas. The pace of the book rapidly slowed down to the point of feeling like I was behind a bus stopping at every other street. I felt like yelling “for the LOVE of God, can I just get past the bus?” I finally put the book down at midnight. I had a restless sleep with all the unknowns running through my head and I was anxious to get back into the story. When I did, I was relieved that the pace eventually resumed being smooth and steady. In no way was I disappointed in the plot during this turn of events because I believed it was all relevant in the big picture.

His Highland Heart was wrapped up nicely with an epilogue which of course I just love to find at the end of a story. I strongly recommend this story for an entertaining read.

Loving a Wild Stranger by Kelli A. Wilkins


Loving a Wild Stranger by Kelli A. Wilkins
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (295 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

A woman running from her past… straight into the arms of an untamed man

In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and forced to rely on her instincts, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride.

Committed to her deception, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and starts her new life with Luther in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Luther can’t believe his luck when his beautiful bride arrives, but something doesn’t feel right about his new wife. Michelle has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from.

Luther’s friend, Redfeather visits and tries to convince Luther to send Michelle back east. Distrusting Michelle, he warns Luther that his bride is not what she seems. But Luther is in love with Michelle, and he is harboring a secret of his own—one that might force Michelle to reject him when she learns the truth.

Michelle falls in love with Luther and adapts to her new way of life. Together, they face off against brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy everything.

This book took over my life. I ignored everyone and everything. Nothing was going to interrupt my time with Luther. Sigh…Luther, what a dreamy hero. I envied the heroine, Michele. This book has the potential to be made into a movie. Loving a Wild Stranger reminded me of the 1970s T.V. show, Grizzly Adams – one of my favorite childhood television shows.

Luther was very kind, gentle, sweet yet strong, dependable, honest, gorgeous and brave. Michele was very lucky it was Luther she ran into when she arrived into town. The other townsfolk were despicable. Michele often spoke out of line but was quick to apologize, therefore I was able to truly care for her otherwise I’d be cheering for Luther to listen to his father’s advice regarding Michele. The chemistry between Luther and Michele was definitely tangible.

In fact, the writing style made the entire book come to life as if I were there. The plot was really great. There was some suspense threaded throughout the book pertaining to Michele’s past that had a lot to do with me not being able to put the book down. It was clever how Ms. Wilkins incorporated many plot threads and weaved them all together. I never felt lost or confused. I appreciated how Michele’s troubled past was finally put to rest. However, I do wish that there was an epilogue that would have shed a bit more light on their happy ever after ending. I would have loved to have seen that they did indeed adapt to their new way of life. I invested my heart into reading this story and therefore I would have appreciated a more solid closure. I’m left wondering if they were indeed welcomed into the Ojibwa village by all the villagers. What ever happened to Michele’s parents? Will they know what happened to Roger? What happened to the town folk? Do they just get away with how they treated Luther? How will Luther continue to make money with the corrupt fur company? Or is money no longer a concern in the Ojibwa village? I realize all these questions are irrelevant in the big picture. They had a happy ending and that is all that matters. I just expected the ending to match the writing quality that was implemented throughout the book. Therefore I could only give it a 4 star rating.

In conclusion, I do recommend this book and will be keeping it on my keeper shelf. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the story and do think it was worth my time to read. I would love to switch places with Michele and spend the rest of my days with Luther if I could. I would recommend scheduling a camping vacation and reading Loving a Wild Stranger while relaxing by a lake!

Montana Christmas Magic by Casey Dawes


Montana Christmas Magic by Casey Dawes
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (149 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

When former tennis pro Logan Collins’s uncle dies, the injured athlete inherits a cabin in rural Phillipsburg, Montana. But there are a few stipulations to this inheritance: He’s not allowed to sell the place for six months, he must ask a girl to a Grizzlies’ football game, and he must order chocolates for the funeral.

Aspiring artist and temporary chocolatier Julie Thompson is curious about the good-looking New Yorker who walks into her sweet shop. She’s more than happy to share some advice on coping with life in the country with the new guy—and they’re soon sharing kisses as well.

Before long, Logan finds himself with all the trappings of permanence: a dog, a horse, and a woman who brings light into his dark life, yet he’s still torn. There’s a great gig teaching children and maybe even the chance to revive his tennis career waiting back in New York.

Can he persuade Julie that Christmas in Manhattan is just as inspiring? Or will the holidays be the final wrap up on their relationship?

