Review: The Doctor by Nikki Sloane

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Nashville Neighborhood, #1
Publisher: Shady Creek Publishing
Hero: Greg Lowe
Heroine: Cassidy Shepard
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: August 29, 2018
Started On: June 13, 2021
Finished On: June 14, 2021

The Doctor by Nikki Sloane, debut book in the Nashville Neighborhood series is my very first read from the author, giving me a taste of her titillating writing style which drew me in from the start.

19 year old Cassidy Shepard has been dating her boyfriend Preston Lowe for three years, with their senior class having even voted them “Most Likely to Marry Their High School Sweetheart”. However, Cassidy starts to feel a change in how Preston sees her and treats her, and the final straw comes as both of them are back home for the holidays and Preston’s callous attitude just becomes all too much.

Usher in Greg Lowe, none other than her ex-boyfriend’s father, the savior in every form when it comes to Cassidy’s inner turmoil over the breakup. Greg is a trauma surgeon working long hours, who is mostly never around and looks younger than he is. A simple touch from Greg offered as comfort, changes the dynamics between the two and lets Cassidy know that the heat that she feels with his touch is not just one-sided.

Thus starts the sexiest and at times raunchiest affair that I have come across in a book of late, which definitely kept the pages turning. Though initially when the transition from father of the ex-boyfriend to the new lover happened just like that, I was a trifle bit apprehensive that the story line would not work. But somehow, when all was said and done, Ms. Sloane did make it work.

At some point in the story, I was of the mind that every woman should have a Dr. Lowe teach them or show them the wonders of sex and lovemaking as it should be, by making their partner feel cherished, desired, and coveted all at the same time. But alas, real life does not offer Dr. Lowes’ in abundance.

Since the story is mainly told from the first person point of view (Cassidy’s), the way Greg feels is a bit hard to decipher, except of course that when it comes to the kink, of which he has a lot up his sleeve. The doctor definitely knows his way around the bedroom and then some, if you ask me. But through the conversations that takes place on the side, there emerges the picture of the man that Greg is deep inside; sensitive to the needs of his son to a point where he had neglected living a life of his choosing.

While Cassidy (as expected), acted bratty at certain points through the story, Greg seemed to take those things in stride, which I guess is love in its truest form? You accept the person as they are because life without them would just not be worth the heartache and loneliness.

Fabulously hot sex (explains the number of quotes with this review), with just enough of a plot line to keep the emotions engaged. Recommended for those who are looking for their next smutty read. This one delivers in spades and Ms. Sloane definitely deserves the title of Queen of Smut!

Final Verdict: Sexy, commanding, thoughtful, and sensual describes Dr. Lowe; every woman deserves one, in bed and out of it!

Favorite Quotes

Warning sirens blared in my mind, but it was useless. His gentle, hesitant kiss roared loudly through my body, drumming back any other sound. His soft lips moved against mine, cautious and testing, and I answered back. Even more, I encouraged. I opened my mouth to welcome his seeking tongue.
He drew in a sharp breath through his nose as our reckless kiss deepened, but it didn’t stop his exploration of my mouth. Behind my back, his palm urged me into him, and his grip on my face firmed. His lush tongue dipped past my lips, slid against mine, causing goosebumps to burst down my legs.
I couldn’t think, breathe, or even move as he kissed me, because I worried I’d break the spell.

I gripped the edge of the counter and moaned as he stirred careful circles over my clit. The tiniest touch from him caused me to flinch and shiver. Ecstasy rocketed up and down my spine like lightning. His mouth was pressed against the side of my neck, and my hair fluttered with his rapid, uneven breathing.
Like last time, I was both feverishly hot and frigid cold. My nipples tightened and protruded through my unlined bra and tank top, as if wanting to be closer to him. It sent me into chaos. The way his skillful fingers stroked and touched me, I was going to melt into a puddle.

Could he read my thoughts through my eyes? “If I kiss you,” he said, “that’s it. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop.”
I exhaled softly and stared at his lips. I was here, ready. Desperate. “Then, kiss me.”
He moved fast, sealing his mouth over mine and stealing all the air from the room.
The kiss was explosive. Heat flared from where his lips met mine, spreading outward like wildfire, engulfing me. I cased his neck with my hands, pretending to steady him when I was really stabilizing myself. Everything went weak inside me. My bones turned to jelly.

“Fuck.” He whispered it as he began to drag the panties down and nuzzled his face into the cradle of my lap.
“Oh my God.” I gripped his broad shoulders. His lips followed the descent of my underwear, kissing each new spot of my flesh he revealed.
I was going to explode. Burst into a million pieces and flutter to the ground like burnt confetti. His mouth inched along the top of my slit, and something like panic gurgled in my system. I wasn’t supposed to do this, but dear God, how I craved the slippery slide of his tongue, desperate for him to go lower.

I clutched at the comforter beneath my body—like having a physical handle on something would help. The sensation was too intense. I wanted to control it, but I’d have better luck holding back the waves of the ocean. He had his mouth on me, and part of him was inside my body.
Claiming me. It made me want more. I shouldn’t, but I wanted all of him.
This thought was my undoing.
“Shit,” I groaned, locking up as the orgasm surged. Heat flooded through my veins, searing my nerves. I fell into a million pieces while pleasure roared up and down my body, leaving me cold and flushed as it subsided.

