Today’s second post is a wonderful novella by Noemi Betancourt. It is the first in her Chrystal Palace Chronicles. This is a beautifully written story that makes you hope that your house gets broken into one day so that you can find your own Prince Alaric. Be sure to check out the rest of my review after the Excerpt. Also, if you run out to read this book you won’t have to wait long for the next book in the series. The Chrystal Palace Chronicles Part Two will be released at the end of the tour
Isabel Kendra prides herself on being a strong independent woman. She doesn’t fawn over men, doesn’t swoon and would rather take care of things herself than ask for help. She has no use for heroes. So when a dark stranger tells her of a kidnapped child who needs her help she approaches the situation in her usual practical manner. Of course, with coming across her long lost father and gods and sorceresses who are constantly trying to kill her, Isabel soon realizes she’s out of her element. Enter the dashing Prince Alaric for whom rescuing the damsel in distress is second nature, only this time the damsel doesn’t want to be rescued!
Together the two must thwart the evil forces that threaten their lives and their worlds while struggling against their own blistering attraction for each other. Can Isabel balance her aversion to the prince’s habit of coming to her rescue with the realization that sometimes it is all right to accept help from a man? Can Alaric handle himself around a woman capable of rescuing herself and learn to be simply the man who loves her?
On the way to her room, she knocked softly on Alaric’s door and opened it a crack to peek in and check on him. He lay on his back snoring softly, but his twisted covers told Isabel he hadn’t been sleeping well. He was bare-chested, save for the bandage that had been wrapped around his midriff, and the hairy leg that hung beside the bed made Isabel suddenly aware that the man was completely naked. She knew it probably wasn’t the thing to do, but the air below decks was chillier than above and she didn’t want him to catch a cold on top of being injured. She quickly slipped into the room and drew the covers up to his throat. God, the man was beautiful! His dark hair lightly brushed his forehead and his features looked as if they had been chiseled in stone. She lightly touched his damp forehead to find it was a bit too warm. She sat on the edge of the bed beside him and wrung out the washcloth that lay in a clay bowl filled with cool water. She placed the cloth upon his head and noticed he had opened his eyes and was watching her.
“I’m sorry, I’ll go,” she gasped. She rose to leave, but he grabbed her arms and pulled her to him.
“Isabel,” he murmured, placing a hand in her hair as he continued to pull her down on him, and suddenly she found he was kissing her.
His lips were unbelievably warm and soft, and she felt herself melting as his tongue probed the inside of her mouth. Just as suddenly as it had started, Isabel felt Alaric’s grip loosen. When she pushed herself up she found he was asleep again. Her body trembled as her heart thrummed beneath her breast. She hurried from the room and entered her own, flopping down on her bed to calm herself. She had kissed guys before and she was definitely no virgin, yet no man had ever caused such a strong reaction within her and she was terrified.
Alaric awoke just as the sun’s rays began to brighten the sky. He rose to his feet slowly, his movements shouting with every cut and bruise from the battle. As he made his way above deck he could hear feet clomping around and saw the Shumi had busied themselves with various tasks to get the ship ready to sail. He glanced over at the other ships behind them and saw they were doing the same. Isabel was standing behind the wheel, a determined look on her face, as she stared out the mouth of the cave. Memory of last night’s dream suddenly shook him. She had come to him in the night, clad in a sheer gown that left nothing to the imagination. She sat on his bed, leaned forward and placed a kiss on his forehead. Her eyes burned with desire, her lips parted and full. He reached for her and pressed her against him, capturing her lips in a sensuous kiss that made his blood surge. He could still remember the feel of her lush body against his. He shook the memory from his mind as he could feel his trousers tightening. No, that would do neither of them any good. A small Shumi hurried to Isabel’s side, they exchanged words, and then he hurried off again. She turned to him as he approached, and he thought he’d caught an expression briefly flick across her face, followed by a soft blush.
“Good morning, highness,” Isabel greeted him as he approached. “Should you be out of bed so soon?”
“And here I thought I had left my mother at home,” he teased.
“You were badly injured last night, prince,” Isabel replied firmly, her face showing concern.
“Tis but a scratch milady.” He reached out and stroked a finger against her cheek, the softness of her skin sending a shiver through his body that made his heart leap.
“Thank you for your concern,” he whispered, suddenly hoarse.
Isabel blushed deeply, a heat emanated from her eyes that sorely tempted him to make that delicious dream from last night a reality.
Had it been a dream?
Heroes and Hearts was a great quick read. I loved everything about the story and its characters. I can really see where this will be a good little series. The only thing I found a bit hard to believe was Isabel’s quick acceptance of the whole new life that was thrust upon her. Also, I was left wondering about her mother and what exactly went on while Omar was away. I felt that this could have definitely been a longer book and would have clarified quite a few unanswered questions. Overall, it was a wonderfully quick read that I would recommend to anyone looking for a quick Fantasy/Romantic read. I really can’t wait for the next in the series. I am hoping that with the new story we will still see Alaric and Isabel. They were great characters that I definitely want more of.
I’d like to thank Reading Addiction Book Tours for letting me host today’s stop. If you want to know more about Noemi Betancourt you can click on her links below. If you’d like to learn more about Heroes and Hearts you can go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.
BookRix Profile Page: http://www.bookrix.com/-noemibetancourt