Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Review (ARC): Whisper To Me Of Love by Shirlee Busbee

Title: Whisper To Me Of Love
          Re-release Reprint Edition
Author: Shirlee Busbee
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Kensington Zebra
Category: Historical Romance
Type: Kindle/Paperback


Book Blurb:

Ripped from her dying mother's arms, Morgana Fowler was cast into a life of desperate thievery. With a tongue even sharper than the blade she deftly wields, she has all but mastered her devious trade - until she picks the pocket of a dashing American who wrests her from the sordid streets of London. In the arms of her gallant protector, she is helpless against the longing he elicits within her.

Royce Manchester basks in a world of privilege and power in the decadent British Regency, and lowborn Morgana finds in him a love she's never known. But the secret of her true parentage threatens to bring her new life crashing down. With a sinister figure from her past ever lurking at her heels, she and Royce must confront one of Regency England's most diabolical villains - a challenge that fans the flame of a love that knows no bounds.

Book Excerpt:

The moment was shattered, and rising to his feet, Royce shook his head and summarily dismissed the butler. Annoyed with himself for allowing the little pickpocket to intrude further into his life, Royce glanced sourly at Pip, who had also risen upon Chamber’s entrance. A sardonic twist to his mouth, he said cynically, “You had better report to Chambers immediately – your advent into my life has caused enough gossip as it is, and I don’t need to find myself the object of my own servants’ tittle-tattle!”
Stung at his abrupt change, Pip retorted sharply, “You were the one who ordered me to sit down!”
“And it’s probably the first damned order I’ve given you that you’ve obeyed!” Feeling the need to enrage her, to put some distance between them and the odd little intimate interlude they had shared so briefly, Royce added icily, “Before you cause more trouble, please follow Chambers, and take your bloody dust rags with you!”
Pip was surprised at the shaft of pain that went through her at his cold words. “You’re the one who caused all of the trouble!” she retorted, trying to bide her bewilderment. “My life was just fine until you appeared in it!”
“Oh?” he asked derisively. “You’re eager for the life the one-eyed man has planned for you?”
Infuriated at the way he turned her words on her, she said rashly, “At least with him I wouldn’t have to put u with the likes of you!”
Something snapped inside of Royce at her words, and stunning both of them, he caught her wrists in his hands and pulled her next to him. “Are you saying you want to become his mistress?” he asked, his voice thick with some savage emotion he could feel but not understand.
Frightened of the sleeping tiger she had roused, confused by the elation his reaction made her feel, Pip glanced away from the glittering golden eyes and almost whispered, “No. No. I don’t want to be his mistress!”
That tempting mouth of hers was mere inches from his, and Royce felt his body stirring. His gaze locked on her rosy lips, he lowered his head to kiss her when Pip said in a very small voice, “I don’t want to be your mistress either.”
Royce let go of her, his face an icy mask. Pip didn’t dally. In less than a second, she was out the door like a doe escaping from a tiger, a large, very hungry tiger . . .


