Hi Fan Fic readers!! Yes, you read that right! I am thrilled to say that author, Cullenboyz has agreed to share with us what she has been reading lately. I am so glad that she did, because we are always looking out for the next best story out there.
Check out her rec, as well as mine…
Bookish Temptations Fanfic Friday Guest Review by Cullenboyz
Author’s summary: In the Cornish countryside of 1804 England, a foreign visitor brings Isabella to reconsider the inexplicable occurrences she had always taken for granted. WIP
The Plot: Orphaned Isabella Swan lives on the dramatic coast of Cornwall with a devoted family servant. Far from wealthy, she has all that she needs and is content with her lot, until she happens upon the enigmatic, sophisticated, and dead-sexy Frenchman, Edward Maçon, who is visiting her provincial hamlet for reasons he will not or cannot divulge. All-too-brief meetings between the two leave us each time yearning for more (not to worry—there’s more!).
And Mr. Maçon isn’t the only one with mysterious qualities. With each chapter, we learn more about Isabella’s heritage and her own unusual gifts. The story takes unexpected turns, fate and murderous villains conspire against our heroine, and wildly romantic adventure ensues.
My take: The first two chapters left me greatly impressed with the author’s sheer ability to spin a phrase and describe a scene in a style that calls to mind Jane Austen. Writing: excellent. Chapter 3 threw all that cerebral hooey right out the window. I was there, baby—no awareness of the author or the story, just a head full of When will they meet again? and Dear lord, the hotness! How does she do that without bare feet and low-slung jeans?! Isabella is a very appealing heroine, and this Edward is the most interesting non-human incarnation I’ve read, complex with an underlying darkness. Twenty chapters in, I’m still not sure exactly what he is, and I’m dying to know!
Conclusion: If you enjoy Regency era romance, you will love this story with everything in your being. If period fiction isn’t your thing, I still give Isabella my highest recommendation. Give it a few chapters, and you’ll never want it to end.
Author’s summary: Sometimes, no matter how strong you are, life deals you blows that are too heavy to carry on your own. Sometimes, no matter how fragile you feel, you’re the only one who can help bear the load of another. Sometimes when strong and fragile collide, the world spins and sways. Complete
So this is definitely one of the more epic and longer stories, I’ve read this year. I loved it! This is not your typical Bella mind you. She is a dancer. A fantastic one at that. So she is not the fragile clumsy Bella that we normally read about. You might have noticed in the banner that her skin tone is different also. That didn’t deter me at all, because I still loved her.
Edward is definitely the dark and brooding soul in this one. He is a recovering alcoholic that is suddenly raising his young niece. Melody, all on his own. When Melody shows interest in dancing, Edward can’t say no to her, even though it’s a struggle for them financially and impedes on his time at AA meetings. Bella can’t help noticing their struggle, so she steps up and taking Melody under her wing.
Edward watches Bella dance one evening, when she thinks she’s alone, and he is immediately drawn to her. He may not like that Bella shares ownership of the dance studio with her ex, but he loves that both Melanie and him become a part of Bella’s life.
Bella and Edward both try to keep their distance, for various reasons. Bella even tries going out on a date but the night takes a different turn when she realizes who is waiting for her outside.
Excerpt from Chapter 13:
I hear a deep intake of breath followed by a thick swallow. “You look beautiful.”
When my heart stops this time, it’s with a couple of massively hefty thumps, after which everything around me goes perfectly still and silent.
“You look beautiful, Bella. I mean, you always look beautiful; I’ve wanted to tell you that…for a while. But tonight…right now…you look…God, there are no words…”
The entire world disappears, and suddenly all I can hear are Edward’s and my heavy breaths. They continue on and on for an endless moment; his so potent that I can practically feel them tickling my ear. When my heart somehow throbs back into service, it races.
“Isabella? Isabella, what’s going on?” James asks impatiently, and I get the feeling he’s asked more than once. So I swiftly shoot him one more look, holding another finger up to my lips.
But it’s actually a good question, and so I ask Edward exactly that. “What’s going on?”
“What’s going on?” he snorts. “What’s going on is that…I’ve been a total and complete…idiot…and now that I see, I might be too late. So instead of being there with you, instead of being the man granted the honor of sitting across from you when you look so heartbreakingly beautiful, I’m watching you do something with another man that you should be doing with me, something I should’ve asked you to do a long time ago. Then maybe you would’ve worn that dress that looks so god damn gorgeous on you for me. And you would’ve worn your hair like that for me…”
My breaths escape in short, shallow bursts, eyes glazed over, seeing nothing, hearing nothing but his voice.
