Di Marcello’s Secret Son by Rachael Thomas

The challenge: to leave your billionaire lifestyle behind for two weeks…

Italian tycoon Antonio Di Marcello relishes the challenge—but running into Sadie Parker while working undercover as a mechanic rocks him to the core. Four years after their fevered fling stripped away his iron guard, he’s confronted with the shocking consequences…

Sadie has given up hope in her desperate attempts to contact Antonio. Now she has to face the day she’s both dreaded and longed for! And Antonio’s claim over her and her son is hard to resist—especially as he’ll use a sensual onslaught to get what he wants!

 

Rachael Thomas does it again! Sunshine, sizzling passion, and simmering sexual tension abound in this latest novel. Antonio Di Marcello is a real alpha male – the epitome of a rich playboy, with the billionaire lifestyle, gorgeous Italian looks, and a reputation as a real womaniser.

His first marriage to Eloisa has failed catastrophically, and as far as the press are concerned, that’s entirely down to him. His cheating ways are well documented. It seems Antonio has no heart, and no ability to love or be faithful.

Sadie is all too aware of that fact. A tempestuous weekend with Antonio took her to the heights of happiness, but she quickly crashed down to earth when Antonio abandoned her, informing her that he was to be married and telling her coldly that he can offer her nothing more. Finding herself pregnant, Sadie went to his family home to tell him of his unborn child, but was cruelly turned away by Antonio’s mother. Antonio ignored her pleading letter, and clearly wanted nothing to do with her or the baby. For three years now, Sadie has been a single parent, caring for her beloved little boy, Leo, and trying desperately to put the memory of Antonio’s cruel betrayal behind her.

When he crashes back into her life in the most unexpected way, Sadie is in turmoil. No matter what he did to her, how can she resist those dark eyes – eyes which are so like their son’s? How can she hide the passion he still ignites in her? Yet, when it becomes clear that Antonio has deceived her yet again, and that he has a very clear motive for wanting her back in his life, she knows she must hide her true feelings at all costs.

For how could a man like Antonio ever bring her happiness, when he is incapable of love?

Taking the reader on a whirlwind journey through Rome, a Caribbean island, London, and an English country estate, Rachael Thomas creates a page-turning story of a cat-and-mouse game where the stakes are high for everyone involved. Can Antonio be the father he always wanted to be? Can he be the husband Sadie deserves? Or will his cold upbringing bring nothing but disaster for his new wife and child? Read it and find out! You won’t be disappointed. 5/5

You can buy Di Marcello’s Secret Son here.

Love On the Nile by Ellie Gray

Having read Ellie Gray’s previous novel, Beauty and the Recluse, I was confident that I would enjoy this second offering, and I’m happy to say it more than lived up to my expectations.

Ellie writes such romantic stories, with really sexy and passionate heroes. In this novel, we have the added bonus of the beautiful backdrop of Egypt. I’ve never been to Egypt myself, but reading this book, I really felt as if I was there. I could feel the sun beating down on me, taste the dust in the back of my throat…I was highly relieved when the heroine reached for her bottle of water and glugged down the liquid. I was quite parched myself by that time!

So, what’s the story? Well, basically it’s girl hopes for holiday of a lifetime, visiting the breathtaking sites of ancient Egypt, girl gets unexpected guide on her dream vacation, guide turns out to be gorgeous but annoying, their attraction sizzles hotter than the Egyptian sun, guide has issues and reluctantly pushes girl away, and then…

Well, you’ll have to read it for yourself to discover what happens next. Let me just say, though, that there’s a lot more to this story than that paragraph could adequately explain. The almost mythical setting of the novel, the wonderful characters, the likeable and gutsy heroine, and the oh-so-sexy, dark and brooding hero, makes this a sheer delight to read. Natasha and Kyle’s romance is believable, sweet, tender, and smoking, all at the same time!

