Monday, April 27, 2015

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Seduced By Sunday by Catherine Bybee

Seduced by Sunday by Catherine Bybee
(The Weekday Brides #6)
April 14, 2014
320 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Contains: Sex, some language
Source: eARC for Honest review

Meg Rosenthal: Matchmaker by day, realist by night, Meg is not about to get swept away by a charming, darkly handsome businessman in a designer suit. She’s come to a beautiful secluded resort to evaluate the private island’s potential for her agency, not to ogle its owner. But there’s something about the magnetic man that’s hard to resist, even for a woman who refuses to fall in love.

Valentino Masini: A successful and drop-dead sexy businessman, Valentino is used to having the finer things in life. Yet he’s never wanted someone the way he wants Meg, who’s stirring up a hurricane of trouble in his heart. But just as he decides to convince her to stay, someone else decides it might be time to get Meg off the island…permanently.

Though I have read a couple of Bybee's "Not Quite" books and loved them, this was my first venture into the "Weekday Brides" series. Personally speaking, this book can be read as a standalone and enjoyed immensely. I had no prior knowledge of any of these characters or what the series itself was even about. I just knew I liked the other Bybee books I read and wanted to see what this series was all about. While it took me a few pages to adjust to the varying character histories, I was easily drawn into Meg's, and then Val's, lives and fell right into the story.

On a romance level, I loved how the interactions between Meg and Val evolved from the impersonal emails to their physical meeting, from distant to personal, from shallow to intrigued. For two people not looking for love, watching them draw nearer and nearer to the other was rather sweet. I loved getting to know them both, whether just the two of them alone, or when they were surrounded by friends and/or family. All these situations really brought them together in a truer way for me. Their romance was like a slow burn, but the build-up had all the spark and sizzle to pull me in and keep me rooting for Meg and Val.

Speaking of family and friends, this story had a great supporting cast. Michael has his own special side storyline going on, and I imagine fans of this series will be happy with where things go for him. Several of the girls and couples from the previous stories make appearances, and even have significant roles. This was intriguing for me, as I have not read any of their stories, and now want to. Then we have some new players, like Val's sister, Gabi, and his mother, who have their own importance to the happenings going on.

The other side of the story besides the blossoming romance, is a whole bunch of mystery on Val's exclusive, secluded island. The perfect getaway has an enemy in its midst, but its target and intention is unclear. While red flags were going off for me in the beginning, getting to the true heart of the situation was quite intriguing. I loved the combination of romance and suspense throughout the novel. And I must say, the last half of the book felt like one of those amusement park rides that steadily picked up speed until I felt like I was zooming around the track. Talk about some exciting stuff! I didn't want to put it down.

Overall, I loved this story! Val and Meg are a wonderful couple that I loved getting to know. I fell a little in love with them. Then add in the mystery and suspense, and I was even more committed to this great story. There's lots of love, lots of suspense, and enough heartbreak to make you mad for one character, but then look forward to the next book and what will happen next for someone in particular.

Val brushed the side of her face with the back of his hand, moved closer.

Meg stopped playing, felt her pulse jump.

“Where’s Michael?” Val whispered.

“Michael?” The name didn’t register.

Val lifted his left eyebrow. “The man you’re here with.”

Right. “He’s a …” Damn, he smelled edible.

Val’s palm captured her neck and guided her to her feet. “He’s just a friend, isn’t he, Margaret?”

The way Val’s lips moved drew her closer. The need to taste them, feel them on hers was impossible to walk away from. “If I told you we were more than friends…”

Val’s eyes traveled from her lips to her eyes. “Then I’d have to let you go.” He loosened his fingers on her neck, but instead of moving away, Meg leaned in.

“Sounds like you might regret that decision.” She laid a hand on his firm chest. The man wasn’t soft under his stuffy suits.

“I don’t pursue another man’s woman.”

He wasn’t moving away.

“Good to hear, Masini.” She lifted her lips close to his, felt his breath mix with hers. “I don’t belong to anyone.”

Val hesitated for a nanosecond, and then took her lips. His closed-mouth kiss started off soft, like a hesitant man worried about rushing. Yet when Val wrapped his free hand around her waist, and his body fit against hers, Meg opened for him, encouraged him to taste.

When he did she lost it. He tasted of bourbon and sex. God help her, she wanted to crawl into his kiss and explore it for hours. The man kissed like he was on a mission. And maybe he was. Who knew if Val Masini made it a weekly occurrence to kiss a new woman? Somehow, she didn’t think so. He was too reserved most of the time.

Not now … not with his tongue exploring her and his strong hands pressing the small of her back closer. Every hard ridge of the man met with every soft curve of hers.

The kiss went on until she found her chest tightening with a familiar warning. Sexual excitement had to be paced or she might find herself in a full-blow asthma attack. A frustrating fact of her life in the last few years. One that kept her single most of the time, her encounters lukewarm at best.

Val was threatening the air in her lungs with just a kiss.

A heated knock her on her ass kiss, but a kiss nonetheless.

She eased away and Val chased her lips.

She tried to slow her breathing, couldn’t catch a deep breath. “Wait,” she managed, pulling away.

“Too much, cara?"

You have no idea.

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Catherine Bybee not only has experience writing about mending hearts, but she’s also helped fix a few during her tenure as a registered nurse. These real-life experiences sometimes make their way into her books, giving her Weekday Brides and Not Quite series the personal touch that readers have come to adore. Born and raised in Washington State, she now writes full-time from her sunny home in Southern California.

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