Animal Instincts

( 118 )

Overview

Unleashing your inner tigress isn't easy when you're a doormat by nature! Still, after escaping a wretched marriage to a cheating SOB, Dallas party planner Naomi Delacroix isn't about to let another man sweet-talk her into sheathing her protective claws. Not even hunky millionaire Royce Powell, who's hired her to arrange his mother's surprise party. Even if he does make her purr like a kitten with one heated glance…

Royce claims he's been in love with her ever since she threw a ...

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Overview

Unleashing your inner tigress isn't easy when you're a doormat by nature! Still, after escaping a wretched marriage to a cheating SOB, Dallas party planner Naomi Delacroix isn't about to let another man sweet-talk her into sheathing her protective claws. Not even hunky millionaire Royce Powell, who's hired her to arrange his mother's surprise party. Even if he does make her purr like a kitten with one heated glance…

Royce claims he's been in love with her ever since she threw a party for one of his friends six months ago. But if that's true, why is this incredibly eligible CEO currently taking applications for a wife? Despite herself, Naomi is tempted to fill one out. But can her inner tigress believe a man might change his stripes?


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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Dallas party planner Naomi Delacroix, still scarred from her divorce, aims to stop being a doormat and unleash her inner tigress. That's what reading self-help books like Unleash the Tigress Within can do for you. But when handsome millionaire Royce Powell hires her to plan his mother's surprise party, he doesn't seem to take no for an answer -- to anything. But why is he taking applications for a wife, if he wants to monopolize Naomi's time? He's got a prescription for conquering her fears, and it includes plenty of terrific sex.

With this book, the versatile Gena Showalter shows once again she can go from the more supernatural (Jewel of Atlantis) to contemporary sexy without skipping a beat. Ginger Curwen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373771998
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 3/27/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.62 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Gena Showalter
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than thirty novels in a thrilling blend of genres: breathtaking paranormal and contemporary romances, supernatural humor, and cutting-edge young adult novels. Visit her at GenaShowalter.com.

Biography

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Young Adult novels from a multitude of publishers. She has appeared in Cosmo and Seventeen magazines, on MTV, and has also been featured on many regional and national news programs.

Good To Know

Gena credits much of her success to her wonderful fans, amazing family, and the three slobbery English bulldogs who sleep under her desk. She is a self proclaimed coffee addict and when she's not writing she likes to...well, we're not sure. We've never seen her do anything but write.
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Read an Excerpt

A true Tigress knows how to strut her stuff. She walks with her head held high, her breasts pushed forward and wears an expression that says, "I'll eat you alive."

I m a doormat.There. I admitted it. If people want to wipe their muddy boots on the rug that is my life, I'm likely to welcome them with a smile and thank them afterward. Knowing this, some people might lose all respect for me. In my defense, let me just say I'm getting better. Stronger. More assertive.I'm unleashing my inner Tigress.Unfortunately, I've kept her on a tight leash today. So far the score is not in my favor. Life 5. Tigress 2.Again, in my defense, let me say that Life is a mean, mean bitch.I replayed the last section I'd read of Unleashing the Tigress Within through my mind as the chrome-and-glass building that housed Powell Aeronautics came into view. My upcoming meeting would go wonderfully I assured myself; as a Tigress, I would allow nothing less.

Determined, I raised my chin and squared my shoulders against the cab's seat, effectively displaying my breasts to their best advantage. But try as I might, I couldn't get the cannibalistic expression down.

Of course, when you have lips as full and seemingly collagen-injected as mine—okay, maybe not so seemingly—the only expression they're good for is "I charge two hundred dollars an hour." Which, if you think about it, could imply I want to eat someone alive.

For Brad Pitt, I'd be willing to work something out.

For everyone else, well…I shrugged. Sorry, but all they'll get is the expression.

I pursed my lips, relaxed them. Pursed. Relaxed. Trying to find the perfect menacing facial cast. When I noticed the cabdriver staring at me through the rearview mirror, I turned my reddening face toward the window. I should have practiced at home, but I'd received an impromptu call from my ex-husband—may he die and burn in hell for all eternity—and that had consumed my spare time.

"I want to give us another try," he'd said. He usually called once a month with the same speech. He just couldn't stand the thought of a woman not wanting him. "I love you, babe. I swear I do," he'd finished.

Yeah, and my breasts are double-D delights of pleasure.

