RT Book Reviews on RETURN TO LOVE
Love on the High Seas (Harlequin Kimani Romance Series #356)by Yasmin Sullivan
Voyage into love
Unlucky at love, Professor Angelina Lewis is resigned that she is more of an intellectual than a romantic. She is in the habit of satisfying the yearnings in her heart with academic pursuits. This all changes when her sister talks her into taking her place on a singles' cruise. On the high seas, red-hot desire ignites when she meets/p>
Voyage into love
Unlucky at love, Professor Angelina Lewis is resigned that she is more of an intellectual than a romantic. She is in the habit of satisfying the yearnings in her heart with academic pursuits. This all changes when her sister talks her into taking her place on a singles' cruise. On the high seas, red-hot desire ignites when she meets Jeremy Bell. Frolicking in the Caribbean with the sensual doctor is making Angelina believe in the power of passion. But what happens once they sail into port? Will her shipboard romance get hit with a reality check?
Jeremy doesn't want the passionate music he and Angelina make to ever stop. From the exotic island of Puerto Rico to the sun-kissed beaches of Miami, he's pursuing the woman of his dreams. But Jeremy will lose Angelina unless he can prove to her that they share something speciala rare love they'll never find again on land or sea .
RT Book Reviews on RETURN TO LOVE
Read an Excerpt
Angelina Lewis fidgeted on the gangway, stuck in line with the horde of other passengers boarding the Palace of the Seas, one of the largest cruise ships on the Atlantic. It was an hour before departure, when the throng had arrived, but the line was moving along quickly.
She might even have found a way to enjoy the short wait if she wasn't sure that at least one more person would measure her against the passport she carried. Instead, the suspense of potential exposure was unnerving her. She couldn't believe that she'd let her sister talk her into this.
Safire had shown up with a suitcase, a ticket and her usual chipper mood, and before Angelina knew what was what, they were in her room packing.
Safire's calm, elliptical eyes followed Angelina as she flew back and forth across the room. Her sister still wore her usual blazer and matching miniskirther work attire. She tugged down the skirt as she adjusted herself on the bed, letting her long curls fall across the pillow. Safire's plump cheeks puckered from her smileone caused by mere amusement or by some thought that was more salacious. Angelina couldn't tell.
"I can't do this." Angelina tore through her closet furiously. "I have work to do. Who'll look after Philly?"
"You have to, or it'll go to waste. I told you. One of my bosses went into labor early, so I can't take off now. You can bring your work with you." Safire sprawled over Angelina's bed observing her distraught search. "Alex and I can take care of Philly and Rose. It's all paid for. Live a little. Please."
Safire flipped open the suitcase she had placed on the bed. "Look, you don't even have to pack. I was all ready to go. It has everything you need, except some shoes, some undies and your toiletries."
"There's barely anything in there."
"You won't need a lot, especially not if you find a sexy man."
Safire winked at her, and Angelina gaped.
"I can't be like you, running around in skimpy nothings." Angelina knew her sister well and could imagine what she'd packed. "No, no. I can't do this. It's a singles cruise. What am I going to do there?"
"Mingle. Get a life. Get you some. Or just lounge, swim in the pool, see the sights. You don't have to do the singles events. It's a regular cruise."
"Okay, let's say I do this. I have to get to the bank, pack my work, pack the suitcase, situate Philly, call the neighbors"
"It doesn't leave until four o'clock tomorrow. All of that is doable," Safire said. "Here. Take my passport. Put it with the ticket and the cruise information."
"I can't take your passport. We'll just change the passenger information."
"I checked. It's too late to do that. Just use my passport. You're my sister."
"No," said Angelina. "I can't get away with being you."
"Of course you can. Here. Now no more about it."
Angelina shook her head. She'd be calling the cruise line herself in the morning. There would be a fee, but she would just pay it. Her sister had gotten everything else, so she could pay for that.
Now she stood on board the ship just inside the boarding ramp. One of the crew members looked toward her, and she began to hand over the passport once more. It had been too late to change the passenger manifest, so she was Safire Lewis for the next nine days.
"No, ma'am, I don't need your passport. I wanted to give you directions. Do you have your stateroom key?"
"Yes," Angelina answered, "but I wanted to go on deck first to see the departure. Can I do that?"
"Of course. Just follow the left line to the elevators. Six floors up you'll find the least crowded deck right now."
Angelina shifted her purse and her laptop carry-on from one shoulder to the other and kept step with the line. She looked ahead of her in the line to see how much farther she had to go and found a pair of simmering brown eyes peering back at her. They belonged to a handsome chestnut-brown face that was wearing an intense expression of interestso intense that she felt naked under the sly perusal.
