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Title: Aphrodite’s Charms
Author: Kate Burns

Published in January 2007 by Linden Bay Romance
Genre: Suspense/Drama
ISBN: 978-1-60202-023-8 print or 978-1-60202-024-5 ebook

Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love is widely respected and honored, even on the tiny islands that surround Greece. Rising from the ocean waves Aphrodite enthralls admirers with her treasures; like seashells in the shape of a human ear– her ear. Her most coveted magic is stirring love and carnal desires, making the Greeks a passionate people. Although visitors are not immune to Aphrodite’s charms either.

From New York, Diana’s plane lands on the tiny Greek island of Corfu. Disembarking, she feels lost knowing her life will never be the same again. She first came to Corfu as a graduate student studying erosion on primeval structures, but that was ten years ago; a period when Diana was filled with naive exuberance and anticipation. Before checking into the inn, she detours toward the cove hoping to put to rest some past memories. Its here, ten years ago, Diana shared her heart, and then her life with a man. He promised to return to the island with her so they could walk the beaches together again and make love under the stars. Since his death three years ago Diana holds onto Judd’s memory hoping to fulfill his one last dream; an olive plantation in Costa Rica. Still, her business meeting with a local olive grower isn’t scheduled for another four days.

Upon checking into the inn, Diana is given a message from Mr. Petronikos, the olive farmer. On the phone his voice is smooth, like satin, making Diana simmer with a tinge of yearning. In reproach, Diana tells herself that Spyros Petronikos’ dinner invitation is nothing more than business. Yet she couldn’t shake that it feels more like a date. Upon arriving at Spyros’ home, Diana is astonished when greeted by one of Greece’s Gods; dark eyes and hair with chiseled features that makes her drool. Spyros catches Diana’s open ogling and then lingering at the bulge in his too tight jeans. Flattered, he diverts her attention to an array of Greek cuisine while engaging in some small talk. As soon as Spyros mentions her last prior visit to the island in the company of her late husband, Diana becomes angry; discerning the gravity of her pain. However, Spyros only intended to let Diana know he, too, suffered a loss so knows of the pain. His sincerity awakens long forgotten feelings in Diana, for which she is not ready to set free.

Back at her room in the inn, Diana phones her friend, Heather about the evening’s events. Heather then pushes Diana to keep the encounter moving forward into, hopefully, something more… intimate. Yielding to her friend’s wishes, Diana joins Spyros on a tour of the historical aspects of the island. They visit a church first as Spyros tells the story about Saint Spyridon; a bishop who performed many miracles. Diana doesn’t believe in miracles, but he asks her to trust and faith will come. Diana’s trust is in short supply, whereas she has an abundance of lust and wouldn’t mind sharing it with Spyros. As night falls he takes her to dinner where Spyros compliments Diana on trusting his choice of foods, since she has no knowledge of what it is. He finds her daring spirit quite tempting. It’s been three years since Diana’s been this close to a man, and one who expertly revives her need for love. Spyros’ heated kisses assure her that he aims to follow through on the promises they deliver. For the first time in a long time Diana feels happy, and craving.

Her ardor heightens when the next day as she lounges on the beach, Diana witnesses a man taking his pleasure and then cums without concern of who might see. After that bit of voyeurism, she leaves the beach only to bump into Spyros. He invites her to another little beach that he often visits where the water is cooler. The two of them frolicking in the cool sea does nothing to tap down their mounting lust. Returning to his home, Spyros tastes Diana and then fills her; bringing them both to a quick but gratifying climax. The next afternoon under an olive tree Diana and Spyros come together in wanton greed. Their enchanting moments are crushed after returning from the olive grove, a woman waits for Spyros with a baby in her arms. The baby’s resemblance to Spyros is striking. Devastated and not waiting for explanations Diana returns to New York.

An engrossing and pleasing story, Aphrodite’s Charms, published by Linden Bay Romance, kept me riveted. I even envisioned the sights and sounds of Corfu while imagining the jovial, friendly people who live there. Ms. Burns pens rich characters that move the story along quickly. Diana’s pain is tangible as she endures revisiting places on Corfu that she enjoyed with Judd. Diana’s thinking Judd’s death more as a betrayal then a natural course of life, I can grasp; more so her reminiscing reveals their compatible but loving marriage. Spyros is a patient man who tugs at my heart. He’s uncomplaining when Diana struggles with her loyalty to her late husband, and then compassionate when she finally reveals longings for him, which scare her. He shows her, *his* Corfu; helping Diana to create new memories of his island. Spyros’ passion is like shimmering flames as he builds Diana’s craving with searing kisses and tender caresses, only to gently pull back allowing the desires to ferment into an insatiable need. A secondary character, Diana’s best friend, Heather stands out. In a troubled marriage, Heather never turns away from her needy friend. Always available to listen while offering up unsolicited advice, but keeps her friend’s heart safely tucked in her bosom. Ms. Burns delivers a splendid romance that I will enjoy reading many times again.

A dedicated reader,

Pamela Jenewein

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