The Taming Series (Woo’d in Haste & Wed at Leisure)
“Darby is known for beautifully textured stories, and these novellas are no exception. Kate and Bianca’s journey is not simply one of romantic love, but of sisterly love as well.” — Sarah MacLean, Washington Post
“An engrossing, fascinating and darkly sexy read from Sabrina Darby-enjoy.” — Kate Pearce, USA Today Bestselling Author
“The wealthy, sexy Daniel is a modern alpha male who commands a room as well as he commands a woman. The hero and heroine both have agendas which turn what should be a cut-and-dry affair into a complex, emotionally gripping relationship that has no rules except one — never show your true feelings.” — RT Book Reviews
“I adored every angst ridden moment of this book. …ENTRY-LEVEL MISTRESS is incredibly sexy. The scenes where he texts and she meets him in abandoned conference rooms are scorching. The story moves at a great pace and the writing is excellent.” – TheBookGirl.net
The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe
THE BOOK GIRL
I really enjoyed this story. Angelina is unrepentant about her past and doesn’t hide who she is to John. Their connection is real and sweet. They listen to each other and seem to understand more than just what’s being said. John’s “injury” isn’t something to be fixed and Angelina knows this and doesn’t attempt to fix him. She even tells his mother to give him space. The story is short, but well written with characters and a story line that are completely fleshed out.
the book girl gives THE SHORT AND FASCINATING TALE OF ANGELINA WHITCOMBE a 5/5
INSTA-LOVE BOOK REVIEWS
- Trope(s): Beta Hero, Courtesan, Wounded Soldier, Tormented by Guilt
- Quick blurb: Reclusive war hero’s mother hires courtesan to seduce him out of the ruined castle he’s restoring.
- Quick review: A bit predictable, and a fairly implausible HEA, but the writing is all passion and emotion.
- Grade: B
Their nakedness seemed right in the soaring space of the great hall. Stripped of all its earthly trappings, the luxurious and glittering material goods for which she’d strived the last five years.
This novella has temporarily restored my faith in historicals – and in Avon’s Impulse line.
Also: “indolent nakedness” is now on my list of favorite phrases, right under “erotic spectacle.”
ROMANTIC BOOK AFFAIRS
John Martin has a problem. Or so his mother thinks. Mrs. Martin decides to hire someone to seduce him, in order to get his mind back on women and marriage and heirs. Enter Angelina Whitcombe, a recently unemployed actress and currently unprotected mistress.
Angelina leaves London to seduce John, which is not as easy a task as she thought it would be. Angelina sits outside his ruined castle day after day, trying to engage him. From the very first, she never keeps her past a secret. She even goes so far as to boldly proposition him. But John is not so easily won over, so each day she appears at the castle and gradually makes her way inside it and him.
John is trying to adjust after horrors seen at war. He needs the physical activity and intense labor of restoring the castle to keep his mind occupied. The castle, once a refuge, becomes invaded by Angelina. She sweeps in and haunts him. Gets him to open up about events that happened on the battlefield, thus unburdening him some.
The growth between Angelina and John felt stunted at times, however. There was an overall lack of dialogue between the two. It didn’t feel like they did so much talking as internalized thinking. It would have helped the story along, deepened their connection, to see them actually communicating instead of reading how they’re feeling.
This is a short tale, as the title implies. The plot is a little bit crazy and a lot bit kooky. Which is not at all a bad thing. Angelina was charming, her insecurities made her relatable. John had quiet strength and his reclusiveness was endearing.
Captain John G. Martin was wounded in battle, now bearing a long scar down the side of his face, lifting his lip on one side like a perpetual half-smile. So he has hidden himself away at the family ruined castle, which he is renovating. During the war, he became disillusioned, discovering that some of the men he thought to be heroes, were not heroes at all. Afterwards, tired of the destruction of the war, he had gone to the castle to build, rather than destroy. Having no servants or visitors, with just his dog for company, he is content with his solitude. That is, until a certain woman shows up, intruding on his peace.
