His Wicked Kiss (Ballantine) by Gaelen Foley is up first. Eden Farraday longs to return to England from the South American jungles where she studies with her scientist father. Lord Jack Knight is no friend of her father's, but he can't resist stealing a kiss from Eden, despite refusing to take her to England. So Eden decides to stow away on his ship to get there, sneaking off from her father and his loony assistant. I hesitate to use the word 'fluffy', but this one is definitely a light, uncomplicated read if you're in the mood for that. The conflict isn't very strong, and both have points where they're behaving badly. Ms. Foley's books have always been hit or miss for me--either I love them or I hate them; this one falls squarely in the middle. It's earned only two and a half of Cupid's five arrows.
Midnight Secrets (Berkley) by Jennifer St. Giles is next. Cassie Andrews has the gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it) of dreaming of things to come, and her latest dream is of her dear cousin Mary. A telegram from her aunt regarding the situation has Cassie and her sisters packing and heading off to Dartmoor to learn the fate of their cousin. When there's no real news or evidence, Cassie proposes to act as a maid in the house where Mary was last teaching, to see what she can unearth. The owner, Sean Killdaren, is rumored to be many things, among them a vampire, due to his unorthodox lifestyle, but Cassie is more interested in discovering how her cousin died than in whether her gorgeous new employer is inhuman. I have to say, I loved Ms. St. Giles's first book, and liked her second, so I had high hopes for this one. But I picked it up and put it down several times before I could really get into the story. The pacing is exceedingly slow in this one for such a short span of time. Once I was able to get into the story, I enjoyed it just fine, but it was quite hard to get into. Plenty of steamy sensuality in this one, and lots of gothic elements to the story. I hope Cassie's sister's tale moves a little more quickly. I'm giving this one three arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!