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Betina Krahn

Dear Author

REVIEW: Make Me Yours by Betina Krahn, Take Two

Dear Ms. Krahn,

Jane’s already done the first review letter about your latest book which takes the pressure off me to recount the plot. Love it when Jane does that. Your author’s note states that this is supposed to be about a strong woman taking her hero in hand and getting him to do what she wants, more or less. In this you succeed very well. It’s also another fun and funny book from you that will join several others on my Betina Krahn favorites list.

Mariah displays her intelligence early in the game with her diversionary tactics at the inn. While this might not be the dark ages or even the Tudor ages when a King or Prince of Wales and his rowdy crew could get away with murder, she’d still have a hard time getting any justice for any damages the “Jacks” might do at her inn. So, why not prevent damages in the first place? Sounds like a plan to me too.

Secondly, I love the fact that even though Mariah is ostensibly a powerless woman more or less at the mercy of the two men sent to procure her agreement to becoming the Prince’s mistress, she’s far from a weak, quaking character. She, by god, is not going to go down without a fight. But she’s also clever enough not to directly oppose the plan to marry her off in order for Bertie to assuage his sensibilities by having a married mistress. Mariah knows that a flat “no” will get her nowhere but in deep trouble with these men whose future advancement depends on getting the Prince what he wants. So she slyly drags things out and plays for time. All while studying her opponents to gain the upper hand in their arguments.

Another thing that delighted me is the fact that Mariah enjoyed the physical side of her first marriage and looks to replay that in her second one. She might not have had a romantic first marriage but she and her husband got along well and she neither hated nor revered him. Thus she isn’t mired in memories of either One Twue Love or The Marriage from Hell.

Mariah turns the tables on Jack St. Lawrence with his list of men from which she is supposed to choose her next husband. This won’t be the last time she pricks his conscience about his role in this farce – as she sees it – and she enjoys making Jack squirm almost as much as she does besting him. And she’s great at both.

With her insistence on checking out each of the potential candidates for her hand, Mariah slowly gets Jack to acknowledge the wretched position in which he’s helped put her. It’s only a couple of weeks duty to him in order to gain his advancement but it’s a lifetime sentence for her with her new husband. Why shouldn’t she look at each man and see what she’d have to live with? Why can’t she add a few requirements to the list and playfully torment Jack while she’s at it? And once she discovers that Jack is the one for her, why not try for the prize if she can get him?

And I truly enjoyed watching Jack come to realize exactly what he was forcing Mariah into. His older brothers might have already played the game before him but Jack’s got enough common decency to become embarrassed by the whole charade as he watches Mariah meet and reject the men he, Jack, had so casually and without much thought, put forward as potential husbands. One wonders if the St. Lawrence men would have been so quick to engage in this kind of political service to their Prince had they a sister amongst them.

A problem I often have with romance books is the insta love I’m supposed to believe is forever. The couple knows each other for two weeks or sometimes less under fairly superficial circumstances and, yeah, it’s lurve. Here we get to see Mariah and Jack really get to know the other, to see beneath the facade to the nitty gritty. They discover the person inside and it’s that person, and not the pretty package, that ultimately catches the other.

I also love Jack’s ending monologue to the Prince about how he, Jack, has found his better half and how he’s learned that he can’t just serve the Prince but also has to be able to serve himself in order to be the best man he can be. It might be more Romance Man than Real Man but it’s great to read and a part of the book I know I’ll reread.

I didn’t have Jane’s problem with the Prince of Wales. I’ve read enough about him to believe that he might actually act this way and I had to laugh at his reaction to the choice of words Mariah uses to describe how she views his proposal for her to be his mistress. I also could believe that the “Jacks” were among the rackety crowd with whom he surrounded himself.

The secondary characters have their part in the story but never overshadow Mariah or Jack. I like that the book is so short as it concentrates our attention on the main story without any unneeded subplots. As I said, it’s a fun book with a strong heroine who finds her equally strong and appreciative hero and one I had a great time reading. B

~Jayne

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

Dear Author

REVIEW: Make Me Yours by Betina Krahn

Dear Ms. Krahn:

I don’t think I’ve read a Blaze Historical before (and I’m not even sure what a Blaze Historical is). I’ll admit that I passed over this book initially when I was perusing the eHarlequin ebook website because the blurb which included a reference to Prince of Wales and I am always nervous about the incorporation of Very Famous People in books. But! I am so glad that I did get this as an ARC because I actually thought the book was great and I wouldn’t have read it had it not been sent to me.