Angelina flushed, and her cheeks grew hot. Her hand sprang to the buttons lining the front of her dress, checking in case one had come undone. She wasn't sure how long she held his gaze; it seemed an hour but couldn't have been for more than a minute.
A woman behind her bumped against her, and Angelina was startled out of her reverie. She turned briefly to the woman, and by the time she turned back, the man had gone around a corner.
She could have just imagined it. He could have been looking beyond her, or he could have simply seen that she was one of the few other African-Americans there. But perhaps that also made it clear that she was alone. She might need to be a bit more careful, more aware of her surroundings.
"You need to have some fun for a change," Safire had said.
"A singles mixer isn't my idea of fun right now. I have a semester starting soon. I have an article I haven't finished. I have"
"You have to get a life is what," Safire said and then laughed. "When was the last time you had nookie?"
"Now, listen here. I might need to talk to you about"
"Oh, no. Don't start in on me. I have a life. And I enjoy it just fine. This is about you. Relax a little. Meet some people. See some places."
Angelina could tell that her younger sister was treading gently to spare her sensibilities, and it was just as well. Her sister had a mouth on her that could make a sailor blush. She envied her sister's freedom, but for Angelina herself, a bit of reading next to the ocean would be a wonderful break. And with the passport fiasco, laying low seemed like a good idea.
When she stepped off the elevator six stories up, the line was gone. People were relaxing in lounge chairs and looking over the railing at the Port of Miami. She found a spot on the banister for the departure, wondering if she'd feel the ship move or if it was simply too large.
Being on deck made what was happening real. She Angelina Lewiswas actually on a cruise ship going somewhere.
When the horn sounded the departure call, Angelina was exhilarated. She didn't feel the push off, but she could see the landscape begin to shift as they pulled out of the harbor. She held on to the rail and leaned over, gauging their movement from the receding pier and leaving behind the workaday world as a dark blue expanse opened before her.
For a moment, she forgot about her lists and her obligations. For a moment, she let it all sink in and felt herself enjoy the rush.
She stepped down from the rail and lifted her laptop bag to her shoulder again. She was already smiling when she turned around and found herself again locked in the distant gaze of sensuous brown eyes.
He was across the deck with a small group of other Black men, and he was staring at her, trapping her against the rail. Under his gaze, Angelina felt goose bumps run up her back. Her nipples tightened against her bra, and butterflies began to churn in her stomach. His eyes were trained on her, sensual ebony ovals above angular cheekbones and a rugged jawline. He smiled in her direction with thick, lush lips.
Angelina's hand fluttered to her chest, and she took a deep breath. Was he looking at her? She glanced to each side. On one there was a family of five still looking toward the shoreline; on the other was a group of teenagers making a lively ruckus. She turned back. It must be her. She felt a tingle in the pit of her stomach and had to stop herself from turning away and fleeing.
He was leaning on the railing with his foot cocked up on one of the lounge chairs in self-assured ease. His elbows rested at his sides atop the rail, and like everything about his pose, his cool confidence suggested that he was out of her league.
He had on a short-sleeved white Oxford shirt that was tucked into pleated blue slacks. The breeze fluttered his shirt along his firm arms up to his broad shoulders, and his top buttons opened to a peek at his hard chest. He was talking with his friends, but all the while he was looking her way.
The brashness of his scrutiny sent shivers through Angelina's body, and her insides buzzed with nervous energy. As self-conscious as she was under his open gaze, something in those eyes made her pulse skip. She had never had such a visceral reaction to anyone before and hoped that it couldn't be read in her features. She pressed her palm against her midriff to calm herself but had to look away.
Angelina had been called her sister's name all afternoon.
Now, on an impulse, she decided to be a little like her baby sis. She took a breath and turned back to the simmering brown eyes and met their gaze, deliberately staring back with an audacious smile on her lips.
She was startled that she was being so brazen.
He seemed to hold her gaze, just as he did before, but nothing else changed. Then, when one of his friends said something, he turned toward the speaker and laughed, breaking his link with her. She certainly couldn't pull it off the way Safire could. So much for the attempt.
Angelina shifted the load on her shoulder and stepped from the railing. Unfortunately, her laptop bag had gotten wedged between the rungs of the railing and toppled her back. She unhooked the bag and launched herself from the banister. No, she certainly couldn't pull off what Safire could.