Angelina Whitcombe was born into a family of actors and makes her own living as an actress. In the past, she had spent time as the mistress of two different gentlemen at different times. But now she has been hired for a different job. Mrs. Martin has hired her to seduce her war hero son, awaken the erotic part of his life and draw him back out into the land of the living. The second part of her job is to encourage him to take a wife. She may have a problem with that one. But for her trouble, she will receive a hundred pounds, which will help her to live independently for a few more years.
Under the guise of a visitor to the area who desires to draw the ruined castle that the local townspeople have told her about, Angelina makes her way to the castle. She is struck by how gorgeous and well-built the captain is, even with the scar on his face. Although she has twice served as a mistress, she has not felt desire for any man in a while, but those feelings are being reawakened by just watching this man. However, he makes it plain that he wants no company and on the first day, returning to the inn, she believes what he says, thinking she may not stand a chance. But on the second day when she returns, she sees that he needs, even wants, to be drawn out. She is honest with John, except for her mission for his mother, and tells him why she has no reputation.
As he listens to her admit that she wants him, he understands why she has no reputation. Still he desires her, but believes that she has some dark, mysterious purpose for what she is doing, secrets that she is not willing to share. He knows that she needs this time away from London to do some healing also.
Spending time with John each day, Angelina realizes that he does not need a mistress. He needs a friend, one who will not lie to him. But spending time with him, she finds herself falling in love with him. So what will happen when he discovers that her appearance there has been a lie? Will he hate her? How will he feel that it was his mother who hired her?
THE SHORT AND FASCINATING TALE OF ANGELINA WHITCOMBE, the latest novella by gifted author Sabrina Darby, is an enticing, heartwarming historical romance. It seems that Angelina has lost her appeal among those in society and the theatre. So she no longer makes the money she was accustomed to making in the past. But answering the ad that John’s mother had placed in the paper will give her a chance to make some money. Then she can leave and perhaps even change her name for a fresh start. But will she be leaving her heart behind with John after their special time together? I absolutely enjoyed this story. Packed with sensual situations, clever banter, deception, healing and love, this is a story that will stay in your memory long after the story ends. This is the first story I have read by Ms. Darby, but it will not be the last. Do not miss this delightful novella!
THE WINDOW SEAT ON A RAINY DAY
Well, the title was half right. This story was short. And even though the author was a bit clever with a different type of story set-up it wasn’t quite a fascinating read. But it was still pretty good.
The title character Angelina Whitcombe is a character we’ve seen many times before; the actress turned mistress who has been recently spurned by her protector. Since she’s young and pretty it never occurred to her that a day might come where she wouldn’t have a man to pay for her lifestyle. Just as she has reached the point of desperation a friend directs her to an unusual advertisement taken in a trade paper for a professional mistress to a reclusive nobleman. With nothing left to lose, Angelina accepts the job and sets out to seduce a man, collect her pay, then re-establish herself in London.
Angelina’s prey is a man scarred physically and mentally by his experiences as a soldier in the Peninsula Wars. Captain John Martin returned to England carrying the guilt of actions not taken and seeing how war had changed some of his closest friends. This burden keeps him from fully joining the local society, making his mother very nervous that he will ever marry or sire any children. It was her choice to create the advertisement for a mistress in the hopes that a beautiful woman will shake her son back into living again.
The courtship that follows between Angelina and John was sweet, with him seeing a kindred soul within Angelina that she attempts to hide under the false pretenses she learned so well as a courtesan. Even though Angelina forced herself into his life with the single goal of getting into his bed, the tables are turned as John slowly seduces her into a more real existence of friendship, respect and love. Unfortunately, John was probably too good a man to end up with someone like Angelina, whose selfishness never really goes away. She knows that their relationship is built on a lie, but rather than ever telling him the truth, she runs from the inevitable confrontation.
This is the second e-book title released by Avon Impulse and I like the smaller format as a taste of what the authors could do in a full length story. For this story, Sabrina Darby has a good voice and the characters were well rounded for the abbreviated length. Even if I wasn’t as fascinated with Angelina as others may be, I would still recommend this as a quick summer read for the Historical fan.
