The fabulous Mary Ann Marlowe asked me if I wanted to take part in a blog post she was doing about reviewers. She had some great questions and it made me think about what I’d been doing as a reviewer. Its something I fell into by accident but have gained great satisfaction from ( and a lot of wonderful books to read). I still buy books, still am a KU member and borrow books that way. I just love to read.
Maryann’s books: http://www.maryannmarlowe.com/?cat=7
My review of Some Kind of Magic https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/caraval-stephanie-garber-some-kind-of-magic-mary-ann-marlowe/
My review of A Crazy Kind of Love https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/a-crazy-kind-of-love-mary-ann-marlowe-van-a-cold-fury-hockey-novel-sawyer-bennett/
Coming 25th June 2019
How long have you been reviewing books? Why did you start?
Seems like ages, but its about six/seven years I think. I love reading, saw an ad on amazon forums for a reviewer for a blog reviewing supernatural reads. That lasted about a year before closing down, and in the meantime I’d found Netgalley ( Egalley ARC site) and started my own blog.
What’s your favourite thing about reviewing books?
I love to read, getting review books lets me indulge in my hobby. as a quick reader I couldn’t afford to buy all these books, although I still love to reread favourites.
How many books do you read in a year generally? How do you usually find books to read?
I read more than I review, with personal purchases, free books and KU reads. I don’t always review those, depends on time commitment but if I’ve received a book for review I always write review for that. I see it as my part of the bargain. Reviewing takes time, I do a first rough draft, then run through and correct it, adding more, taking bits out and correcting spellings, ( I can spell, I can’t hits keys in the right order!!) then save a copy and add to online sites. Although I often intend to review the other books life sometimes gets in the way.
I keep a spreadsheet with all review books listed and publication dates so I know when to post and where I’ve posted. I’m approaching 2,500 on the spreadsheet so as I only started this a year or so in to reviewing when I began getting more books, that sounds about right for the 2-300 a year reviewed.
I guess I read maybe 4-500 a year and review around 2-300. I’ve not done so many recently as I’m in temporary accommodation while my home is being renovated and its hard finding the right mindset to review.
What is your typical process for deciding which books to review? For instance, do you go by what strikes your mood or make lists to tackle like homework? Do you accept requests to review from authors directly (and if so, how)?
What I read day to day is very mood dependent, and being in temporary accommodation has meant i don’t read so many of the intense reads, the complex ones as its hard to concentrate, and I’ve not felt in the mood for those.
I write reviews in the mornings, so if I’ve just finished a review book I won’t read another in that genre until I’ve written my review – found out the hard way that its easy to confuse two similar books when writing reviews, so now i keep only one of each genre in my head until review finished.
When choosing books I have quite eclectic tastes but romance figures heavily, whether its contemporary, suspense or fantasy. I try to research titles when i can, looking to see if I’ve enjoyed past books by an author, trying to find a sample to read or to see if other reviewers whose tastes I share have read it. I hate writing low star reviews, just means a book isn’t right for me, not that its a bad book, and that’s not always easy to get across. By researching first hopefully I avoid most of those. I spend anything from a couple of mins to twenty mins or so looking at each book request. Sometimes its clear pretty quick that I’ll love or loathe it but often its a case of thinking, does this sound right? Do I feel a connection/am I interested to see what happens. Existing books are easier, I can download samples, but many review books are months ahead of release, so unless I’ve read from that author before its a tough decision. Do I risk having to write a two star if I don’t like it, or conversely refuse it and miss a gem of a read….
I mostly get books via Netgalley now, but do have several authors who’ve contacted me over the years and I review their new reads – if they sound right for me. I used to open my blog for reviews but got so many requests that I simply couldn’t read them all, and the pre-choice research takes time too, so I now have a message that I don’t accept requests. I still get a few offers that way, and each gets looked at to see if its one for me.
