Tag Archive | Historical Erotic Romance

The Sheik Retold – Victoria Vane & E.M. Hull

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THE DESERT WAS NEVER HOTTER!

Pride and passion vie for supremacy between a haughty young heiress and a savage son of the Sahara in this steamy retelling of E.M. Hull’s romance classic.

A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground… A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own…

“There will be inquiries.” I choked out. “I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. You will pay dearly for what you have done.”

“Pay?” His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. “I have already paid… in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides,” he continued, “the French have no jurisdiction over me. There is no law here above my own.”

My trepidation was growing by the minute. “Why have you done this? Why have you brought me here?”

“Why?” He repeated with a slow and heated appraisal that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex. “Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?”

When pride and passion vie for supremacy, blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights…

Publisher and Release Date: Vane Publishing, September 2013
RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting: 1920s French Algiers and the Sahara
Heat Level: 3
Genre: Historical Romance/Desert Fantasy
Reviewer Rating: 5 Stars

Review by Maggi

I’m a fan of Victoria Vane’s stories because they bring something different to the romance genre. The Sheik Retold is no exception. This desert fantasy is set in French Algiers in 1920, where men are rugged alpha males and women adore and obey them. This story scooped me up and transplanted me into the sweeping desert sands of the Sahara, where the perfumed breeze is uplifting and the tents have enough modern conveniences for supreme comfort: opulent decor, valuable artifacts, silk curtains and carpets, exotic food, deep low Turkish divans and rich coffee. And of course, the Sheik himself.

E.M. Hull wrote The Sheik, a haunting desert romance in 1919. The book caused women to swoon in droves. A movie was then made which launched actor Rudolph Valentino’s career as a great romantic hero. Some women committed suicide when he passed away.

Victoria Vane has modernized and vastly improved on Hull’s book. She builds on the characters, showing more of their thoughts and feelings, and takes readers through the veiled curtain into the bedroom where we begin to understand what drives Ahmed Ben Hassan. We witness the pride and the fierce passion: Ahmed’s struggle to control Diana, and Diana’s refusal to be bowed. Her fight for freedom drives them on to ever more danger, until I thought that death could be the only release from so complex a relationship. Fortunately, this is a romance.

The golden-haired heroine, Diana Mayo, is a restless globetrotter. Traveling with her massive steamer trunks, she sees the world as her playground. She appears at first to be rather unlikeable. She is spoilt, heartless and wilful, believing no one would dare cross her and at times stubborn to the point of childishness. She has recently come into her inheritance, a vast fortune, and is finally her own woman. Her stepbrother Aubrey can no longer tell her what to do. With a disciplined body, she prefers to dress in jodhpurs and boots and is a fearless rider. She intends to enjoy the same freedoms a man enjoys and never to marry. The French authorities warn her not to travel into the desert with just a guide and a few of his men, but she ignores them. As she comes to note, her stubborn pride and wilful arrogance become her downfall.

No man has ever stirred Diana’s heart. In her opinion, she has no heart. Her redeeming feature at this point, is her honesty; with herself and with others. She is not pretentious, and when we learn of her past life with Aubrey, it does in some way help us understand why she is the way she is. Beyond her acceptance of her beauty, she exhibits little interest in her appearance.

The handsome sheik, Ahmed Ben Hassan, is a law unto himself…the French have no jurisdiction over him. He answers to no one. He is a ruthless, but fair ruler of his people and they are fiercely loyal. There are harsh rules in this world, which must be obeyed. Death is never far away.

When Ahmed sees Diana, he decides to take her to his bed.

“I wanted you from the moment I saw you, my golden one…And now,” the backs of his long brown fingers brushed my hair, “you are mine.”

She will remain with him until he tires of her. If she tries to escape there will be violent repercussions. Do we hate him for his belief that as a brutal ruler of his world, he can take whomever he wants? He proves too fascinating to hate. But he is a man you do not cross:

His expression grew grim. His eyes shone cold, hard, and black as onyx. He came close behind me, placing his hands on my shoulders and then slowly slid them up to rest around my neck, where his thumbs caressed my pulse. His voice was low and soft. “Were you a man, I would slice your throat for such calumny. Do not ever disparage my character again.”