He was right at my entrance and began to push, easing inside. I locked my legs around him so tightly, his hipbones dug into the insides of my thighs. Greg’s eyes were as dark as coffee, and the color deepened as he advanced. He watched intently, studying every breath I swallowed as he claimed me.
Oh, shit, the uncomfortable stretch felt good. A delicious shiver tore through my body. I reached up a hand to cup the side of his face and held on to him, even as my lips rounded into a silent moan.
“Fuck,” he uttered so quietly, it was a ghost of a word.

I arched off the mattress, pushing myself into his hands, wriggling against his hips beating against mine. Gone was the unsure girl I’d been before. Beneath Greg, the sexual woman I’d always wanted to be came alive.
He looked stunning as the fading light from outside played across his chest, his expression intense and focused. I didn’t bother holding back the whimpers and sounds of enjoyment, and he didn’t either. He grunted and sighed as he rutted into me, both taking and giving pleasure.

I was slick between my legs, and faint sweat clung to my skin. It was the same for him. It beaded at his forehead and glossed his face. We looked so good together. I tightened my hold on the smooth post of dark wood, bracing myself so hard, my muscles strained.
My pulse thundered as he slipped one hand down, his fingertips searching my slit. He strummed there, making me gasp.
“Shit,” I cried out, arching back so my head rested on his collarbone. Even with my head tipped back, I watched the mirror through my half-lidded eyes. How could I not? His powerful body behind mine, fucking me into oblivion, was a sight to behold. I’d never forget it as long as I lived.

“You want to hear about my fantasies, Cassidy? Because there are a lot, and they are very, very bad.”
Just like me.
I nearly said it out loud, but I’d turned to liquid under his mouth. I couldn’t catch my breath as I swallowed a gulp, so I nodded enthusiastically. “Tell me. I bet I want to do them all.”
He made a sound like I’d stroked a hand over his erection, even though I hadn’t yet, and his face took a dark, sexual cast. It was primal and gorgeous.
Greg’s mouth slammed into mine, his tongue pushing past my lips and invading. This kiss wasn’t like the others. It was blistering, and punishing, and rewarding. He shoved a hand up my shirt and gripped my bra-covered breast, all while his mouth fucked mine.

“Show me,” he commanded again. “You put on that dress, so I’m not the only one with bad thoughts.”
The wickedness of his order had me trembling against the dresser, and the brass pulls on the drawers rattled quietly. I stared at the glide of his hand over himself, each pass making him harder and bigger. A dull ache inside me burned, and I grew hot and slick between my legs.
The dress was supposed to make me feel powerful, yet I was powerless to stop the sigh from seeping from my lips, or the way my hands clawed at my skirt, hitching it upward.

“What happens to bad girls, Cassidy?”
I froze. I hadn’t realized we were playing a game, and now it was clear it was my turn. My move. I could answer any way I wanted. Tell him bad girls got sent home, or put in time-out . . . or fucked.
I balled the sheets into my fists, closed my eyes, and pressed my cheek to the bed. Hopefully he wanted the answer I was going to give.
“They get punished,” I breathed.
It was immediate. There was a whoosh of air, and the smack of skin registered before the sensation of his spanking did. The sting radiated up my backside, rippling outward. I bit down on my bottom lip. No one had ever hit me before. Not Preston, not my mom, and certainly not the father I’d never met.
“You deserved that,” Greg said in a seductive tone, “didn’t you?”
“Yes,” I panted.

And then he was there, nudging. The tip of his hard dick pushed and intruded, one delicious inch at a time.
“Oh, Jesus. Oh, God,” I babbled through my short gasps of breath. “Yes, that’s it.”
His sigh was heavy with satisfaction, and I felt it mirrored inside me. He slipped deeper as his hands grasped my waist and pulled me back onto him. All the way until his pelvis was pressed flat against my ass, and he was so hard inside me I couldn’t see straight.
We stayed motionless, me bent over the bed and him standing behind, just breathing and enjoying the way it felt. Fuck, it felt so good. He throbbed inside me, and my body squeezed in reply. And even though we weren’t moving, blood thundered through my veins. My pulse sped along, banging loudly in my ears.

“You like that?” he asked darkly.
“Yeah.”
He did it again.
And again. His hold on my hair began to ache, but I said nothing. As his tempo picked up, his grasp on my arm tightened, drawing me further back toward him so my spine was shaped like a U. He pounded into me, our bodies slapping together with a punishing, angry rhythm, and it was sexy. I listened to the sound of us fucking and grew wetter and hotter.
“Fuck, your pussy is insane.”

My whimpers of enjoyment swelled and grew frantic. Tingles raced up and down my legs. Every inch of my skin felt alive. The slap of his body against mine hit all the right spots, inside and out. My mind focused in on a single need, the desperate release of tension.
“Oh,” I gasped.
“Uh huh,” he encouraged. “I’m gonna come. You’re going to make me fucking come, Cassidy.”