Mariah Eller is a widow whose sole inheritance from her deceased husband is the Eller-Stapleton Inn. One evening she is called to the Inn because several wealthy gentlemen were about to smash out the windows, molest her serving girl, and generally destroy the inn. Worse, because the so called gentlemen have signed her register under fake names (Jack Sprat, Jack B Nimble, Union Jack, Jack A. Dandy, Jack Ketch, Jack O. Lantern), she can’t even hold them responsible if they do wreak havoc. Her only choice is to lull them into a drunken stupor. Upon arriving in the inn’s public room armed with her wits, a fiddler, and a lot of liquor, Mariah recognizes that one of her “guests” is Bertie, Prince of Wales. Mariah does her job well enough, flirting with six men and ostensibly drinking them all under the table that she catches the interest of Bertie.

The Prince of Wales dispatches Jack B. Nimble a.k.a Jack St. Lawrence and Jack O. Lantern, Baron Marchant, to procure the services of Mariah as Bertie’s new mistress. Bertie only engages in liasons with married women so Mariah is presented with the dubious honor of becoming a whore for the prince as well as being given over to some faceless man in marriage. Mariah has few options. As Marchant tells her, “One word from the prince and your thousand-pound loan can be paid and stricken from both ledger and memory. A different word, however, could bring the note due this very day. You are surely clever enough to see the advantage of allying yourself to such power.”

Mariah is clever enough to see she has no choice. Jack has provided her with a list of 4 gentlemen. Mariah insists on meeting all of them and Jack will be her escort. Mariah does not set out to seduce Jack, but the sexual attraction between the two is strong and Jack, well, “She was striking, sensual, self-possessed and had already proven she had as much command over his body as he did.”

But even if Jack where to marry Mariah, there is the problem that Bertie expects Mariah to be delivered to him and he would not be happy with Jack sampling the wares. The St. Lawrence family has always been a friend to the crown and in exchange for services rendered, Jack’s brothers have been able to gain advantageous marriages. Jack is expected to do the same.

There are some drawbacks to the story. Jack is portrayed as a man of science and learning but I felt that this part of his character was underdeveloped. The ending crumbled a bit for me because I didn’t feel like I had enough sense for the type of man Bertie was that would allow for the resolution that occurred. I needed more backstory or worldbuilding as it pertained to Bertie.

Overall, though, Make Me Yours read like a breath of fresh air. I loved Mariah and her embrace of her sexuality. Her husband was a worldly man and awoke in Mariah a passion that she hadn’t known existed. When he died, she missed that physical attention. While Jack is not the aggressor in this story, there is no denying that he has power from simply being a man and this power is well met by Mariah’s own self possession. One of my particularly favorite scenes is when Mariah is purportedly making a list of things that Bertie might like in terms of clothes, scents, and other female accoutrements. It’s a seduction scene of dialogue:

“What do you think–is her more visual or tactile?” When he scowled, she clarified, “Is he a looker or a toucher?” Holding her pencil poised, she appeared thoughtful. “He seemed to like having his hands in my hair.”

“It’s not for me to say,” he bit out, filled with images and indignation.

“I only ask because you are my sole source of information, and it has a direct impact on what sort of garments I buy. Some men like to see a woman’s bounty grandly and brazenly displayed. Others prefer to have to peel away layers of frilly armor to reveal a woman’s intimate secrets.”

A woman’s bounty…frilly armor… intimate secrets…Every word was an incantation conjuring salacious images in his head.
….
“Very well.” She broke the silence and made a note on her pad. “You refuse to discuss the prince’s preferences, so I shall just have to be guided by your own.”

“Mine?” His grip on his walking stick and his jaw both loosened.

“As a representative. Most certainly. You hunt together, attend the same functions and admire the same fashionable ladies, do you not? Then what appeals to you must, by all logic, appeal to him.”
….
“So, Jack St. Lawrence–” her voice lowered and lapped around his tensed body in warm, suggestive waves “–in intimate situations, do you prefer to see a woman arrayed in permissive silk lingerie or cinched into stern-boned corsets and twenty-button gloves?”

His teeth ground together. He squeezed his eyes tighter and his whole body tensed. Provocative flashes of nipples veiled by translucent silk and breasts bulging above black satin boning flared in his mind. Punishment indeed. The silk in his vision slid…the corset loosened…blue eyes burned and wine-sweetened lips beckoned…tempting and accusing him. Hypocrite.

I can see this appealing to many historical romance readers and I hope that they don’t miss it because it’s packaged as a category. B

Best regards

Jane

This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.