Tag Archives: Entangled Flirts

December Read-a-Thon: The Earl’s Christmas Colt by Rebecca Thomas Is a Delightful Holiday Historical Short

30 Dec

The Earl’s Christmas Colt by Rebecca Thomas (Entangled Flirt, December 30, 2013)

I have a thing for animals in romance, particularly in historicals and what animal is better for this genre than horses? In Rebecca Thomas‘ delightful holiday short from Entangled Flirts, The Earl’s Christmas Colt, both the hero and heroine would rather spend time with horses than find a spouse, but duty calls.

Lady Arabella Sutton is appalled when her otherwise loving older brother informs her that he’s signed the contracts for her to marry…at the end of the week right after Christmas! She knows that she wasn’t that interested in looking for a husband in her last season, but the fact is she’d rather spend her time with her horses, especially since her father recently passed away. But now her brother informs her she’s supposed to marry some horribly old Earl (he’s four and thirty!) who will be a duke one day, as if she cares about that. Feeling betrayed, she heads out for a long ride – sans groom, thank you.

Unfortunately her lovely mare picks up a bad stone, bruising her hoof and forcing Arabella to head through a driving rain to the nearest coaching inn to get her under a dry roof to recuperate. When a handsome stable master with a gorgeous stallion and fetching colt helps her care for her mare and says he’ll help her get a room and send her brother a message, she doesn’t have a name for the strange fluttering in her chest or the tingling skin a chance touch leaves in its wake.

Oliver Westwyck, the Earl of Marsdale, is astonished that the gorgeous, wet young woman who knows horses backwards and forwards is his intended. A stray comment that hints at her disdain for dukes has him giving his mother’s maiden name instead of his own, a decision that allows him to know her a bit better but has him cringing at his deception. He simply wanted a good marriage of convenience after a disastrous engagement years ago trying to have a marriage based on love, but the more time he spends with Arabella, the more he’s worried that this woman is going to be much, much more than he’s ever experienced before. But his lie – and the bigger one perpetuated by Arabella’s brother regarding the state of the family’s finances – could come between whatever common foundation they might have laid in this stable.

I don’t usually fall for short stories with no sexy times, but this one (probably because it was an historical) absolutely charmed me. Author Rebecca Thomas is a self-confessed horse enthusiast and her knowledge and love of this noble animal shines through in her writing. There was a terrific foundation for conflict which, when combined with the sudden attraction between Oliver and Arabella, had me rapidly turning the page. I liked that the brother is well-intentioned and actually quite loving in his decision to match his reluctant sister with a good man who also loves horses. No two-dimensional villains here!

I’m super excited to read some more Rebecca Thomas who appears to be a relatively new author. Please note that this story is also available in the Entangled Flirts bundle, Twelve Days of Christmas Past, which includes not just this story but also the wonderful time-travel romance Christmas Past by Susanna Fraser which I reviewed earlier this month, as well as an additional story by Thomas and another Entangled author. At only $2.99 for four stories, that could be a post-Christmas bargain, but you can get the single story for a mere $.99 if you’d like to start just sampling this particular short. With such a wonderful example, I’ll be eagerly looking forward to her other works, historical or otherwise (and I hope they feature horses prominently).

Happy reading!

December Read-a-Thon: Second Chance Christmas by Ellen Butler a Sweet Reunion Romance To Enjoy for the Holiday

13 Dec

Second Chance Christmas by Ellen Butler (Entangled Flirt, November 25, 2013)

Entangled Publishing’s Flirt line has been producing several great novellas and I have to say, it’s a great way to try out a new author, both as a reader, and (I imagine) as a publisher. Despite my hesitation with reunion romances, I trust Entangled enough to know I’m going to get a good story.

It’s certainly what debut author Ellen Butler delivered with Second Chance Christmas.

I think it was the premise that suckered me in. Emma Taylor can’t believe she’s been called into an ER still dressed in her formal gown from the interrupted concert she was sharing with her date from the French embassy. The last thing she expected to do tonight was to pick up the ex-fiancee who she hasn’t seen for two years because he got hurt in a bar fight.

