Tag Archives: Ripped

Tangled Up Duology Lives Up to Its Cosmo Red Hot Read Label

11 Jun

Tangled Up (containing Crossing the Line by Megan Hart and Burned by Sarah Morgan) (Harlequin, May 27, 2014)

I’m a big fan of Harlequin’s Cosmo Red Hot Reads line – these novellas seem to take the best contemporary romance authors on the market and deliver scorching, emotional stories for an incredibly affordable price.

Tangled Up follows this tradition by housing the work of two bestselling authors, Megan Hart and Sarah Morgan, who both managed to blow me away in the course of 224 pages. Luckily for readers, you can either purchase Tangled Up in trade paperback form for around $8.00 or, if you have an ereader, get each story individually for around $3, ladies choice.

Want to hear more? (The answer is: yes, you definitely do.)

Crossing the Line by Megan Hart

Crossing the Line by Megan Hart (Harlequin: Cosmo Red Hot Reads, May 27, 2014)

Caitlyn Fox has slogged away in her new job for about eight months without her sexy boss Jamison Wolfe noticing her. He’s a testy control freak who, granted, has grown an amazing business with his best friend from high school. Together they have managed the PR for some of the most important businessmen and women in the world but are expanding to celebrities who are, let’s face it, much messier. When Jamison’s business partner experiences pregnancy complications and has to be put on bed rest, Caite knows this is the time to not only show that she can handle the new clients she’s brought in, but to show Jamison she can handle him as well. In. Every. Way.

Jamison can barely remember the last time he dated, and, quite frankly, it was barely worth it. Worrying about choosing the wrong five star restaurant, flowers when she wanted chocolates, etc., took away the fun from sex with the high maintenance women he’s chosen in the past. Yet spending time managing three high profile reality TV stars with Caite, who makes it look effortless, has him realizing that not only is she not the least bit afraid of his wounded grizzly bear attitude but that she also is comfortable ordering him around. And he likes it.

When Caite’s pushiness involves her own pleasure, Jamison is stunned to realize it delivers his as well, but taking their powerful connection and games into the office results in Jamison being humiliated in front of the people he needs to look strongest for. Can he work through his shame and reclaim Caite or will he lose her to someone not afraid to unapologetically want what she has to give?

Ah, Megan Hart. This author doesn’t know how to write a bad book (and, I’ve discovered after meeting her in person at my local Lady Jane’s Salon Wilkes-Barre Scranton, she’s also an extremely funny person who wears sexy boots and sparkle fish-net tights!). The dynamic between Jamison and Caite is demanding but incredibly tender, and I appreciated how, in a world of BDSM romances featuring Catherine wheels and violet wands, this relationship didn’t cave to the usual trappings or even wear that label despite it’s obvious power exchange. Instead, Caite’s taking control offered Jamison the chance to let go in one area of his life and minister pleasure to the woman who had become everything to him. I adored them both and found my heart in my throat for the last quarter of the book when I worried they weren’t going to make it.

Burned by Sarah Morgan

Burned by Sarah Morgan (Harlequin: Cosmo Red Hot Reads, May 27, 2014)

Okay, I raved about Sarah Morgan’s preceding Cosmo Red Hot Read, Ripped, which starred a horrifying heroine wardrobe malfunction at a critical point in her ex’s wedding. Hayley Miller had experienced a shitty childhood and an unfortunate collection of boyfriends (including the winner getting married) so having the broody, Italian Nico Rossi spring into her life ended up delivering a fabulous happy ending. The second most awesome relationship in that book however was with Hayley’s sister, Rosie, the tough talking, martial arts practicing trainer, who worked for Hayley’s happiness even while she looked for love in all the wrong places herself.