            Now I am my own enemy, she thought dryly. My own enemy and so much like my mother that it frightens me. Gloomily, she considered the possibility that all-unknowingly she had somehow prompted the incident in the dining room. Why else had an utter stranger come bang-up to her and suggested she might like to be his mistress?
            For a long time she thought about that incident, and the more she thought about it, the more positive she became that the man’s offer had not been prompted by anything that she had done. He had been looking for me, she concluded suddenly. Looking for me. And the offer, if I had accepted it, was merely an excuse to get me out of the house! He had even, she remembered uneasily, offered to buy me from Royce. A chill splintered down her spine. The one-eyed man! He had to have been behind it!
            Royce had already come to the same conclusions, but at the moment he was too busy to speculate about the schemes of the one-eyed man, cursing himself for being an unprincipled rutting boar, unfit and untrustworthy to associate with any women other than whores and light-skirts. He was appalled at what had nearly happened between Pip and himself in the library, and infuriated by the knowledge that, given the same circumstances, the same thing could happen again. Would happen again! And the next time, he thought grimly, I damn well might not be able to stop!
            What the hell was there about young Pip that made him nearly abandon a lifetime of principle? He was supposed to be protecting her, not seducing her, he reminded himself furiously. And if that was not reason enough, he would do well to remember that, temporarily at least, she was his servant, and he never dallied with the servants – his own or anybody else’s! His actions with Pip had left him genuinely horrified. Horrified, but unfortunately, not repentant. Even while vilifying and cursing himself, he still could not get the sweet taste of Pip’s mouth out of his mind, nor the exciting softness of her skin, the tantalizing silkiness of the firmly rounded flesh of her buttocks. As he stood there in the library, memory washed warmly over him and he could still almost feel her yielding body in his arms, still feel her moving sensually against him, still feel the exquisitely soft texture of her mouth and tongue as he had kissed her . . .
            Thoroughly disgusted with himself, he frowned blackly as he gazed unseeingly down the long room. And what disgusted him most was the unpleasant knowledge that what had happened would be repeated . . . having held her in his arms once, he knew himself too well to delude himself into thinking that he would now, with righteous morality, put her from him. He wouldn’t, and he knew it. He wanted Pip, and he regretfully, but bluntly, admitted that he was going to have her . . .

Dialogue Highlight:

            Cradling the purring cat in her arms, she left the kitchen and was on the point of going upstairs when there was the sound of a vehicle driving up to the front entrance. Her cheeks suddenly flushed, a breathless excitement unexpectedly flooded through her slender body, she spun around to stare as Royce entered the house a moment later.
            To his intense annoyance, Royce’s heartbeat quickened, the blood suddenly leaping in his veins, and he was irritatingly conscious of an inexplicable lifting of his spirits at the sight of Morgana standing at the base of the curving staircase, a huge black and white cat clasped in her arms. She was wearing a beguiling gown of periwinkle blue, the short puff sleeves and modest neckline trimmed in a blonde lace, and the silky black curls, worn a trifle longer than when she had first come under his care, framed her charming features. A wide blue satin ribbon had been artfully threaded through her black hair, and her soft, rosy lips were half-parted as her gaze remained locked with his. The almond-shaped gray eyes were almost blue, the color of the gown reflecting in them, and Royce knew a nearly irresistible impulse to cross the brief distance that separated them and taste for himself the sweetness of that full, tempting mouth.
            Wordlessly they stared at each other until Zachary, entering just behind Royce, exclaimed, “Good God! Where did you find that monster?”
            Wrenching her gaze away from the bold appraisal of Royce’s golden-eyed stare, Morgana sent Zachary a blinding smile and said with a certain amount of defiance, “In the kitchen! Ivy says she likes a cat about the place, and I am going to have him sleep in my bed!”
            Zachary snickered and murmured, “I imagine that Royce will have something to say about that!”
            Ignoring Zachary, an urbane smile curving his handsome mouth, Royce waked with that lazy, predatory stride of his over to where Morgana stood. Tipping up her face, his eyes once more on her soft mouth, he asked gently, “Do you really prefer the company of a cat in your bed to mine?”
            Nearly mesmerized by his powerful presence, Morgana stared up into his dark, lean features, absently noting the tawny lock of hair that persisted in falling across his forehead before her eyes dropped and lingered on the audaciously passionate curve of his bottom lip. Remembering the feel of those hard lips crushed against hers, she was aware of a languorous warmth spreading through her body and she swayed helplessly toward him. Unknowlingly, desire glowed in the depths of her eyes and she asked huskily, “Do I have a choice?”
            One big hand gently cradling her flushed cheek, Royce smiled and shook his head slowly. The topaz eyes warm with a frankly sensual light, he said thickly, “Not really – but then, neither have I, sweetheart, since the moment I laid eyes on you . . .”
            As is having said more than he’d meant to, Royce turned away, and leaving her standing there openmouthed in astonishment, he said lightly to Zachary, “Shall we see if Chambers can fins another bottle of that excellent brandy for us to sample after dinner? Or would you prefer some of that devilish fine hock we had list night?”
            “Oh, the brandy!” Zachary replied without hesitation. Royce was already walking away, and Zachary stepped nearer to Morgana. He winked at her and murmured, “He’s right y’know – he hasn’t had a choice, you’ve got him tangled in knots – and if you play your cards right, you’ll win this game! My money’s on you, brat, so don’t let me down!” He laughed aloud at her expression of utter bewilderment, and then, whistling merrily to himself, strolled after Royce.