She’s shocked to discover that Major Colton Evans now walks with a cane, courtesy of a roadside bomb that took his friend and left shrapnel in his leg, and that his most recent address was Walter Reed Military Hospital. She wants to drop him somewhere safe for the night but a quick car conversation and it’s clear that she’s his best bet, particularly while he still needs care for a possible concussion. So she takes him home.

Colton cannot believe that fate landed this chance in his lap. He’s literally counted the days since he and Emma had the fight of the century and he’s more than willing to admit that he screwed up when he tried to force her to choose between his career and hers. Eight hundred and eighty-four days later and he can see how she made the right choice – but even her gorgeous car and house can’t compete with how beautiful she still is. Colton decides this time together is the perfect opportunity to clear the air between them while showing Emma that the holiday season can be about new beginnings as well.

There was something so engaging about this lawyer who has tried to build a shell around her heart since Colton and she broke up and the returning soldier who had kept the picture of the woman he loved in his battle helmet while overseas. Told entirely from Emma’s perspective, I was taken aback at the lack of sex scenes – while sexual tension abounds, all the real action is totally behind closed doors. Butler transmits the true vulnerability of these two protagonists while letting their path back to love unfold naturally. The military piece is beautifully done, offering an insight into Colton’s character while also providing some poignant moments in this novella. While the holiday piece is fairly quiet in the backdrop, the symbolism is still present and quite lovely.

After reading this excellent novella, I’ll be keeping an eye on Ellen Butler for stories since I enjoyed this one. I would encourage Ms. Butler to be a bit more present on social media – like so many people, I like to connect with authors and while she has a relatively new Facebook page, I notice that Butler is not on Twitter and doesn’t yet have a lot of content on her blog. I’ll look forward to seeing her build more of a digital footprint as her oeuvre grows.

Happy reading!

You’ll Want to Flirt with Wendy Sparrow’s Latest Novella, On His List

23 Nov

On His List by Wendy Sparrow (Entangled Flirt, November 11, 2013)

When Entangled Publishing – who, next to Avon, is the romance publisher I feel I can trust to have a terrific level of quality and editing – announced they were launching their new Entangled Flirts line, I was intrigued. Anyone reading about the proliferation of ebooks has seen the articles indicating that shorter novellas and episodic books are the hot new item since people want a satisfying story they can read in one sitting amidst all the other activities happening in their lives. Entangled Flirts are designed to be 10K to 40K (think 40 to 80 pages) and cover the areas of contemporary romance, thrillers, and even historical romance fiction.

Huh. This is a fascinating trend, and I definitely wanted to sample the wares to see if the same level of quality that I enjoy in the Brazen (and Covet and Scandalous) line could be present in a shorter package. So I bought a few of them (at $.99, not hard on the wallet) and sat back to test the waters.

My first one was Wendy Sparrow’s On His List and I was WOWED by how such a short novella can back an emotional punch. It’s always a credit to the author’s writing when you finish the last page feeling the emotional satisfaction associated with a longer work, and the story of Remy and Owen definitely fit the bill.

Remy Maison lives in a dive apartment in San Francisco with her brother Denny and while the two of them work their butts off (she as a massage therapist and Denny as a driver) they can’t easily come back from someone stealing their rent money from their coffee can stash. Luckily Denny has an all day driving job with a regular who is a heavy tipper, but when Denny wakes up with one of his migraines, Remy has to sacrifice her day off to meet the guy at the airport and drive him around. Denny has cautioned her ad nauseum how this client is REALLY particular – he loves order, doesn’t want his things touched, and needs silence. This is going to be a challenge for chatty, button pusher Remy, but if the choice is tow the line or get kicked out of their apartment, she’ll somehow manage.

San Francisco (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Until she gets one look at Owen walking off the concourse, that is. Denny neglected to mention that the “client” was a gorgeous, younger guy here to look after his many businesses. While he’s definitely super particular, it’s also obvious that there is some serious heat between them. But Remy knows she needs to keep it professional, yet the urge is there to help Owen push his boundaries, just a little. With Owen living in Miami and Remy not a one-night stand kind of woman, this particular substitution might end up causing more heartache than if they got evicted.

