As you must know by now, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.
For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥
This is my scoring system:
I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.
Let’s jump into our next book, shall we? And today, is a double trouble feature with two romance novels! 🙂
Devil’s Embrace and Devil’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter
Genre: Historical Romance
Blurb for Devil’s Embrace:
The #1 New York Times bestselling author’s first historical romance.
Kidnapped and taken to the beautiful city of Genoa, Cassie Brougham finds love in the arms of her captor, while she is betrothed to another man.
A few choice lines from the book:
Her forehead knitted into a thoughtful frown, and her eyes wavered from his set face. She drew a deep breath. “Though I am not one of your crew, what you have said is just. A captain’s orders cannot be ignored. I will submit to whatever punishment you deem fitting for what I have done.”
“The punishment, madam, is at the very least a flogging that would take the flesh off a man’s back.”
She paled visibly.
He pressed his point, wanting to assure himself that would never again do something so foolish and dangerous. “If a man were not to bey my order in the face of impending battle, I would seriously consider hanging.”
There was silence between them for some moments. Finally, she said, “I think it would be wasteful of you to hang me.”
A slight smile hovered at the corner of his mouth, and he sternly repressed it. “I doubt not that you are right. I have never cared for wasteful hangings. The offense, however, remains the same.”
The earl found that his anger was rapidly dissipating. He had made his point well, and she had clearly accepted his reasoning. He thought to remove her obvious fear when she squared her shoulders and said in a calm voice, “I would ask only that you do no demean me by flogging me in front of the men. Nor do you have to tie me up, for I will submit to your flogging.”
he stared at her, at a loss. Although he greatly admired her courage, he wanted to enfold her in his arms and reassure her, to see the fear disappear form her eyes. But she would see that as an insult to her courage, condescension to her as naught but a weak woman. He would well imagine that she would be enraged, and justifiably so, for everything that he has said to her would have a hollow ring. He was struggling to find an answer to this ridiculous situation when she asked in the same calm voice, “What kind of whip will you use, my lord?” She added, poised still, “Do I take it from your silence that I must be flogged in front of the men? And tied to the mast?”
“No,” he said finally. “I shall not beat you in front of my men, nor will I tie you down.”
“Thank you,” she said, her mouth now quite dry with fear. She closed her eyes a moment, praying that she would neither cry out nor faint. It was on the tip of her tongue to apologize to him, to bet him not to whip her, but she could not bring herself to do it.
“Will you do it now, my lord?”
“No, I think not,” he said. I will leave you, Cassandra, to think about what you have done. It will be settled when I return.” Since he had no idea of what the devil he should do, he knew he had to have some time alone, to try and untangle this mess. He gazed a moment longer at her pale, set face, and left the cabin.
My naughty sixteen year old self stumbled across this book while on a vacation in Tennessee. I found the book in my cabin, most likely left behind by a previous tenant or perhaps one of the maintenance staff.
I have to partly blame this novel for not only my fascination with historical romance, but also my interest in romance writing. Before that point, I never knew romance novels could be so hot! Call this one an old-fashioned “bodice ripper”. With two willful people encountering every obstacle imaginable, it does not disappoint. I give this one four hearts.
Blurb for Devil’s Daughter:
Devilish romance from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Golden-haired hellion Arabella goes to Naples, Italy, to solve the mystery of her father’s missing ships and cargo. But soon she discovers that the man behind the thievery is a man she can’t resist.
A few choice lines from the book:
“Lady Arabella Welles, your highness,” said Raj, and gently pushed Arabella forward.
“Ah,” Kamal said slowly. He could not prevent himself studying her. In the soft candlelight her hair looked like spun gold. It flowed long and silky down her back, held off her forehead by a simple gold embroidered band. She was dressed in the Turkish fashion, and the gossamer veils did nothing to hide her. He finally met her eyes and smiled reluctantly, for she was staring at him as closely as he was her.
Arabella stood stiffly, her hands fisted at her sides. She would not show fear; she must not. She studied the man lounged on the soft cushions before her. She had not remarked earlier how very fine-looking he was. Not that it mattered. He was her enemy, the son of the vicious contessa. She heard Raj say, “It was walnut stain, highness, doubtless used to protect her on her voyage here. She is again as she was.”
A beautiful whore, Kamal though, wishing perhaps that she weren’t so lovely. He could picture her dressed in her European finery. He wondered if she woudl try to seduce him to gain her ends.
Hassan said, “She does not wear a veil, Raj, nor does she kneel to his highness.”
Arabella felt a quiver of anger, and her fists clenched harder. She felt Raj’s soft fingers lightly touch her arm. “Lady Arabella is not Muslim,” he said.
She drew herself up straighter, narrowing her dark eyes at the old man, who was regarding her speculatively.
“Still-” Hassan said, taken aback by the fury in those dark eyes.
“I do not kneel to animals,”Arabella said in a loud, clear voice, “even though they pretend royalty.”
“I see that you could do nothing about her tongue, Raj,” Kamal said. He uncoiled his powerful body to stand in front of her. She raised her eyes to his face and looked at him with contempt. So, he thought, she was still bent upon her insults. He had planned to treat her as a European lady, to speak to her gently and try to explain why she was here. Evidently, as a Muslim, he was worthy only of her insults. It angered him. Without warning, his hand shot out and wound about a thick mass of hair. Slowly he wrapped it about his hand, drawing her toward him.
“Kneel before your master,” he said pleasantly.
“Go to hell,” Arabella said.
I didn’t even know there was a sequel to Devil’s Embrace until several years later. When I found Devil’s Daughter, I had to have it!
Throw a daughter born of two strong people into a harem situation with a very sexy Eastern prince? What could possible go wrong? I think the title speaks for itself. Another “bodice ripper”, so to speak, the book also entails the story of Arabella’s brother, and the woman he cannot help but be drawn to. Couple all of this with some sinister plots and it makes for a compelling story.
I also give this book four hearts.
My recommendation? Check out the whole series!