~Reviewed by Sara
It’s not easy to find a story like Sabrina Darby’s The Short And Fascinating Tale Of Angelina Whitcombe nowadays, because Angelina Whitcombe makes her living as an actress with opportunities for wealthy men to offer her their “protection”. And no, this isn’t a story about the reformation of a fallen angel, at least, not in the sense that the heroine has to suffer all kinds of indignities for daring to be what she is. It looks like Sabrina Darby wishes to leave the hair suit romance to other authors, choosing to give me a simple love story instead.
Angelina is currently in an unfortunate predicament. Having been replaced by his most recent protector with a younger woman, the man’s new mistress proceeds to start a campaign that sees Angelina out of work with no one to hire her. No matter. When a Mrs Martin advertises for a beautiful woman to seduce her son for a price of £100, Angelina decides to accept the job.
Oh, don’t worry, Mrs Martin isn’t trying to pull some creepy thing here. Captain HJG Martin had turned into a reclusive man who hides in his castle in the country, working at rebuilding it, sleeping in an environment more appropriate for a farm hand, and generally act in a manner that has his mother concerned. What could coax John – as our hero prefers to be called, and yes, how appropriate it is in this situation, heh – back to his old self, to mingle, marry, and produce babies? Well, she is advised to get a woman to restore John’s humor, so to speak, hence her advertisement.
So here we have a heroine who approaches the hero under false pretenses, which makes it a bit hard for the process of falling in love to take place without a guilt trip or two.
The title of this story doesn’t lie – it’s short. I’m not sure about “fascinating”, as its length doesn’t allow the characters to have much room for development, and the romance happens in an accelerated pace. Considering the limitations of the short story format, however, this one is still an entertaining read. The main characters are set up to connect in a way that shows me how cozy and right they are for each other, before the sex scenes come in, and the author deftly allows the truth about Angelina to come out while having the two characters behave in a sensible “I’m mad, but… let’s talk about this and clear the air” manner. Along the way, Angelina’s insecurities and concerns about marrying John feel in character instead of an excuse to whine, and John is actually a pretty sweet wounded beast kind of archetype.
If this one had been longer, who knows, it might have been a home run out of the gates. As it is, The Short And Fascinating Tale Of Angelina Whitcombe is a story I have no regrets reading or purchasing whatsoever.
On These Silken Sheets
NIGHT OWL ROMANCE BOOK REVIEWS
If I were to describe On These Silken Sheets with one word it would be hot. Downright sizzling even.
This was an interesting quartet of stories, with the level of heat starting off really high in the first story (they literally had sex, were in the middle of sex or thinking about when next they could have sex every page of the story) and then coming down in degrees in every story. Many of the background cast were simply to support each particular story’s love match or as added amusement later on. At the start of each new story I was always interested in who would ‘star’ in the next outing, as it wasn’t made apparent in the subsequent story.
LOVE, ROMANCES & MORE
ON THESE SILKEN SHEETS features four novellas connected by the participants’ involvement with Harridan House, an erotic club where members enjoy their fantasies.
ON THESE SILKEN SHEETS is a thoroughly erotic adventure that will take you back in time. Although there are lots of sexual escapades in all four novellas, there is also a storyline to go with it. It is not just sentences connecting sexual acts. The author does a fabulous job of creating characters that will capture your imagination. The author has set a high standard for herself with this book and it will whet your appetite for more creations from Ms. Darby.
RT BOOK REVIEWS
One author, four interrelated stories, and a lot of hot Regency sex! Rakes in oh-so-tight breeches, ladies in full skirts and plunging necklines and a wicked sex club called Harridan House…
“Selling Sex in a Recession: Erotica”
Some Like It Historical
Sabrina Darby’s On These Silken Sheets (Avon Red, Sept.) consists of four novellas set at an exclusive club overseen by Madame Rouge.