In 60+ pages, Sparrow made the smart choice to keep this story entirely from Remy’s perspective and yet she steered clear of the first person (THANK YOU, WENDY) which keeps the tone of the novella similar to other well-written contemporary romances. The setting of San Francisco is outstandingly written and Remy’s dilemma of wanting to be professional yet at the same time unable to deny her playful personality is well depicted. While there is no consummation of their relationship (the novella is basically the first two days they know each other), there is still so much heat and yearning that I felt very satisfied in the sexy times department. An afterword in the book from the author explains her gratitude to the doctor who has helped treat her OCD, so Owen’s wrestling with Remy throwing him off schedule and marking up his itinerary feels very authentic as a result of Sparrow’s personal experiences.

If this novella is typical of what Entangled new Flirts line is going to offer, I plan on reading many more of these excellent stories. Many thanks to Wendy Sparrow for On His List – Owen would definitely get put in the “to-do” column of my planner!

Eat Play Lust by Tawna Fenske Delivers Sensuality in a Small Package

9 Sep

Eat Play Lust by Tawna Fenske (Entangled Flirts, August 26, 2013)

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating that Entangled Publishing keeps putting out great stories like it’s going out of style. Considering that many publishing houses often seesaw in the quality of their authors (and honestly, often their editing), this is not only a joy, but often has me picking Entangled work over other houses since I know I can trust them to give me a romance that is going to be deliciously emotional and probably a little bit (or better yet, a lot) naughty.

This delightful short, Eat Play Lust by Tawna Fenske, keeps up Entangled’s reputation. Cami is a fabulous yoga instructor coming off the emotional roller-coaster of her uber-healthy mother’s extended visit. Gluten-free tofu everything may have had her drop a few pounds, but it seems like there’s an emotional cost as Cami’s relationship with her mother has always been one of guilt around food. Like the minister’s daughter who wears a mini-skirt and gets drunk every night at college, Cami gained more than her fair share of weight and both women have never forgotten it.

While Cami guiltily harbors tatertots in her apartment above her yoga studio, she doesn’t wistfully think about how nice it would be to have someone of the male persuasion to share it with. When the hottie in her group class requests a private paddleboard yoga lesson (yes, this is an actual thing and it looks very cool!) she is more than happy to get to know Paul Hammond better. She’s got some seriously naughty thoughts of the sexual variety whizzing through her thoughts while she puts him through his paces on the water, but she is trying to keep it professional, particularly after he tells her he is a gourmet chef. What would a chef want with a secret junk food eater?

I don’t know what’s lovelier – this beautiful woman or the setting. Paddleboard yoga seems like a great idea for people who enjoy practicing in the great outdoors (and enjoy a little extra core work).

What Paul wants to do with Cami cannot be spoken aloud, but suffice it to say that he wants her as amuse bouche, appetizer, entree and dessert. Yet Cami’s proximity seems to have permanently disconnected any conversational skills Paul previously possessed as his sex drive is taking all available brain power. Paul’s physician brother was the one who took one look at the cholesterol numbers from Paul’s latest blood test and insisted he begin doing cardio, but it’s not just the yoga that is causing Paul’s heart to beat double-time. A river dunking and some time in Cami’s kitchen confirms the sexual tension is simmering between them, but can there be a future between someone whose life revolves around food and someone who feels nothing but guilt in eating what tastes good?

Two fabulous characters who were so well-drawn that I was astonished the story is only around 50 pages. Despite the small space, you still experience the mark of a good writer – Fenske draws a rich setting, three-dimensional characters, and an emotional connection (with highs and lows) that tugs at your heartstrings. Did I mention the sexy times? No? Let me reassure you that despite all of of the above, there was some pretty awesome sex between our two characters that managed to be hot AND emotionally satisfying. I’m hoping for a few more stories set in this town so I can catch a glimpse of a happy Cami and Paul in the context of another couple’s journey. Worried about paying for a 50 page story? At only $.99, make this your Tawna Fenske amuse bouche and realize that here is another great writer for your romance shelf.

Tawna Fenske has certainly caught my attention and I’ve both made a point of adding her blog to my RSS Reader (give yourself a chuckle by reading her September 2nd post “If I Write What I Know, I Must Know a Lot of Perverts”) and added a few of her other books to my to-read list.

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