They're not, in case anyone is wondering. I'm barely, barely a B-minus.

I'm proud of myself. I'd told him I hoped he became intimately acquainted with a flesh-eating bacteria that ravaged his entire body slowly and painfully, beginning with his favorite appendage, and hung up. (The first point to go on my scorecard.) I suspect and hope my Tigress is as mean a bitch as Life, but I haven't interacted with her enough yet to know for sure.

Anyway, while Richard and I were together, he cheated on me. Like the good little girl I am, I let the first time slide. Fight for your marriage and all that bullshit. Boys will be boys, right? Never mind that they're male whores.

Oopsie. Is my bitterness showing?

The second time he cheated, I left him for all of four weeks. I'm embarrassed to admit he romanced me back. I mean, he tattooed my name on his ass. Who can resist that? So what that my name rests next to his first wife's.

The third time he cheated, well, I moved out for good and filed for divorce. That was six months ago. Being a divorce lawyer—aka scum of the universe— himself, he'd known exactly how to work the system and had ended up with everything while I had nothing.

If you want to know where depraved murderers get their ideas, I think I know. From scorned women. What I could have done with a curling iron and an ice pick….

Well, that's a moot point now.

Richard's call had been the perfect beginning to my increasingly horrendous day. Earlier this morning I'd been fired from one of the biggest jobs of my almost nonexistent party-planning career. All because I'd refused to give the owner of Glasston Industries a "private party"—his words, not mine—in the back of his luxury sedan.

My dismissal came after I'd already spent four weeks planning Glasston's annual employee banquet.

Four long, torturous, I-want-to-kill-myself weeks!

At the disgusting offer, my inner Tigress had emerged unbidden and I'd quickly introduced Mr. Glasston's groin to my knee. (My second point.) Needless to say, they didn't part on good terms. Before he could have me arrested for assault, I had jumped in this cab, buckled up and prepared to meet my next client. That's when I found a piece of rotten food stuck to the seat belt. At least, I hoped it was food. I did not want to contemplate what else the non-removable grease stain could be from.

Grease—or whatever—was the least of my problems, though. When I'd first entered the cab, I'd thought the driver had a horrible case of gas. Wrong. That noxious scent of dog poop wafting through the cab, well, it came from my shoes. I'd probably stepped in a steaming pile on my trek to Glasston Industries. I only hoped I'd left a souvenir on Mr. Glasston's trousers.

Is it horrible of me to wish he and Richard would rot in hell together?

Okay, wait. I'm beginning to sound bitter again. I don't want to be a bitter woman. Really. I want to be strong. Strong women are happy And I desperately want to be happy Needing a mental boost, I dug in my briefcase and gripped my copy of Unleashing the Tigress Within. My twin cousins, Kera and Mel, had given me the book for my thirty-first birthday two months ago, and with its guidance I was becoming a stronger, happier woman.

A woman in control of her destiny.

A woman who didn't let a little bad luck bring her down.

Everything will work out, Naomi. Just you wait and see. The cab came to an abrupt stop. I handed the driver a ten. "Keep the change," I said, then drew in a deep breath and pushed open the door.

As I stepped onto the sidewalk, a young man grabbed the leather strap of my purse and tore off in a sprint. I screeched and leapt after him. Except, only four steps into my pursuit, the three-inch heel of my left shoe snapped and I toppled face-first. Dark strands of hair clouded my vision and air abandoned my lungs in a mighty heave. My briefcase skidded across the concrete.

It was early July and a typical Dallas morning: sweltering, dry and miserable. The heated pavement burned raw scratches on my knees.

The thief disappeared around the corner and no one even tried to stop him. I think one woman actually said, "Did you see that guy's butt? So cute!"

As I lay sprawled, quite a few people rubbernecked as they walked by; others simply stopped, stared and snickered. Cheeks burning, I jackknifed to my feet. And practically fell again when one of my injured knees buckled in protest.

It would have been nice if the cabby had gotten out and helped me. But a harried blond woman jumped over me and settled herself inside the taxi before I could even blink. The damn car whizzed away, leaving me in a cloud of exhaust. Choking, I bent and gathered my things. At least I'd left my maxed out credit cards at home. Not the case with my (now missing) lipstick and oil-control powder.

Damn it! I did not need this.

Limping and dirty, I somehow collected my wits enough to make it inside the Powell building. Despite being robbed, I had to act confident and assured. This job was too important.

