A Private Collection
Daisy Wellfleet needs a husband if she means to keep control of her grandfather’s hotel. Lawrence Bailey, wounded in a mine explosion, needs somewhere to recuperate. For a marriage of convenience he sounds entirely suitable.
But the man who shows up, three days late, is not what she expected from his letters. He’s too healthy, too handsome, and generally just too much of everything. Now Daisy can only wish Lawrence Bailey would stop distracting her, before she falls in love— the last thing a fiercely independent woman needs.
And Lawrence Bailey has a secret. He’s just not himself. He’s not Lawrence Bailey at all, but Luke Blackwood. If only he could untangle everything, start at the beginning again. If only she’d let him get a word in edgeways, because falling in love is the last thing a sensible, solitary man needs.
Quickly, she looked down at her dish again, licking her spoon clean. Had he just moved his chair closer or was it her imagination? She wouldn’t have minded if he had. His nearness made her skin come alive with anticipation. It was almost as if she was on the verge of a fever. Perhaps she’d had too much to drink tonight and the champagne bubbles put her over the edge, but everything they said suddenly seemed so much more significant, every gesture he made toward her more deeply felt. Or was it his dangerous dessert that put her in this mood?
A man capable of making a swoon-worthy dessert like this was surely capable of any naughty trick. She slowly licked the bowl of her spoon.
Guy wouldn’t know his way around a kitchen, but then he’d never needed to know and never would. There were always people standing by to do things for him. She supposed in many ways she was simply another of his minions. Certainly the way he talked to her tonight, that was how he viewed her.
Lawrence Bailey, on the other hand, was a survivor who knew how to take care of himself. He relied on no one else. Knowing all about survival, she’d felt that kindred spark the moment they met. His attempts to seem sickly and weak had failed miserably because she’d seen through him. I need you, he’d said to her. But he didn’t need her at all. He wanted her. That was different.
And she wanted him.
“Kiss me,” she said suddenly, dropping her spoon, pushing her chair back across the flagged stone floor.
Startled, he looked at her, his glass paused halfway to his lips.
She stood, finished off her champagne with one unladylike gulp, set her flute down, and repeated, “Kiss me. What are you waiting for, man? Christmas? An embroidered invitation?”
He was on his feet before the last word was completely out of her mouth. Her arms went around his broad shoulders and she gave herself to the kiss as if she needed it to sustain her life. His tongue tangled with hers and the table groaned as it moved across the flagged stone. The candles trembled just as she did and dimly she was aware of her empty glass tipping as her hip knocked into it.
Lawrence caught it in one hand. “If I keep kissing you like this, you know what will happen?”
She nodded mutely, grabbed the collar of his robe and pulled him close again, her head falling back, the pins loosening, hair falling free.
* * * *
So she liked chocolate. Lucky guess. He hadn’t quite anticipated this effect, however, and doubted it could all be contributed to the pudding. Her evening with Guy Westerfield must not have gone well. He dare not think it was anything he’d said to her earlier in the conservatory. He was only surprised his saucy questions hadn’t earned him a slapped face.
Lifting her onto the table, he pressed another kiss to her mouth, his hands quickly discarding hairpins, tangling his fingers in all those luxurious copper curls. He’d dreamed of this since he first saw her in his father’s painting with her hair long and loose about her naked body. He wanted to devour her as she’d devoured that dessert, licking her bowl clean. But he wasn’t accustomed to women making the demands. Luke Blackwood was always in control. He’d have to get a firmer grip of the situation before it got out of hand. He reminded himself that he was supposed to tell her the truth tonight. The chocolate dessert and the champagne were meant to smooth the way for a confession.
It wasn’t working out that way.