What I hate is when I get requests such as one recently ” I see you reviewed xyz title, and wondered if you’d review my book?” Very often, authors haven’t really looked at what I review, nor is their book comparable to the one they quoted. In one case, about a month ago, the book offered for review was a contemporary romance, a short story of just 12 pages. I never read those, they just don’t work for me, ditto novellas unless they’re part of a series, and the book the author compared hers to was a full length fantasy suspense.
I do get constant requests to review “how to make a fortune with bitcoin/forex/day trading/how to lose a stone in ten days/how to write a bestseller/how to xxx” Those just go straight to junk. If an author can’t be bothered to see if their book fits what I read I’m not going to waste time on it, and these scam books are a particular hot button for me.
Do you review every book you intend to? If not, why might you choose not to review?
Occasionally I’ve chosen one that sounds perfect for me but I just can’t get through it, I’ve one like that right now. I’m at 20% and struggling to like the characters, the story, just can’t get into the book. Its one where its me not the book though, so rather than slog through and regret the time I’ve wasted I’ll return it to netgalley with a note that i couldn’t finish. I think over the years I’ve been with Netgalley ( 2012 joined, I just looked it up) I’ve returned maybe 15 books that way. I’ve also had a handful with formatting errors, where text too faint to read, too small, or has weird gaps and words that run into one. Reference books too, cookery, and gardening are ones I love, but don’t really work well as e-Books and I don’t really read on my pc or tablet.
If you give numeric ratings, what is your strategy for determining values? Are you stingy with 5 stars? Will you give a book 1 star?
A good book is 3-4, a great book 4-5, one I don’t really like overall but enjoyed parts will be 2-3. I rarely write one star, only if the book is really error ridden ( not formatting, but basic spelling and grammar, what I think of lazy editing), or in the case of two I one starred, they were complete rip offs of another popular book. Both of those had the exact same story outline in detail. They’d renamed characters and made some tiny changes but presented the book as something original when it wasn’t.
As an artist copyright really is important to me and I hate seeing folk trying to profit from someone else hard work.
What’s your opinion on authors reading reviews of their own books? When writing a review, are you concerned the author may read it? Does that ever influence your review?
When I’ve been contacted direct I always send a copy of review to author, I’m happy for them to read what I’ve written, its my honest opinion. Its hard when I thought I’d like a book and didn’t, but I try to stress in my summing up that book tastes are subjective, and though I didn’t enjoy it others will. It doesn’t influence my review – at least not consciously – as otherwise review ratings would become meaningless. I do find sending an author a copy of a two star review hard…but hopefully my initial weeding out and research prevents that happening often.
What’s your philosophy about interacting with authors? Do you tag them on reviews? Follow authors? Chat with them?
I follow a few of my favourites who write series so I know when next due out. I chat with a handful via email, I probably ought to add tags to reviews but my non tech brain hasn’t quite got that fixed yet. I know how, its just more time though, looking up who to tag and adding it. Its something I need to work on…one day! I used to be FB friends with several authors until Amazon decided that friendship and reviewing were incompatible. Amazon can be pretty draconian about removing reviews. In the last year I’ve had that happen twice. 3,000+ reviews gone overnight. Both times I appealed, said I was open, honest about reviews, use my own name, don’t accept money or any free products except a copy of the book. They even regard things like author competitions where not just a book but a voucher is a prize, so I don’t do those now.
I’m really wary of falling foul of their rules, but as I’ve experienced, it happens really easily. there’s no communication, the first time I noticed when I went to add a book review and found I couldn’t, and that everything was gone, second time an author contacted me to say my review was missing although it had been there a few days prior. I was lucky getting them reinstated but I’ve no idea why they went in the first place?