Greg leaned forward, set his forehead against mine, and watched me intently as he tugged at the knot behind my neck. Tension went out of the strings. He caught one and used it to peel the wet cup away from my breast, exposing my already-erect nipple to the night air.
His arms wrapped behind my back, causing me to arch upward, and I stared at the stars in the sky above us as his mouth closed on my breast. He licked, and sucked, and bit softly at me, and I made all the quiet cries of pleasure he’d told me he loved hearing. I couldn’t stop myself, even if I had wanted to. The empty ache between my legs was constant and throbbing.

He’d untied my bikini top slowly, but now he attacked the knots at my hips, yanking them open. I gasped as he jerked the fabric away, tossed it into a heap, and nuzzled his face between my legs. The rough, coarse ends of his beard brushed against my inner thighs. I clenched a hand on the back of his head, holding on as his tongue probed the most intimate part of me.
His kiss was electric. It jolted me with a shock, and I cried out on every long, deliberate lick he delivered. I moaned as he fluttered and massaged the tip of his tongue against my clit. Sparks shot across my skin, making me convulse. Greg wrapped a hand around each of my thighs and pushed them back toward me, opening me further to him.
The pleasure was intense. Like nothing I’d ever felt.

“This is my fantasy,” he said. He rubbed the tip of his cock on my slit, making me squirm and shift. I needed him inside me. Couldn’t he see how desperate I was? His gaze moved along my body until it connected with mine. “My fantasy,” he continued, “every day since I saw you out here with him.”
My mouth dropped open in surprise then rounded into a silent moan as he pushed himself into me. It felt like he was everywhere. Inside my body, inside my mind, inside the deepest recesses I didn’t allow myself to go. It couldn’t be his fantasy—because it was mine. I tried to tell him, but his first thrust was so powerful, all I could do was grab the cushion beneath us and hang on.
“I was jealous. So unbelievably jealous.” Greg widened his knees, which were tucked under my spread legs, and pumped his hips a second time. I recoiled with pleasure, and a victorious look lit up his eyes. “Watching him get to fuck you, when I wanted it to be me. I wanted it to be like this.”
Oh. My. God.
I was a stick of dynamite, and his confession cut the fuse in half. One spark and I was done for.

“I wanted it to be you,” I said in a blur. I hadn’t even admitted it to myself, and now here I was, saying it out loud. “After I saw you—” How far should I go with this? Should I tell him all of it? “I closed my eyes and imagined I was with you.”
“Oh, fuck,” he said and descended upon me.
The intensity of our movements went wild. Finding out our dark appetites matched each other was liberating, and we reveled in it. His rhythm changed from seduction and passion, and crossed into a territory that was more primal.

“You’re flushed. Breathing hard.” He seized my wrist, pressed his index finger to my pulse point, and peered down at his watch, counting the seconds. “Your pulse is elevated.”
I had no idea my wrist was an erogenous zone, but in Greg’s hands, every inch of my skin felt that way. I swallowed a breath. “I’m having a reaction to something.”
God, his expression was corrupt and victorious as he walked me backward toward a wall. He feigned concern. “Any idea what’s causing it?”
He wasn’t playing fair, but I liked it. “No . . . Doctor.”
The second the words left my mouth, we burst into flames. His lips slammed against mine at the same instant my back hit the wall. His hands were on my waist, then under my shirt, sliding over my belly and skimming upward. I clenched the lapels of his coat as our tongues tangled with each other, battling for control. He won, of course.

“I want you to take off your clothes, get into my bed, and make yourself come.”
I gasped, but he wasn’t finished.
“You,” he said, “playing with yourself in my bed? Fuck.” He smoothed a hand down his leg, straightening the swell that threatened. “That’s my fantasy. I want you rolling around in my sheets, making them smell like you. Make that whole room smell like sex by the time I get home.”
My mouth hung open, and then I closed it with an audible snap.

I jammed my hand in between my body and the bed, fumbling toward his expert fingers to slow him down and control the pace, but I was much too late. My climax hit me like a gunshot and ricocheted through my body, burning a thousand degrees. A desperate cry burst from my lips as pleasure flooded my core. It was followed by spiderwebbing tendrils of satisfaction, sweeping along my limbs as I convulsed beneath the crush of his strong body.
“Yes,” he murmured. “Yes.”
And then the muscles in his chest went rigid. His body locked up for a half-second and began to shudder in mindless jerks. I could feel every throb of him as he spurted his orgasm, wave after wave. It was intense and overwhelming.
I went hazy in the aftermath.

“I’m not going to touch you.” He declared it loudly, his voice ringing in the cavernous space, traveling up to the balcony of the second floor.
Anxiety ratcheted inside me. “What?”
“I’ve spent the last year wanting you, but I wasn’t able to touch. Tonight, you’re going to see what that’s like.” His gaze drilled deep down into me. “You’re going to watch what you do to me.”
“I don’t understand,” I sputtered, shifting on my heels as I stood before him, only an arm’s length away.
“You know how many times I imagined you coming to me? How badly I wanted you to seduce me?” He rolled his shoulders back in the chair and widened his legs, getting comfortable in his seat. “That’s my ultimate fantasy, Cassidy.”
Oh. My. God. My chest tightened. “You want me to seduce you?”
The smile that curled across his lips was like the devil’s, and it was fucking hot.