Tongue plunging deep, he moved her back across the table while her fingers hung on to his collar. It couldn’t have been very comfortable lying on the rough wood, but she made no complaint. Her eyes were hot, a few shades darker than usual, her bronze lashes half-lowered. He felt every excitable breath she took, her splendid breasts almost popping out of the flimsy gown. Lowering his head, he nibbled her ear, the side of her neck, and then the warm curve of her bosom until she purred like a playful kitten, arching under him, her hands fumbling for the belt of his robe. He grabbed her questing hands and stood straight, looking down at her. He ought to tell her the truth before they were both in over their heads.
Instead he asked, “Do you want some more chocolate, Daisy?”
She blinked. “Ummmm.”
He transferred both her wrists to his left hand and pulled them up over her head, holding them to the table. With his right hand he reached for the dish of sweet dessert he’d left uneaten. “Are you sure? You shouldn’t over-indulge.”
“I want some more,” she purred. “Please.”
Swallowing a chuckle, he dug his forefinger into the creamy, whipped pudding and brought it to her lips. She almost bit his finger off at the knuckle.
“Now say ‘thank you, sir’.”
His finger still in her mouth, she turned her head to look at the dish.
“You want more? Greedy aren’t you?” He reclaimed his finger and it made a slight pop as it slid free of her pouting lips. “I suppose I can let you have a little more of mine.”
“Yes, please.” She sounded breathless and he felt her pulse racing where he held her wrists in his firm grip. Unable to resist temptation, he bent his head to lick her heaving breasts, trailing his tongue across her warm flesh and into the deep cleavage between. With his free hand, he slid her skirts and frothy petticoats up over her knees and she parted her legs.
“How much more do you want?” he murmured huskily into her skin, breathing in her light, sweet scent until it flooded his veins.
Other Books in A Private Collection:
Posted by Unknown on 22nd Apr 2012
I usually don't like to read diary-like material but I have to say that Jenika had me from the first word. It is a diary of a young woman who, through words, explained about the confusion of her sexuality and how confused she felt wanting something that she felt was not normal but knew it was for her.
Felix was the master Anna needed, one who knew what she needed and wasn't afraid to give it to her. Through her entries she has Felix described to be a man of strong willed control who wouldn't allow her insecurities to come between them or allow her to disobey and make him hurry his taking of her.
Being away from everyone and depending on one person for everything in a cabin in the woods should have had Anna anxious but deep down she knew that Felix was her master and she wanted to please him. Though his methods were extreme at time Anna flourished in her training. Secrets are kept and the book had you holding your breath for the next shoe to drop.
I give this book 5 Tea Cup because of the exceptional interpretation of all that goes on with a submissive and her master.
Posted by Unknown on 13th Apr 2012
I just had to read it twice. Entangled snagged me from the first sentence. I think it was a normal reaction considering the first thing I read was “She wasn’t supposed to be in bed with her husband”. Suspense kicked in and barely a few paragraphs later, heated sex raised its head to say hello.
Ms. Fresina was successfully able to tangle me into her web. I was desperate to understand how the protagonists, Luke and Daisy, had come to be husband and wife.
However, it wasn’t only that. The story is riddled with humor and lively descriptions. From the moment Luke got out of that coach and Daisy described him as “shockingly handsome, in a rough-hewn, unapologetic, very masculine way” I believe I was already in love with him. As for Daisy, she might have lived in the 1800's but I could easily identify with her through her independent nature, and some of her ideas (she wasn’t the weepy sort; she didn’t coo over babies, she’s very practical).
Both characters have strong personalities and the contest of wills between them was easily seen through the flowing dialogue that Ms. Fresina writes. The author also conceives everything so that the plot falls perfectly into place. I particularly liked the way she introduced Randolph Blackwell, his paintings and the other two Blackwell brothers (I’m just going to have to look for those two remaining stories). I also appreciated the crafty way in which she introduced a storm during the final climax.
Then there was the sex. Hot is an understatement. The scene with the chocolate and the champagne is, least to say, sizzling. It created a burning, wild fire that made heat spread through my own limbs. The little boat excursion was also dangerously provocative.
