ARC-Review: MOONLIGHT MIRAGE by Sami Lee

A new lover, an old flame, sultry moonlit nights. Why let inhibitions stand in the way?

Two years ago, Hayley Bryant left Australia on a round-the-world odyssey that changed her life, and her attitude. After that, coming face to face with the man whose rejection sent her packing shouldn’t affect her at all, right?

Except there’s one thing that hasn’t changed—her former boss Mitchell Wood makes her burn as hot as ever. The difference is, Hayley’s now a grown woman who knows how to get what she wants, and she wants Mitch. Trouble is, she hasn’t come to her friend’s wedding alone. Her very sexy friend with benefits, Ty Butler, might pose a problem.

Business was always Mitch’s first love…at least until he hired his little sister’s friend as an intern. Pushing her away was the right thing to do, but now his sister’s wedding has Hayley re-entering his life—and the empty place in his heart. Soon he’s acting less like the consummate workaholic and more like a man crazy in love. But Hayley’s “plus one” is an unexpected obstacle.

Fortunately, Mitch has never been one to shy away from a little competition…

Product Warnings:
Bilby Island’s sensual spell strikes again. Book contains hot lovin’ made in beautiful tropical surrounds, some exhibitionism, voyeurism and bondage. Best read with a margarita in hand and the fan switched to high.

Title: MOONLIGHT MIRAGE
Author: Sami Lee
Series: Bandicoot Cove: The Wedding, book 3 – novella in the anthology TROPICAL HAZE
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Year of release: 2012, September 4
Format: eBook
Source: Received an e-ARC for review from the authors of the anthology

First line:
Mitchell Wood leaned on the bar at Bar Evoke and made eye contact with the bartender.

Last line:
Then, linking hands and laughing, they began sprinting up the beach, toward the resort.

Memorable Scenes:
– the frisk-followed-by-dance scene > loved everything about it!
– Mitch head-butting Ty > priceless!
– the scene at the pool > voyeurism at its best!
– the scene with the whiskey > that was a new to me concept, kudos Ms. Lee, kudos

Though I have Ms. Lee’s complete backlist ready to read on my phone fo quite a while now, MOONLIGHT MIRAGE is my first encounter with her writing as with my massive TBR I haven’t had the chance to read her earlier work. And what an encounter it was…

Hayley Bryant is smart, vivacious, confident and bold. Once she’d laid her heart bare to Mitch Wood but when he stomped on it with rejection, she decided it was time to let go of her youthful crush and grow a thicker skin, one love and rejection could not penetrate. That was before she’s reunited with him on his sister’s wedding.

Mitchell ‘Mitch’ Wood is a intense, stubborn, unflappable and wears his coat of dominance well. Ever the workaholic businessman he thinks love is inconvenient and painful, an emotion he has no time to waste on. But Hayley turns his world and thoughts of love upside down. His stupidity made him lose her once but now he’s determined not to let that happen again.

Mitch is one complex character. He surprised me at every turn. When he unleashed the tight control he held where Hayley was concerned his powerful and commanding sexual prowess was impressive to say the least. I saw a totally different Mitch and melted right alongside Hayley.

One major secondary character is Ty Butler, pro surfer, rock-climber and skydiver. He’s Hayley’s ‘plus one’ for the wedding and her friend-with-benefits. Ty is mischievous and playful but there’s more to him than meets the eye, I was intrigued by his cracked heart tattoo.

At first I thought it was going to be another ménage but fairly soon in the book, Sami Lee definitely surprised me with the execution of this complicated three-way story that turned into more voyeurism than ménage. And then a subtle touch of BDSM (that was implicitly hinted at earlier in the story) was added to the mix and I really liked these surprising turns of events.

The way this story was set up was nothing short of brilliant. It started in a way that made me wonder where the heck the author was taking me and slowly but surely I was lured into a story that built to a climax that kept me enthralled and left me breathless and satisfied at its conclusion.
A big part of this was thanks to the writing style that was fluent, subtle and captivating. The carnality crucial for lifting a sexy contemporary to an erotic romance is subtly interwoven in a writing style that’s seemingly not very explicit but it still very much is.

Sami Lee is one of those authors who combines heat and emotion to erotic romance that is nothing but top-notch and I’m kicking myself for not reading her work sooner than this. I promise to rectify this as soon as I can!

Favorite Quotes:

But right now, drinking in the long-missed sight of her, Mitch couldn’t have asked Hayley to walk away even if he still possessed the power of speech. He felt as though some maniacal hand had curled punishing fingers around his heart and squeezed. Love was not only a damned inconvenient emotion, it was an absolute killer.

Hayley’s pulse raced as his kiss claimed her. That’s what it was, a claiming. This was Mitch branding her, obliterating every last memory of the way Ty’s body had so recently possessed hers. The all-consuming power of Mitch’s kiss, the bold, sensuous thrust of his tongue, caused more of a physical response in Hayley than anything Ty had ever done to her. If there had been a shred of doubt remaining that she’d made a mistake in ending things with Ty, Mitch’s kiss would have eradicated it.
With a primal growl that vibrated against Hayley’s lips and spread tremors through her entire being, Mitch tore his mouth from hers. His blue gaze appeared otherworldly in the strange blue light of the moon reflecting off the water. “Never again, Hayley.”

“Very good.” His response was an animalistic growl that signaled mingled satisfaction and sheer, primordial lust. He climbed off the bed, giving each of her nipples a parting nip that made Hayley gasp. She watched, rapt, as Mitch undid his belt and lowered his fly. His movements were efficient, impatient, as he shed his trousers and jocks, revealing his nude body to Hayley for the first time.

Mitch shook his head, but didn’t say anything. Instead he climbed back onto the bed, his knees between her splayed legs. “I’m going to pleasure you now,” he announced. “Nothing but pleasure, my Hayley. Take it.”

Mitch held her to him afterward, his erratic heartbeat refusing to decelerate. Dimly he recalled actually saying the word please somewhere during that incredible experience, when he, Mitch Wood, had never pleaded with anyone, man or woman, for anything.
She’d lived up to every expectation, every dream he’d had about her. She was both submissive and strong, pliant and unbreakable. There was no one else like her—no one else in the world who could make him feel this off-kilter sense of euphoria.

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