In Burned, we find out why Rosie is so bad at choosing men. In the opening scene, Rosie is out with her boyfriend, Brian, at a nice London restaurant when she realizes he’s dumping her because she’s “not feminine.” It’s humiliating enough without it happening in public, especially after she realizes that the man just seated with his gorgeous date at the adjacent table is none other than martial artist and film star, Hunter Black, her first love who brutally abandoned her when she was eighteen. Running out of the restaurant results in Hunter having to come to her rescue and take her home, but even after Rosie’s sister Hayley unloads some home truths on his very broad shoulders, Rosie can at least curl up into a ball and tell herself she’ll never have to see him again.

Until he shows up at her work the next day. As her boss.

Ripped by Sarah Morgan (Harlequin: Cosmo Red Hot Reads, December 2, 2013) – Hayley Miller and Nico Rossi’s fabulous story.

Oy. It turns out the chemistry between them is even more incendiary than it was when she was just a kid and that’s saying something because it was smokin’ hot back then. Yet, Hunter is an adult now and Rosie has changed drastically from the clingy teen she really doesn’t blame him for leaving. When Hunter makes it clear that he still wants her, Rosie decides to have a weekend of nothing but sex and let the man who no one has ever measured up to in the bedroom show her what he’s got. The problem arises when she realizes that no one has ever measured up to him outside the bedroom either, and her pesky heart is going to be just as shattered when she walks away, because there is no way she can live through Hunter moving on one more time. That Hunter and her sister might have different ideas never even factors into her thoughts until she’s confronted with what could be a spectacular chance at happiness, if Rosie is brave enough to take it.

Sarah Morgan specializes in brooding heroes whose level of sexy could induce small seismic events and Hunter Black is no exception. Like Ripped, Burned is written entirely from Rosie’s perspective, something that usually pisses me off to no end, but in the hands of a master like Morgan, I just cheerfully turn the page. Rosie is a fun badass who has been made to feel terrible that her fragile exterior doesn’t match her tough, independent interior but Hunter has always loved her for exactly who she was. The two of them rediscovering the changes each has made as an adult, and realizing their connection is stronger than ever because of their growth, is both breathtakingly sexy as well as heart-wrenching, particularly because the hurt Rosie experienced may provide the ultimate obstacle when it comes to taking a chance on lasting love. I wished I could have seen a little more Nico, so I’m going to hope that Sarah Morgan considers a holiday novella or indie short story featuring both these wonderful women getting the wedding proposals I know are in their future!

Whether you purchase Tangled Up in paperback or the ebook versions of each novella, you won’t go wrong giving yourself the gift of two phenomenal stories by gifted authors.

Happy reading! 🙂

 

December Read-a-thon: You’ll Be Peeling Someone’s Clothes Off After Reading Ripped by Sarah Morgan

7 Dec

Ripped by Sarah Morgan (Cosmo Red Hot Read from Harlequin, December 1, 2013)

Because let me tell you, the “Cosmo Red Hot Read” moniker is taken damn seriously in this particular novella! So warn your significant other that his or her shirt buttons will soon be on the floor (or wear your jammies and have a cold drink of water if you are currently without company), because Sarah Morgan’s spectacular Christmas story, Ripped, is going to strip your socks off faster than Auburn can make a final touchdown against Alabama.

I’ve always adored Sarah Morgan who is probably one of the top category romance writers who I will always, ALWAYS buy if the cover has her name on it. She particularly excels in those domineering uber-hot millionaires who have rough pasts but who melt for the right woman. (I mean, Doukakis’ Apprentice, anyone? Yowza.) Our hero in Ripped, the ultra-sexy Sicilian turned British lawyer, Nico Rossi, a man whose very looks and demeanor have women shifting uncomfortably because he sets their panties on fire by simply walking past them, fits the Morgan bill beautifully.

But here’s where I have a bone to pick with this talented author – WHEN THE HELL DID SHE GET SO DAMN FUNNY?!? I’ve been enjoying Sarah Morgan’s writing for years (along with the rest of the known romance reading world) and while I have definitely enjoyed her prose and smiled at a clever quip or situation in her books, I had no idea that she was able to make me laugh out loud or gasp in horror before dissolving into giggles at an embarrassing situation. To quote my mother-in-law, Sarah Morgan has been hiding her light under a bushel.

