Now I'd like to consider myself a seasoned romance reader, but I know that many would not agree with my assessment. After all, I've only been reading the genre since grade 10, so about 6 years. It seems like quite the number of years to me, but I know people who have read them for 40+ years. Regardless, I have read hundreds upon hundreds of romance novels. I thought I'd seen it all. Boy was I wrong. Not only is the plot line unique and oh so interesting, it's also done in a way that I quite enjoyed. I know I shouldn't admit this, but I'm a sucker for novels with virgins in it. That doesn't mean they always have to be, but I tend to have issues with overly promiscuous women who do not have reasons for what they do. Many could say the grandmother in Mistress of Pleasure might fall under that category but I do not agree. Yes she was a courtesan, but she had her reasons. Which is all I need.
Another plus for this book are the characters. I generally don't have any issues liking the male characters in novels, and this book was no different. In fact, I loved all of the personalities she represented. Lord Brayton- I want to know his story! Badly. Anyway, unlike the heroes, I do tend to take issue with the heroines. I know that authors strive to make their heroines someone you can relate to, but I always have troubles with this. It was one of the main reasons I decided to pick up the pen and write my own novels... because sometimes, other people's stories just don't cut it for me. But with Delilah's heroine (and the other females in the book) she found just the right balance for everything. Maybelle is strong and independent but doesn't make me grind my teeth together in annoyance. I quite liked her.
I now cannot wait for the second book in this series to come out. I recommend it to all romance readers. But first, a little warning. This book is hot. H-O-T. No "button of love" in this story, thank goodness. So if you don't like reading about that, you may want to skip some pages. Regardless, I recommend it.
Now, moving onto my next new favourite; Bella Andre. During Nationals I went to a workshop about alpha heroes. Although the subject matter was interesting, I went mostly because Monica McCarty was a presenter. Well so was Bella Andre, Monica's friend and critique partner. I had heard of her of course, but never even considered buying her books. Why you ask? Because she writes contemporary novels. And although I enjoy reading paranormal contemporaries, that is about as far as my acceptance goes. However, during the workshop she was quite entertaining. I liked her from the start. And as the hour went by, she kept talking about her books. So of course I got interested in them. I bought her book Wild Heat and could not put it down. Unfortunately I started it while still in Washington, which meant I had to put it down to go to workshops. But trust me, I was always thinking about the book, wondering what was going to happen next.
Her descriptions of the fires and the characters were beautifully done. Her characters were likable and hot. Yes, I even liked the heroine. She was feisty and strong, but wasn't annoying. She was made of tough stuff, but still had her weak spots. She wasn't whiny, though to be honest she had every reason to be. I liked the camaraderie shown between the fire fighters, and I enjoyed the mystery woven into the novel. Who is the arsonist? Is it the hot firefighter who holds a deep dark secret in his past? Or is it someone else? Ahh the intrigue. Needless to say she now has another fan. I'm not sure if I'll branch out to other contemporary authors any time soon but I will definitely be reading her books in the future.
So there you have it. Two more authors to add to my list of favourites. Oh I know they warn you to not judge an author by one book, but I disagree. Generally a single novel can give you the gist of an authors voice. If you like that voice, it's not likely going to change so much that you won't like the next novel. They will change of course, but hopefully you can change with them.