“Isabella, is everything okay?” James questions, once more breaking me out of my trance, yet I can’t make myself respond because something Edward just said hits me…
“…watching you do something with another man that you should be doing with me…that dress that looks so god damn gorgeous on you…
I gasp at the realization, and with huge, bewildered eyes, turn my head from side to side, scanning everything before me with new purpose. There are more couples like James and I seated around the restaurant, at small tables lit by solitary, votive candles; some are laughing quietly, some are whispering, heads close together, drinking wine. The larger parties are louder, rowdier, yet none of them have the one person I’m searching for, so maybe I’m wrong.
Then I anxiously look out through large, restaurant window, where people stroll by in the cool, dark evening. But none of them are familiar. Half lifting myself off my seat and heart pounding in my chest, I narrow my eyes and look across the street; more people walking back and forth, here and there and then…then…in the corner…a tall, solitary figure…standing still, on his cell phone, eyes on me…
“That guy doesn’t deserve you.”
“And you do?” I breathe shakily, taking a seat again and somehow holding his gaze across the distance.
“No. But that doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change how much I want you.”
I close my eyes and swallow thickly, dropping my head. “Do you? I’m not so sure you do.”
“I want you so badly my head spins when I’m around you. You drive me so crazy that I say the stupidest shit when all I want to do is tell you how perfect you are. And you want me too, Bella.”
I snort unevenly, probably sounding ridiculous actually. My face feels hot; my entire body burns.
“You sound pretty sure of that.”
“Bella, I can practically see your blush from here; I’ve memorized the way it slowly crawls up your shoulders, over your neck and into your cheeks. I hear it in your voice, and whenever you blush like that I know I’ve gotten something right; I’ve said something right, and God, I love seeing you blush. It’s perfect, just like you.”
“I’m not. I’m far from it.”
“You are to me. And yes, you want me too. I do know that, just like I know that you’d rather be with me right now than with that asshole sitting across from you.”
My eyes trail to James. He’s staring at me in confusion, looking quite irritated, and for one second, I feel a bit sorry, so I shoot him an apologetic smile.
He rolls his eyes.
But I can’t be bothered to care beyond that because this entire scene seems surreal. I’m dreaming. That has to be it. The boredom has knocked me out and now I’m dreaming. And just how in dreams falling causes you to wake up, if I hang up, I’ll end this dream.
So I won’t hang up. Not while Edward is saying these things to me, things I’ve wanted to hear for so long now…
“Where’s all this coming from? Why now?”
“Why now?” he snorts. “Because I couldn’t wait any longer. Because another day without telling you would’ve killed me.”
“Oh Jesus,” I whisper because I may need His holy help getting through this.
Edward remains silent too. Across from me, James taps indignant fingers over the table, sighing heavily, resting his head over his other hand.
“I’m in the middle of a date.”
“Tell him something came up. Tell him you have to go. Tell him you’re not interested. Tell him the truth: that I’m out here waiting for you. Tell him whatever you want, and then get up, and come finish your night with me.”
I laugh a loud, manic laugh, and I know I must sound insane. My entire body shivers.
“You’re crazy,” I say breathlessly.
“Maybe I am. But I don’t care anymore because it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change what I feel, or what either one of us wants.”
A heady thrill runs up my spine into every extremity, making my entire body hum and tingle. I palm my cheek to try to cool myself down, but I’m on fire. Maybe I’m not dreaming after all.
“I’ll make you a deal,” he murmurs, his voice warm and rough all at once, with a slight tremble to it as if despite the self-assertiveness of his words, he’s not so sure of himself, and little does he know what that alone does to me.
“Are you listening?”
“Intently,” I assure him.
“Just give me the next few hours. Come out here, and let me take you out. Spend some time with me, and if after those few hours I haven’t convinced you, I won’t bother you again, and you can call Mr. Three-piece-suit, and I’m sure he’ll be more than willing to take you out again.”
My heart’s about to beat out of my chest. “I’ve got one question,” I say.
“What is it?”
“Convince me of what?”
His voice sounds like velvet against my ear when he answers. “Convince you that you belong with me.”
Bella has her own demons, but there isn’t much time spent on them. Edward and Bella focus on their future and as the story progresses, it turns into a beautiful one. I love Bella’s natural way with Melody, and her thoughtfulness towards Edward’s addiction. Edward really grows in this story, as he works through forgiving himself for his past mistakes.
Hope everyone is having a great summer so far!!
P.S. Thanks so much to Cullenboyz for doing a guest post with me. If you want to share with us what you are reading, and want to do a guest review, give me your email in the comments below or reach out to Tamie through the Bookish Temptations email. She will forward your email to me, and we can chat! We love guest reviewers!!