Is that a gun, etc….
Who comes up with this?
Casee: I finished Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan yesterday. It was so-so. I was a little disappointed. I’m getting reading to start Revenge by Lexi Blake which I’m super excited about! I love the Lawless brothers. After that I will probably dive back into Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries series.
I also finished Elle Kennedy’s Outlaws series. I love Dystopian romance. It’s so raw. I’m always on the lookout for new authors in that genre.
Holly: I re-read some Lisa Kleypas and Julie Garwood favorites this week. I didn’t have a lot of reading time, so I didn’t start any new books. I hope to start Shadow Reaper this weekend.
Rowena: I started off the week, finishing the Ravenels series by Lisa Kleypas. I read Devil in Spring and really enjoyed that one. It was my favorite book of the bunch. After that, I jumped into a re-read of Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas and boy did I love that re-read. Christopher and Beatrix are a fabulous couple! Then yesterday at work, I finished How the Duke was Won by Lenora Bell and thought it was solid read. I enjoyed it so much that I jumped right into the next one, If I Only Had a Duke. I’m not that far into this one but so far, it’s pretty good. I hope that continues.
What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!
She’s smart, seductive, and in way over her head.He’s her only way out.
An undercover DEA agent has gone off the radar. Suspecting an internal mole, the government needs Luke Dubois and his elite team of operatives to recover their man, and the New Orleans native thinks he’s found his way inside the dark underbelly of Manhattan: Olivia Taylor, the girlfriend of a mob boss and the sexiest woman he’s ever laid eyes on. His new mission objective? Get past Olivia’s defenses and convince her to take a chance—on him.
All Olivia wanted was to finish law school and live a normal life, but that dream was shattered when one dangerous night put her deeply in a mobster’s debt. Now Luke and his team will help her escape—in exchange for intel on the missing agent. But Olivia doesn’t anticipate her intense attraction to the reckless Louisiana charmer or that she’ll be forced to risk everything—including her heart.
I keep saying it, but I am loving this series. Loving it. The men are hotness and Luke Dubois is no exception.
A new mission has put Luke and his team in Manhattan. An undercover DEA agent has gone missing and they are tasked with finding out if he’s alive or dead. Their way in is a strip club which is a front for a mob boss. Luke is in the strip club every night trying to figure out a way in and he thinks he’s found one in Olivia Taylor, the mob boss’s girlfriend. He just has to figure out how to get her to help them.
All Olivia ever wanted to do was take care of herself and her mom. Her dad was in and out of her life as a child. She only wanted stability. That changed after she went to work at a strip club to pay for her mom’s medical bills. After someone attacks her, she ends up being at the mercy of a criminal who falls in love with her. Pretty soon Olivia has no way out. She would run, but she has her mother to consider. She’s playing a dangerous game with a dangerous man and it’s only a matter of time before her luck runs out.
When Luke shows up at the club and asks for her help, Olivia sees a way out. She agrees to help him if he helps her get her and her mom out of town. Then everything changes when she finds out what her “boyfriend” is capable of. Soon she is adamant about bringing him down. Then her and Luke are working together.
So I loved Luke. Loved him. Only Luke can be getting a lap dance and come up with this gem:
So, have you always wanted to be a stripper?
Yep. He said that. Olivia? Not so much. She was supposed to be really smart. Which she was, to a point. She was able to hold Vince off in really imaginative ways. I understand that emotion got to her in the end which is why she insisted on helping with the mission, but it was so freaking stupid. Not TSTL, but stupid nonetheless. The way Luke and Olivia got together in the end fell sort of flat for me. Still, Luke. Sigh.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
A lot has changed in publishing since 2008, but forced seduction and rape haven’t gone away. If anything, I think we’ve seen even more of this in contemporary novels.
The topic came up when I mentioned that I was going to start reading Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell. (I’ve since finished it and hope to have my review up in a few days.) Holly asked if CtC had the “forced seduction” in it, which yes, it does. There are several reviews on Amazon taking the author to task for daring to call her book a romance when the hero rapes the heroine. Whether it was rape is another story altogether. One reviewer told her that CtC was a throwback to the bodice-rippers of the 80’s.
Hello? Have these reviewers ever read Stormfire by Christine Monson? That is indisputably rape. That book is one that doesn’t neatly fit into the “romance” slot it’s supposed to. I’m sure that almost everything that has read Stormfire would agree that there is no question of forced seduction or rape. It was rape.
Then you have the books where it’s rather murky. It basically is left to the reader to decide for themselves b/c it’s far from cut and dried.
The few books that came to mind when Holly and I were talking were Once and Always and Whitney, My Love, both by Judith McNaught. Holly is insistent that Jason raped Tory in Once and Always. Me, not so much. As a matter of fact, I had to go back and read a few pages b/c I don’t remember ever thinking it was rape.
No means no. Right? It’s not so black and white when it comes to the written word (please remember that we’re talking about this topic in regard to reading). As far as Whitney, My Love goes, I think it was rape. Clayton raped Whitney. I don’t even have to think about it.
Then you have books like The Duke by Gaelen Foley. The rape of the heroine turned the plot. It changed who the heroine would have been if the rape wouldn’t have happened. Does that make it less a romance? No, that makes it life. It made the heroine change her life choices, sure, but it didn’t make it less of a romance. That doesn’t mean it’s any less tragic, it just showed the reader that something like that changes a person’s life.
There’s definitely a fine line between what I consider “acceptable” forced seduction and just flat out rape. While I agree with Casee about Whitney, My Love, I disagree with her about Once and Always. In my opinion, Jason raped Tory, same as Clay raped Whitney, it was just written prettier in O&A.
