Awakened by a Kiss

Lila DiPasqua
Awakened by a Kiss
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Publisher
Berkley Publishing Group
Release Date
August 2010
ISBN
9780425235560
Series
Book 1 of Fiery Tales
Genre
Erotic Romance, Historical Romance

SUMMARY
Three classic fairytales--"Sleeping Beauty," "Puss in Boots," and "Little Red Riding Hood"--cleverly retold with enough sensual twists to prove wickedly ever after does exist...

Once upon a wicked time...

Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, notorious rake Adrien d'Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss-and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress-and this time, he has no intention of letting her go...

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother's house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger...

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants-and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King's private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he's every bit the man he once was-and more than man enough for her...

Book Review by CarolAnn
Apr 18, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
134 people found the following review helpful
Deliciously hot and spicy is how I would describe Lila DiPasqua's AWAKENED BY A KISS. It is a collection of three steamy love stories each inspired, although rather loosely, by a popular children's fairy tale.

Sleeping Beau

After an audience with his father, the King, Adrien d'Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain is not in the best of moods and anticipates enjoying a few days of drinking and debauchery at the Comtesse de Lamotte's house party. What he doesn't need is his half-sister, Charlotte, harassing him with an ill-conceived plan to win back her erstwhile lover, Philbert, Compte de Baillet. She wants Adrien to charm Philbert's fiancée, Catherine de Villancourt, and ultimately seduce her away from Philbert, leaving the way clear for Charlotte. Adrien is about to refuse when he catches sight of Catherine and recognises her as the woman who has haunted his dreams for the past five years!

Five years ago, he was awakened by a kiss from a naked, red-haired seductress with whom he spent one night of unforgettable bliss. By morning she had disappeared without trace, leaving only the remnants of an aphrodisiac in his burgundy glass, the scent of jasmine on his skin and her virgin blood on his sheets! Now he knows who she is and this time she isn't going to escape! He wants questions answered. Why did she do it? Why did she choose him?

Catherine is discussing her forthcoming marriage to Philbert de Baillet with her sister-in-law and hostess, Suzanne, when suddenly there is a buzz of excitement amongst the ladies. ‘Le Beau' has arrived! Unable to contain her curiosity about the man described as the handsomest in the realm, she sneaks a peek at him but is horrified to discover he is the stranger with whom she shared one glorious night five years ago. Even worse, he is the King's bastard son! Fearing arrest and imprisonment for lacing his drink, she tries to evade him but, when this fails, she denies adamantly that she is his ‘midnight temptress'.

But Adrien is persistent and eventually Catherine confides to him the reason why she came to his bed that night. Unable to deny the passion that simmers between them, they agree to become lovers until Philbert arrives in five days' time. But when their time together comes to an end, can they simply walk away with their hearts intact or will they risk everything for love?

I enjoyed the cat and mouse game Adrien played with Catherine to force her to admit that she was his mysterious temptress and, for me, it helped to build up the sexual tension between them. It is satisfying to see Alex, who always prides himself on being in control, completely losing it when he's with Catherine. He definitely earned a little spot in my heart when he tells Catherine that her painting is wonderful, much to her surprise and joy.

Catherine has spirit and I was amused when Adrien sets down his conditions for their affair and then she counters with her own conditions! I like her honesty in admitting that she wants the affair because she desires Adrien. Five years ago, Adrien opened up the world of sexual pleasure for her and now she wants to explore it to the full.

I enjoyed the comic relief provided by Catherine's maid, Odette, particularly the scene where she finds Adrien in Catherine's bed and covers her eyes in shock but then proceeds to peek at his naked chest through her fingers!

Little Red Writing

Ambition is what drives newly promoted Musketeer, Nicolas de Savignac, Compte de Lambelle, and his determination to complete this mission for the King is all consuming. However, he did not expect to find himself in the home of the Comtesse de Cottineau, his estranged grandmother. He has been charged with identifying and arresting Gilbert Leduc, an author who is writing defamatory stories about high-ranking men of the court. His inquiries have led him to the de Vignon sisters who live with his grandmother.

