Petals and Thorns – Jeffe Kennedy

PetalsandThorns Jeffe KennedyOften when I don’t like a book, particularly now that I read primarily for reviewing purposes, I wonder if the fault is mine. Was there something that the author was trying to convey that I just didn’t get or was I in a mood, what have you … the possibilities truly are endless. Hunted by Cerys du Lys was one of those stories that made me question myself, whereas Jeffe Kennedy’s (pen name Jennifer Paris)  Petals and Thorns restored my faith.

In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance.

CoverFinal-PetalsAndThorns-Jeffe-Kennedy-300Petals and Thorns is an erotic retelling of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve‘s tale of Beauty and the Beast. After my recent disappointment with an alternate version of the tale, normally a favorite of mine, I wanted to verify that it was them and not me that was at fault. The essence of my complaint with Hunted was the deviation from a rich and imaginative plot and the pointless addition of contemporary story elements that were out of place and unnecessary.

As with the original tale, in Petals and Thorns Amarantha’s family has fallen on hard times. Her father returns from his travels his arms filled with roses and his saddlebags full of gold coins their financial woes seemingly at an end but at the cost of his youngest daughter.

“He saw your portrait and finds you beautiful,” her father crooned. “It will be a marriage in name only. You need not lie with him” – he snickered – “if the creature is even able to perform as a man. Likely he is too deformed and wants only a pretty wife to look upon.

Like Hunted, the sex scenes in Petals and Thorns were explicit, possibly even more so than Cerys du Lys story as a number of them involved BDSM, yet they still managed to remain tasteful. Petal’s Beast woos Amarantha, although he is cursed he remains a man, not an animal unable to control his urges. This distinction allows the reader to believe that Amarantha could come to love the Beast despite his countenance. Ultimately, this is what I felt elevated Petals and Thorns above other similar versions, the characters and central story were true to the original tale no matter the liberties taken with the execution.

AUTHOR: Jeffe Kennedy

RATING: 3 1/2 Stars

GENRE: Erotica

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Shiver – Karen Robards

shiverSamantha Jones is not having a good night, repo work is not easy you have to be fast and stealthily, often the subjects of her work are reluctant to give up their vehicles. During a routine pick up of a BMW the trunk releases and inside is a not quite dead guy.

Rick Marco aka undercover FBI agent Daniel Panterro is having a worse evening after being beaten and shot he is dumped in the trunk to be dealt with later. The chances of backup arriving in time are practically non-existent.

If driving a piece-of-crap tow truck through the seediest part of town with a Smith & Wesson beside her means putting a roof over her son’s head, then Samantha Jones is going to be the best damn repo woman on the books. The streetwalkers, the drug pushers, the bands of looking-for-trouble punks haunting the mean streets at midnight don’t intimidate her. These are her people. The guy she finds bound and bloodied in the trunk of her latest conquest, a flashy new BMW, is a different breed entirely.

Daniel Panterro was certain he was going to die. Instead, by a stroke of luck, he was beaten to within an inch of his life and left for dead. But if he’s having a bad day, Sam’s day is about to get way worse. Danny knows he hasn’t seen the last of the vicious drug runners who kidnapped him from protective custody. His only recourse is to take his pretty savior hostage and force her to help him. There’s no going back for Sam and her four-yearold son, Tyler. They’re in way too deep.

With ruthless killers stalking their trail, Sam’s only choice is to trust this handsome, menacing stranger. But as she relinquishes control, Sam feels an unmistakable desire. Could she be tempted by Danny, who seems intent on protecting her and Tyler from even his own darkest secrets? And what is the price of falling in love with a man who operates on the edge of danger—her heart, her life . . . or both?

SleepwalkerI am a big fan of Karen Robards, she is definitely one of my “auto buy” authors and usually she is just the thing when you are looking for a good action packed romantic suspense but unfortunately something was lacking in Shiver for me. All of the components were there but ultimately the result was well ...pedestrian, like Ms Robards was just going through the motions or missing that lightning strike that elevates the ordinary to something more. Somewhat similar to Shiver but with a better executed plot-line would be her July 2012 offering Sleepwalker.

It’s not that Micayla Lange is afraid of the clinking she hears coming from the first floor of the empty McMansion she’s housesitting for her uncle Nicco. She’s a cop, after all. It’s just that finding out her boyfriend was cheating on her was enough drama for one night. Now she’s alone on New Year’s Eve, wearing flannel pajamas and wielding a Glock 22 as she zeroes in on the unmistakable source of the sound: Uncle Nicco’s private office.

Jason Davis steals things for a living, so unexpected developments are a natural part of the job. Getting caught red-handed by a hot, pigtail-sporting police officer in what is supposed to be a gangster’s deserted house is just one more twist in the game. Kind of like finding incriminating photos in Nicco Marino’s safe, only to discover the cop—and the security cameras—have gotten a real good look at his face.

Samantha’s character unfortunately crossed that fine line between self sufficient and stupidly stubborn and Daniel’s just wasn’t compelling enough to compensate for her lack. By the time all was revealed I found myself not caring over much if they made the seemingly impossible escape from the innumerable bad guys pursuing them. My recommendation is that you take a pass on Shiver and go directly to Sleepwalker, which strangely out of the two novels is the one that will have you reaching for a sweater…to find out why? Well, you will have to read it.

AUTHOR: Karen Robards

RATING: 3 Stars (or somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3)

GENRE: Romantic Suspense