Sadly their review rules now mean people still get products( free books are allowed, free products are not) free for review, but as its harder to find folk willing to take the risk producers now offer payment as well as free products. I know because I get maybe 100-150 requests to review products each week. The way they bend Amazon rules is reviewer purchases as normal, sellers then refund cost plus a small fee via paypal once review is up. Of course they want five stars and are unlikely to pay unless that’s what they get. So Amazon efforts to tighten up fake reviews have led to less reviews overall, but even more fake ones. IMO
I add my reviews to Amazon com and uk, goodreads and my blog, but of course its Amazon that’s what authors really want, so I’m very careful to stay within guidelines. I used to do B&N but their site is so temperamental I gave up some months back.
How do you think authors should interact with bloggers ? Do you want authors to read your reviews? RT links to them? Ignore them?
I’m happy for authors to do what they want, quote from reviews, read them, link to them, tag them. I don’t mind what they do, I write honestly so I don’t mind anything that helps sell books.
Have you ever received a response from an author after giving a bad review? If so, can you vaguely share what happened?
I hate low starring reviews but its necessary if I’m to be honest about how a book affects me. I have had one lady write to me about a two star saying she understood her book wasn’t for me, and she was pleased I’d made the point that it was a personal interaction with the story, not that it was a bad book. I still felt awful though, I know how hard authors work, and it must feel uncomfortable when someone doesn’t like your story. I paint, and of course there are folk that just don’t connect with my style, hate it. That’s how it goes but it still feels personal. I guess the art of growing a thicker skin is needed whether its books, art, anything you’ve created that others may have an opinion on.
I did get a lady email me to remove my review once. It wasn’t a two or three star review, but a four. It was her first book, and she was concerned because my four star review was showing first and a couple of five star ones were below it ( and reading them I suspect they were from friends, didn’t write much about the book itself just gushed…) . I was pretty astonished, to me a four star book is good. I thought hard but eventually removed it from Amazon, because I feel four stars is positive, and removing wouldn’t really make much difference. It stayed on GR and my blog. I felt an undertone from her in that what she really wanted was for me to make it five star rather than remove it, but for me a four was the right rating. I did tell her I wouldn’t usually remove a review, its an opinion from one reader, and I take time over writing them. I value them when I’m selecting reads, and I write honestly about how I feel as regards a story.
I also told her I wouldn’t review for her a second time ( but have just realised I can’t remember her name so in reality I may!) I’m still astonished by her request. I’ve been reviewing for maybe 7 or 8 years now and that’s the only time I’ve ever been asked to remove my review.
What advice do you have for authors who might get a negative review from you (or any blogger)?
See it as positive, its a balance, an opinion from one person. It may be that what that person doesn’t like is what makes it perfect for someone else. I’ve bought books for exactly that reason. Reading tastes vary so much, so not all books suit all readers even if brilliantly written. I hate Terry Pratchett, David Eddings, Neil Gaimon books, eldest son and millions of other readers love them. Perfect example, we both love Fantasy but different types of fantasy.
I tend to read a couple of high star reviews and a couple of low ones before choosing, so low stars help balance. If a book has a clutch of five stars but none really say anything except how wonderful it is I tend to get suspicious, ditto those where the reader has only reviewed this or a couple of books. I’m more likely to take note of a review from someone who’s reviewed lots of books.
Do you ever get any positive feedback from authors?
Yes, and I love it when authors take the time to say they like my review. Especially if I’ve picked up on a point they were making…its kind of hard to write what I mean, but that sort of undercurrent, seeing that someone isn’t all bad, connecting with a book on a personal level and knowing that there’s been a lot or research to get details right. That sort of thing. ( Pet hate: The Horse Whisperer. I took that to read in hospital not knowing what it was about – I just love horses and that connection appealed. Of course I should have read more, I was in to have most of my left leg amputated! I can tell you from experience getting back to riding after amputation is nothing like it was portrayed in that book, there are things there that are simply not physically possible ( continuing with a cracked limb socket, been there and it won’t stay on, climbing a fence and mounting – tried that too when i fell off out in woods, can’t do it) and made me really annoyed to read.
Have you met or become friends with any of the authors you’ve reviewed? If so, how has that changed your relationship with reviewing in general?