Since I understood the game now, I went in for the kill. I closed the space between us, threaded a hand through his thick hair, and lifted my leg, pulling his lips to where my body was hot and slick. His eyes went wide and then closed, happy to fulfill my request.
I hooked one leg over his shoulder.
My knee threatened to buckle at the first swipe of his tongue, and the grunt he gave was erotic. I held my tenuous balance as he stroked and massaged my clit with his velvet tongue, giving me the most intimate of kisses. The scene played out before me. His head was right beside the black band at the top of my thigh-high stocking, his mouth moving over my bare, pink skin.

The bra slid away from my body, releasing my breasts, and I dropped it delicately on the floor. It cost more than my last paycheck, after all. Greg tipped his forehead toward me, letting it rest against my collarbone, and I arched instinctively into him. The whiskers of his beard pressed in the valley between my breasts, and—good God—it felt so good when I moved, rubbing my heavy, tingling skin against his face.
He sighed, and the beautiful sound reverberated through my core. “Fuck,” he said, long and low.
Between my parted legs, I felt the swell of his hardening dick, and I swiveled on him, grinding against what I wanted inside me. The chair beneath us creaked, but not from my movement—it was his tight grip on the wood.

My moans and whimpers swelled as the heat inside my core surged. I writhed on him, casting my head back as I jerked his face into me, yanking on his suitcoat. I crushed his head to my heaving chest, undulating like a girl possessed, and shivered as his mouth locked around one of my nipples.
“Oh, God, yes,” I cried.
The stream of words came from him rapid-fire. “That’s it, fuck me.”
His hands suddenly moved. One gripped my thigh, and the other slid onto the small of my back. His palm and fingers pressed into me so hard, my bare skin dented around it. He pushed and pulled, urging me to ride him faster.
“Come on me.” His words were law—no alternative. And as the orgasm dug its hooks in, pulling me upward, he sensed it. “Fucking yes.”

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Re-Read Review: The Unfaithful Wife by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequi
Hero: Nik Andreakis
Heroine: Leah Andreakis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1995
Started On: June 02, 2021
Finished On: June 07, 2021

When it comes to The Unfaithful Wife by Lynne Graham, the title itself indicates that this would be a stormy, angst-ridden read in every sense. That is exactly what Ms. Graham delivers, and I enjoyed every single heady sensation that this number brought to the forefront at every turn.

The story begins with Nik Andreakis and Leah’s marriage having reached its five year mark. Leah is the classic definition of the abandoned wife, the lonely years she has spent without any emotional support from her spouse or otherwise leaving its mark on her. Leah agreed to the marriage because of her father, who had basically emotionally blackmailed her into tying the knot with a man she had wanted from the start.

Leah knows that Nik despises her for reasons unknown. But when Leah is just about ready to move on with someone else and gather the courage to ask for separation from Nik, the inevitable happens – Nik comes for her, and states his intention to claim her as his.

I have no memory of having read this title before, but looking up my Goodreads reading history indicates that I have indeed read this in 2010. While my rating was considerably lower back then, reading this once again after 11 years proved to be more eye opening. I was better able to understand the undercurrents in the story and appreciate how Leah stood up for herself even though she had been brought up to be submissive all through her life.

While Nik’s cruelty did not win him points for him at the beginning (but then again where is the fun in the hero who is saccharine sweet), I could understand where he was coming from as well. For someone like Nik who had wanted the freedom to choose his bride, being forced and blackmailed into a marriage had been a pill bitter to swallow. When Leah learns of Nik’s side of the story, she finally understands how Nik could have misunderstood the machinations behind their union and despised her for what had taken place.

However, even though Leah and Nik may want to ignore each other, the passion that flares to life between them (which had in reality drawn them together when they had initially met, which kick-started the chain of events leading to their marriage), is hard to ignore, especially when Nik is determined to claim Leah as his, once and for all.

Insane jealousy, a whole host of arguments which clears up the misunderstandings, crazy heat and intense sex brings Leah and Nik together in a way that makes for combustible reading. Unlike most stories from Ms. Graham, I loved this more so because of Leah – how she basically lays it out for Nik to make him see the despicable manner in which he had destroyed her for the past five years. I felt like bringing out my nonexistent pompoms and doing a cheer dance for Leah, just because.

This novel has the hero groveling, with Leah having the courage to walk away from Nik and making it on her own. She would have been just fine even if Nik had not come after her, but then again, where is the fun in that? Nik had to eat humble pie, understand the worth of the woman that he loves more than life itself, and do a bit of groveling just to experience the bliss of their happily ever after.

Definitely recommended – don’t let the first couple of chapters fool you, this novel surprises you in a way that is heartwarming when all is said and done.

Final Verdict: The Unfaithful Wife is chock-full of goodness – heartbreak, heat, and intense emotions from all ends. If you love angst-ridden romances, this is a must read!

