I do love a good Beauty and the Beast theme like story, and this one I would put at the top of my list of favorites. Its the type of story that instantly draws you in and its pretty hard to put down. I do love a story that is easy to get into, but difficult to let go of. This is the first that I have read from this author. I saw the cover and read the blurb, and with no regrets picked it up, knowing I would probably regret it if I didn't. When She Said I Do is pretty close to the beauty and the beast fairy tale. But it also has its own unique tale that sets it apart as well.
When Callie along with her parents and her brother end up nearly drowning in the river when their carriage goes down, they find a huge mansion that she assumes is abandoned. When she gets the rest of her family settled, dressed in only her underclothes, she decides to explore a bit. She finds every room abandoned, and then she comes across a magnificent pearl necklace, and then gets caught red handed by a big man, with half of his face scarred. Caught in a compromising position, her brother and the Mr. Ren Porter end up in a duel and then Callie claims that they will be married. So Callie finds herself married and in a agreement with Mr. Porter, one in which she will share his bed for each stolen pearl. Callie is instantly drawn into this game of seduction, where Ren teaches her the true meaning of desire and surrender. What Callie doesn't expect is to find herself falling in love with her husband, one who protects his heart with a iron shield. It will take more than Callie ever expected to melt the iron around his heart, and to keep him forever.
Ren has recently recovered from a near fatal attack, where he was punctured in the chest, and as such was told that he will die soon from the injuries. As a spy for his country, he has retired, and doesn't trust anyone, at least until Callie comes along. When he finds Callie, a beautiful siren, who ironically ends up as his wife, he is determined to keep her as long as he possibly can. Ren is a very virile and alpha type male. He is very proud and can be paranoid at times, considering his previous life. I found myself really enjoy the type of character Ren turned out to be. He just made me want to melt. Callie is a very unique heroine. She isn't all that fearful of her new husband, despite his commanding presence and his scars, she starts to see beneath the surface. I loved how she never treats him less because of what has happened to her. I admired her creativity in trying to gain Ren's trust, and making the mansion into a home. There is such a strong intimate connection that is very intense at times. You might need a fan to cool ya down a bit at times during this story.
Overall I found this story to be a delight and a very sensual take on Beauty and the Beast. I have to say for the first time reading this author, I am already going to add the rest of her books on my wish list, I loved her that much!!! There is such a delightful mix of sensuality and witty humor that captivates the reader. Its unconventional at times, but it has a certain uniqueness that only adds to the wonderfully crafted tale of passion, adventure, intrigue and a tender love story that is bound to steal your heart, that will make anyone believe in a happily ever after.