Author: Linda Howard

Sunday Spotlight: Dying to Please by Linda Howard

Posted October 22, 2017 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Dying to Please is a one of Linda Howard’s romantic suspense novels that the three of us here love. Cahill and Sarah were such great characters. They really came to life on page. Suspense, action, hot hot hot sex, strip-wrestling, humor and a kickass heroine make this a must read.

Sunday Spotlight: Dying to Please by Linda HowardDying To Please by Linda Howard
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: November 4th 2003
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Alternate-cover edition can be found here

Loyal. Beautiful. Professional. Impeccably organized. Potentially lethal. Sarah Stevens is a woman with many distinct qualities. First and foremost a butler par excellence, skilled at running large households smoothly and efficiently, she is also a trained bodyguard and expert marksman—indispensable to her elderly employer, a courtly gentleman whom Sarah has come to respect and love as a father. Then one night she thwarts an attempted burglary, a courageous act that awards Sarah her requisite “fifteen minutes of fame” with the local press. But the exposure is enough to catch the attention of a tortured soul who, unbeknownst to Sarah, will stop at nothing to have her for himself...

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Favorite Passages

Holly: While I love Cahill, Sarah is the best part of this book for me. She’s a female butler and bodyguard. She’s self-aware, comfortable in her own skin, has a killer sense of humor and is, in general, a total badass. I wouldn’t mind being her when I grow up.

“What about marriage, a family?”

“I hope to have those, too, just not yet. And if I never get married, I still enjoy my life and I’m pleased with my career choice. I’m happy with myself, which isn’t a bad thing.”

Sarah was the most self-possessed person he knew, Cahill thought. If she had lost control to that extent, she had been hysterical. She was frightened, and hurting, and he hadn’t so much as touched her hand when he’d gone to see her in the bungalow. No wonder she was hugging herself; someone needed to do it.

They have a great romance. When Cahill wasn’t acting like an idiot and screwing it up, anyway.

“That was good.” His tone was so low it almost rumbled.

“Yes, it was.” Her own tone was a tad . . . breathy. Where had that come from? She had never sounded breathy before in her life.

“Do you want to do it again?”

“We’d better not.”

“Okay,” he said, and kissed her again.

“What time did you get up?”

“Almost seven. I went for a run, ate the bagel, read the paper, twiddled my thumbs.”

“Poor baby.” She picked up her spoon and dug in. “What else did you do?”

“You still weren’t awake, so I had sex with your unconscious body—”

“Did not.”

“Did, too.”

“Okay, so you dozed off and were dreaming. What time did you wake up?”

“Nine-thirty.”

“So who says men have more guts than women?”

He grinned at the challenge in her voice. “No one. Men just tend to do stupid things out of pride. Now that I’ve admitted we’re all idiots, will you have dinner with me tonight?”

“What? Go out with an idiot?”

“Think of the entertainment value.”

“I’ll do my best to keep you entertained. How does that sound?”

“Hmm, I don’t know. What do you have in mind?”

“Well, for starters I thought I’d fuck your brains out. Then, as an encore, I thought I’d fuck your brains out.”

“Just what I like,” she said. “Variety.”

Even though Cahill makes does some boneheaded things, he’s still a great hero. He’s the perfect match for Sarah.

He was suspicious when something seemed perfect, but the way he and Sarah fit together was . . . perfect. Even when they argued, he knew he didn’t intimidate her—hell, he wasn’t certain she could be intimidated. And that was perfect. He didn’t have to handle her with kid gloves. The sex was hot and raunchy: perfect. They made each other laugh: perfect. Maybe it was because she was from a military family, but she seemed to get him in a way no other woman had: perfect. What wasn’t perfect was that she wasn’t with him.

He didn’t want to be “just” anything to her. He wanted to be her center.

via GIPHY

Giveaway

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Linda Howard

GOODREADS

Linda Howard is an award-winning author whose novels include the recent New York Times bestsellers Shadow Woman, Up Close and Dangerous, and Drop Dead Gorgeous, as well as the Pocket Books releases Kill and Tell, Now You See Her, All the Queen’s Men, Mr. Perfect, and Open Season. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.

four-half-stars


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Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard

Posted May 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Series: Raintree #1
Also in this series: Raintree: Sanctuary
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: May 1st 2007
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Two hundred years after the Raintree clan defeated and abandoned them on a small Caribbean Island, the Ansara wizards are rising again to take on their bitterest foes. Despite their extraordinary powers and supernatural origin, the Raintree have largely blended into the modern world. They are bankers, cops, husbands, wives and lovers in the society of humankind.