Favorite Quotes

‘Nik…’
His mouth came down on hers with mesmerising expertise and prised her soft lips apart. She stopped breathing. He gathered her closer, sealing her to every abrasively male angle of his taut body. Her back arched without her volition, increasing that contact. His tongue drove into the moist, tender interior she had yielded and explored. A river of fire flowed through her and she quivered, leaning against him, winding her arms sinuously round his neck. Darkness beckoned behind her lowered eyelids, the heat in the pit of her stomach twisting like a hot wire through her trembling length.

Before she could move, Nik caught her up in his powerful arms and dumped her down on the divan behind her. He came down on top of her so fast that she hadn’t a hope of evading him. Waves of shock coursed through her.
‘You’re my wife,’ Nik growled down at her, as if that were sufficient justification.
‘Let go of me…you’re flattening me!’ Leah slung back at him in fury.
‘Maybe you’ll get to like it.’ Nik shifted sinuously above her and meshed one hand into her tumbled hair. He stared down at her for a long, timeless moment. ‘Theos, I am so hungry for you, I ache,’ he muttered raggedly.

He rolled over, carrying her with him, and dispensed with her T-shirt by whipping it over her head. He uttered a savage groan as her unbound breasts rubbed against his hair-roughened chest and a split-second later she was lying flat again, his hands shaping the pouting mounds he had discovered.
She shut her eyes, gasping for breath, all reasoning power wrested from her. He found a distended pink nipple with his mouth and she dug her hips into the mattress, her back arching, a wildness she had never known tearing at her.

‘You are mine,’ Nik grated in a voice so tortured that she didn’t initially realise that he had spoken in English.
She wasn’t listening anyway. He was apart from her. She didn’t like it. She lifted her head and touched his sensual mouth with her lips and then, more daringly, with the tip of her tongue, unconsciously imitating what she had learnt from him. He shuddered and accepted the invitation with a raw passion that consumed her, his arms banding so tightly around her that she could barely breathe.

Wonderfully warm and relaxed, Leah gave a sinuous little wriggle and the hard heat of the body next to hers tautened. Her lashes lifted. She looked up into smouldering black eyes, fringed by ebony lashes. The impact of those eyes was mesmerising. Her blood leapt in her veins and her heat raced. She felt dizzy, breathless and utterly dispossessed of all rational thought.
A fingertip stroked along the lush ripeness of her lower lip. ‘Open your mouth for me. I want to taste you,’ Nik urged huskily.
Held fast by his searing gaze, she instinctively obeyed and with a stifled groan of satisfaction he crushed her slender form to him, his hands sweeping over her hips and her back as his hard, demanding mouth took hers with savage intensity.

Leah felt her body stretch to accommodate his raw invasion, the sensation still new enough to shock, and then he moved inside her, creating an insatiable need that burned through her entire body. Unconsciously her fingers dug into his smooth, muscular back, her breath sobbing in her throat with every urgent thrust. Ecstatic sensation took over as he possessed her so thoroughly that she was driven out of her mind with sheer, splintering pleasure. And when release came it consumed her utterly for long, timeless moments and then dropped her down gently into sweet, drowning languor.
‘Heaven is said to come to he who waits,’ Nik murmured silkily, curving her confidently into the damp, hot heat of him. ‘But I was always a speculator…and patience is not one of my virtues.’

And she did forget, the same instant that he brought his mouth swooping down into explosive connection with hers. The smooth control she was accustomed to was absent. Nik unleashed a passion that devastated her. It was no slow, gentle seduction of the senses but an erotic assault in which clothes were thrust aside rather than removed. Excitement took over, blanking out everything but her body’s insanely instinctive need for him.
She gasped and threw her head back as he drove into her, rejoiced in his answering groan of satisfaction and from that point on there was nothing but wild sensation, rising to ecstatic heights she had never touched before and finally throwing her over the edge into a shattering release.

‘Yes,’ she moaned, arching her back in sudden delicious torment as he skimmed his knuckles down over her taut stomach and then spread his hand, holding her where she most needed to be touched but denying what every skin cell longed for.
‘I don’t know where to begin,’ he muttered thickly against her swollen mouth, and she could feel him, hard and hotly aroused against her thigh. ‘I want…I want everything you have to give.’

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Review: Mistress for a Weekend by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Blake MacLeod
Heroine: Eleanor Lang
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 29, 2006
Started On: May 19, 2021
Finished On: May 24, 2021

Mistress for a Weekend by Susan Napier is one of those few books that I have left over from the author’s backlist of books which I have not read previously. Ms. Napier is a dying breed when it comes to romance authors. Even with books that did not turn out to be high in terms of rating, I have enjoyed the journey the main protagonists take towards their happily ever after, and I feel sad knowing that Ms. Napier stopped writing a couple of years ago for whichever reasons.

25 year old Eleanor Lang (Nora) is on the hunt for the most dangerous man in the room that she can find. Betrayed by the man that she has been with for the past five years, having been labeled as a bore, someone who lacks initiative in the bed and out of it, Nora is determined to forget all of that and move on as she sets eyes on 33 year old Blake MacLeod.