Never met any, have become in a lose way, online friends with a few but I try to keep friendship and reviewing separate. Having said that I’d find it hard to do if any of my longtime real-life friends wrote a book….
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened as a direct result of your decision to review a book?
Nothing really specific. Getting such a variety of reads is a bonus, I simply couldn’t afford to buy all the books I want. I used to be an avid library user, but I’ve eyesight issues that make printed text difficult to read and a whole book is impossible, so ebooks came at the perfect time for me. I can alter text size, fond, boldness etc.
I’ve just had an email from Samantha Young to say for today only this book is 99p instead of £5.99, so if you’re an SY fan and you don’t have this book grab it now! It wasn’t my favourite story of hers but still a good read, and of course reading is subjective and others love it.
The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. She’s flying home to Boston for the saddest of reasons when her emotional cloud becomes a real one – of volcanic ash. Stranded, her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip is thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava’s ever had. And that’s all it is – jet-lag induced insanity – until Caleb, AKA Mr Arrogant Himself, shows up on her doorstep.
Pure chance has landed Caleb in Boston, but he’s determined to enjoy himself – and Ava – while he’s there. Ava gives in because a) her heart is safe since she barely likes Caleb, b) his existence in her life is temporary and c) it’s by a mile high club the best sex of her life. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. And even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her . . .
Click image for UK link, click here for US link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N214BWU
I haven’t yet read this book, but its part of KU and on my kindle now.
The author is the founder of #HelpAfricanAlbinos . His new novel is “Then She Was Born” which also forms part of an international human rights campaign, which has been endorsed by Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama and eleven Nobel Peace laureates who lent their voices and who each read aloud a different sentence of the novel, recording a video message and being pictured alongside the official hashtag #HelpAfricanAlbinos.
“The She Was Born” is an independently published work of fiction that meets the same standards as books published by mainstream publishers. This suspenseful novel is a true page-turner and hopefully will grab you by both arms and won’t let go until you’re winded, exhausted, and begging for a conclusion.
A child is born and the joy of her parents turns to horror. The child is different, in a way that will bring bad luck to their superstitious community. The tradition should be for her to be abandoned, but Nkamba, the grandmother, is allowed to care for her.
Naming her Adimu, Nkamba raises her as her own. Adimu is constantly marginalized and shunned by the community, although her spirit remains undiminished and full of faith. But when she encounters the wealthy British mine owner Charles Fielding and his wife Sarah, it is the beginning of something which will test them all.
As Charles Fielding’s fortunes wane, he turns in desperation to a witch doctor whose suggestion leaves him horrified. But as events begin to spiral out of control he succumbs to the suggestions and a group of men are sent on a terrible mission. The final acts, of one man driven by greed and another by power, will have a devastating effect on many lives.
I’ve not reviewed this set, but have read stories by some of the authors. Its on pre-order at just 99p, and these sets are a great way to try new to you authors.
The Hot Christmas Nights (A LoveCats DownUnder box set) contains seven brand new holiday stories from award-winning, best-selling and rising star Australian and New Zealand authors. Whether you want to get caught in a summer storm, find a second chance at love or fall for your best friend—there’s a story here for you.
The stories in this box set range from sweet to sexy, and they’re all emotionally satisfying reads with a happy ever after.
All She Wants For Christmas by USA Today Best Seller, Rachel Bailey
For Maddy to get the divorce she wants, she needs to confront her reclusive husband at his island home. But once she’s there and secrets are revealed, will Maddy find that what she really wants for Christmas is something else entirely?
Christmas Wishes, New Year Kisses by Michelle Douglas
For small town veterinarian Josh Halliday, fantasizing about his best friend is one thing. Falling in love with her is quite another…
Baby, It’s Hot Outside by RITA nominee, Louisa George
When rugged cop Daniel Wade agrees to help organize his friend’s Christmas wedding it brings him face-to-face with the bridesmaid, his estranged wife. Emma is determined that divorce is on the cards, but sometimes all it takes is another chance to get things right…
Her Christmas Cowboy by Helen Lacey
For city-girl Elyse Prescott, returning to her home town of Denary means one thing – facing every reason why she left….including Brett McCrane. Now Elyse has to make a choice – to go back to the city and her old life…or take a chance on love.