Finally, the ending to Entangled arrived and I wasn’t one bit disappointed. Once more, Ms. Fresina shows she knows her craft and tied the knot in a very sweet way.
Entangled is a must read! I breezed through its enjoyable pages in less than it took Daisy and Luke to fall in love!
Posted by Unknown on 11th Apr 2012
From the very beginning of the story, Luke and Daisy have an electrifying connection. Clumsy, bumbling Luke falls immediately under the vibrant Daisy’s spell. With a small misunderstanding on Daisy’s part, Luke takes tremendous advantage of her, claiming her for his own.
Ms. Fresino’s words fly off the page to paint a picture that lives and breathes. Her characters come alive with spirit and vitality, learning each other even as we learn them. Vivid descriptions make the world in which Luke and Daisy live easily visible to this reviewer, and their passion for each other makes my heart beat faster. Awesome book, awesome series.
Posted by B.H. on 20th Jul 2011
This is book 2 in a series but each of them can be read as stand alone. The first novel, Engraved, I had the pleasure of reading and I rated 5 stars, loved it! Engraved was also June’s book of the month. Let’s see if the second book is as great...
The Blackwood’s are at it again. This handsome brothers are nothing but heart melting trouble. This is Lucien’s story. He’s confronted by a beautiful woman named Daisy who thinks he’s her fiancé whom she never met. Meanwhile, he has a painting from his father’s collection of her. From there it all tangles into a crazy, lust filled adventure.
Ms. Fresina has a way of grabbing hold of the reader right away and creating a fun journey interweaved with romance. It was absolutely effortless to read this. I simply got lost in the beautiful world of 1888 that she painted with her words.
Even if you don’t like historical novels but love heartwarming romance I’d recommend Entangled by talented author Jayne Fresina. I can’t wait to read the third installment of ‘A Private Collection’!
Posted by Yanisayz on 15th Jun 2011
Entangled is one of those stories that you pick up and read until you finish, and finish you will. Entangled is number one a great story of boy meets girl, boy is attracted to girl, boy and girl end up together through some weird circumstances, boy and girl end up happily ever after. Number two, it’s HOT, HOT, HOT. I believe this is considered an erotic novel, but think it’s more a really hot romance. The sexual tension was immediate and I really enjoyed how the story was structured. I also really love the big bad protector types, and stubborn, independent women, and you can find both in this story.
I am a huge fan of couples that are perfect for each other being thrown together in a commitment and learning to love one another and this was one of those stories. Sometimes I might complain how immediate their minds change, and while the timing was pretty immediate in this story I really liked how you can see the progression of their connection because most of the story takes place in the span of two days. Two days was all it takes.
This was also my first cowboyish novel, usually I read historical/Victorian, but after this book I will definitely be picking up more of these. I can’t reiterate how much I enjoyed reading it, not just for the steamy scenes, but the love felt totally true and made my heart swell. I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future. I think she has more written about the Blackwell brothers, though I think none of them can beat Luke.
Posted by Vicky on 7th Jun 2011
A case of mistaken identity. But once Luke actually meets Daisy, he would have been anyone or anything she wanted or needed. An arranged marriage meets with his approval, until he hears her stipulations…Now he is wondering how to get out of this Entangled mess and into her heart.
The infamous Randolph Blackwood is dead. Never accept by the gentry no matter how rich because he was “new” money with no title, he eventually embraced his outcaste status and became a known eccentric. The special clause in his will comes as a surprise to his sons. If they want their share of his vast wealth, they must return the paintings in his private collection to the original models. Three original paintings done by Randolph- one painting returned per son. If they fail to do so, all their inheritance goes to the housekeeper…and her cat, not that she owns a cat…yet.