Blake is a business tycoon, who normally prefers sophisticated women that might challenge him in bed, but never out of it. That is how he prefers it, and it shocks him when his body reacts in a most primitive fashion when it comes to the woman who makes eye contact with him in a way that speaks volumes.

Needless to say, the one night stand is more than either Nora or Blake bargained for, a night that ends in a misunderstanding which makes Blake weary of all that is Nora and what she presents. Keeping Nora at his side until she gives up the information that he cannot possibly risk being leaked out, tests his self-control to its very limits, given how much he desires to possess Nora at all levels.

Blake was a delicious hero who unleashes his sexual magnetism in a way that leaves, not just Nora, wanting. I loved Blake and all that he was in the story. One might think that he would be a typical brooding alpha, but he is charming and also ruthless on a level that just adds to his appeal. Finding out his roots and where he comes from just adds to his appeal.

With Ms. Napier’s books, you never know what you will get. That is one of the main reasons why I remain a steadfast fan of her books even now. What may start out as a conventional romance is never just that. Ms. Napier always manages to advocate for equal rights, shedding light on the sexism of the workplace and more, without sounding preachy about it. That is where a lot of authors fail today – as if the author is up on a podium preaching to the lesser intellects on what is right and wrong.

Recommended for those who love a good category romance. Ms. Napier’s books is a wonderful place to indulge in!

Final Verdict: Susan Napier always manages to surprise readers with delicious twists and turns in her stories and Mistress for a Weekend is no exception to that rule!

Favorite Quotes

Instead of impatiently snapping at her to pull herself together, as Ryan had done whenever she had revealed her weakness, he firmed his grip, his voice quiet, slow and forceful. ‘Yes, you can. Focus on me. Concentrate. Breathe deeply and think of something else, something you want more than anything—’
‘Like what?’ she choked despairingly, her slender body beginning to ripple with chills, the blood draining from her extremities to warm her icy core.
His eyes fell to her mouth and blazed with a fierce determination. ‘Like this…’
He bent his head, blotting out the world, his mouth crushing down on her cold lips, sealing in her ragged breath, invading her with his masculine heat and iron will sheathed in a wet velvet tongue.

She squirmed to get closer, her chills turned to a raging fever, burning away her inhibitions, her awareness of time and place. She groaned as she felt him subtly pull back from the kiss, but it was only to allow her to free her arms. Her evening bag plopped unnoticed on top of her umbrella as her hands slid eagerly up under the back of his jacket, fingers clawing at the soft cotton of his shirt, her short-trimmed nails biting into his hot skin through the thin fabric.
His muscles tensed and he growled a warning deep in his throat, the sound of a hungry male predator staking claim over his captive prey.

His expression was a dark mask of lustful intent, the skin drawn tight across his bones emphasising the intimidating harshness of his face. His eyes burned in their deep sockets, the coal-black shadow on his pugnacious jaw making him look uncompromisingly tough, his slashing widow’s peak adding a faintly satanic air to his smouldering regard. He looked primed and ready to take her, body and soul.
Nora took an uncertain step back. His nostrils flared as if he scented her sudden doubt, and then he was reaching for her, gathering her up and driving her back until her legs bumped against the side of the desk. In the same forceful motion his mouth was swooping down on hers, drinking in her shocked gasp as she threw up her hands and they came into contact with the hot skin of his chest, her fingers automatically curling into the soft thicket of dark hair, hanging on for dear life as he deepened his plundering kiss.

‘Wait—’ she panted, jerking violently as she felt the brush of his fingers against the thin fabric which hid the creamy heart of her desire, almost fainting at the gush of pleasure released by the brief contact.
‘I can’t—’ His prickly jaw rasped across her skin, creating a stinging trail of sweet pain as he ate his way down to her throbbing nipple. He suckled hotly, pushing up his knee until she was astride his leg. ‘I need this too much…and so do you,’ he growled roughly. She felt his arm tighten around her waist, dragging her weight down against his contracting muscles, setting up a friction that turned the delicious pressure between her legs into an electrifying thrill. ‘Come on, baby—ride me,’ he invited hoarsely, rocking her against his powerful thigh until she adopted his urgent rhythm.

She smiled weakly. Even if she had gained his sympathy, his trust was obviously not so easily obtained.
‘Not that I can think of. I just thought—well—you might feel that I’d insulted your manhood…uh, the frail male ego and all that—’
He stood, towering over her. ‘My ego is very healthy, thank you…particularly after last night. There’s nothing more flattering for a man than to watch a woman come helplessly apart in his arms,’ he mused in that dark and dangerous drawl. ‘So violently aroused that she melts all over his fingers like sweet hot honey, and moans his name like a sexy mantra as she shudders to her first climax….’
Nora’s lips parted, but not a breath of sound trickled out of her shocked mouth, a wave of heat chasing away her pallor.