Disregarding the curious stares of the businessmen and women in the lobby, I searched for and found the bathroom. Women filled the space to capacity, their loud, cackling voices more annoying than the thick haze of forbidden cigarette smoke.

I coughed and shoved my way into one of the cramped stalls, locked the door behind me and tossed my stained jacket in the trash can. I leaned my head against the cool, polished wood. A part of me wanted to sob great buckets of tears. Another part of me wanted to attack something. Just fling myself at the next person I saw and dine on the carnage.

I had to find a happy medium. Approaching a potential employer looking like a feral—but sensitive—beast wasn't good business. Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes and mentally chanted, I'm in a meadow ofhappiness. I'm in a meadow of happiness.

Why hadn't I kicked off my shoes and chased that purse-stealing bastard down?

I'm in a meadow of happiness.

Why hadn't I reported Mr. Glasston's disgusting proposition?

I'm in a freaking meadow of happiness!

Why hadn't—

My eyelids popped open and my fists clenched. The meditation my stepdad had taught me was only increasing my agitation. Better to stop now before I started screaming/crying/ performing kung fu against the stall walls. My stepdad is a psychiatrist, but his methods rarely work for me. I don't know why I keep trying them.

"I can do this. I can."

Liar, my Tigress said, and I snapped, Bitch. God, maybe on top of it all I'm schizophrenic.

Forcing my muscles to relax, I slipped out of the stall. My gaze automatically scanned the crowded bathroom, taking in previously missed details. Every woman present wore some type of green. There were pea-green blazers, lime-green skirts, olive-green blouses.

I felt like I'd just stepped into an avocado salad.

Why green? I wondered, gazing down at my own brown, calf-length skirt. Then I uttered a dejected sigh. What the hell did it matter? Even if I'd known green was the current fashion trend, I no longer owned any clothes in that color. Lately I only wore browns, blacks and whites. Business colors. Boring colors.

Another item for my growing Why My Day Sucks list.

With the mirror overly crowded, there simply wasn't enough room to fix my hair, so I left it alone, pinned haphazardly at the base of my neck, errant strands floating down my temples. I was, however, determined to make it to my meeting without limping.

After I cleaned my disgustingly ripe shoes, I spent ten minutes banging, scraping and clawing them to a similar height. Finally they were both completely flat. I wouldn't limp, that was for sure, but I now looked like a twelve-year-old. At five-three, I needed every extra inch I could get.

The bathroom was growing more crowded by the second. Feeling the walls close in around me, I squeezed my way out. A security guard with burly shoulders and a belly that hung over the waistband of his pants stood in the lobby, just in front of the elevator entrance. When I tried to pass him, his arm shot out, blocking my way.

"Applications are at the front desk, miss," he said.

I almost said, "Thank you, I'll head over there immediately," but I stopped myself in time. I'm confident. I'm assured. "I'm not here to apply for a job." Actually I was, but not the kind he was talking about. I made a point of straightening my shoulders to the self-help manual's specifications. "I have an appointment with Royce Powell."

The guard snorted. "Try it on someone else. I'm not buying your particular brand of bull."

My jaw dropped, then closed with a snap. "I'm telling the truth."

"Hey either you mail in your application like the others, or I put your name on the bad-girl list and you won't be considered for the position."

Normally I would have been cowed by such a patronizing tone. After all, I'd had years of practice with both my real father (may he twist painfully in his grave) and Richard (may he meet his maker soon and twist painfully in his grave). But, as I've already mentioned, I'm in the process of becoming a new woman. A new woman who wouldn't take this kind of crap from a man.

And, to be honest, the thought of being on that bad-girl list kind of excited me.

"Listen," I said, using one finger to poke him firmly in the chest. "This hasn't been a good day. I suggest you move before you get hurt."

He laughed. Actually laughed! "I ain't movin', lady."

"Get. Out. Of. My. Way." Every word held an iron edge.

"Not gonna happen." He gave me a cocky grin, revealing crooked, yellowing teeth. "I wouldn't let you pass now if God Himself shoved me aside."

At that moment, something odd came over me. The guard suddenly represented everything that had gone wrong today, yesterday, all of my life. Getting past him wasn't just necessary for obtaining a job. It was vital for my peace of mind. Can someone say meow?

"I might not be able to arrange God's intervention," I told him, "but I could certainly shove my foot up your ass."