But now, from Nevada to North Carolina, the rejoined battle will measure the endurance of their people. It will test their loyalties and relationships. And it will force upon them all new lives they could barely have imagined before.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I think about this series every now and again. I may have to go back and re-read it at some point. Just to see if my opinion of it still stands. 

This review was originally published May 14, 2007

I’ve been hearing a lot about this book the last few weeks, most of it not so good. Jane at Dear Author and Rosie both reviewed it and neither had very good things to say about it. I’ve been a LH fangirl for years now, but her last few releases, with the exception of her Blair Mallory books have left a lot to be desired, so I wasn’t too keen on reading this before I read the bad reviews. After? Yeah, so wasn’t going to touch it.

But then last week I read Tara Marie’s review and changed my mind. You see, there are some things I find I can’t stomach in a novel, and brain rape is one of them. From what Rosie and Jane said, I was under the impression there was quite a bit of that in this novel. But Tara Marie shed a bit more light on the subject and I decided to see for myself how bad it truly was.

Side Note: Spoilers below. I don’t think I can say what I truly felt about this book without them. :End Side Note

Lorna Clay has been spending a good amount of time in Dante Raintree’s casino. Normally that wouldn’t be cause for concern – quite the opposite in fact – but she never loses. Never. She’s not winning massive amounts of money at one time, but she’s walking away with enough to make Dante and his main casino dude a bit skeptical. They can’t seem to spot how she’s cheating via video, but they’re sure she is. So they drag her upstairs to “question” her and both she and Dante seem to have a rather…electric connection to one another.

Now, Dante is a Raintree, which is a psychic type of people that have been around for hundreds of years. They have a feud going on with the Ansara clan that’s lasted for centuries, and as soon as Dante figures out that Lorna has psychic abilities, he starts to wonder if she’s Ansara.

To quote Lorna about the Raintree/Ansara situation:

“You’re the weirdo equivalent of the Hatfields and the McCoys?”

She’s not. Lorna doesn’t even realize she has powers. She just thinks she’s really lucky. While in Dante’s office, a fire breaks loose in the main part of the casino, 19 floors below them. As one of Dante’s powers is the ability to control fire, he immediately heads down to help fight it, dragging Lorna along with him.

Now, this is where Jane and Rosie seemed to start having major issues with the book. I’m just going to tell you what happened. This is still relatively early in the book (the 2nd or 3rd chapter, I think) so you probably won’t be hurting yourselves if you read this part, but beware, major spoilers below:

Dante goes down to the main part of the casino to fight the fire and he can’t. He isn’t sure why – if it’s because his powers have been depleted trying to help the guests get out, or if it’s the fire itself – but he can’t get it under control. At this point, he and Lorna are pretty much surrounded by the fire. There’s no way for them to get out alive. He’s placed a protective “bubble” around them, but it’s starting to crack and he knows they don’t have much time left. Plus, the hotel that’s attached to the casino is at full capacity and he’s afraid of how many lives will be lost if the fire spreads that far.

He knows if he had another Raintree there to connect minds with he’d be able to pool their power and contain the inferno, but there’s no one but him and Lorna. That’s when he realizes – duh – she has powers and he could use them to boost his own. That’s when he “brain rapes” her by pushing himself into her mind and combining her powers with his.

I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. When weighing a situation like that, your death along with possibly hundreds of others, or forcing yourself into the mind of another for the greater good, well…I just can’t say I blame the guy. No, it wasn’t pleasant for Lorna and yes it was a gross invasion of her privacy, but he didn’t do it to find out if she was Ansara, or to purposely cause her pain. He did it to save her life. And his. And possibly hundreds of others. No big deal.

What comes next is a bit harder to swallow. He uses a mind “compulsion” to keep her from running once the fire is under control and they’re out of the building. Basically, if he tells her “Don’t move” she’s literally stuck in one spot. Because he’s not convinced of her innocence – in either the gambling or the fire – he binds her to him and forces her to remain against her will. At one point he even orders her to silence.

I had a hard time with this. Perhaps it’s because I’m a fairly independent woman and I would hate to have all control of myself taken away. Or perhaps that has nothing to do with being independent or a woman, but simply a human being. In any case, the next chapter or so was hard for me to get through. The way Dante pretty much forced her home with him and then checked her out to see if she was Ansara left a bad taste in my mouth.