Montana Christmas Magic was a sweet, innocent and tender romance between Logan and Julie. It’s the classic tale of the city mouse meets the country mouse which is actually referenced in the book. The synopsis is basically the entire story without the dialogue between the hero and heroine – two people who are at crossroads in their life when they meet, fall in love and then become torn with indecision. There are no sudden plot twists or anguish provoking story lines; just two honest people who want success, love, and happiness. Who doesn’t want that?

The story flowed steady like slow molasses without any hiccups or bumps. How Ms. Dawes described the scenery sounded breath-taking. I have never been to Montana so I was intrigued when Julie was describing the type of landscape she was painting. I felt pleased when Julie stood up for herself and decided to make her dreams happen despite the challenges and obstacles she faced. She possessed strength and determination yet was thoughtful and considerate of others. That’s something that I can’t say for Logan. Logan isn’t my ideal book boyfriend. He was selfish and weak. Any grown man that hasn’t cut the umbilical cord with their mother is not the man for me. Despite all that, the chemistry between the two was believable and endearing. They both just need more time to grow up and mature, especially Logan. I felt a bit like I was reading a young adult book.

There was an attempt in creating an interesting plot twist with the horse but it fell flat. In fact, I don’t recall that plot thread ever being resolved. What happened to the lady? Did she just give up? In the end I guess it doesn’t matter because the story really wasn’t about the horse.

In conclusion I’d say this book was a good book to read while waiting to get your oil changed. I don’t consider it a waste of my time but it’s not one that I’d put on my keeper shelf. I must point out that there was one line in the book that made the entire book worth reading, “Just because you’ve made a decision doesn’t mean it’s the right one.” I just wanted to shout “AMEN”!

Montana Christmas Magic did have a fast paced happily ever after ending that left me dizzy but satisfied. I imagined a director using a clapperboard saying “That’s a wrap”! If you are at a crossroads in your life and need inspiration then this book is for you. Follow your heart and your dreams with an open mind! Don’t give up!

Love and Deceit by Cheri Champagne


Love and Deceit by Cheri Champagne
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Lady Katherine Mason is the average gentlewoman. Or is she? Since early girlhood, Lady Katherine has enjoyed creating fine clothing for her family. But she has a secret. A secret that takes her away from her family, and into the home of the Marquess of Withington. The mysterious and angry man engages Lady Katherine’s curiosity… and desire. But as much as she would like to, she is unable to reveal her true identity, for fear of total ruination.

Barrick Gray, the Marquess of Withington, despises the world for its morbid curiosity. He has no intention in encouraging the ton’s interest in his war wounds, but at the plea of his aunt, he has decided to briefly satisfy her request. Once he has proven to his aunt why he should not remain in the public eye, he will return to seclusion at his estate in Scotland. One thing, however, has suddenly captured his attention. A very intriguing sprite has somehow entered his safe haven… and begun to wreak havoc on his life… and his passions.

Neither expects the hunger that ignites between them. Will it lead to true love? Or will it tear both of their worlds apart?

In my opinion it takes a talented author to write a successful book series in which a reader actually loves all the books in the set. I’m excited to tell you that Cheri Champagne is one of those talented and successful authors. I loved book three, Love and Deceit, as much if not more than the other two previous book in the series, The Mason Siblings. Each book is truly unique on its own and could be read as a standalone, however I do think a reader would enjoy book three more if they do read the two previously books in the series.

There is a suspense/mystery story arc threaded through out all three books. It’s briefly re-capped in each book so that I wasn’t feeling lost. I also think there’s a benefit to reading the two previous books in the series because there are brief appearances from the characters mentioned from the other books, it develops a “at home” feeling as you are reading it and provided a bit of familiarity or nostalgia which I found to be comforting. But again, each character is re-introduced in case you forgot who was who or didn’t read the previous books. I love the entire Mason family, including those who have married into it.

The hero in this story, Barrick, was a bit beastly with justifiable reasons. Yet, the heroine, Katherine, was the perfect lady to tame Barrick’s beastly nature for she’s not your typical lady. Together they make for an interesting, entertaining and sensual romance. It took Barrick a while to accept he was in love with Katherine which made the moment when he realized he was in love with Katherine all the more enjoyable.

Katherine’s secret is a big one and how she meets Barrick makes for a creative and interesting plot. The plot thickens as the story goes on. The story has a steady pace with several twists and turns to keep me guessing. I couldn’t put the book down.