Had he seen her fumble? Embarrassed, she looked toward the warm brown eyes, but the face that held them was directed elsewhere. Well, she was no Safire. She didn't know what had gotten into her in the first place.
She walked to the elevator, pulled out her key and went to find her cabin.
Angelina's stateroom had everything she would have expected and more, including a balcony on the water. And luckily, she wasn't sharing; she had an oasis all to herself. The first thing on her list was unpacking before dinner, and her suitcase had been delivered so she had only to plop it on the footrest to begin.
The pieces she'd added were on top, so she pulled out a couple of capris, a couple of skirts, a few blouses, a dress and some light tops to go over whatever nonsense Safire had packed for herself. And thank goodness. Safire's clothes were much as she expected.
There were several cocktail dresses, all low-cut and thigh-high. Angelina couldn't imagine herself strutting around in them. The shorts were okay, but Safire had packed skimpy tank tops and racerback T-shirts to go with them. The skirts were all mini and the tops were off-the-shoulder blouses or camisoles. Even the nightclothes she'd packed were sheer, midthigh numbers.
No wonder the case was only halffull when Safire brought it. Everything in it was tinyjust as she'd expected. The last piece of clothing she pulled out was Safire's swimsuit. Such a pity she hadn't remembered her own. She could ball up Safire's bikini and make it disappear inside her fist.
Angelina stood in front of the closet taking inventory. She didn't have enough of her own stuff, so she would have to make do with Safire's pieces. She might have to get another swimsuit on the ship and perhaps a couple of oversize T-shirts to sleep in.
She hadn't budgeted for extra clothesat least not at what they would cost in floating boutiques. The light cover-ups she'd brought would supplement the dresses and tank tops, and she didn't plan to go to many events, so she should be okay. After all, it was a cruise. She could be a little like her sister for a little while. She probably wouldn't see anyone here again in life.
This made her think again of those warm brown eyes. What had she been thinking trying to send a signal from across the deck? He probably thought she was a loon. No, he probably wasn't giving her a second thought at all. He could have been looking at the horizon the whole time. In any case, there were several thousand people on the ship. Chances of running into him again didn't seem great, a fact that made her feel both disappointed and relieved.
Angelina turned to the rest of the suitcase and her carry-onher work. She set up her laptop on the table and piled around it the books and papers she'd brought. She also pulled out all the cruise information: the docking schedule, the brochure for singles, coupons for the tours and a spa day, a separate booklet describing the ship's amenities, pamphlets for events and movies.
The next thing to do was to find a place for dinner; she didn't want to change, so nothing fancy. She found a cafe-style restaurant and had a sandwich. Then she went back to her room and called to check in at home. Safire was there, and all was well. She started to tell her sister a thing or two about packing such outrageous clothing, but she gave it a second thought. Safire wasn't actually packing for her when she'd made those selections, so it didn't make sense to accuse her of anything willful.
The rest of the evening she was going to lounge on the balcony and read. That, however, didn't last long. She started Ellory Patterman's history of the involvement of Black women in the World War I effort, and enjoying the book as she was, she drifted into sleep. Angelina woke up a couple of hours later to find her book on the floor and her neck stretched precariously to one side.
She got up and went into her room to change for bed but had only Safire's short, silky nightgowns. There was nothing to be done about it right then, so she put one on and crawled into bed. For a few minutes, she watched the cruise ship's information station on television, but before long, she clicked the television off. It was a little early, but she was tired; she'd been tired for some time, and the luxury of the space let her give in to what she needed mostrest.
If nothing else, she would get to relax a bit over the next nine days. She might even be able to take her sister's advice and let loose a little. There could be a little Safire in her yet.
She curled up in bed, letting herself sink into the cool, crisp sheets. Perhaps it was the enchantment of being aboard a ship on the way to the Caribbean, or perhaps it was the sumptuous feel of the gown she had on, but she drifted off thinking of a warm pair of brown eyes.
Meet the Author
Yasmin Y. Sullivan grew up in upstate New York and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, from which her family hails. She moved to Washington, DC, to attend college and has earned degrees from Howard and Yale. As an academic writer, she has published on Douglass, Jacobs, Baldwin, Angelou, and Bullins, as well as the Negritude Movement and the Danish West Indies. She currently lives and teaches in Washington, DC, and when she is not teaching, she does creative writing and works on mosaics.
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I was unsure about this book at firstbut WOW, i was pleasantly surprised. Really enjoyed the love story and the depth of the characters. Story tackled everyday issues, lord parts brought me to tears. Highly recommend this book. Would love a series on the friends and the siblings. Would be very interesting to see them mature and fall in love.