He looked her over seductively. His heart skipped a beat with desire. She rubbed the lotion into her hands and placed them on his stomach. He groaned, reaching out with his left hand and threading his fingers into her hair, jerking her head back so they were eye-to-eye. She set her jaw. His pulse pounded. Something intense flared between them, yet she kept her hands on his abdomen. Encouraged, Zoltan tugged her toward him, pressing her chest against his. Her nostrils flared and her brow furrowed in confusion.
He stopped, reminding himself he needed to offer a choice. “Do you want me to kiss you?”
“No.” The sound of her denial was weak. He held her close.
“Do you want me to release you?”
“How should I solve my predicament?”
“I don’t know.”
“I do.” He leaned close, her sweet fruity scent sending his senses into overdrive. He placed his lips on her jaw and kissed her.
4 **** – Very good book in the series
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A heads-up – although this is Book 4 in the Budapest Moon series, it is a standalone.
This isn’t my first rodeo with Stephanie Buckhart’s writing so I knew I was in for a good read. So I guess that was why I was a bit disappointed with some aspects of it, which led me to the four-star rating. I was surprised to find quite a few typos, missing words, and even sequence problems in a book that has been published by a publishing house as opposed to self-published. Just as an example, towards the end of the story, Sofia and Zoltan are described as sitting down on a bed then the next movement is Zoltan holding her hand and guiding her to the bed. What? I was also disappointed with one aspect of the plot, which I won’t reveal because I don’t like spoilers. But I can safely say that, for the longest time, characters follow leads they find in the house about a certain mystery in a certain family’s history. They even find a piece of information that seems essential to the solution of their predicament and the author keeps hinting at it. Do they use said information when the time comes? No. The solution comes from a totally different source but not in a positive wow-I-didn’t-see-that-coming way. It just feels like you were misled.
But please don’t get me wrong. The good aspects far outweigh the issues I’ve found with the book. For example, personally, I like my heroines to be straightforward, independent, and intelligent. Sofia has all these qualities and then some. Being the daughter of a werewolf and a human, she has inherited heightened senses and physical strength from her father and high sensitivity from her mother. On the other hand, Sofia struggles with a few issues of her own like professional choices that have upset her parents or insecurities that she covers up by putting on a brave face. But isn’t this kind of duality what makes a character richer? In my opinion, it does. The same is true for Zoltan. Although he’s a powerful man and an even more powerful werewolf, he fights demons from his past at the same time he’s learning how to control his powers and more basic tendencies. Not an easy task but again one that makes him all the more realistic and therefore a more complex character. Stephanie Buckhart does a great job at showing you those qualities instead of telling you about them. The secondary characters are equally well fleshed-out, which makes the book more complex and engrossing.
The book in this series that I had read before was The Count’s Lair, which interestingly enough was the story about Sofia’s parents. I like it a lot. However, there are many similarities between the two books. Once again, we see the big bad werewolf (pun intended) Marcus trying to recover a witch he believes was taken from him. But this isn’t a negative thing per se as we learn more about the characters’ pasts and family histories.
All in all, I enjoyed The Secret Door very much and recommend it for fans of romances without erotic elements. On a personal note, as an author of erotic stories, I prefer my reads to be a bit more explicit in that area; but I did NOT hold it against The Secret Door because the interesting plot and likable characters kept me turning the pages regardless of the ‘behind-the-door’ quality of the love scenes.
It’s 1927 and Lord Zoltan Kristos, Hungary’s Minister of the Interior, takes great pains to hide the fact he’s a werewolf from the world. Despite his efforts, he’s recognized when he goes to the Austrian-Hungarian border to inspect the area for damage from a recent rare earthquake.
Zoltan is accused of stealing Kurt Meklau’s witch, Inna, and is recklessly followed to Volturn Manor, a residence belonging to another werewolf family, the Vargas. After a fight with Meklau, Zoltan barely escapes and his adversary is found dead.
Sophia Varga and Tomas Martin find Zoltan. Sophia is determine to attend to Zoltan’s injuries and protect her home, but when Kurt’s father, Marcus, comes seeking revenge, Sophia is tested like never before. As Zoltan and Sophia work together, attraction and desire flame between them.
Will the secrets Volturn Manor harbors offer Zoltan and Sophia the clues they need to defeat Marcus and give them the opportunity to explore their feelings for one another?
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children’s books published with 4RV Publishing.