And what a light. From the first scene we are 100% in the moment, as engineer Hayley, sitting in the front row of a tedious church wedding ponders how her pride had her agreeing to be a bridesmaid for a woman who not only slept with her ex-boyfriend but was marrying him right in front of her. Hayley didn’t want anyone to think she was moping, but her former friend has clearly used the situation as revenge, stuffing the voluptuous Hayley into a too-small, anemically colored bridesmaid dress. The only thing making this worthwhile is getting to gaze on the perpetually angry but always hot Nico Rossi, a friend of her former boyfriend and the best man. Trying to maintain her dignity, it fully flies out the window when she takes a sigh of relief…and both sides of the dress rip at the seam, exposing her large breasts to all and sundry since she had to go braless under the tight monstrosity.

Doukakis’ Apprentice by Sarah Morgan (Harlequin Presents, 2011)

Nico comes to the rescue with a rapidly thrown Tom Ford jacket and whisks her off to a side room of the church to gather the shreds of her so-called garment but Haley is not about to stand for Nico’s frustrated berating – as if she planned this wardrobe malfunction! Their glaring quickly turns into an unbelievably hot make out session well on its way to sex against the wall, except for the timing of Nico and Haley’s respective sisters butting in. Back at her Notting Hill flat with her sister, Haley cannot get the cold and controlled Nico out of her head (okay, he wasn’t that cold OR controlled when he was kissing her, but still) but she’s content to have their usual Christmas lunch for all their friends as per usual. However, Haley’s sister has a Christmas surprise, namely one sexy Italian lawyer, who has decided that Haley is his holiday present and he plans on unwrapping her again and again. Can Haley’s New Year’s resolution to not mix sex and her heart stand firm against Nico?

Holy. Shit. I’m not sure I’ve ever given a novella five stars, but this one got it. Told solely from Haley’s perspective (and usually I do not enjoy the first person perspective, but it’s vital to the humor in this particular novella), this story is an evolution of perspective as Haley clearly has one image in her head of her dealings with Nico over the last few years, a perception which unravels as she realizes that Nico has actually been the only man in her life who has seen and appreciated her for who she is – an incredibly smart satellite engineer.

Can I mention the humor again? Not only is the opening scene laugh-out-loud hilarious, but the lines just keep coming. When Haley’s sister Rosie dumps the turkey on Haley as the doorbell rings with the instruction to pluck some of the lingering poultry feathers, Haley experiences a moment of incredible empathy with the bird:

I stared gloomily at the turkey. It had dark stubble on one leg. Clearly the person who had prepared this turkey for the oven had been anxious to leave work early. I looked at the stubby ends poking out of the plump pale skin and sympathized. It wasn’t easy keeping yourself smooth.

Morgan, Sarah (2013-12-01). Ripped (Kindle Locations 496-497). Harlequin. Kindle Edition.

How she decides to pluck the feathers still has me chortling, particularly when Nico and his sweet sister come upon her doing it. Her observations regarding Nico are equally as quote-worthy, whether it’s contemplating his sexual prowess when she ponders the question was “this was sex Italian-style, (if so, I was emigrating)” or reacting to his concern to bundle her in his bed lest she catch cold. “Cold? Was he kidding? I was so hot that if he’d put a slice of bread on me I could have turned it into toast.” Gracious, that makes two of us, Haley.

It’s astonishing that this novella is right around 100 pages – I guarantee you will feel more satisfied than you do after reading a significantly longer book. The close relationship and difficult past of Haley and her sister gives tremendous depth and dimension to these two characters (and since Ripped is labeled as Miller Sisters #1, chances are terrific that we will get Haley’s sister Rosie’s story soon).

At only $3, you would be doing yourself a huge disfavor to not run out and buy this novella right this minute. Sarah Morgan has managed to write a classic for all seasons and I know for a fact that I will be re-reading this one over and over in years to come. Many thanks to a wonderful writer showing us a new facet of her talent – you’re awesome, Sarah Morgan!

Happy reading and happy holidays!

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