I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in this gorgeous book, and I was rooting for Kyle to battle his demons and take a chance on Natasha. I loved both main characters, but I also grew very fond of Natasha’s younger brother, Nicky, who is very sympathetically and realistically drawn, and on Aunt Lucy, too. Ellie has, in short, done it again, and now I’m very much looking forward to her third novel. Excellent read. 5/5

You can buy Love On the Nile here.

51vv-lyffcl-_uy250_

 

From One Night to Wife by Rachael Thomas

Gosh, I really loved this book! I confess, right here and now, that I haven’t read a Mills and Boon novel since I was a teenager, but I’ve heard so much about how they’ve changed and moved on since those days (which were, I have to admit, an awfully long time ago!) that I decided I would give one a try, and From One Night to Wife was the lucky winner.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy it at first, as I quickly realised that the heroine, Serena, was stunningly beautiful, yet still a virgin at twenty-three, until she was seduced by a drop-dead gorgeous Greek fisherman, who turned out to be a shipping billionaire. Hmm, I thought. This might not be for me, after all.
Well, I’m sorry, Rachael Thomas. I vastly underrated your storytelling abilities. Yes, Serena is beautiful, but we only see her through Nikos’ eyes. She herself states that she’s ordinary, so maybe she is, to everyone but him. Who knows? The point is, Serena holds the key, as Nikos’ grandmother gleefully tells her. The question is, the key to what? It can’t be his heart, surely, because Nikos doesn’t do love. He has been so badly damaged by his parents that he is unable to trust anyone, and refuses to allow himself to feel anything, for any woman, that is deeper than lust.
He has plenty of lust, though! Luckily for Serena, she more than matches him in that department. In fact, when the two of them get together, sparks positively fly, which is rather inconvenient, given that Serena loves Nikos but daren’t reveal that to him, and Nikos is trying desperately to deny to himself that he has any emotional attachment to Serena.
Serena has returned to Santorini to inform the fisherman that she had a fling with that their night of passion has had “consequences”. Unfortunately, she quickly discovers that Nikos lied to her about who he really is, and, faced with his evident fury as she imparts her news to him, she realises that any hopes she had of making a future with him are completely unrealistic.
But Nikos wants his heir to be legitimate. He doesn’t trust Serena, but he is willing to strike a bargain with her. They will marry, and he will be part of his child’s life. In return, he will make sure she has everything she needs and, more importantly, he will help make her sister’s dreams come true. Serena loves her sister, but Sally is going through a terrible time. If she can help her, surely marrying Nikos is the right thing to do? But, given her own childhood, spent being made to feel like a mistake by her own bitter parents, can she really inflict the same on her own baby? Is lust enough to keep Nikos and Serena together? Can Serena hide her true feelings for Nikos? And can Nikos ever open his heart to love, or will his inability to trust anyone poison not only his relationship with Serena, but with his own child?
I read this book in one evening, as I was engrossed in it. I desperately wanted Serena to find a way through to Nikos, and I wanted Nikos to stop unwittingly hurting Serena, who had her own battles to fight. In spite of the fact that I’ve always thought I could never fall for a hero who was a gorgeous Greek shipping billionaire, I did. Rachael Thomas made him irresistible! I just wanted to make everything all right for him. I also, luckily, liked Serena. She wasn’t the pushover I’d expected, and she had guts and integrity.
Their entire relationship was delightful to follow, and at times, reading the sizzling scenes between them, I realised I was turning purple. I’d forgotten to breathe! Those “love scenes” were very well written. I was positively blushing at times! All the same, I got a lump in my throat as the two of them edged tentatively towards each other, and towards a happy ending at last.
I will definitely read more of Rachael Thomas’s books. I may even try other Mills and Boon books. There’s certainly more to them than I’d realised, and I hold my hands up and admit, I was wrong. Fabulous. 5/5

