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Monday, June 11, 2012

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VII by Rhonda Nelson and Tawny Weber

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VII by Rhonda Nelson and Tawny Weber
Publisher: Harlequin Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (218 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewd by Xeranthemum

It's bedtime—and bestselling authors Rhonda Nelson and Tawny Weber have two deliciously wicked tales to tell you… The Steadfast Hot Soldier by Rhonda Nelson

Army ranger John "Bear" Midwinter has two rules when it comes to the ladies—no tiny women, and no dancers. So why does petite ballet teacher Veda Hayes turn his blood into liquid fire? Still, the heat between them won't be denied. Will this soldier melt…or burn up?

Wild Thing by Tawny Weber

Compared to her beautiful siblings, groomer Andrea Tanner always felt like an ugly stepsister. But when she's left tied up and fuming, her prize pooch, Medusa, stolen, Andrea can't help hoping her prince will come. And he does. Hunky P.I. Percy Graham arrives in time to save the day—and to remind her that he hasn't forgotten the naughty night they once shared….

Humor, mystery, male confusion and female mayhem are only the tip of the iceberg in the two fun stories that make up this delightful and entertaining book.

The first one has a yummy title, The Steadfast Hot Soldier which is quite accurate in describing the hero, John Midwinter. He’s a solder coming home to help out his mom. Sounds so sweet, loyal and benign, doesn’t it? Not so fast. His mom is not Donna Reed or Claire Huxtable but more like a flighty Mommy Dearest. It’s amazing he's as well adjusted as he is but no one can be emotionally unscathed growing up in that kind of household. What's it going to take to bring a soldier some peace and happiness? Certainly not a brash and aggressive woman. Nope, he needed a tiny dancer.

Veda is a sweetheart. She has some New York experience under her belt so she’s not as countrified as John expected her to be. I enjoyed how the heroine slowly chipped away at John’s preconceptions and resistance little by little and the only tactic she used was being herself. She has her own baggage to deal with, like an interfering over-loving mother, and a bird that quips jokes and complains of bunions. She’s got a big heart, and a huge crush on John, a/k/a Bear.

I loved how John/Bear went with his instincts. It caused a whole new kind of conflict between him and Veda which ultimately leads to what a reader expects; them falling in love for real and a happily ever after. What's awesome is the sense of humor and tongue-in-cheek encounters that lead to real …tongue in cheek, and other places, which lead to some very steamy and exciting encounters between the two. Their passionate encounters were placed well in the story and the author wrote them with vivid language that highlighted the action.

Another great aspect of this story is the townspeople. The author effectively tapped into what makes a community vibrant and interesting: gossip, well meaning manipulation, a sense of connection and a competitive baking contest. John/Bear finds something equally valuable and stunning the longer he stays in the town he never wanted to come back to. When I combined the townsfolk viewpoint of him, Veda’s tender and accepting love,and the final revelation of what the town of Hydrangea actually offered the hero, it generated a very warm and happy feeling.

The Steadfast Hot Soldier is entertaining, delightful, certainly spicy but full of charm and ends up with a wonderfully satisfying happy ever after.

The next novella, Wild Thing by Tawny Weber, is an incredibly exciting who-done it combined with a whacky and unlikely romance. There are more laughs and passionate sighs in store for readers and it’s guaranteed fun.

Percy is the put upon hero who has gone to the dogs. He’s a macho P. I. who has better, more important things to do, like save his sanity, than search for a spoiled yappy puppy. However his ever faithful and convincing secretary bullies him to do this one last, little, easy, quick and painlessly simple innocuous case. Nothing is ever that smooth and uncomplicated and I was already grinning with anticipation. Sure enough, Percy finds trouble in spades and curves and flashing eyes as he finds the source of all his inner turmoil and personal strife gagged and tied up in a chair. Why is that sweet innocent woman the cause of his internal angst? I’m not saying. It’ll ruin the fun.

Andrea is in a bind - literally. The last person she expects to see is the one that walks through her business’s door. That whole scene is pretty darned funny and again, I’m not going to give details. Suffice to day, it set the tone for the story as well as the conflict, and it makes clear that the push-pull attraction that exists between the heroine and Percy is going to be one of the funniest highlights of the story. And the most rewarding, and hot and very romantic.

The most endearing character is Medusa. I think those dogs are weird looking and certainly Percy starts off in agreement. What's adorable is how Percy slowly yet inexplicably finds himself changing his perceptions and opinion about the little canine. And the dog’s response to him is pure giggles and sweetness. Ultimately, he becomes a warrior on Medusa’s behalf and it gets pretty exciting.

The mystery is about trying to figure out who is really trying to kidnap the dog. There are a lot of suspects and the answer isn’t a simple one. The author wove a wonderful and interesting criminal plot throughout the story to spice up and complicate Andrea and Percy’s growing relationship.

What the hero does at the end is clever, shifty and downright genius and it turns out to be the best engagement gift a man could give to a woman like Andrea. It’s the key to making their happy ever after possible and it gave me the warm and fuzzies. There were a couple of emotional loose ends that the hero and heroine tied up at the end and the final line in the book was a hoot.

Wild Thing ended as it began, with a grin. Ms. Weber consistently shares her sense of humor with readers through the antics of her characters and she’s succeeded again. I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.

Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume VII isn’t a book that will put you to sleep, instead those bedtime stories will help you dream saucy and sexy dreams with delicious heroes that know how to love their women. It’s a great read and I recommend this book for any reader who likes a variety of action, heart, mystery with grand and romantic gestures and happily ever afters that satisfy. Ms. Nelson and Ms. Weber sure know their way around romance.