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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 two brilliant stories, 2 not so.., 11 Aug. 2004
By 
Deborah MacGillivray "Author," (US & UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Secrets: Volume 10 the Best in Women's Erotic Romance (Secrets (Red Sage)) (Paperback)
Secrets Vol. 10 is sadly a very mixed bag. Dominique Sinclair's story is the best - guess that is why it was in lead position! It's sheer brilliance! It just does not get any better than her story. Harme does a good turn, showing fine strength in creating characters you care about, a story to touch the heart. Both of these writers know what ROMANCE is and how it's the foundation to a story. Cesarini is a talent, but this story fails because of the sad, distasteful premise. Dubois offers debauched as romance and eroticism, and it's neither.
Dominique Sinclair's novella in Secrets Vol. 10 marks her as a talent to watch. I said the same thing when Angela Knight rose through Secrets. I recall reading Knight's novella, Roarke's Prisoner, and thought WOW, this is a writer! Well, I just read Sinclair's Private Eyes and I am again saying WOW, this is a writer. Novella writing is tough. To craft a story, to bring the characters to life, in such a short space, is hard to do. But Sinclair does it and it's simply amazing. Nicolla Black is a private eye who specializes in catching two-timing husbands in the act. While on a case, she crosses the path of a dark and dangerous man, and the connection between them is instant. Has her cases keeps bringing them into contact, she cannot resist this man, this sexy stranger, but the surrender is going to cost her big. This is sizzling; this is talent at its best. I am eagerly awaiting more material from Sinclair. This one is a 5 Star story! This story is worth buying the book for! Shame it cannot be said of some of the others.
The Ruination of Lady Jane by Bonne Harme is a historical. To keep from being forced into an unwanted marriage Lady Jane Maitland flees into the arms of Havyn Attercliffe. She wants him to "ruin" her so her odious fiance will not want her. It's a delightful tale, of an unloved ugly duckling turned swan, the rich ward of Hayvn's older brother. You can see the plot coming a mile down the road, but Harme's gentle prose, brings alive Lady Jane, makes you feel her pain. Simply an enchanting tale, rating a 5 star.
Jeanie Cesarini's offering, Code Name: Kiss, deals with a female Agent named Lily Justiss trying to foil terrorists. To defend her country she must submit herself as a sex slave. Her commanding officer, Seth Blackthorn worries about getting Lily
out safely. I am sorry; I had serious problems with this tale. "I told myself this was practice for my fantasies about Seth," Lily thinks, while another man - a terrorist - is taking her virginity. Sorry, stay at home and work on it in person, Lily! "Lily's virginity is a casualty. Unfortunate, yes...," says a woman overseeing the operation. This is beyond the pale, you are just asking too much of me to view this as entertainment. While Cesarini is a talent, and I have enjoyed many of her other stories, a woman, a virgin, having to be a sex slave to foil the enemies of her country is just a bit much for me to stomach. In this time, when Terrorism is an ever-present danger, using it in this manner for titillation smacks WRONG. I don't think any country would be proud of one of their women becoming a sex slave to their enemy. There is no doubt Cesarini is a good writer, just this story's premise is all wrong. Sometimes the ends does NOT justify the means, as the writers stresses over and over. I look forward to this talented writer doing other works. When young men are dying overseas in support of their country, this ugly premise left me cold, this tale left me so so SAD.
Kathryn Anne Dubois rounds out the four tales with The Sacrifice, a tale in with Anastasia Bedovier plans on taking the vow to be a nun in three days. Before she does this, she wants to experience the pleasures she will deny the rest of her life. Count Maxwell the infamous "Lord Pleasure" is the perfect man to assure her wish is fulfilled. The real sacrifice in this tale is character development and a true plot. The premise is shaky. The setting is in Medieval times? - I presume that because she discusses the setting in a keep with a barbican, but then confuses the reader by describing the fire as "soft crackle of sagebrush". Well, get a long little doggie. I also infer with names like Ian and Duncan Maxwell, this is Scotland, but Maxwell is called "Count" Maxwell (repeatedly on every page). This story lacked all romance, it lacked anything remotely like character development, characters that moved the story by their force. Dubois story fails to involve the reader because I didn't know her characters; I didn't care about them.
Dubois and Cesarini would do well to read Dominique Sinclair and Angela Knight, see the difference.
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