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on March 29, 2016
I like to read Anthea Lawson when I'm in the mood for something short and sweet that I can read in one sitting. While this was written cleanly with easy to read prose and no typos, the characters, particularly the hero, just didn't do it for me.

The hero, the new (and unexpected) Earl of Eastbrook had fallen in love with a woman when he was untitled. She spurned him for reasons he didn't know the extent of and has harbored a desire to seek revenge upon her since then.

Four years later, the opportunity for revenge presents itself. The Earl buys all of the debts for Juliana's family and demands five kisses as payment for the debt. In his pompous mind, he believes that he can seduce her and ruin her in that time.

For most of the short story, the characters are confused and cold to each other. However, as secrets are revealed, the Earl and Juliana quickly reconcile. The end. I felt that there were some maturity issues and too much pain for everything to be resolved so quickly. As a result, I couldn't become emotionally invested in this one.

While I've greatly enjoyed other short stories by Lawson, this one wasn't for me.
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LOVED IT. Absolutely. 38 short pages and a fantastic Second Chances theme. Juliana and Robert have a significant past, when they were too young to act upon it independently, not strong enough to face fierce parents, and their desperate love for each other has in her remained, and in him, turned to a plan of revenge. Five wicked kisses. Kisses she'll never forget. Kisses that will reawaken (he believes) her love for him. But Juliana has always loved him. She had life-and-death reasons for rejecting him. Reasons he can't understand. But then he *does* understand and everything changes, it all shifts permanently.

One surprising word misuse: "Now if only her toes would unthaw." Nope. Thaw. To unthaw is to freeze.

A powerful and rewarding ending. One of the ending paragraphs: "Their lips touched, and for a moment he smelled apple blossoms. Something in his soul stilled, the bitterness of four years dissolving in a rain of white petals."

Sensuality Level: At least PG-13+. Erections, his mouth and hands on her breasts, innuendo, he touched her intimately, talk of a most intimate kiss
Language: depends on era and location. For the regency period it's Rated R.
Violence: mild to moderate and off stage
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on October 17, 2015
I'm glad I knew there would be a happy ending, as I had to remind myself several times while waiting for Juliana's life to come crashing down around her. But there's just the right amount of angst to make the story interesting while reading to see how the story would turn around and make Robert into a good guy. He's determined to take revenge on Juliana's feelings after she cruelly broke his heart four years earlier, and now that he's inherited an earldom he's in a position to do so.

He buys up the gambling debts of Juliana's father and demands five kisses as repayment. But these aren's just any kisses. He creatively applies his kisses to Juliana's person in order to leave her wanting more. These scenes are steamy, so though they never go beyond kisses I wouldn't call this book clean. His intention is to fire up her imagination with promises of more intimate kisses. Overall a successful short story for what it's intended to be, though it would be harder to read if it was any longer - Juliana's situation is growing desperate and Robert gets the opportunity to rescue her before we hate him since the story is short.
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on October 17, 2015
There's so much I could say about this story. It was captivating from the beginning. We are thrust into the life of the Heroine, and all the worries that plague her. However, none plague her more than those caused by one man, the Hero. Their past and memories unravels so quickly for the reader and yet it seems just right. The story is fast paced and emotionally tolling. I empathized and sympathized for both the hero and heroine. I felt the injustice, the anger, the pain, the panic and fear.

However, just as quickly as their story begun, the denouement reared. Everything was tidied up too quickly. I wish the story was three or four times longer. The material was there and the writing of a great author as well. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable short story to add to one of my favorites. I will continue to imagine and fill in the blanks of their past and future in my own mind.
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on January 11, 2016
I really enjoyed Juliana's and Robert's story. I thought the repayment through 5 creative kisses was fun.

I don't think the plot would have worked as a full length novel so as a novella I think it worked. Although an epilogue would have been more satisfying.

Overall I recommend it. It was a quick, short but enjoyable read. It was free when I downloaded it but I would have gladly paid for it. I felt it was about an hour well spent.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 24, 2013
I re-read this short story and have mixed feelings about it. It is truly painful in places and not easy but it is mercifully short. The H was very cruelly dumped by the h four years previously. He has unexpectedly become an Earl and a womaniser. The h and her family are now impoverished and she needs to find a wealthy suitor. The H decides to take his revenge on the h by buying up her father's debts and demanding 5 kisses in return. He plans to shatter her through these weekly wicked kisses. We do get our hea but it's a painful journey
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on March 10, 2016
This is a short story. Good thing, too. The plot is very thin and the formulated manner in which it is revealed left me cold. I gave this 3 stars because it is decently edited. I found no chemistry between the main characters and no desire to have read a longer version.
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on March 4, 2012
This wasn't quite what I expected, but a delightful read anyway. This author did an excellent job on character development is such a short story. Juliana and Robert were truly in love, but circumstances had driven them apart. This story had a gratifying ending and the story kept moving along so it was definitely a page turner. I would like to read a full length novel by this author so I'll definitely be looking for more.
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on October 6, 2015
Was a mesmerizing story. The best way to pay a debt, by kisses. Ummm fascinating. Anthea Lawson, had a wonderful though and made a fantastic story. One of my best. Congratulations.
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on December 9, 2015
A good enjoyable book, that held my attention, and entertained. A standalone, pretty short book. A refreshing, entrance back into reading romance again, it had been awhile.
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