Tag Archives: Elle

December Read-a-Thon: Put a Little Cowboy in Your Holiday with Cowboys & Angels by Vicki Lewis Thompson

27 Dec

Cowboys & Angels (Sons of Chance #13 – Trey and Elle) by Vicki Lewis Thompson (Harlequin Blaze, December 1, 2013)

There is a lot to love about Vicki Lewis Thompson – she’s an expert at writing heroes who aren’t bruising alphas (but who don’t lack sexiness or conviction); she’s phenomenally versatile with contemporary, paranormal, military and western books in her oeuvre; she’s prolific so fans never have to wait long before another great book of hers comes down the pike; and she seems like a great person, as evidenced by the love of family and animals expressed on her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

This holiday season, she’s given us yet another reason to appreciate her with the thirteenth installment of her wonderful western series, the Sons of Chance.

Based on the group of siblings who run a horse breeding operation and ranch not far from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Sons of Chance series not only focuses on the Chance siblings but also on their extended family, friends and ranch hands. Thompson writes these books so you can easily pick up one and understand everything (although be warned you’ll find the secondary characters interesting enough that you’ll go out and find their books to read after sampling them in a few pages).

In Cowboys & Angels, Trey Wheeler has never stopped looking for his angel. Last spring, distracted from a bad breakup with his girlfriend, he lost control of his car and ended up thrown into a snowbank. A woman rescued him – a blond angel with blue eyes and a musical voice – but he never discovered her name and his concussion made it hard to remember exactly what she looked like. After months of looking, he still hasn’t given up hope, but to commemorate her saving him he had a pair of angel’s wings tattooed on his arm.

In Jackson Hole for the wedding of longstanding friends (who have booked an entire ski resort for the weekend to the delight of the Chance family and their friends), he’s shocked to be in the local gift shop and hear the voice of his angel. One good look at her and he feels like he has another concussion – she’s gorgeous, modest about helping him, and a ski instructor at the resort. Elle Masterson is the total package and Trey’s already halfway to being in love with her. Too bad she’s looking at him like he’s a card short of a full deck.

Harlequin Blaze December 2013 Bundle – a terrific deal at only $9.99 for almost 700 pages of killer Blaze novels and anthologies.

Elle immediately recognizes the cowboy she helped out of a snowbank and into a hospital. His accident happened right before she left for her summer job teaching skiing in Argentina, but she’s back for her shift in Jackson Hole. He’s even better looking than she remembered (and that’s saying something) but his gratitude and the fact that he had brokenly called for a woman when he was injured tells Elle that Trey is a full-throttle kind of guy, and with her life split over two continents for her job, she can’t do anything but casual. Still, Trey doesn’t give up and a combination of the fact that he’s a great musician – who wrote her a song back when she was his anonymous angel, for goodness sake – and that he delivers knee-weakening kisses make her throw her “no relationships with guests” rule to the wind. But she’s worried that she’ll be nothing but heartache to a man who can’t give less than everything and that she’ll discover that the heart she’s guarded for so long can definitely be broken.

OMG – I love it that a common trope in Thompson’s work is the heroine who is definitely not ready for a long-term relationship, either because she’s been burned in the past or because her career is at a place where it’s hard to fit in. It’s always impressive that in the length of a category romance novel (which we all know isn’t long) she manages to give us enough backstory on Elle to understand her tough family situation and how she’s worked hard all her life to not get attached to people or places. That pathology forms an understandable barrier when it comes to resisting Trey and she’s only half-successful, because – my God – who could resist him? He’s such a romantic and the perfect gentlemen (respectful to women at all times and a tiger in the sack – yowza). Trey is tailor-made for breaking down Elle’s defenses and I liked that her epiphany was a little slow in coming, with the perfect denouement occurring at Christmas on the ranch.

Cowboys & Angels is a fantastic western holiday novel which moves quickly and to an excellent resolution. Keep in mind that Harlequin is also offering it as part of a four-novel holiday bundle for only $9.99, which includes Tawny Weber’s Naughty Christmas Nights as well as the anthology A Soldier’s Christmas featuring a wonderful reunion story by Leslie Kelly. Just the novel by itself will only set you back around $3.00, so either deal is a great holiday bargain.

Give yourself a hot, romantic cowboy for the holiday with this fantastic book from Vicki Lewis Thompson. You’ll find very quickly that you’re in the mood for country. šŸ˜‰

Happy reading!

Lisa Marie Rice Completes Her Sexy Mission with the Latest Ghost Ops Novel, I Dream of Danger

8 Jul

I Dream of Danger (Ghost Ops #2 – Nick and Ella’s story) by Lisa Marie Rice (Avon Red, July 2, 2013)

While I greatly enjoyed the first book in Lisa Marie Rice’s Ghost Ops series, Heart of Danger, I have to confess that I Dream of Danger blew me away.