But I persisted and you know…I ended up really liking the book. Really liking it. I can’t say it’s LH’s best work, but it more closely resembled the classic LH I fell in love with than anything else she’s produced in recent years.

Lorna was a fabulous heroine. She suffered numerous shocks in a short period of time, but rather than bowing under them, she kept her chin up and her sense of humor. She was sassy and sarcastic, and though I thought she forgave Dante a little too soon for his mind control of her, her reasons for doing so made a lot of sense.

As for Dante, he was a typical Howard Alpha and I thought he was great for what he was. For those of you who enjoyed some of her earlier category type books and works like Dream Man, you should enjoy him.

The ending was a major cliffhanger, but the relationship aspect of the story was all wrapped up. Since this is the first of a trilogy, I wasn’t too upset with the ending. I am annoyed that I have to wait for the next 2 installments, but otherwise? I highly enjoyed it. Well, once I got over being pissed at Dante, that is.

I’m giving this a 3.5 out of 5.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole 3 author trilogy, though. Having never read the other 2 authors, I can’t say for sure how excited I am to read them. On the other hand, I am anxious to see what happens next, so I’m sure I’ll purchase them.

The series is as follows:

Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones (to be released June 1, 2007)
Raintree: Sanctuary by Beverly Barton (to be released July 1, 2007)

This book is available from Silhouette Nocturne. You can purchase it here.

three-half-stars


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Review: Troublemaker by Linda Howard

Posted August 16, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Troublemaker by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Troublemaker by Linda Howard
Published by William Morrow
Publication Date: May 10th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

A thrilling, fast-paced novel of romantic suspense from sensational New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard.
For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.

Linda Howard was an auto-buy author for years, but I stopped picking her books up around the time Shadow Woman was released. While the technical aspects of her writing were the same, the spark was missing. I’m happy to report the spark has returned with this book.
I started Troublemaker with caution. The beginning was a bit slow, but by the halfway mark I was fully invested in the characters and romance.
Morgan Yancy is the leader of a paramilitary group that doesn’t spend a lot of time at home. He decides to enjoy his rare time home by relaxing and going fishing. He didn’t expect to get shot and nearly killed on his way home. Since he has no idea who is after him, or why, his boss decides to send Morgan to a place no one will look for him..the boss’s estranged, ex-step-sister’s house.
Bo Marin hasn’t heard from her former step-brother in years, and she’s just fine with that. When a birthday card from him shows up she’s suspicious, and those suspicions are founded when a wounded and half-dead man turns up, asking for sanctuary. Even though it goes against all her instincts, she can’t kick him out. Especially when her ex-brother offers her the one thing she can’t say no to..enough money to finally get her out of debt.
Morgan is surprised by Bo at every turn. She isn’t a chatty-Cathy. She doesn’t expect him to pay attention to her, nor does she court attention from anyone else. Aside from her questionable relationship with her dog, she actually might be the perfect woman. Well, aside from the fact that she’s totally closed off and hands him nothing but attitude…but he kind of likes that.  Bo has no intention of getting close to her unwanted house guest, but she can’t deny his intensity is compelling. And he’s pretty hot. When Morgan’s trouble follows him, Bo will have to decide if he’s worth fighting for.
I saw a lot of the Howard of old here. Quirky humor, scorching chemistry and just enough rivalry between the hero and heroine to keep things interesting. The dog, especially, provided a lot of humor. One thing Howard has always excelled at is adding just enough monotonous daily life details to make the story come to life. Example: washing dishes or cooking dinner…there isn’t enough focus on it to make the story boring, but the inclusion of these details adds a little life to the story.
The first 1/4 or so of the story felt slow to me, and I struggled to focus on what was happening. I also struggled with Bo’s position as Sheriff. A lot of emphasis was placed on the fact that it was an “administrative” position only.  While I understand that is an option for some departments, I’m surprised she wasn’t at the very least sent to the academy so she could fill in during an emergency. Especially in a small town. Her lack of training took away from her character a bit; made her seem less, somehow.  The suspense plot wasn’t very intriguing or mysterious. It was easy to figure out who the bad guys were, and the why behind their actions wasn’t enough to make that bit of the story interesting.
Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed the banter and every day living arrangements between Bo and Morgan. This was worth reading for their romance. While I wouldn’t recommend this as a romantic suspense, lots of chemistry, witty banter and a sweet slide into love make this a fun read.
3.5 out of 5
three-half-stars


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Review: Troublemaker by Linda Howard

Posted June 16, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Troublemaker by Linda HowardReviewer: Rowena
Troublemaker by Linda Howard
Published by William Morrow
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

A thrilling, fast-paced novel of romantic suspense from sensational New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard.

