No, I don’t mean Frankenstein’s monster — Hoornaert’s monster, Pandora Uncaged, book two in the Passion Island trilogy. The book can stand alone, although it alludes somewhat to events in book one.
- It’s heroine is Pandora Dayle, the younger sister of book one’s heroine, Ember Dayle.
- Booker, the seven-foot cupid makes an appearance that is even clumsier than in book one.
- To guide the action, I chose the Friends-to-Lovers romance trope.
Pandora Dayle, a woman with a past, hasn’t seen the best friend from her teenage years, Aidan Forester, in fifteen years. But now a clumsy Apprentice Cupid has flown him to the isolated animal shelter where she’s the Acting Director. Since there are no hotels for visitors, she lets him sleep at her place.
And last night, they talked until all hours.
Sometime after dawn, Pandy emerged enough from sleep to realize she lay in a man’s arms, and even before she was awake enough to think, she knew whose arms they were. Aidan’s. Only his embrace could feel and smell so right. Sleeping warm and snug in his arms was as good as sex, though in a completely different way.
He lay on his back, his posture decorous and proper. She, on the other hand was draped over him like a blanket, and here in the tropics, blankets were unnecessary. Her leg was thrown over his and her hand had snuck under his t-shirt and around his bare torso.
A huge grin stretched her mouth.
He was warm, so warm. Her cheek rested on his chest, which rose and fell as his heart beat in the quiet rhythm of sleep. If waking up beside Aidan after a chaste night made her chest bubble with happiness and hope, how wonderful would she feel if they’d made love?
That vivid thought woke her completely.
After a few moments of delicious fantasy, she shoved the conjecture aside. He knew now that she’d been a whore. He knew she’d screwed other men.
But . . . hundreds of men, maybe thousands of men? Could he possibly realize the extent of her debauchery? Or would the realization suddenly hit while loving her, turning each thrust into an act of anger rather than love?
Even if that never happened, she’d be distracted from pleasure, wondering if this was the moment her past curdled his love. His easygoing manner hid a fiery temper. If Aidan’s temper ever turned on her, she’d die right then and there, even if he never struck a blow. Which he’d never do, of course. She knew that as profoundly as she knew the sun would rise in the east.
Some risks weren’t worth taking. Now that he was back in her life she wasn’t sure she could live without him.
But could she keep him in her daily life without deepening their relationship into passion? Probably not. At some point he’d return to Westerlin, leaving her bereft, unless….
Unless the sun rose in the west.
Book Two in the Passion Island Trilogy
Pandora Dayle is her family’s disgraced black sheep. Ten years after running away from home, she’s rebuilt her self-respect at an isolated facility for saving animals native to the colony planet. Her redemption feels as fragile as a dream, but she’ll be okay if nothing traumatic happens.
But when the best friend from her innocent youth arrives, her insecurities mushroom.
Aidan used to be Pandora’s best friend. Since then he’s held heroic jobs—police officer and now Search and Rescue leader. He adored innocent young Pandora so much he compares every woman to her idealized memory, and finds them wanting.
But when he rediscovers the real thing, she’s not at all what he expected.
Booker, a naïve Apprentice Cupid for a secret organization, receives his second assignment: get Pandora and Aidan to mate. They’d been close friends, so his strategy is simple: He flies Aidan to her island and tells him to impregnate Pandora.
What could possibly go wrong?