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Monday, September 13, 2010

Breaking Free by Anya Richards

Breaking Free by Anya Richards
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (212 pgs)
Other: M/F, M/F/F, F/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

passionate education leads to dangerous love.

For Claire Montjoye, widowhood is no release from scandal. Used as sexual currency by her notoriously libertine husband, she longs for a life of quiet respectability. But the ton’s disapproval ensures she will never be truly accepted—and any man openly seeking her company will be tainted.

When Xavier Westbourne pulls her away from peril, his touch fills her with yearning for unattainable dreams. Accepting his invitation to the opera is not only unwise for him, it’s dangerous to her lonely heart. Perhaps taking him as a lover will be enough.

Scion of one of Society’s most upright families, Xavier knows propriety as a cold, brutal master. Having endured one loveless marriage, he refuses to repeat the mistake, even for his motherless son. Yet Claire easily breaks through his wall of reserve, and her offer of private instruction in the sexual arts is irresistible.

Consumed by passion, overwhelmed by ecstasy, they discover something neither thought existed—the freedom to open their hearts. Yet not all the horrors of the past are content to remain hidden by the mists of time. And suddenly their very survival depends on trusting that love really can conquer all.

When I read the blurb for Breaking Free, I was intrigued. The concept of a widow who experienced a very sexual lifestyle at the hands of her libertine husband was compelling, but when combined with her romance with a man who recently lost his wife and had yet to experience the full throes of passion, I couldn’t resist. As I became immersed in the story, I discovered there is far more to the book than you’re given on the surface. Claire, while somewhat emotionally fragile, is also incredibly strong. This is important because Xavier is bruised by events in his past and needs the confidence that Claire possesses to help him move past a loveless marriage that nearly ruined him for women. Their chemistry is only surpassed by their intense need to connect with another person, to experience what they have long been denied, and their personal growth, as well as the strength of their bond as the story progresses, is a joy to witness.

As much as I loved the sensual scenes that positively sizzled, I have to say I was equally drawn to the tender moments between the protagonists, as well as the darker scenes that are heartbreaking. Ms. Richards spends just the right amount of time developing her characters, so that you get to know and love them, including the ever important supporting cast. Each has flaws that are placed directly in front of you, so that you get to know the entire person versus the perfect hero, heroine, best friend, or villain that is so often found in erotic romance.

The writing itself is fantastic, and the book flows at a nice, steady pace. I thoroughly enjoyed Breaking Free and am eager to read more from Ms. Richards in the future. If you’re looking for a story that has as much heart as it does heat, this is one story you don’t want to miss.

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