Surprise flickered over his weather-roughened features a split second before he frowned. "God, I hate premenstrual women," he grumbled.

"If you want premenstrual, I'll give you a premenstrual bitch slap. What do you think of that?"

"You tell 'em, honey," someone yelled.

I turned. Almost every woman from the bathroom stood behind me, lined up like a St. Patrick's Day parade. Empowered by their support, I spun back around, absolutely certain I now wore an "I'll eat you alive" expression.

The guard took a precautionary step backward.

"You have exactly two seconds to get out of my way," I ground out, "or you're going to regret it. I spoke with Linda Powell three days ago—"

"Linda Powell?" Sheer terror clouded his eyes and he stepped aside. "Why didn't you say so? Take the express elevator. Nineteenth floor."

Shocked by my success, I could only blink up at him. The women behind me acted instantly, surging forward. Unprepared for movement, I was propelled past the guard and into the elevator. I managed to right myself before I kissed the carpet.

"I spoke with Linda Powell," several women shouted at once. "I did. I swear."

"Back off, ladies," I heard the guard say, just as the doors closed around me.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 118 )
Rating Distribution

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(57)

4 Star

(33)

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(20)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 118 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2006

    A Must Read You Have To Add To Your TBR List

    I normally read paranormal romance novels and pretty much nothing else. I decided to read Animal Instincts by Gena Showalter because I have read her other novels with paranormal aspects in them and thought they were well written, fun, sensual, and strong! All good things, I must say. So being someone who gives everyone a fair shot no matter what genre they write, I decided to give it a try. It's a contemporary novel written in a first person view about a woman named Naomi Delacroix who has decided she's tired of people running all over her and using her as a doormat. She has loosened her inner Tigress(or at least, she tries really hard) Now this includes everyone but men are the ones she's really unsheathing the claws for. After a marriage to a cheating husband, Naomi has decided she isnt' going to take any more nonsense especially from men who are Triple C.(Corporate, Controlling, Commando). Remember the cheating ex-husband? Triple C. Royce Powell comes into the picture and out come the claws! He's a Triple C and incredibly hot to boot. Here is where you see Gena's um, fascination, or celebrity crushes come out. He is a mixture of George Clooney, Josh Wald, and some Brad Pitt. (I believe I read somewhere, that Gena loves Brad Pitt) He hires Naomi to plan his mothers birthday party and later explains he's been in love with her since he saw her at a party she planned for one of his friends about a YEAR ago. Yeah, right, is what Naomi thinks. Then why is he looking for a wife via apllications. So many times while I read this, I had to laugh because she truly was trying to fight the strong attraction she feels for Royce but everytime he came near, she was on sensory overload. Let's think about that for a second, ladies. Any time you throw Brad Pitt in the mixture of what a man looks like, HELLO, no wonder she was overloaded. Oh, by the way, he's extremely fascinated by Naomi lips, which sound like Angelina Jolie's lips to me. The interaction between these two was fun, exasperating, and extremely sesual(kissing scenes were HOT!) Literallly for me, one of my fave scenes was a kissing scene right before a meeting Royce has. Naomi, as you can imagine after dealing with a cheating ex husband, has serious issues she must overcome before she truly decides what it is she wants with Royce. There were a few times I wanted to just scream at her and tell her to get over her fears or make room for me(yes, I really got into the story) because I would have jumped at the chance to be with Royce if she didn't want him. Not every man is a two timing, triple c, moron! The only thing that was a little different for me was the first person perspective. A few times I would have loved to know what was going through Royce's head but not every story needs to be told through other characters. This one didn't. It was a fun read and I hope you all put it on your lists as one you want to pick up and read. While you're at it, think of your inner animal. What is it? I know mine...lol You wont' be dissappointed!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Very good

    I love this book am eveb talking my boyfriend to read. Not as funny as you would think but it still is a really good read.

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    Recommend this enjoyable read

    I HAVE THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THE PREVIOUS ANIMAL INSTINCTS SERIES AND THIS BOOK WAS NO EXCEPTION.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2011

    Great!!!

    Fun read and super hot! Another great Showalter book! Even for those who enjoy her more supernaturally based series.

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  • Posted July 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Funny a must read

    This book was recommended to by an employee of Barnes and Noble. This was the first time I have read Gena Showalter this book was funny and romanatic.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I literally laughed out loud...