Diana discovers he is capable of exquisite gentleness, while he refuses to love any woman. He is an angry and complex man with a sad past. As we get to know him and understand him as Diana does, there are quite a few surprises.

And more than a few surprises for Ahmed too, for Diana grows and changes and proves to be his equal: clever, resourceful and brave, refusing to cower and become subservient, while he awakens her to passion with his skilled lovemaking. And she discovers she does indeed have a heart.

Ms. Vane has done a wonderful job of turning Hull’s novel, The Sheik (which could be viewed in a modern world as a violent and rather distasteful story), into a stirring love story.

I enjoyed The Sheik Retold very much.

Unwanted (Highland Historical #3) by Kerrigan Byrne

Unwanted by Kerrigan Byrne

Published: June 13, 2012

Publisher’s Blurb:

His heart was made of ice…
Born a nameless bastard into the Berserker horde, Finn is the measure of strength, ferocity, and brutality at the Temple of Freya. Sent to the Highlands bent on revenge and murder, he stumbles on an infant deserted in the snow. What he chooses next may seal his fate.

Her life was cold and empty…
Rhona McEwan has lost everything. Her husband, her child, and soon she fears she must relinquish her dignity in order to survive the bitter Highland winter. When the most fearsome, mysterious, and breathtaking man seeks the help she can give to the child in his arms, she’s unable to turn them away. Even though she’s not certain he’s entirely human.

Three of the world’s Unwanted…
On a snowy Solstice night during the magical Yuletide season, their need for each other may alter their destines forever.

In the third installment of the best-selling Highland Historical Series, Kerrigan Byrne weaves a tale of blood and vengeance, of love, redemption, and the bonds that make a family.

Tags: Romance, Historical, Highlander, Paranormal, Short-Story

Time Frame: Scottish Highlands, Winter, 1411

Heat Level: 3

REVIEW RATING : 5 stars

REVIEW BY LEE ANNE:

Kerrigan Byrne writes the most amazing Scottish highlander/berserker stories ever. She weaves the myth of the Scottish Berserker into a wonderful erotic love story that transcends time.

She never ceases to amaze me as she creates these wonderful characters that pull at your heartstrings and make you want to read more. This is the third in the Highland Historical Series and I’m hoping it’s not the last. I would love to get yet another of these wonderful stories.

Finn is an unwanted Berserker. He’s not welcome at the temple to Freya and those in power at the temple send Finn to his death. They send him on a mission to kill the impure Berserkers in the highlands. Little does Finn know he has a connection to these Berserkers.

Along the way, he rescues a wee bairn and finds a mate. It’s a wonderful love story that is filled with tension, battles and acceptance.

 Unwilling is currently available at Amazon for $2.99.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.

Simply Scandalous (House of Pleasure #9) by Kate Pearce

 Simply Scandalous

Published: December 24, 2012

Publisher’s Blurb:

After years of fighting on the continent, Richard Ross has finally returned to London to make peace with his father, and the erotic delights of his stepmother’s Pleasure House provide a welcome distraction for his war-weary heart. But he is shocked to encounter someone there whose resemblance to his lost love leaves him both tempted and tormented…

As a former spy, Violet LeNy has mastered the art of deception. But there is no disguising the heated passion that still burns between her and Richard, the man she once betrayed but who now is her only hope of survival. Soon she plans a scandalous game of seduction where sensual surrender is the ultimate pleasure…

Tags: Romance, Historical, Mystery, Erotic

Time Frame: London, 1827 (Georgian England)

Heat Level: 3

REVIEW RATING : 5 stars

REVIEW BY LEE ANNE:

Simply Scandalous is perfectly scandalous! It’s a wonderful, hot , erotic, historical romance that spans continents and years. I loved every minute of decadence contained in this story.

So, what’s there to love about Simply Scandalous? Well, everything! What does this story not have? It has spies, romance, secrets, kidnapping, inter-racial relationships, brothels, intrigue, conspiracy, bastille survivors, and cross-dressing, just to name a few!