Luke Blackwood can’t believe the demands of his father’s will. He has better things to do than chase all over the country after some old hussy that posed for his scoundrel father. That is until he sees the painting and is captivated by the redhead. Before now, women were an unwanted distraction from his books, needed only to quickly take care of his lust. If the painting weren’t enough, meeting Daisy seals the deal and he is mesmerized by her. But her assumption that he is someone else pulls him in so fast he never has the chance to tell her who he really is. Before he knows it, he is playing the part of her fiancé and doesn’t know how to tell her the truth…
Daisy Wellfleet’s parents died poor when she was still young. So she ended up “in service,” i.e. working as a maid. Thus when her grandfather dies and leaves his small hotel to her and her brothers, she argues with them about selling it. The brothers are already settled in with businesses or jobs, but Daisy jumps at the chance to get out of ‘service’ and become independent. It is unheard of, if not impossible, for a woman to own and run a business during this time. She is having trouble with suppliers, merchants in town, and even a perspective buyer of the hotel hassling her. The solution she comes up with is to get married, abet temporarily. But the man she arranged as her temporary husband is nothing like she was lead to expect. The man before her looks nothing like a miner after a serious accident needing a place to get back on his feet, one who is use to taking orders and knowing his place.
But she is in desperate need and has already corresponded with Laurence about what is expected. Like that this is a marriage in name only. She wants her independence more than anything. He will have to know his place and move on once he recovers. And he will just have to understand about her long-term lover, that is part of this agreement. But the way he looks and acts is nothing like she expected from his few letters. And the way she is responding is no good either! This is not good if she wants to stay detached and standing on her own.
Entangled follows the lead of the first story (Engraved), and is a non-standard historical as well. There is no paranormal touches this time, but many other elements from Engraved are similar. Daisy is not only not a virgin, this time she is even a working woman, first as a maid and now a business owner and manager. Luke not only is not a lord or rake, he is almost a geek in his love of books over people. And there may be a Lord, Daisy’s lover, but he is a classic product of the times with his entitled attitude and carelessness of Daisy. No romancing of things or people of the times in Entangled, this second book.
Again, Entangled shows us another side of life during these times than many historical romances. Daisy is not only working class, but isn’t virgin either. She even has a long-term (gentry) lover who she knows she will never marry, very unusual in historical romances. She has even accepted that she can’t marry him, isn’t hoping to is some secret part of her heart (is happy with the current set-up, when she can be on her own). She really wants to make a success of the hotel, not for riches but to be independent and not have to work for others. Her brothers just want the money from selling it, so she has to find a way to make it make money. Thus her plan. Luke showing up to return the painting just puts him at the wrong place at the wrong time, or is that the right place at the right time? He was attracted by her looks, but falls for her personality. I liked that he really noticed the real Daisy fast and was taken with the things that irritated her lover (and brothers). Daisy is easy to sympathize with and her fighting spirit make on really like her. Luke, on the other hand, hides behind a gruff manner but sneaks under one’s skin when not looking. He claims to not like women or kids much, yet his defense of Daisy and the tike who hangs around the hotel proves his attitude is for show. Talk about falling in love, to actually consider staying another person just to be with your heart’s desire? And the way he goes about winning her when she still thinks he is Laurence was sweet, if stupid (eye roll at men here). Luke may not have been real smart when taking advantage of the mistaken identity, but I can’t even really blame him after he gets blown over by Daisy. I just couldn’t help but really like Luke, even when he wasn’t being the smartest guy around.
I really liked Entangled, even better than the first Private Collection story. Though this is part of the Private Collection series, it work great as a stand alone and in fact has only a little to do with the series (why Luke is looking for Daisy in the first place). Daisy and Luke are both great, strong characters and play off each other even better. Entangled, like the first Private Collection story, is a unusual historical romance in that the characters are not your romantic figures, but more everyday people that we can relate to much better. And their love story is not a standard one either, but a fun ride with several challenges along the way. If this is what we can expect, I can’t wait for Harry’s (the last Blackwood brother) story.