‘Blake…’
‘Yes, Nora?’ He leaned over her again, his mouth hot on the straining cords of her neck, the sharp prickle of his dark-blooming beard an exciting contrast to his warm wet tongue, his playful humour evaporating as his blind touch worked up under the band of elastic at the top of her thigh to slide against her creamy velvet centre. ‘Oh, yes, you want me quite badly, don’t you, Sparrow?’
She gave an incoherent choked cry that mingled with his hoarse sound of pleasure as he felt the slickness of her desire coat his fingers and explored the hot swollen folds of her womanhood where they curled protectively over the hidden kernel that had ripened into secret prominence.

He gave a clotted moan of pleasure as her fingers fluttered curiously down to find the lightly lubricated tip, trapped against his thigh by the cut of his jeans, measuring his full length as more than the span of her hand. His grip on her wrist tightened involuntarily, his hips thrusting to increase the friction of her palm, and he groaned.
‘That’s right, Sparrow…Now take me out,’ he begged roughly, and it was Blake, the expert, who was fumbling as he guided her to free his swollen flesh from the prison of denim and sheath him in the snug new covering.

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Review: The Reluctant Husband by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Santino Vitale
Heroine: Frankie Vitale
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 1998
Started On: May 17, 2021
Finished On: May 17, 2021

The Reluctant Husband by Lynne Graham, first published in 1998 is one of those books that I have seem to have missed out on when I initially discovered Ms. Graham’s books. The story is one you have to read taking into consideration how the heroine’s most formative years were disrupted because of the volatile relationship between her parents. I cannot even fathom going through half of what she did and come out “normal” in any sense. With that disclaimer, I move onto my review.

When the story begins, the heroine, 21 year old Frankie Vitale is “forced” to travel to Sardinia for work purposes, which is the last place on Earth she wants to be at. While her colleague thinks the visit would be therapeutic for Frankie, she believes otherwise, and with good reason. The reason being, 29 year old Santino Vitale, the man she married, the one who broke her heart years ago.

From the start, it is evident that Frankie’s mother does not hold much affection for her, but to discover the extent of her lack of care towards her only child as you read along is nothing short of astounding. Frankie does not have a normal childhood by any standards as I mentioned earlier, at eleven years having been forced to move to Sardinia with her father, who had thrust her into the care of his parents and left.

The kind of trauma that any child would go through being forced to endure a world that is unfamiliar, lives by different values to what she has been brought up, where no one speaks English; well I can only imagine. The only ray of hope that shone for her then was none other than Santino, and it is only natural that Frankie holds onto him, only to have her heart shattered after a marriage that is forced upon them.

Santino had plans for his future which did not include a naive wife coming along for the ride. While Frankie learnt that lesson the hard way, she had been returned to her mother like the unwanted baggage she was, and she had never intended to return to the place that still haunted her, if she were to be honest with herself.

Coming face to face with Santino, who proclaims that their marriage was never annulled, and that he now intended to bed his wife, the wife that he has invested in all through the years, of course it comes as a shock to Frankie, who resists him at every turn. But the intensity of the desire that awakens to life between them is not something easily denied as Frankie finds out the hard way, and succumb she does, as does Santino.

I quite enjoyed The Reluctant Husband as the story unfolded. I am of the opinion that I may not have enjoyed this story half as much if I had read this when I was younger, and perhaps unable to empathize as much with the plight of Frankie and understand where she was coming from.

Santino is the classic Graham hero – all out alpha in a way that makes for a swoon-worthy hero. It is also evident that Santino feels much more for his lawfully wedded wife than he lets on, especially when he proclaims of how much he had actually desired his very young bride and resisted the urge to act on it at every turn. It is also unrealistic to expect that he would not have taken other lovers along the way; it would have been more realistic had Frankie too taken on a lover since then, but Ms. Graham does love her virgin heroines, who tend to serve their purpose.

Like most novels by Ms. Graham, this too delivers taut sexual tension and scenes of passion that explodes from the pages. There are few authors who can do this kind of tension between characters AND deliver on it in a way that leaves the reader satisfied on all counts.

Ultimately, the story won me over because for all the angst and heartache, the main protagonists manage to have conversations with one another which sheds light on their shared past which helps them reconcile their differences and move onto a happier future together.

Recommended for fans of Lynne Graham and those who love category romances featuring married couples, who initially lose their way and find their way back to one another.

Final Verdict: Littered with misunderstandings, angst, and heightened sexual tension means The Reluctant Husband delivers the kind of stellar read that Ms. Graham is famous for!

Favorite Quotes

‘Francesca…’
‘Nobody calls me that any more,’ Frankie muttered waspishly, striving to rise above an ever-increasing sense of crawling mortification.
This encounter was a nightmare, she conceded, stricken. At sixteen, she had been so agonisingly, desperately in love with Santino. She had thrown herself at his head and done and said things that no woman in her right mind would want to recall once she reached the age of maturity! She must have seemed pathetic in his eyes, forever swearing undying love and resisting his every move to sidestep the intimacy which she had craved and which he had never wanted. It hadn’t been Frankie who had locked her bedroom door at night… it had been Santino who’d locked his. That particular recollection made her feel seriously unwell.