You can buy From One Night to Wife here

51GZRAXNp3L._UY250_

Her Forget-Me-Not Ex by Sophie Claire

Luc and Natasha were married too young. It was a relationship driven by passion, but when Natasha became pregnant, Luc felt duty bound to propose, and Natasha, wanting a secure family life for her child, accepted. When she lost the baby, Natasha walked away, leaving behind a luxury apartment that was the loneliest place in the world, and a husband who didn’t seem to care, and whom, she was sure, was relieved that the whole episode was over. Three years later, Natasha has built a life for herself in the country village in which she spent the happiest years of her life – the time she spent living in Poppy Cottage with her mother and father, parents she lost at the tender age of seven. She owns a flower shop, and has dreams of buying Poppy Cottage, as she promised her mother she would. But it seems her plans aren’t as straightforward as she had hoped. Then Luc arrives on her doorstep, offering a solution to her problems. But he wants a favour in return. She must go with him to his family’s home in France and pretend that they are still married. His father is gravely ill, and his wish is to finally meet his son’s wife. It seems Luc hasn’t informed his family of their divorce, and he is determined that his father will get his wish. Against all her instincts, Natasha agrees to his terms. And so they head to France, to the family vineyard, to begin two weeks of deception.

This is a lovely novel – pure, unashamed romance. Luc is a gorgeous hero. The strong, silent type, successful in his work and focused on what he wants. Yet he nurses wounds that make him not only vulnerable to Natasha’s charms, but irresistible to the reader. My heart ached for the two of them, trapped in their unspoken pain – each of them believing the other didn’t care about what happened, each grieving for their lost child and their lost love.

Natasha is confused by Luc. He is too rich, too sophisticated for her simple ways. Throughout their marriage he seemed distracted, too intent on his work. He appeared uncaring, cold, and seemed resentful that he had been trapped into marriage by a gold-digger. Luc is baffled by a woman, seemingly unmoved by the loss off their baby, who walked away from their marriage and agreed to this charade for the sake of a piece of land. He thought he knew what she was, yet she seems to care about his family, about his father’s health, and to worry endlessly about deceiving them.

The one thing neither can deny is the intense sexual chemistry between the two of them. Passion sizzles off the page! Because the reader can see what both characters are feeling, and knows the motives for their behaviour, I wanted to shout at them to sort their relationship out, and stop seeing the downside to everything. Natasha, particularly, seems to feel inadequate, and unable to believe that Luc could have real feelings for her. But then, Luc is confused himself. He doesn’t know what he’s feeling. He’s still terrified of commitment, and can’t make a promise to Natasha that he’ll be able to stay with her long term, so who can blame her, really? If he doesn’t know himself that he loves her, how can she recognise it?

Neither can believe the other cares, but when you’ve been hurt so deeply in the past, do you dare to allow yourself to trust again? Luc has been told he’s a disappointment by his father for most of his life. He’s driven by a need to prove himself, to go it alone. He’s also been hurt and humiliated by another woman.He didn’t trust Natasha’s motives when they were together first time round, and now he’s afraid to take a chance on her again, as he doesn’t believe he’s capable of settling down. He doesn’t want to feel tied down – to the vineyard, or a woman. Natasha felt rejected by her great aunt and her biggest fear is living with someone who doesn’t really want her. From that perspective, Luc was the worst possible man she could have married.

The back story for these two characters meant that, although it was frustrating when they kept misunderstanding the other’s motives, I still felt compassion for them, and could quite see why they were behaving in the ways they did. I loved Natasha’s independent streak, the fact that she had a thriving career of her own, that she’d picked herself up and built a new life for herself. I loved her brightly coloured clothes and the quirky way she did her nails each day. Luc was smouldering, and I fell completely in love with him. The Provence countryside was described beautifully and I could almost feel the sunshine on my back. Luc’s family was delightful, and even the resolution of the father/son dilemma between Luc and the intimidating patriarch was handled realistically and satisfactorily.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and flew through the pages with increasing delight. I’m looking forward to the next Sophie Claire book! 5/5

You can buy Her Forget-Me-Not Ex here

51gnbGZJu7L._AA160_