Hello, and welcome back. Holiday preparations around here aren't as wild as at some other houses--the shopping and wrapping are finished, though the baking is not. At this point, we're ready to just relax with our family.
Of course, for me, relaxing usually involves curling up with a book, and I have one to share with you this week, the latest anthology from Kensington's Brava line,
I Love Rouges. This one's got tales from historical faves Bertrice Small and Thea Devine, as well as Jane Bonander.
First up is Ms. Small's "Zuleika and the Barbarian," and she's set this one in a time with genies and harems (as are some of her steamiest books previously). When Zuleika's cousin tells her that instead of wedding her to gain her father's kingdom, he's giving her to a barbarian as a gift, she comes up with a new plan, one that includes marriage to the barbarian, AmirKhan,, and a way to defeat her wretched cousin. I enjoyed this short tale far more than some of Ms. Small's recent novels, and hope that she steams up her next books as in this story.
Next up is Thea Devine's "All the Secret Pleasures," with widowed Corinna Woodholme about to come up against a formidable opponent in the battle of love, Simon Charlesworth, the man she hurt long ago. Simon is supposed to be hunting for a wife, but the only hunting he's interested in is hunting up a way to make Corinna his forever, and if he has to play her games to do it, he's willing. A wonderful, bawdy read, exactly what one expects from a Devine story.
Finally we have Ms. Bonander's "The Bedroom is Mine," with Lily Charlesworth stunned to learn that the cabin she's living in comes with a man, one Ross Benedict, who's certain his matchmaking sister has something to do with the woman in his bed. Compared to the other two stories, this one is sadly lacking in steam. And though we're led to assume Ross is a rogue, he just behaves like a jerk.
I'm giving the anthology four arrows, mostly because I adored the first two stories.
Until next time, happy reading! And happy holidays, whichever ones you celebrate!