Having successfully lured his grandmother away, he hopes to persuade the sisters that he is here to get to know his grandmother better after being estranged for so long. Convinced that one of the sisters is Leduc, the way will then be clear for him to search the house for incriminating evidence. When he meets Anne de Vignon, he is instantly attracted to her. He was expecting a plain spinster, not a ravishing redhead! Anne feels a similar attraction towards Nicholas but is wary of him until she discovers that he is their patroness's grandson. The voice of oppressed women must be heard and Anne is determined to keep her identity as Leduc a secret.

Anne and Nicholas become lovers but what starts out as a need to simply satisfy their lust for each other soon develops into a love affair. But how will Anne react when she discovers Nicholas's duplicity? And will Nicholas be able to save the woman he loves from arrest?

This is the longest and most compelling of the three stories. I was particularly drawn by the dilemma, which faces Nicholas and how this plays out. Initially, he regards the affair with Anne as a very pleasurable way of passing the time while searching for evidence to uncover Leduc's identity. As his feelings for Anne intensify, so does the guilt over his lies and, as if things can't get any worse, he then discovers that Anne is Leduc! He is put in an untenable position and there seems no way out without losing Anne.

I like the way in which Ms DiPasqua resolves Nicholas's dilemma and also brings about his reconciliation with his grandmother, but I did feel that the final resolution of Anne's predicament is a little too pat. I was also disappointed not to have been privy to Anne's conversation with the King as I think it would have been most entertaining.

Past experiences have caused Anne to hide behind a protective shell but when Nicholas reads her poems, they reveal someone spirited and fiery. That spirit finds an outlet in her writing, which brings attention to women's subjugation. I also think it shows real bravery because, if discovered, she risks possible imprisonment or worse. It is Nicholas who finally breaks through her emotional shell and re-discovers the passionate woman underneath.

Bewitching in Boots

Widowed Elisabeth de Roussel, the King's daughter, knows that it won't be long before her father chooses another husband for her. But there is only one man who has her heart, Tristan de Tiersonnier, Compte de Saint-Marcel. Former Captain of the King's private Guard, he suffered a leg injury saving the King's life. Considering him unable to perform his role, the King has replaced him and Tristan has returned to his estate. Elisabeth is determined to prove to her father that Tristan should be re-instated and that he is suitable to be her husband.

So she descends on his estate with her entourage under the pretext that the King wants Tristan to find her the best fencing master. Of course, as far as Elisabeth is concerned, he is the best fencing master. Elisabeth plans to seduce Tristan but he isn't prepared to play by her rules. He doesn't like her and wants her gone as soon as possible even though the sight of her dressed in tight fitting ‘breeches, black boots and a white shirt' does things to his anatomy.

Tristan has had enough of her games and issues an ultimatum. Either she leaves or

‘There won't be any part of your body I won't avail myself of.'

Finding Elisabeth gone the next morning, he thinks his ploy has worked but all too soon, he finds out how wrong he is. Let the battle begin because it will take more than Tristan's threats to make Elisabeth quake in her ‘Lucky Boots'!

This is my favourite story of the three with its sharp repartee and sizzling sexual tension. Despite his rudeness and brusque manner, I confess that I liked Tristan from the very beginning. I understand his initial attitude towards Elisabeth. He considers her spoiled and self-indulgent and dislikes being made the subject of the little game she is obviously playing. I enjoyed watching him gradually change into a doting lover as he discovers the real Elisabeth.

Elisabeth is a charming heroine who is not only beautiful but intelligent as well. After bowing to her father's wishes in the past, I admire her determination now to go after what she wants. Tristan's opinion of Elisabeth is influenced by her scheming at court to retain her position as the King's favourite daughter. However, we discover that her real motive is to protect her sister, Claire. She cares for Tristan and recognises him as a man of honour who deserves to be re-instated in his former job. She is not above using a little deception to achieve this!

Overall Thoughts

The stories are entertaining and the setting of the French court of Louis XIV with all its political manoeuvering and sexual intrigue is refreshingly different. As expected, there are plenty of steamy love scenes which will definitely leave you hot and bothered. What I particularly like is Ms DiPasqua's ability to combine the erotic and the romantic. Oh là là -- if the heroes of these stories are typical of Frenchmen, then it is no surprise that they have earned the reputation of being superb lovers!!

If you are looking for a super sexy and entertaining read, I can recommend AWAKENED BY A KISS and I'm certainly looking forward to reading the follow up, ‘A Princess in His Bed'.

The book contains explicit sexual love scenes, which may not appeal to everyone.
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