Richard Ross spent years in France as a spy. While he was there, he met and fell in love with a French Spy, Violet LeNy. He watched her die, and with it, his ability to love. Years later, he meets her again, but not as he expected! Violet needs his help, but can he see past the deception and lies she put him through? Will he help her? Or, will her life be forfeit?

I was intrigued by this story from the very beginning. We have a member of the peerage married to a survivor of the French Bastille (doing anything to survive), who once ran a brothel. Now her son runs it! Not only does her son run it, but the rest of the family tends to “hang out” at the Pleasure House. Inside the Pleasure House, anything goes. If you can imagine it, you can find it there!

Emily, Richard’s sister, is in love with Ambrose, an African man who works at the Pleasure House. Richard is accused of loving men and Violet is back from the dead! It just keeps going from there!

Each time we visit the Pleasure House, exquisite pleasures are described in detail and it’s HOT and explicit! In between visits to the house, we have a mystery to solve. Who is killing off the former spies of England? Who is the elusive Mr. Brown? What is Violet hiding? On top of that mystery, we have a mystery surrounding Richard’s father and sister. When will this poor family get a break? I guess it’s true, when it rains, it pours!

All of these problems stem from the problems surrounding the life and times in England in the 1820’s. Marriages were arranged, no matter if they loved each other or not. The French Revolution is over, the after math is still being felt by those that were part of it. England is spying on France and France is spying on England. All of the spying and arranging of people’s lives for God and Country has everlasting affects. And quite often, the sins of the father are visited upon the children.

This is the first book in this series that I’ve read. While I realize I’ve missed some of the backstory on many of the characters, I did not feel lost at any point in time. I will definitely go back to read others in the series!

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.

Unwilling (Highland Historical #2) by Kerrigan Byrne

Published: June 13, 2012

Publisher’s Blurb:

He should never have kissed her…

Laird Connor MacLauchlan doesn’t want a wife, but he finds his Berserker mate in the heat of battle. Though he fears for her safety from the darkness that lurks inside him, fate dictates he must take her and make her his…

She was meant to be his enemy’s bride…

Noble beauty Lindsay Ross has been sold to the highest bidder. On her way to meet her vile betrothed, a savage and mythic warrior slaughters her entire vanguard. Now she’s his captive and he seems determined to claim her body for his own. Connor promises to keep her safe from the evil warlord she was to marry, but who will protect her from him?

Tags: Romance, Historical, Highlander, Paranormal, Short-Story

Time Frame: Scottish Highlands, August, 1411

Heat Level: 2.5

REVIEW RATING : 4 stars

REVIEW BY LEE ANNE:

Connor was supposed to kill the tyrannical laird MacKay in order to free those people from tyranny and fear. Instead he ended up finding his mate in Lindsay Ross. Connor never wanted a mate, but his berserker claimed Lindsay the instant he saw her.  Now he just has to convince her to accept him.

Lindsay is a formidable heroine. She refuses to simply accept her fate and decides to orchestrate her own outcome. She’s strong and independent in a time when women were nothing more than chattel to be bartered to advancement of men. She does this without being a shrew. Connor is an alpha male who is the laird of  his clan. He’s accepted his berserker and has no plans for a mate. He’s stubborn and in typical male fashion, doesn’t understand women!

From their very first encounter, their passion burned hot. Lindsay and Connor would never be the same. Connor’s berserker claimed Lindsay but how will Connor get Lindsay to claim him and his berserker.

Kerrigan Byrne weaves a fantastic story filled with romance, magic, and passion. This is the second book in the Highland Historical Romance and it’s every bit as good as the first one! I’m hoping she will continue with this series or possibly write other highlander stories.

 Unwilling is currently available at Amazon for $2.99.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.

Unspoken (Highland Historical #1) by Kerrigan Byrne

Published: Marcy 24, 2012

Publisher’s Blurb:

He’s cursed with eternal silence…

Roderick MacLauchlan is death for hire. Blessed by an ancient Deity with Berserker rage, he has the strength of ten men. Cursed by a malicious enemy, he’s incapable of speech. A desperate clan war rages around him and a malevolent adversary lurks in the darkness, calling for blood.