You see, Tory said no. She said no at the beginning and continued to say no throughout. Even as her body responded, she told him no. No is no. I don’t care what your body says. If your mouth says no (and it’s clearly not what you want) that’s rape. Plain and simple.
Of course, there are a lot of gray areas there. Because if well written, a forced seduction can be a turning point in a novel. And if extremely well written, I – who considers the “forced seduction/rape” issue a major hot button – will love the hero anyway. That doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.
But back to Jason and Tory. The thing is, I liked Jason. A lot. He was a good hero, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure Tory deserved him. She wasn’t totally TSTL, but she did come close. Regardless of that, however, that one scene, the scene where he forces her to submit to him, wasn’t sexy, or hot, or something I’d ever want to experience. Maybe it’s because I’m fairly independent. Or because I’m a modern day woman. Or maybe it’s just I can’t imagine having all control taken away, but when Tory told Jason, “I’ll hate you if you do this” and he did it anyway..well, a part of me hated him, too.
I have to give Judith McNaught credit, however, because even though I hated that one scene in the book, I didn’t end up hating the book as a whole. Nor did I hate Jason or Tory. Honestly? I’m not even sure if I can explain exactly why that is. I imagine it has something to so with JM’s ability to make her characters 3 dimensional and real.
Of course, we’re still not talking about rape. We’re talking forced seduction. Rape, well, that’s something all together different. I don’t think there’s any coming back from rape.
What do you think? Do you think there’s a place for Forced Seduction in romance? What about Rape? I’m not talking about the heroine being raped by someone other than the hero, either. I’m talking about the hero forcing the heroine, against her will.
I think Forced Seduction has it’s place. There are times – though I’m loathe to admit it – when it really needs to happen for the story to progress, or the characters to develop. Rape? I don’t know. I have yet to read a novel labeled romance where the hero actually raped the heroine. There have been a couple close calls, but not an actual rape.
I really believe that in the cases of the McNaught books or Claiming the Courtesan, it really is left up to reader interpretation. In books like Stormfire or Island Flame by Karen Robards (those come to mind first), it is clearly rape and those books are not for everyone. I agree with Holly that Forced Seduction does have it’s place.
Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Kiss An Angel is my all time favorite SEP book. Daisy is such a delightful heroine. The perfect contrast to Alex. Alex underestimates her from the beginning and Daisy never lets it get her down. Alex’s pride is so important to him, something that Daisy doesn’t understand. She lives life to the fullest and isn’t sorry. She’s also rather prudish, which is wonderfully amusing. This book is almost perfect, from cover to cover.
Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 1, 1996
Pretty, flighty Daisy Devreaux can either go to jail or marry the mystery man her father has chosen for her. Arranged marriages don’t happen in the modern world, so how did the irrepressible Daisy find herself in this fix?
Alex Markov, as humorless as he is deadly handsome, has no intention of playing the loving bridegroom to a spoiled little feather-head with champagne tastes. He drags Daisy from her uptown life to a broken down traveling circus and sets out to tame her to his ways.
But this man without a soul has met his match in a woman who’s nothing but heart. Before long, passion will send them flying sky high without a safety net… risking it all in search of a love that will last forever.
I bookmarked too much to share, so I will pick a couple of my favorites.
Not only did Daisy forget her husband’s name when she was taking her vows, she forgot her actual vows.
She dug her nails into her pals and told herself she had no choice. “I, Theodosia…” She gulped for air. “…take thee Alexander…” She gulped again “…to be my awful wedded husband…”
It wasn’t until she heard her stepmother, Amelia, gasp that she realized what she’d said.
The stud muffin turned his head and looked down at her. He cocked one dark brown in a vaguely inquisitive fashion, as if he wasn’t certain he’d heard her correctly. My awful wedded husband. Her sense of humor kicked in, and she felt the corners of her mouth quiver.
Daisy also had a special affinity for the animals at the circus, namely the elephants.
“First I need to–”
“Check on Tater. I’ll come with you.”
“Don’t glower at him this time.”
“I never glower.”
“Last time you glowered. It hurt his feelings.”
“He doesn’t have–”
“He does, too, have feelings.”
“You spoil him.”
“He’s spirited, not spoiled. There’s a big difference.”
He gave her a pointed look. “Believe me, I know all about the difference between spirited and spoiled.”
“Are you implying–”
“It’s a compliment.”
“It doesn’t sound like one.”
This was the first time they were in bed together. Daisy was a twenty six year old virgin. This made me laugh long and hard.
“You’ve torn a hole in my tights.” she murmured foolishly, slipping her arms around his shoulders and reveling in the feel of his weight pressing her into the mattress.
He brushed his lips over her temples. “I’ll buy you a new pair. I swear.” He gave a gentle push.
And went nowhere.
She stiffened. Her worst fears had been realized She’d atrophied from so many years of being unused.
Have you read Kiss An Angel? Tell us why you loved it or why you didn’t!
I STARTED TO WRITE completely by accident. I taught high school until our oldest son was born, then quit to stay home. In 1976, my husband’s job took us from Ohio to central New Jersey. My best friend Claire lived two doors down the street. Both of us were big readers, reading everything from literary fiction to the newly popular historical romance novels. We loved talking about the books—what we liked, what we didn’t. One day, just for fun, we decided to try to write a book together. For three weeks as we rode our bikes in the evening, with my toddler in the baby seat behind me, we plotted our story. Then we sat down with a yellow pad and began to write.