Audio Review: The Edge of Desire (Bastion Club, Book 7) by Stephanie Laurens

edge of desireHeroine: Lady Letitia Randall was in love once, but then the left her high and dry when she needed him most. Now to save her brother, Letitia must ask for aid from the same crusty curmudgeon. She’ll seduce him if she must in order to find her brother before the authorities do and to clear his name of her husband’s murder. This gal is determined.

Hero: Christian Allardyce, sixth Marquess of Dearne, didn’t tell Letitia he joined the ranks of Britain’s secret agents to fight Napoleon. He thought she would wait for him, but it turns out she married somebody else and that it was apparently a love match. It’s a betrayal he’ll never forgive, but when she asks for help he can’t refuse.

Review: Do you like reunion romances? Second chance love stories? A little murder mystery? You’ll like this book then! Just avoid the repeated references to Vaux temperament. The mystery is complex (drags a little at times, but interesting as it progresses) and each layer reveals something else about Letitia’s dearly eagerly departed husband. There’s also a big misunderstanding for our hero and heroine to put a nice bow on it.

Narrator: Steven Crossley has a very deep voice and a wonderful British accent. His voice sounds similar on one level to Sean Connery. He says things very precisely.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Edge of Desire (Bastion Club)

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Review: The Edge of Desire by Stephanie Laurens

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By: Marcia, guest reviewer

Lady Latitia Vaux Randall has come to ask Christian Allardyce, 6th Marquess of Dearne, for help.  Someone has just murdered her husband and the authorities suspect her younger brother, Justin, of having committed the deed.  Thus begins Ms. Laurens’ seventh ‘Bastion Club’ novel.

The Bastion Club was formed after the end of the Napoleonic Wars when seven previous members of Her Majesty’s Secret Service needed a place to find peace from the persistent, husband hunting families intent on marrying off their daughters to these highly eligible bachelors.  The members have every intention of doing their duty and marrying, but want to choose their own spouses at their own pace and in relative peace.

Twelve years ago, before the war, Latitia and Christian were lovers and, although they never formalized an agreement, their intentions to marry were clear.  Then Christian joined the guards but was quickly and quietly selected to spy for his country.  He was to tell no one outside of his immediate family.  In case of emergency, he left information on whom to contact with his family attorney.  Since the Vaux family was a member of the haute ton and very wealthy, Christian felt that Latitia would be well cared for in his absence.

He never told her about his mission.  Four years later, Latitia’s father lost most of his money in bad investments.  Mr. George Randall approached the family and offered to save them from their predicament in return for Latitia’s hand in what he specified should be, to all outward appearances, a love match.  Latitia tried franticly to contact Christian, but could not find out where he was.  All of her letters came back unanswered.  She believed Christian had abandoned her.  Christian was stunned and angered to hear of Lititia’s marriage. He could not understand how she could fall in love with another man after the passion they shared.  Now he has agreed to help her find the murderer of her husband but he intends to make her pay.

The Edge of Desire is an entertaining, well-crafted book.  Her characters and their motivations are fully developed and the mystery is carefully and seamlessly woven into a passionate love story.  Laurens has a gift for writing highly detailed bedroom scenes that are beautifully erotic without being cheap or tawdry.  This book is a must read.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Edge of Desire

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Review: The Taste of Innocence by Stephanie Laurens

by Kay Bolton, guest reviewer

Charlie Morwellan, Eighth Earl of Meredith recognized the need to marry, in particular the necessity to produce an Heir or more to ensure that the Earldom went on.

So then, it would be as it had to be, marriage to a suitable girl of impeccable family, but on his terms – he was well aware that previous Earls’ Meredith had married for love, and just look where that had got them – his own father’s love had the Earldom on its knees fighting to survive – he would not, could not let that happen.

Thus he decided to offer for the hand of Miss Sarah Conningham, Daughter of Lord and Lady Conningham, who was just such a suitable match.  The fact that they had known all each other all of there lives just sweetened the pill a little for him.

What he was not aware of, was that Sarah had already turned down many offers for her hand because she could not entertain a sensible, tame and conventional marriage, or the loss of her inherited and beloved Orphanage.  For her marriage had to contain love, passion and romance.  Although, the sight and nearness of Charlie proved strangely disturbing and seemed to call to her on far more sensual level than the innocent maid she was.

The two strike a bargain whereby there is a two week period to get to know each other better, and if after that Sarah is happy to proceed, they would marry within a week of her decision.

After a beautiful wedding day ~ and even more amorous night (which confirmed in his own mind that he loved his wife) Charlie left the marital bed chamber determined to wholly confine his feelings for his Countess firmly to that room, and shut her out of his day to day life.

His attitude left her feeling betrayed, and with the distinct impression that their marriage was akin to a hollow shell, and to make matters something precious to her goes missing.

I have to say that at this point I could gladly have taken Charlie and shaken sense into him.

Sarah received various excessive offers to purchase the Orphanage, which had been given over to her by Charlie as her dower property.  She doesn’t accept them, but because of her difficulties with her spouse she doesn’t tell him about them either.  Neither does she tell him of the other problems at the Orphanage that occur once the offers are declined.

Unfortunately, the anonymous would be purchaser ups the pressure, and Sarah is badly injured and the Orphanage subsequently set on fire.

She gets information on her missing diary, and sets off to retrieve it, not sensing the danger she might be in.  The end of the book sees the end of the mastermind behind the plot to purchase the Orphanage and the revelation of just how much Charlie loves his wife.

All in all, another sparkling read from Stephanie Laurens, with the Cynster connection and various other characters running through it.  I find the most appealing part of her works is that they can be read as an entire body, or independently with various characters and relationships popping hither and yon throughout. There is also just about the right content of smut throughout.

It was thoroughly enjoyed.

Rating: 4 Stars

Buy: The Taste of Innocence (Cynster Novels)

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The Untamed Bride by Stephanie Laurens Giveaway

Much thanks to Katrina Alvarez, Stephanie Laurens, Avon and Harper Collins for this fabulous opportunity.

The prize: 2 lucky winners will each receive a copy of The Untamed Bride!

The Untamed Bride Book Trailer:

Book Intro:

untamedbride

The first book in a brand-new series, The Black Cobra Quartet, from New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author…

The Untamed Bride by Stephanie Laurens

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens presents a brash, bold new series.

They’re battle-hardened, sinfully wealthy, completely unstoppable—and all male: Four officers of the Crown, fighting against a deadly foe known only as the Black Cobra.

He is a man who has faced peril without flinching, determined to fight for king and country.

She is a bold, beautiful woman with a scandalous past, destined to become an untamed bride.

Together they must vanquish the ruthless enemy, while confronting the dangers of the heart…

Read excerpt.

Buy: The Untamed Bride

Interview with Stephanie on The Untamed Bride:

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About the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing historical romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly ballooned into a career with the publication of her wildly popular novels about the Cynster family. She currently has 30 novels and 4 novellas published, all of which are continually in print. All of her novels have been translated into other languages and are published around the globe. Her last 15 books have been New York Times bestsellers, many in both hardcover and mass market editions.

Giveaway Details:

Starts: October 27, 2009.
Ends: November 10, 2009.

Open to romance readers 18 years + in USA, Canada, and UK.

Enter by leaving a comment on your favorite Stephanie Laurens romance (or if you haven’t read any of her books why this one looks good to you) and by answering this question about The Untamed Bride:

Where does the hero meet the heroine (first port of call)?

Good luck!