Obviously, the book has to have a happy ending, or it´s not a romance. And while we can accept many things--like a wishy-washy heroine--depending on how the author handles it, there are some that are simply unacceptable. Like infidelity, on either the hero or heroine´s part. Most of us aren´t reading romances for a dose of reality. We read for escape, and much of the ugliness of real life should be excluded from our fantasies. A big thing that many readers find completely unacceptable is the hero abusing the heroine in any way. There´s nothing heroic about a man who hits a woman, even if it may have been accepted, or even expected in the time period of the story.
Unfortunately, the first book I read this week contained this.
Heart of a Warrior by Betty Davidson (Jove Seduction) has David D´Aubere gaining both a bride and an estate as a reward for his service during the War of the Roses. Too bad his new bride has the mind of a child. Luckily for him, he´s captured a spy, one Riley Snowden, posing as kitchen help in his new home. After slapping her, he has her hauled off to the dungeon. I had to force myself to read on after this point, and there is a scene later where he uses his belt on her. While the history in this tale is well-told, this is a bit too much reality for me in my fantasy reading. This one earns only one of Cupid´s five arrows. David D´Aubere would not have been my choice of super-sexy heroes for this particular line.
Next up is Emma Holly´s
Beyond Innocence (Jove). Edward Burbrooke has to find a way to protect his family from scandal and thinks the best way is to marry his brother Freddie to Florence Fairleigh, who´s in the market for a husband. Too bad Edward falls for her. This pair has a lot to overcome, but there´s a sizzling attraction between them that eases their way. Edward is one sexy, tortured hero, and Florence is more than his match. This one earns three arrows.
Julie Kenner offers up the next in the Fantasies, Inc. series, "Intimate Fantasy" (Harlequin), with Kyra Cartwright--taking a break from family responsiblities--and Tony Moretti--who´s recovering from injury and disappointment. Tony´s playing a dangerous game of deception, and Kyra´s bound to find out. Nicely told story, but not as hot as I´d have liked for Temptation. This one also earns three arrows.
Finally, we have Harlequin´s Blaze anthology, "Midnight Fantasies" with novellas by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Stephanie Bond and Kimberly Raye. All I can say is, whew! Have a fan handy and a tall glass of ice water. Great stories, and really sexy heroes. It earns four arrows.
Until next week, happy reading!