||Jun 11, 2007
After her wedding is canceled, Calli Marshall finds a new beginning in the hot tropical nights of Costa Rica and the arms of a stranger.
J. A. Clarke, Romance Author
Desperate to reinvent her life after her wedding is canceled, Calliope Marshall chooses an exotic vacation in Costa Rica. The guidebook, however, neglects to mention steamy nights and strip poker games with a man who looks like an archangel. But even an archangel can come, it seems, with a devious, meddling grandmother, and soon Calli finds her quest for independence diverted in an entirely unexpected way.
Matt Holloway is on vacation to keep an eye on his grandmother. He doesn't expect to be rescuing a cute, curvy muse from territorial monkeys and carnivore-infested rivers. The strip poker games in the wee hours of the morning are a bonus, until he finds himself losing more than his clothes.
“First,” she said, “you have to get rid of that.”
He looked in the direction of her pointing finger and she was positive he shuddered. “Just a little spider. He won’t hurt anything. In fact, he’ll take care of the other bugs.”
“You’re scared of spiders.”
“Am not.” He parked his long frame on the second bed. “How about some poker, mummy?”
She crossed her arms and didn’t bother to hide her grin. “Not until that creature disappears.”
He sighed and unfolded himself from the bed. “Fine, but I don’t do murder.” He vanished into the small cubicle, which passed for a bathroom with the minimum necessities. When he reappeared he was trailing two feet of toilet paper from one hand.
Mystified, she watched as he reached high above where the spider hung and tucked an end of the toilet paper into the blind. When he was done, the tail concealed the creature. He brushed his hands together. “Mission accomplished. Let’s play poker.”
“But it’s still there.”
“You said it had to disappear. Can you see it?” He sat down and picked up the cards.
“Then my work is done.” He began to shuffle the cards. “Ante up. Colones or clothes?”
“I don’t have any colones.”
“Strip poker it is then.”
She wriggled onto the bed across from him. “Is this how you get dates?”
He began to deal the cards, a grin on his face. “Nah. It’s usually about the third or fourth step in my dating strategy. We have to compress things here because our time is so short.”
“We’re not dating.” The idea played leapfrog in her belly. She picked her cards up.
“Sure we are. We’ve kissed. I rescued you. You dumped me in a carnivore-infested river. We’re playing strip poker at the crack of dawn. Ergo we’re dating.”
“Ergo? Who are you and what do you do? And we’re not playing strip poker. Ack!” Another boom of thunder right overhead made her drop her cards. Lightning flashes strobed across the closed blinds.
Matt yawned and patiently redealt the cards. “It’ll be over soon,” he said. “These storms never last for long. Sounds like we’re playing for answers to questions.”
The Romance Studio
4 1/2 hearts--After Calliope Marshall’s wedding is suddenly cancelled, she decides to take a little vacation to an exotic location. When she arrives in Costa Rica she doesn't expect to find a man who looks like an archangel. For that matter, he's an archangel who enjoys late night strip poker games and comes with a meddling grandmother.
Matt Holloway has come to Costa Rica to keep an eye on his grandmother. When he rescues a cute, curvy lady, his plans change. He suddenly finds himself playing late night strip poker and losing a lot more than just his clothes. Can he convince Calli this is more than just a vacation fling or will he lose her to her ex-fiancé?
J.A. Clarke has written such a fun story, from the large monkeys, to the infested rivers, to the sexual tension between these two true to life characters. This is an excellent story. I absolutely loved Calli and Matt and found myself hoping love would catch them from the very beginning. I would highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a light, fun, sexy read.
4 blue ribbons--Calliope Marshall decides that she needs to do some soul searching when her wedding is canceled. Taking a vacation to Costa Rica instead of a honeymoon, she is ready to relax and find herself once again. Immediately upon arriving, she meets a wonderful and eccentric woman who in turn introduces Calli to her grandson. Sparks fly and Calli has no idea what has just happened. All she knows is that she can’t stop thinking about Matt Holloway.
Matt Holloway is on babysitting duty. Keeping an eye on his witty and doting grandmother, he never expects to meet anyone interesting while in Costa Rica. It seems, however, that he has done something right because as soon as he meets Miss Calliope Marshall, Matt knows that she has to be in his life and his bed. Preferably the latter as soon as possible.
Matt and Calli come together in blazing sensuality and raw emotions. Each is scared to death of the feelings the other invokes in them, and while they tell themselves they can leave this vacation romance in Costa Rica after the vacation is over, neither of them is able to do so. What happens once they are back on the mainland? Will this only be a once in a lifetime fling or will they finally admit that they can’t live without the other?
ARMS OF A STRANGER by J. A. Clarke explores the feelings and emotions people experience while away from their normal lives. Calli is not used to being desired and feeling desirable so she is a bit unsure as to whether or not her feelings for Matt are genuine as well as his for her. She wants her independence, and I can’t blame her. Luckily, for me as a reader, she wanted Matt in her life. Their love has its ups and downs. I laughed at their strip poker antics and got teary eyed at their reunion. Nothing says romance to me more than star crossed lovers finding each other and that is exactly what happens in ARMS OF A STRANGER. I enjoyed this book immensely.
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