Considering I have read literally every book Lisa Marie Rice has written (Don’t believe me? Search my Goodreads account under her name.), it’s heartening to see her take what she does so well – protective, former military alpha males and the soft, feminine women who bring them to their knees in a climate of suspense and danger – and add a slight paranormal element to the plot. With some writers this could be disastrous, but I see her growing in her writing with this series, and I already thought she was pretty terrific!

Set about a decade in our future, the series focuses on a group of betrayed and disgraced special forces operatives who have created a technological refuge in an abandoned cavern in California and turned it into the “Haven”. They’ve since been joined by other people needing to escape from danger, and a thriving community with all the comforts now exists to nurture its inhabitants.

All of it is carefully watched over by three main figures, Mac (the hero of the first book in the series and now joined by his scientist wife, Catherine), taciturn Nick, and surfer playboy Jon. The beginning of I Dream of Danger is taken up with a little backstory between our hero and heroine. Nick comes (as do all of Rice’s heroes) from a crap background filled with foster homes and abuse. Found feverish and broken in her backyard, Elle was a mere child when the older Nick came to live with her and her father. A judge in the community, Elle’s father had himself appointed Nick’s guardian and ensured he got a fine education through high school. But after seeing Nick react physically to the now startling beauty of Elle, he gave Nick a boatload of cash and shipped him off, without a word to Elle.

Heart of Danger (Ghost Ops #1 – Mac and Catherine’s story) by Lisa Marie Rice (Avon Red, November 2012)

Four years later and Elle is nineteen and standing alone at her father’s grave. She’s not gone to college as her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s soon after Nick’s dark-of-night departure. He’s returned, sensing she needed him, only to discover that his lovely childhood friend has become a striking young woman, one now living in abject poverty having sold most of her possessions and sacrificed the last few Ā years of her life being her father’s full-time caregiver. Elle doesn’t tell Nick that she knows exactly how he’s been doing – she has had the gift of Dreaming (with a capital D) and has literally been present on his missions and in his training (oh, and watching him have sex with LOTS of women, although that part has always been painful for her). One thing leads to another and they end up in bed where he takes her virginity.

Her only complaint is waking up alone. Unbeknownst to her, Nick has received a call in the middle of the night from his special forces leader that they have a mission. He left her a note (one that fluttered to the floor, natch) so Elle thinks he’s abandoned her without a word – again. The second time around and the day after her father’s funeral is a bit much, even with the delivery of groceries and Nick having paid for her Dad’s funeral. She grabs her dead mother’s identity information and heads to California, changing her name and never looking back.

Ten years later and Nick is the morose operative the Ghost Ops community has come to depend on. He’s looked for Elle for years, despairing of ever finding her, when he literally hears her call out to him. All he knows is that she’s in danger and the cool former Ranger completely loses it at the thought that he might find her only to identify a dead body if he can’t figure out her location quickly. With the help of his team, they use the psychic link between Nick and Elle along with their abundance of technology to trace her location and get her to Haven.

The kind of scenery I picture when thinking about Haven and its location.

Elle’s ability to astrally project has actually been her life’s work. She’s managed to create a life for herself and used her previously untapped intelligence to get a Ph.D. at Stanford. She and Mac’s researcher wife Catherine have an immediate connection, both in friendship and in professional interests, but Elle doesn’t feel like opening herself up to Nick again. He knows that he’s never letting her go, but how can he convince Elle that he’s never going to leave her again, particularly with all the subversive government and corporate forces conspired against them?

Nick and Elle’s story is a great one and I actually enjoyed all the backstory since it contributed so well to understanding their current predicament. I think any reader would benefit from reading Heart of Danger prior to I Dream of Danger, simply to satisfy the need to understand the villains at work. Both Elle and Nick are compelling, sympathetic characters and it was wonderful to see the smaller subplot of the team’s former Captain (now scarred and healing) find some happiness. If there was one piece that stuck in my craw, it was the fact that Elle hadn’t been with anyone else since Nick’s second abandonment (seriously, could he have left a better note? Or a second one in the kitchen maybe?), yet Nick clearly had been with other women. Yuck. That’s not the way to convince me that these two are meant for each other, no matter how emotionally stunted he might have been. Hot alpha males can beĀ celibate, too. Really.

The excellent ending, one in which the team tries to save Elle’s fellow researchers – men and women who are also gifted with special abilities – was a page-turner and it’s clearly a fabulous set up for the next book in the series which will focus on playboy Jon and Elle’s friend, Sophie. With both major villains now dead, I’m particularly interested in what evil will arise to persecute and pursue this group trying to do good in the world. Sadly, Lisa Marie Rice doesn’t have an ETA on the publication date of the next book, or even a teaser at the end of this one. Given that the first book came out in November 2013 and this one in July 2013, I’m guessing a February or March 2014 date is likely.

As always, many thanks to Lisa Marie Rice for her fantastic writing and for Avon Red for being smart enough to publish her!

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