For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.

The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.

The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.

It’s been a while since I’ve been excited about reading a new Linda Howard but I’m glad that I read this one because it was reminiscent of Linda Howard of the old days. The old days where I couldn’t read her books fast enough and I loved everything she came out with. This was a great read with a romance that made me laugh, happy sigh and gasp. The main couple kept me entertained and all in all, I was completely satisfied.

Morgan Yancy works on an elite paramilitary squad and has just wrapped up a mission so he’s looking forward to decompressing and just relaxing for a little bit. When that turns upside down, Morgan finds himself injured and hiding out, off the grid, while he heals from his injuries. His boss sends him to his boss’s ex-stepsister’s house to heal and that ex-stepsister isn’t at all happy about it. That might have a lot to do with how much she hates Morgan’s boss.

Police Chief Bo Maran is not happy about having a guest recovering at her house. Especially a guest who seems dangerous and who could possibly bring that danger right to her town, a town she’d protect with her life. But that same guest is hot and she’s being paid a lot of money to keep him safe for the time being so…she’s got herself a live in guest for the foreseeable future.

It took a while for both Morgan and Bo to come around with each other and I really enjoyed this part of their romance. The getting to know each other, the taking care of each other because that’s what she’s being paid for and it’s second nature to him. Seeing them come together, to care for each other and then fall in love with each other, I thought Howard wrote that part of the story really well.

The mystery behind who was trying to kill Morgan and then what was happening in Bo’s town, those were easy to figure out and probably the weakest part of the story but all in all, the story was solid and I closed the book, happy with the story that I got. The characters were charming and Bo’s town was great too. I’m pretty confident that Linda Howard is back guys! I definitely recommend Troublemaker to fans of Linda Howard and fans of romantic suspense.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Troublemaker by Linda Howard

Posted May 9, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Troublemaker by Linda HowardReviewer: Casee
Troublemaker by Linda Howard

Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.

The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.

The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.

I was downright nervous to read this book. The last handful of books that Howard has written left much to be desired. As a matter of fact, the last book that I remember liking was Cry No More. That wasn’t exactly a romance to be honest, but it brought out the emotions that Linda Howard has so often brought out in her readers. It hasn’t been so in a long, long time.

I haven’t felt the Linda Howard emotion in years. Troublemaker definitely brought the emotion that I know she can bring and honestly, I felt a tear come to my eye while I was reading it. I don’t know if she’s back, back, but this book was a good start to remembering why we loved Linda Howard in the first place.

The book starts with Morgan Yancy. Getting back from a highly classified mission, he just wants to decompress. As a part of an elite paramilitary group, not a lot of people understand what his team does, nor do they want them too. Morgan is enjoying his time stateside when he gets shot. His boss takes no chances with his life and sends him to the stepsister that hates him, correctly assuming that no one will find him. In the meantime, while Morgan is recuperating, Axel has time to figure out who their mole is exactly while most people believe Morgan his died.

Police Chief Bo Moran lives in a small town and doesn’t want a stranger in her house, especially one that will stand out like sore thumb in town. She also doesn’t want to do any favors for her hated step-brother Axel. Then Morgan honest-to-God shows up on her doorstep and there is nothing she can do but nurse him back to health while her hated step-brother (and they really hate each other) finds out who wants to kill Morgan and why.

It takes Morgan and Bo sometime to warm up to each other, but eventually they have their routine. Both Bo and Morgan want him out of her house. Bo wants him gone because she’s starting to have feelings for the big lug and doesn’t want to go there. Morgan feels much the same way, but he wants to leave so he can find out who shot him and why. He also wants to keep Bo safe.

It turns out that it’s not as easy as it looks to leave the mountains of West Virginia, especially when the small town closes ranks around him. They consider him theirs now and they aren’t going to let anything happen to him. In the meantime, Axel decides to set a trap and not tell Morgan or Bo. He’s a real ass, as you can tell. Both Morgan and Bo lay into him. Bo for endangering Morgan’s life and Morgan for endangering Bo’s.

All in all, this was what you would expect from Linda Howard. There were some inconsistencies, which you will see or you won’t. I didn’t see them, but I wasn’t looking for them. I just had them pointed out to me. I hope that this book starts a comeback for Linda Howard because I’m such a fangirl.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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