Evelyn Woodhouse is an English refugee with a dangerous secret. She has the ability to see the outcome of tomorrow’s battle and knows they’re on the wrong side of it. When a doomed and silent mercenary rescues her from a fate worse than death, it seems he has his own plans for her. This is his last night alive and she’s never been able to defy destiny. 

Tags: Romance, Historical, Highlander, Paranormal, Short-Story

Time Frame: Aberdeen, Scotland 1411

Heat Level: 3

REVIEW RATING : 3.5 stars

REVIEW BY LEE ANNE:

Unspoken is the first book in the Historical Highland series by Kerrigan Byrne and what a start it is! I was hooked into this story from the very beginning.

Evelyn ran from England and ended up a bar maid in Scotland. A war is being waged around her town and the warriors are in her tavern the night before a big battle. One of the warriors accosts Evelyn causing Roderick to come to her defense. Later that night he rescues her once again by asking her into his bed. And what a night they spend!

Evelyn has what is called “the sight”. She can see the future of other people. She decides to warn Roderick that he is in grave danger. Instead she ends up in danger herself, again.

I really enjoyed this short story and was disappointed it ended so early. I would love to read more about Evelyn and Roderick. I found their passion to be hot and intoxicating.  I would have liked to know more about the battles and what the fighting was for. There was also potential to expand on the treachery that Roderick faced.

Overall this is a very good short story and I’m looking forward to reading more in the series. Unwilling is the next story in the series and seems to deal with another Berserker in the family.

Unspoken is available on the Kindle at Amazon for $2.99.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.

THE DEVIL’S MATCH (Devil Devere #4) by Victoria Vane

 Published: August 24, 2012

Publisher’s Blurb:

Once burned twice shy… but when old flames come together…passion reignites…

When burned once… Arriving in London as her goddaughter’s chaperone, Baroness Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley wants to avoid her erstwhile lover at all costs. Once nearly consumed by passion, four years has reduced the former inferno to bitterness and ashes.
By an old flame… A world-weary master of seduction, Ludovic “The Devil” DeVere is bored with his chosen life of debauchery. When Diana’s charge disappears, she is forced to seek help from the devil’s lair, and their mutual desire reignites with undeniable ferocity.
Fire is best fought with fire… While DeVere is hell-bent to have her back for keeps, Diana is equally determined to bring him to his knees…by acquiring some sensual secrets of her own.
 

Tags: Romance, Historical

Time Frame: England 1780’s – 1790’s

Heat Level: 3

REVIEW RATING : 5 stars

REVIEW BY LEE ANNE:

The Devil has met his match!The Devil’s Match is the fourth installment of the Devil Devere Series by Victoria Vane. This one had me crying. Devil DeVere and Diana keep ending up at odds with each other and it just made me cry! They need and want each other so much and it just kept falling apart!As the series has continued, the heat level has risen, until it’s pretty dang hot! The passion between Devil and Diana has grown until it’s scorching and I felt like I was going to combust just reading about their sexcapades! Of course, Diana can’t just give in to Devil, her honor won’t allow that. So, how does she give in to him while maintaining her honor? Why, a wager of course!I thoroughly enjoyed Devil and Diana’s story. It was the most heart-wrenching and passion filled of all the DeVere stories. I came to love Devil for he has honor, but he doesn’t play by the rules set forth by anyone else. He takes care of his own while playing by his own rules. Diana is everything society expects her to be. Devil encourages her to give in to her passion and live her life they way she wants.The question now is will Devil give in and follow society’s dictates or will he convince Diana to live the hedonistic lifestyle he embraces?

Victoria Vane’s characters embody everything that is right and wrong with proper society in the 1780’s. On the one hand we have honor and society’s expectations. On the other, we have the wants and desires of people. The two do not always meet in the middle. Finding a way to meet the needs of society and people is not always easy. It is a struggle and sacrifice to make it happen. Ms. Vane does an outstanding job of bringing the reader into the story and making them feel everything the characters are feeling. She also helps the reader understand restrictions placed on people as they move through society.

I’m also very pleased to find out the Devil DeVere series will continue for at least 2 more stories! I’m eagerly awaiting the next ones! Write faster Ms. Vane, write faster!

ABOUT THE REVIEWER:

I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.