Sleigh Bells In The Sand by Stefanie London
American Neve Ritter has traveled all the way to Australia to avoid her family for the holidays. But her plans did not include accidentally breaking into the house of a hunky lawyer who’s looking for a little solitude of his own. When a summer storm traps them together, Neve realizes that maybe Santa has been listening to her wishes all along.
Millionaire Under The Mistletoe by Kandy Shepherd
London-based chef Carly de Luca and Sydney millionaire Dylan Burke broke each other’s hearts four years ago—but old feelings reignite when she makes a surprise visit home for Christmas. Can Carly and Dylan let go of past hurts and take a second chance on love?
Her Small Town Christmas Wish by Jennifer St George
When superstar songbird Giselle Harrington is forced to return her hometown, she’s faced with a house full of terrifying childhood memories. Jake Carlton has never forgot his teenage sweetheart and now that she’s back, he’s determined to have a second chance to convince her to stay.
I haven’t read this book so its a promotional post today, not a review. I admire the group for actually doing something tangible, usually people Talk grand ideas but don’t get round to Doing anything about them. Well done for achieving this.
A poetry workshop to celebrate Black History Month last October has now led to a group of Kingston University students anticipating the publication of their first book of poems which was released in late March.
The book, Streams of Consciousness, is a compilation of poems students across faculties, and includes collaborations with award winning poets Deanna Rodgers and Sabrina Mahfouz. The authors wrote about subjects they are passionate about, but the themes are ones that all can relate: loneliness, love, joy, and family.
The original poetry workshop was last year and this year was dedicated to getting it published.
It started as a group of people with no experience or some experience of writing poetry and we surprised ourselves with what we were capable of creating.
It seemed a waste to let all the talent disappear without being seen so we decided to write the book. Deanna and Sabrina heard about it and were so impressed with the writing they asked to be a part of it, which is a huge compliment and endorsement of everyone’s work.
We had our official launch on Monday the 29th of June which featured live performances, readings, and networking at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden.
When we hear a poetry project most of us will picture arts students, however it’s quite different in this case.
This month three erotic authors, Ella Goode, Ruby Dixon, and Kati Wilde are releasing nine stories in their new Motorcycle Clubs series. All standalone novellas priced at 99 cents each, these are the perfect quick read to get your motor running.
The Motorcycle Clubs Series
His Wild Desire by Ella Goode
I’m not supposed to want him, but I do.
I’m not supposed to need him, but I can’t stop.
I’m not supposed to love him, but my heart won’t listen.
Most of all? I’m definitely, under no circumstances, supposed to sleep with him.
Grant “Wrecker” Harrison spent three years of his life locked away. He’s out and he’s tired of hiding. He wants everyone, even his father Judge, President of the Death Lords MC, to know she’s his.
Chelsea Weaver loves Grant even though she knows its wrong. She knew it was wrong when she gave him her virginity and she knows it’s still wrong three years later…because Grant’s her stepbrother and Judge is the only father she’s ever known.
Release Date: September 28, 2014
Buy Link: http://bit.ly/AmazonHisWildDesire
Chelsea tries to roll over but I don’t let her. Instead, I shift to my knees and push her ass into the air. I grab my two pillows and shove them under her stomach. She doesn’t resist but she does complain.
“Really? I’m still going to be punished?” she huffs into the comforter.
I smooth a hand over one very round ass cheek. “If you don’t like it, I’ll stop.” I give the ass another little tap, enjoying the shimmy of her curves in response to the strike.
“I promise you’re going to get so wet you’ll be begging for more.”
