Guide Secrets of a Perfect Night

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This is a nice story with some great love scenes one of Laurens' trademarks. I liked both characters. But although it is the longest story in the book, it could have used a little more character development, and perhaps more insight into Adrian and Abby in their earlier years.

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Hot The Last Love Letter by Victoria Alexander takes place during the Regency period, shifting back and forth in time between , , and Rachael Gresham and Jason Norcross are young lovers who are cruelly torn apart by a misunderstanding. There is a villain here, which makes the misunderstanding believable and poignant. Years later they get a second chance at love - but can they overcome the bitterness of the past?

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This story seemed like a bit of a departure to me; if I'd read it blind I would have guessed that the author was someone like Susan Sizemore, perhaps because it reminded me a bit of her On a Long Ago Night. It was often in their quieter moments that this showed through the most. I loved reading about them simply sitting together in Adrian's study while she sketched and he worked.

They also had a mutual love of books that I could relate to and their impromptu waltz in the park was very romantic. I just thought these two were completely perfect for one another, and their love scenes absolutely sizzled. Stephanie Laurens is very good at writing varied love scenes that are powerfully passionate and lushly sensual.

In general her writing style reminds me a lot of Lisa Kleypas which is a very good thing in my book. It is a rare author who can write a short story and make me feel fully satisfied from beginning to end. This was my first read by Ms. Laurens, and she has impressed me so much, I can say with certainly that it won't be my last. I'm very much looking forward to trying more of her books soon.

I spent a large part of my time reading this novella trying to figure out exactly what wasn't working for me. When I got to the end and read the author's bio, which indicated she used to be a reporter, it finally hit me that the story had seemed more like a news report than a fiction tale in which I could immerse myself and feel the emotions of the characters in a palpable way.

In fact, I felt very little connection to the hero and heroine at all. The author also had a tendency toward having the characters ask themselves a few too many rhetorical questions which could get a little annoying. I think my other issue with this novella is the way in which the plot unfolded and the way that Jason and Rachael responded to those events. They had supposedly known each other for most of their lives, and in my opinion, that should have been the basis of not only a deep love but also a deep trust.

In spite of that, they were both overly quick to accept the word of Rachael's father when they knew he was a very hard and callous man who despised the idea of his only daughter being with a penniless untitled gentleman. Then Rachael's first husband, Jason's cousin, George, kept the truth from them for years, and when it finally came out, they weren't even angry with him about it. I don't believe that George was an inherently bad man for doing so, but knowing what they had meant to each other, I thought it was a pretty selfish thing for him to do once he found out. The author did bring some sympathy to the situation with George's illness and all that he had done for, and meant to, Rachael over the years, but still the idea that they wouldn't even be the least bit miffed by his actions was a little hard to swallow.

Last but not least, Jason discovered the truth three years before Rachael did and when they saw each other at that time, he tried to tell her the truth, but she stubbornly wouldn't listen. When they finally did reunite once and for all and were both privy to the whole truth of how they'd been manipulated ten years earlier, Rachael still held herself at arms length not trusting Jason at all. She was even insisting to herself that she didn't love him and was ready to break all ties until the final few pages which didn't work well for me at all.

Everything put together just made it very hard for me to believe that they could finally have an HEA. In spite of my criticisms, I wouldn't call it bad, but it was just OK. Any readers who can get past a hero and heroine who seem to be easily manipulated by others and all the anger of numerous past misunderstandings may like this one more than I did. As written, it just wasn't entirely my cup of tea.

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I'm sure I'll give Ms. Alexander's work another try at some point, but I doubt I'll be burning rubber to do so. Thomas and Brina have a reunion in the literal sense of the word when they attend their 10th high school class reunion.

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I loved that they had been lifelong friends throughout childhood. It was rather disappointing that Brina had blown Thomas off for a jock at the end of senior year. It made her seem a little shallow, but given her confidence issues, I guess it made some sense. It's not like she didn't want to remain friends, but Thomas was understandably and deeply hurt. I was glad that during the time since high school, Brina had grown to be comfortable in her own skin and realized what a huge mistake she'd made. Thomas had grown and changed in more way than one too, and seemed to have developed more confidence as well.

It might have been nice if he had been a little more settled in his life, but he seemed like a really nice guy. Even though they hadn't seen or talked to each other in ten years, Thomas and Brina still hadn't stopped thinking of one another. The rekindling of their relationship progressed nicely and had some good sexual tension. I think this novella could have easily been a 5-star read for me except for two small flaws. One is that I wished that Thomas and Brina could have embraced their reunion a little more fully. As written, it felt like they were holding back the whole time, right up until the end.

The other is that I felt like the author was sometimes telling a bit more than showing. I think perhaps a little more showing would have improved both the character-to-character and character-to-reader connections. Overall though, Now and Forever was a very solid 4-star story for me that I really enjoyed.

It was my first read by Rachel Gibson, but it has definitely left me open to trying her other books. Oct 30, Virginia rated it liked it Shelves: I was a bit surprised by the inclusion of a modern romance story at the end of the book, but other than that, the three novellas were good enough. Nothing spectacular, but what can you expect from a novella? Jan 30, Elaine rated it it was amazing Shelves: For short stories these are really good. Rachel Gibson was my favorite, but the other two were also good.

Good read A very good read.

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Loved the story lines. Through turns and twist slowly builds the fears and Romance with her characters. Three stories about couples on New Year's Eve. Loved the first story.

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Liked the second one. The third one was my least favorite. Oct 13, Anna D. Even as a short, I was able to get a full understanding of the characters, more so of Adrian than of Abby. We really get a sense of Adrian — his past, his hang ups, what affected him, what kind of man he is, and his true intentions. He has many layers. He thought it was a VERY vivid dream?

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The plot and premise of the story is somewhat of an old recipe about lovers torn apart by some evil force — usually a parent. It could be said that what he did was selfish, but I would say it was human. By the time he found out the truth, they were already man and wife. What was he supposed to do then?

Give away his wife to another man?


At the very end, we know that Jason and Rachael were soul mates and would end up together, but I had a dwindling wish that Rachael had a big enough heart to have been able to love two men — Jason and George — and that she had told George she loved him while he was still alive. Everything about this story was ok — not good but not bad either. They've both gone far too long without love and if propinquity and passion have their way, a blissful future awaits them. But treachery and greed tore them apart, their hearts shattered with betrayal and despair.

Now fate has brought them together again, the truth at last revealed. Will Rachael and Jason have the courage to put the past behind and reclaim the love that has endured the long years spent apart?

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  7. They may both have changed for the better on the outside, but inside, they're still as passionately attracted to each other as when they were teenagers. The fire that threatens to scorch them now is very adult, but whether it will last past New Year's Eve is anyone's guess. Whether your personal preference is the charm and wit of Regency England or the sexy appeal of contemporary America, you'll be bowled over with this terrific collection of romantic tales. The moon shone brightly, music filled the air.