So I threw in a bit more morsels for all of you to enjoy than I usually do within the excerpt and highlight. I did so because Whisper To Me Of Love is a bit longer then the average novel length. Seems to me that the average length is somewhere between 380 and 420 pages based on my own observations. But this book gives you cake and some icing to go with it at 554 pages. Weeeee! And the best part was that I didn’t feel that the book stuttered at any point. Sometimes book tend to drag out – not so this book. In any case, I felt that with the added content, you could share in a little extra love for this book. The cover of this book has a quote saying basically that this book contains everything that you read a romance for. Well, I couldn’t agree more. So let’s get started.

Royce is an American, kicking it in England for a bit. He is very well off and has family within the ton. So basically, he is eligible, sought after, and very much in demand. But lately Royce has felt a bit bored with life within the ton. He is considering cutting his trip short to return home when he literally grasps the hand of a crook attempting to pick his pocket. Royce is cornered into reforming the filthy thief and soon discovers him to be a her. Well, the game changed from that moment on. And Royce finds himself entertaining the most delicious fantasies with Pip as the star. But more to the point, Royce has some suspicions as to Pip’s true identity, but he’ll have to protect her from those who intend her harm before he can prove who she truly is.

Pip is a rather talented thief. She and her two brothers are quite handy for the one-eyed man, who frequently sets them to particular targets to steal from. And the one-eyed man is pretty ticked off with Royce. Every time he turns around the blasted American is thwarting his plans. And when Royce ends up with Pip, he has a lot of work ahead of him if he is to carry out the plans he has had for Pip since the day of her birth. For Pip is truly Morgana. No, not a spoiler. The reader will pretty much guess very early on at Pip’s true identity, so I am not giving anything away here.

I enjoyed this book so much! The transformation in Pip from street urchin to Morgana was a joy to “watch” unfold. And how can you not love Royce, the brooding American who constantly castigates himself for his rutting tendencies. That was priceless. The chemistry between both characters was phenomenal. And of course, they had a long way to make it to HEA. I cannot tell you how much I prefer the HEA to face conflict prior to achieving it. The story is frequently enhanced in so many ways when the characters have to work toward attaining their one great love. My only issue is toward the end of the book. There are a lot of secondary characters in one location and they all seem to just melt away. The reader is left to assume their reasons for being where they are and then there is no reaction from any of them when a death occurs. I found that odd. I just dislike unanswered questions.

What I really want to know is why, for Pete sake, why, have I not read Ms. Busbee before. I have to tell you that I have found some truly entertaining authors since I started reviewing and cannot believe how much I used to limit myself without even knowing it. I had my favorite authors and I stuck with them – end of story. My best piece of advice that I can give to all of you is this: DO! NOT! LIMIT! YOURSELF! You have no idea the injustice that you are committing on yourself. Get out there and break outside of your bow. Explore the writing of new authors. Maybe you won’t enjoy them all, but when you come to that terrific book that you would have missed otherwise, it will all be worth it! And on the heels of that advice, I strongly recommend that you read Ms. Busbee if you have yet to experience the joy her HR has brought to me. So hop to it! Get this book, give it a try, and get ready to fall in love in the best way possible for a reader of romance.

(ARC Paperback received from Kensington for review)

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