Touching LaceI have a weakness for a good friends-become-lovers tale.
Vaughn series, book one
Published March 25th 2008 by Samhain
ISBN 1599989034 (ISBN13: 9781599989037)
Taking friendship to a whole new level...
Lacey Vaughn has just caught her boyfriend having his nether parts washed by her alleged friend. She's tired of being dumped on by the opposite sex and it's clear she needs help in the ways of seduction. Over cappuccinos, Lacey shares her worries with her dearest friend, Nick Stone. Being the good friend that Nick is, he offers to give Lacey a few pointers at mattress calisthenics. But from Nick's first touch, Lacey begins to see things in her good buddy that she'd never noticed before. Soon, Lacey forgets all about lessons. Now, all she wants is more of Nick.
Lacey is immersed in a pity party for herself after catching her boyfriend of six months showering with her longtime friend when her Nick arrives to whisk her away for a day at the movies. Conversation flows later over drinks, where Lace makes a random revelation that she can't hold onto a guy because she sucks as sex.
Taking a wicked chance, Nick, on the pretense of upping Lacey's confidence in the bedroom, offers to give her some very private lessons and follows the idea with his own confession- he's wanted her for years.
Not exactly certain why Nick held back for so long but he's definitely not pulling any punches now. And, like a slap to the face, Lacey comes to see and appreciate her best friend's sex appeal. The story is somewhat stalled as Lacey considers if risking their friendship is worth the passion she finds in Nick's eyes but is filled with Nick's flattering admissions of all the times he wanted to hold, soothe, and bed her.
The sex in this one isn't going to send off any earthquake alarms but it does do well in whetting the appetite and laying preparations for the following books in the series by introducing Lacey's brothers, the formidable Blade who doesn't know what to do with a 'good' girl and the workaholic Merrick who's already married to Chloe. Nick is the typical guy pining over a girl who hasn't a clue. His words are sweet and often erotic, making his talk much hotter than his acts. Lacey is clueless and her random personality, bouncing from a take-no-prisoner mentality to a head full of mush failed to charm me. Then again, few female characters ever manage to. 3 out of 5 stars.
Vaughn, book two
Published June 24th 2008 by Samhain
Lust was the lure, Candy was the reward.
Walking around with a raging hard-on isn't Blade Vaughn's idea of a good time. He's hungry for sex and there's only one woman on his menu: Candice Warner. When Blade witnesses the shy beauty go into a panic over a harmless encounter, he's more determined than ever to prove that sex with him is just the therapy she needs.
Candice is used to being afraid of her own shadow, but when she goes all nutso in front of Blade, she's beyond mortified. She wants him to see her as an equal. As a woman. It's time she got over her past trauma and started living again. But can she trust him with her body or is she doomed to panic every time he comes near?
I'm beginning to wonder if the guys in this series wouldn't be better depicted as animal shifters. No sane man is this one minded when it comes to a particular woman. And Blade did possess the mating instinct, the urge to bite, and the preference to take her from behind.
Candice hasn't had it great in life. Her adopted parents were killed in a plane crash and she lost her virginity in a date rape. Despite the panic attacks that are brought on every time a man flirts with her, she's slowly starting to take back control of her life. And Blade Vaughn insists he be the man to help her.
The most old fashioned of the Vaughn siblings, Blade spends most of the book going back and forth from my 'gotta love him' list to 'OMG, just die already' as he crosses into neanderthal territory.
I think Rachel on Goodreads just about covered any rant one could possibly have towards this book:
Vapid and chauvinistic!
I couldn't help but picture Blade as Chuck Norris or Rex from Napoleon Dynamite. O_o Even Candy described him as a total throwback. Not my type I guess because I thought he was an absurd character. Not appealing at all.
This story completely fell flat for me. There was no build-up to Blade and Candy's relationship and I couldn't sympathize with Candy's past because it wasn't taken seriously. She was supposedly terrified of all men due to her traumatic past experience, but by chapter 3 she's dry-humping Blade's nether regions before they even go out on their first date?! Then there was the whole paranormal dreams aspect...why? It didn't fit into this story at all. It felt like a random after-thought by the author.
I knew going in that this wasn't going to be a thought-provoking masterpiece, but even for 'literary junk-food' this just wasn't any good. Amirite?
She reached for the milk and honey soap, then poured it into the puff, but when she started washing him with it, he chuckled.
“Hmm?” Candice mumbled as she stared at some interesting spot on his arm.
“Real men don’t use puffs.”
In the end, I did like this one more than the first because after all is said and done I do go for those book guys that are completely dominate, all the while giving and selfless, and just know how to get what they want.
However, I think Candice had a few screws loose. She wanted to collect the dirt Blade tracked into the office for one thing. And sadly, she's not getting any help from her therapist. Told her doctor that Blade said he loved her, now she's scared, and what advice does she get? Give the guy a striptease. WTF? I'm pretty sure if I ever sporadically started a striptease for my husband, he'd think I'd lost my mind. As if I'd ever get through it without laughing my ass off anyway.
Again, 3 out of 5 stars.