There is a side character named Camilla, and without her the story would have been totally impossible. There would have been no big secret for Katherine or the opportunity to meet Barrick or the ability to persuade her brother for permission for her endeavors. This side character had a significant part in the book on three separate occasions. The last occasion left me feeling worried for Camila. I can’t give more detail then that but I was sincerely worried since Katherine was. Camilla was a dear friend to Katherine for countless years. I bring this up because as the story ended, (without an epilogue I might add, and those who follow my reviews know how much I love those epilogues), I finished the book with a heavy, happy sigh and a bit of a book glow looking forward to book four. When all of a sudden it hit me…what about Camilla? Because of that untied thread I have to give four stars. I like all my threads tied and a happily ever after in romance stories. I have on good authority that we will know about Camila in the future, however, that didn’t help my happily ever after book glow feeling, now.

Yet, in no way does that make me at all hesitant to recommend this book. I highly encourage readers to check out this book and the other two in this series. I honestly did love how Love and Deceit ended, with Lane, Katherine’s brother, saying to Barrick “ welcome to the family!” because that is how I feel. I feel personally connected to the Mason family and I genuinely can’t wait for book four to read Lady Emaline Mason’s story.

A Passionate Play by Jessica Lauryn


A Passionate Play by Jessica Lauryn
Publisher: Siren BookStrand
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (302 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

On the heels of a major performance, theater actress Alicia Coleman is attacked in an alleyway. She is struck over the head with a pistol and the blow causes her to lose her memory. Injured and afraid, Alicia struggles to remember the details of her life. The only person who appears to know who she is, is the man she fears may also be her attacker.

In the midst of several failed attempts to escape, Alicia comes to know the man whose home she awoke in and realizes that the two of them share a complicated past. Though Nick refuses to tell her much beyond her first name, a series of dreams, in which she and he are sharing a lot more than the second story of a secluded mansion, cause Alicia to suspect the most outrageous of possibilities—that the man holding her prisoner may actually be her lover. Surrounding threats, including that of a midnight intruder, cause Alicia to realize that proving her theory true (or not) may be her only chance of keeping her attacker from coming after her a second time.

As I was reading this story I was overcome with the sensation I was watching a Matlock or Perry Mason episode. I don’t know if you are familiar with either of those TV series but I used to watch them faithfully. Some episodes were better than others but I loved the “who done it?” and “why”. If you enjoyed either of those two TV shows like I did then readers will enjoy A Passionate Play!

This plot was full of mystery but I had to go back and re-read sometimes because I forgot or missed something and it wasn’t making sense. After a couple times of that I went and got a pen and paper to take notes making the pace slow when I came to those hiccups. Please note that it was worth the note taking and the hiccups didn’t take away from the story because, halfway through the book the pace dramatically picked up and stayed steady.

Do you ever watch a TV show and talk out loud to whoever is in the room and ask “Why did she open the door without looking?” Only to have whoever is in the room say “Because it’s a TV show and that’s how they wrote the script”. It happens to me all the time. I roll my eyes at the person in the room for stating the obvious and then I roll my eyes at the show yet I can’t take my eyes off the screen just in case I miss what happens next. Well, take that experience and apply it to this book.

This novel had me talking out loud and rolling my eyes yet I couldn’t put the book down! I felt like I was possessed by complete morbid curiosity. My husband was in the room and could hear me talking out loud “What? , What? , Who ?, Why?, What ?, Who? NO, NO, no”. He asked if it was a good book and I was conflicted with a “yes and no”.

Nick Lancaster is the hero. He loved Alicia, the heroine so much that he’d do anything to protect her on his own and in his own way. That was a talk out loud moment for me but that was what created the drama in the story. Alicia had amnesia until the end of the story so we only know the kind of person she was according to Nick. With the amnesia it was like we got to see the real Alicia since she wasn’t under life’s influence. Even without her memory she sensed Nick was the one for her. I could feel the chemistry and sensual tension between Nick and Alicia.

There is no doubt that Nick and Alicia never would have had a happily ever after romance if she didn’t lose her memory because of what Nick did. I for one still couldn’t forgive him for what he did but what I feel doesn’t matter. Alicia loved him enough to forgive him. Part of the mystery was solved to conclude a happy ever after between Nick and Alicia but there is a bigger thread that alludes to a book two. Therefore the story did end with a happy ever after but I didn’t experience a book glow nor would Nick be on my list of book boyfriends.

This was a good book if you enjoy suspense/mystery romance stories. I’m glad that I read it and didn’t find it to be a waste of my time. I do recommend that others read A Passionate Play. I really think this story would be a great novel for a book club to read and have discussions about. I’d love to hear what others thought about this book. Even though my feelings were very conflicted about the plot, there was something about it that was irresistible and that was what kept me flipping the pages.