I give her a harder slap this time and then check between her legs. I smile when at the evidence coating my fingers. She’s turned on but if she wants to play the game of the unwilling victim, I’m down with that too. Role playing is definitely on my checklist.
“Your heart rate is beating pretty fast, Chels. You sure you don’t like this?”
She squeezes her legs together. “I don’t like it.”
“But you’re not telling me to stop,” I observe. She doesn’t respond so I give her another light swat.
At her continued silence, I slap her again, this time on her lower thighs, and then again, along the upper curve of her ass. I pull her panties down and spank her in earnest, making sure between each swat that she’s with me. Soon her heavy breathing fills the room and instead of moving away, she begins thrusting against my open palm.
Off Limits by Ruby Dixon
He shouldn’t touch me, but he does.
Late one night, in the middle of danger, he makes me feel things I shouldn’t.
And I know I shouldn’t want more…but I do.
Because hooking up with me? It could cost him his life.
Lucky…isn’t. In fact, she’s considered ‘off limits’ to the Bedlam Butchers because she’s caused them nothing but bad luck in the past. As a bonus? She’s also the president’s kid sister. Single and lonely? That’s Lucky’s way of life. Now, the Eighty-Eight Henchmen are harassing her and they’re out for blood.
Solo…is. In a club where pairing up with a brother to watch your back is mandatory, Solo still hasn’t gotten over his partner’s death two years ago. The club’s pressuring him to name a second Treasurer, but he has to trust that person in bed and out. And it’s damn hard for Solo to trust.
But when he rescues Lucky from the Eighty-Eight, maybe it’s time for Solo to find a partner, and time for Lucky’s luck to turn around…
Release Date: September 28, 2014
Buy Link: http://bit.ly/AmazonOffLimits
Wanting It All by Kati Wilde
He’s the one man I can never have, but the only one I crave…
Saxon Gray has reason to hate me. He spent five years in prison after saving me from a brutal violation at the hands of a rival motorcycle club – and he paid for that rescue with his freedom. I’ve never been able to settle the debt I owe him…until now.
The menace of that old rivalry is flaring up again, and as president of the Hellfire Riders, Saxon is the one man who can keep me safe. But I want more than his protection. I want his heart.
Release Date: Coming Soon
About the Authors
Ella, Ruby, and Kati love romance, love strong heroines, and love those oh-so-bad alpha heroes. We love stories that are hot, sexy, and dangerous. So when we got together to write this series, we only had one rule: to write the kind of romances that we love to read.
We also know how difficult it can be to carve out time for a full-length novel…and reading a book in parts isn’t always as satisfying. Our series is written for the busy romance reader in mind. In each story, you’ll find scorching heat, wild emotion, and a romance that will have you turning the last page with a happy sigh.
Social Networking Links
Website – http://katiwilde.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/1theclub1
For this weekend only to celebrate the release of the latest book Prophet, the whole series are on special offer and well worth buying. Each book is arong 700 pages or so and a real bargain. This offer is for the complete books – Shield, War, Bridge etc and the first book Rook is still free.there are additonal books featuring specific characters which add a great insight into them and are worth reading alongside the series.
Pick up the whole series while you can, its one you won’t regret if you enjoy an in depth, thinking readers paranormal novel with a plots that are earth changing and dangerous, darkly involved and complex, and has a romance thats never sickly, never “sweet” but raw, erotic and at times heartbreaking.
You can see my review of the series so far here
I reviewed Brian Freyermuth’s novel Demon Dance last year, and am pleased to say the sequel is now out. Co-authored with Brians’s wife Juliet it’s called “Mind of the Beast”. Brian says we get to find out much more about the characters in the Sundancer world this time around, which I think will be good. One of the problems I had was the lack of info on the various characters so I’m pleased that’s been added.
You can learn more about the Novels here http://www.brianfreyermuth.com/
I’ve read book one LosingCcontrol https://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/losing-control-jen-frederick/ and this is the sequel. Its a great read and my review will come once it’s published.