    ... And if I hadn't been in a car i probably would have rolled on the floor. This book was hilarious. This is the fourth Showalter book I've read and I really liked it. It is my favorite by her so far.

    This book was written entirely in the first person, which usually annoys the crap out of me, so it is a testament to this author's writing that before I could groan over the perspective I was actually laughing out loud. So many parts of this story were funny that at one point I had to read a scene that made me crack up to my driving companion (he laughed too).

    The author did a good job of making the characters interesting and likable and she made you understand the main character when you wanted to scream "ARE YOU CRAZY?" at her. A part of me felt like saying, "Hey, I know this chick" while another part of me said "You are that chick." While there were times when the main character stalled we all would have gone full speed ahead, she was also very relatable and very real, even in her waffling back and forth.

    If you've not read Ms. Showalter check this one out. It is a must read.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    i love Gena showalter this book was so cute the charecters were great and the story left me with a smile on my face

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Funny

    this book was good. i really like gena showalter's books. she knows how to write. there were parts in the book that made you laugh and laugh and then when you were out with frieds or in class thinking about it you laughed again and people around think your crazy,ya book is that good. it also has some truth to it,some women do put walls up so that way their heart can't be broken again. but gena points out how you don't really get a chance to live if your like that. good book. you should read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    i love Gena Showalter

    it was a very touching story!!! i loved it!!!! it shows that there is always ups n downs n relationship fears but things will always work out n there is always true love!!! i love Gena Showalter!!! the way she tells a story just captivates me. i pretty much love all her books!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2008

    A reviewer

    This was such a great book. I couldn't put it down until I was finished.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2007

    Another great one

    Essentially, I didn't even read the back cover or know anything about the book when I bought it... I bought it because it was written by the ever-fantastic Gena Showalter. I believe I read the book in less than 24 hours, literally ripping through the pages (inner tigress, anyone?) I loved the story and the main characters, and Gena once again shone through. I recommend this for anyone with a day off to read... You'll need the WHOLE day to read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2006

    Very Good

    This book is incredible or any other word that means amazing. if there are any teens out there who think romance books are for moms and old women will this book will prove you wrong. I am a teen and i loved this book! and even a guy can read it and like it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2006

    A Fun Sexy Romp Your Inner Tigress Will Love

    Gena Showalter's ANIMAL INSTINCTS is a fun, sexy romp your inner tigress will love! I picked it up and just couldn't put it down. I laughed, chuckled, worried, grinned then laughed some more. It's like a party in a book! This one's a keeper for sure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2006

    Animal Instincts is a hit!

    Naomi is a party planner that is trying to heal from a messy divorce from Richard who cheated on her. She receives the ¿Unleashing the Tigress Within¿ self-help book from her cousins, and starts to work on unleashing hers. In steps Royce, a rich, to die for good-looking guy that saw her and fell in love, at a function she planned 6 months earlier. Royce tries to call her but Naomi won't take his calls because she's sworn off men. So he has his mother hire her to plan her surprise birthday party. It¿s hilarious to watch Naomi flit back and forth as she learns that not every man is like her ex-husband¿and that Royce is really playing for keeps. I love the way Gena Showalter puts herself into her writing¿it shows. Shes on my auto-buy list to stay!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    engaging contemporary romance

    Party planner Naomi Delacroix decides to no longer allow men to use her as a doormat especially the way her cheating ex-spouse did. Instead she vows that she will be the user, ¿Unleashing the Tigress Within¿. She is determined to be the queen of mean, chewing and spitting out men. Her makeover seems perfect until wealthy Royce Powell hires her to plan a surprise party for his mother. Royce selected Naomi allegedly because he liked the work he performed for a friend six months ago, but that is only an excuse to see her. His hidden agenda is based on being in love with Naomi. Besides honoring his mom, working with Naomi he believes will provide him the opportunity to prove that not all men are rats like her former husband. Naomi the tiger woman finds herself acting like a precocious kitten whenever Royce is nearby. --- This engaging contemporary romance stars a wonderful, patient and nurturing hunk trying to subtly yet shrewdly persuade the woman he loves that men can be loyal and faithful with one woman not all are philandering rodents. Naomi is a fascinating protagonist whose behavior towards men is nasty yet readers know that is her defense mechanism against being used and hurt again. Fans will wonder if Royce can penetrate the barriers surrounding her heart. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 118 Customer Reviews

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