December 6, 2012

Review: Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun

Source: A review copy was provided by the publicist.

Anne Calhoun is one of my favorite Erotic Romance writers, and as usual she delivers a great story with interesting characters. Breath on Embers is a novella that you can get as part of Carina Press’ Red Hot Holiday anthology, or separately.

Thea’s husband died two years ago and grief has been her relentless companion. She became a loner and pretty much isolated herself from everything except music and a firefighter named Ronan. For the past nine months they have been lovers but nothing else. But of course you can’t share your body for so long and not develop feelings, which is exactly what Ronan did. And that’s when things get interesting.

This is a very introspective, quiet and melancholic story. Thea is sad and doesn't want to feel anything. She uses her iPod as a way to detach herself from her surroundings, and her only human contact is with a guy she uses for sex. She doesn't want to let go of her husband and only allows herself some physical relief but not an emotional one.

Ronan was a typical, commitment-phobe hero, made atypical by an emotionally distant heroine. Once he realizes he’s in love, he must decide whether he should settle for the only thing she’s willing to give him, or if he wants to push her and risk losing her. The answer is obvious: he can’t continue living the same motionless life, so he takes a risk that eventually pays off.

Because this is a short story, I don’t want to give away more details than necessary, but I really enjoyed it. The ending is happy and hopeful, but the overall tone is far from it. So if you don’t like sweet holiday romances, go ahead and read this one. At this point I think Ms. Calhoun can do no wrong, and this is yet another wonderful story where the sex is perfectly woven into the character development. It’s very erotic and slightly kinky, so no one will doubt the erotic nature of the story, but it’s also quite romantic. That’s all you should know, I liked it, and I think you will too.

Note: Anne will be joining us next week, and there will be a giveaway, so don't forget to stop by!

Review by Brie
Grade: 4
Sensuality: McBurning (that’s right, there’s something in the book that pushes the story into McBurning territory)
Purchase: Amazon and if you're interested here's a link to the anthology.


Christmas is the perfect time for firefighter Ronan O'Rourke to take things to the next level with his sexually adventurous girlfriend. He knows she has feelings for him—and he's sure of his feelings for her—but when Thea refuses his invitation to sample Christmas in New York City because what they share is nothing more than sheet-burning sex, Ronan sets out to change her mind. 
Deep down Thea Moretti knows she cares for Ronan, but she can't move past her grief over her late husband. Loud music and sex with Ronan are the only things she's got that make her feel alive, so she takes as much of both as she can get. She knows Ronan wants more, but during the darkest time of the year finding her way won't be easy. 
Ronan gambles everything and challenges Thea: one night of passion with him and another man. Can he prove to her that what they share isn't just great sex but an emotional connection strong enough to last forever?

Carina Press. December 04, 2012.


  1. LOL interesting how you hate the widower hero, but don't seem to mind the widow heroine, Brie!! :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed this book. I'll put it on my radar to check it out!

  2. I'm not sure the overall tone of this one is for me. But at least the romance is on point in this one. I kind of like the idea of the woman being emotionally unavailable and the man pining after her.

    1. The romance was fantastic! And yes, their relationship was interesting and refreshing.

  3. I wish we could peek into their lives next Xmas. I want to know what new prank Tim has pulled on Ronan. I also want to know how Thea dealt with her visit home. I just really want more of Ronan.

    1. "I just really want more of Ronan."

      Me too, vi, me too...

  4. I loved this one. So erotic. A very good mix. This author's voice. I lurve.


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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.