Thre’s a fabulous Tiffany & Co. gemstone ring available top one lucky person too….
Title: Taking Control
Author: Jen Frederick
Release Date: September 8, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Book Cover: Attached
Teaser Graphics: Attached
The hotly anticipated sequel to Losing Control.
I thought I needed only one thing in my life–the money and power to crush one man. But the moment I laid eyes on Victoria Corielli, my thirst for revenge was replaced by my craving for her.
No rule would keep me away; no obstacle too large to overcome. Not her will, not our differing social positions, not my infamous past. When she lost everything, I helped her pick up the pieces. When she trusted me with everything, she sealed her fate.
I’ve convinced Victoria she can put her heart in my hands. Now I have to protect it–from her shady stepfather and my business rivals, from enemies known and hidden. I’ll do anything to keep her. And I might have to prove it, because now Victoria’s risking more than her heart to be with me; she’s risking her life.
I want us to get married. Soon. Do you want a big wedding?”
“Married? I mean, I guess I thought you were serious but I figured…I don’t know.” Her voice trails off.
“That my proposal of marriage was somehow insincere? I’ve never wanted anything more. I just didn’t want to pressure you because of all the emotional upheaval you’re experiencing now.” Rolling over so she can see me and judge the sincerity for herself, I declare, “I want you to be my wife. The mother of any children we have. My partner in life. I want that to happen now so that I can introduce you as Mrs. Ian Kerr.”
Her eyes close for a moment and beneath the lids, silent tears leak out. Her words, though, are classic. “Maybe you should take my name. You can be Ian Corielli and I’ll introduce you as Mr. Victoria Corielli.”
“As long as it means you’re mine in the eyes of the world, I’ll be Mr. John Smith.”
She wraps her arms around my neck and clings to me. This time the shudders I’m soothing are from maybe, possibly, hopefully joy for our future. “I’m okay with Victoria Kerr,” she chokes out. “You better give me a big rock and lots of flowers since you’re proposing to me while we’re naked.”
“I proposed to you when I first took you to the house on the Long Island Sound.”
“You didn’t propose. You said that you wanted me to be your wife and fill your big house with lots of little people.”
“That’s a proposal.”
“It was a demand.”
“It was a request couched as a demand.”
Her body is shaking with laughter. “You’ve been in charge for too long. That was no request.”
Pushing to my knees, I reach into the nightstand and retrieve the box I bought before Sophie died. Her eyes grow huge and her hands come up to the cover her mouth. I flip the box lid open, pluck the ring out and toss it aside.
Lifting her shaking hand in mine, I slide the ring down her finger.
“When I was fifteen I made a hundred different stupid vows. I’d avenge my mother. I’d rise to the top of Wall Street and smite everyone down. I’d crush Richard Howe beneath the sole of my boot. I’d win at everything. But I never wished for happiness because I didn’t know what it was until you came into my life. How could I want something I didn’t know was missing? Now, everything I’ve achieved pales in comparison to having you love me. When I say that you’re my heart, my everything, those aren’t just words. They are the only truth in my world. I’d give up money, revenge, success, as long as I could lie down next to you at night and wake up with your face beside mine.
There is no greater achievement in my life than having you fall in love with me and I recognize on some mysterious level that is pure luck. I need you to marry me and be my wife. I need you to be the mother of my children. I need you because without you I am nothing. I am a pile of bones and flesh filled with misery. You bring me to life. Love me, marry me, be with me in this life and into all the ones we live from this point ever after.”
“Well, since you put it like that, I guess I must.” She rises and kisses me. Our mouths sealing the promises we’ve made to another one another.
I make love to her again then, slowly. We barely move. I just slide in and we rock together and allow the strength of our emotions to carry us into the heaven.
Bestselling author Jen Frederick lives with her husband, child, and one rambunctious dog. She’s been reading stories all her life but never imagined writing one of her own. Jen loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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