‘You will experience only pleasure in my arms. I promise you that. In fact it is a matter of honour that you should relish sharing a bed with me.’ Playing the tip of his tongue erotically across the excruciatingly tender skin of her throat, Santino sent her pulses leaping into sensual disarray. ‘Open your mouth,’ he urged, glittering eyes like scorching shards of pure gold.
Frankie trembled, unyielding as marble, but he brushed her mouth with his and then somehow—and later she genuinely couldn’t understand how—her lips softly parted. And without the slightest warning at all Santino was kissing her with slow, deep, shattering intimacy.

He was so close she could smell the hot, sun-warmed scent of him, intrinsically male and powerfully familiar. Her nostrils flared, her breath catching in her throat as she raised an involuntary hand and let her fingers rest on one broad shoulder to steady herself, her gaze welded to the shimmering gold of his. She shivered as he eased her forward and bent his dark head. A warm, drugging anticipation trapped her in submissive stillness.
He kissed her very gently, his tenderness a soothing balm to her smarting sensitivities. And it made her want him even more. In fact it made her want to cling. He tasted her lips in tiny hungry forays that sent her arms snaking round him in desperation to pull him closer. Her whole body felt as if it was reaching up and out, craving what only he could give. An explosive charge of hunger burned up inside her, and when his tongue penetrated between her readily parted lips her heart lurched so violently she could barely breathe in the seething excitement that controlled her.

His hands were slightly rough against her softer skin, the knowing exploration of his fingers over her achingly tender breasts a tormenting pleasure as she strained helplessly up to him, her whole body awash with response and reaction to his every tiny move and caress. She felt dominated and confined and she liked it, and she laced her seeking fingers ecstatically into his thick black hair, holding him tightly to her.
He dragged himself free, shone an innately ruthless smile of satisfaction over her confused face. Her treacherous heart contracted in response.
He looked so dangerous, his slashing confidence unhidden. ‘I’m not going anywhere, cara…your hunger is the one true gift you have to give me and the only thing you cannot lie about or control. The completeness of your surrender will be my triumph.’

‘You’re so ready for me,’ Santino groaned.
His lean, strong features harsh and intent in passion, he rose over her, lifting her trembling thighs back and settling himself fluidly between them. As she felt him, hot and urgent and alarmingly male against her tender entrance, Frankie gasped and tensed, and yet with every contrary fibre of her being she would have died of frustration had he stopped. Then he moved, and pleasure splintered into shocking pain as he thrust deep and a startled cry was wrenched from her.
For an instant Santino fell still. He surveyed her with lancing golden eyes that scorched like flames over her hectically flushed and shaken face. ‘If ever anyone got the punishment they deserved for lying…’ he breathed, unexpectedly deepening his invasion with a powerful twist of bis hips. ‘I would have been slow and gentle if I had known the truth.’

‘Sexual hunger is never simple because we are not animals, mating without thought or feeling at nature’s behest… how innocent you are in spite of your avarice. You can’t even admit your own ignorance. But the higher you climb on that ladder of self-deception, the harder you will fall.’
His thumb grazed the comer of her full, tremulous lips and then almost lazily slid to probe within. Involuntarily her languorous eyes slid shut, her lips converging hungrily on that intrusive digit, the lancing bitter-sweet pain of that hunger shrilling through her slender frame, making every muscle fiercely taut with anticipation.
‘And with the smallest encouragement… such a natural-born temptress,’ Santino completed, his accent thickening as he closed one impatient hand over her hip to yank her closer.

He succumbed to the apparent temptation and encouragement of that one little glance by closing his arms round her so tightly she could barely breathe, crushing her to him and kissing her until her head swam. The merest persistence might well have persuaded her that there was nothing remotely wrong with making love in a corridor.
But he jerked back from her then with a growling sound of frustration. ‘Only this morning you were a virgin. I should be making allowances for that…I’m not.’
She met burning golden eyes and knew she was utterly enslaved.
‘I want you so much I am in agony,’ Santino gritted unevenly.

Impatiently dispensing with the silky panties which still clung to her slender hips, Santino wasted no time in rediscovering the unbearably hot, moist welcome awaiting him. With an exultant growl, he pushed back her thighs and came over her like a conqueror to thrust with urgent, forceful hunger into the heart of her yielding body.
Frankie cried out, her spine arching on a relentless surge of excitement. He was wild for her and she was hopelessly out of control. For tormenting minutes of terrifyingly intense pleasure, he drove her ruthlessly to satisfaction. The explosive, blinding shock waves of climax hurtled through every fibre of her being and totally wiped her out.

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Review: From the Embers by Aly Martinez

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Eason Maxwell
Heroine: Bree
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 28, 2021
Started On: May 15, 2021
Finished On: May 17, 2021

From the Embers by Aly Martinez is one of my favorite reads from 2021. Discovering Ms. Martinez through her book Release has been a godsend. Stumbling across authors like Ms. Martinez is why I spend countless hours sometimes, looking through title blurbs of authors I have never read before. Books like From the Embers makes all the bad books you come across worthwhile in the long run.

The story begins at the point where the main protagonists, Bree and Eason Maxwell are married to each other’s best friends. Bree a businesswoman prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom of two when their family’s finances had given her the freedom to do so, and Eason, a songwriter whose marriage seems to be on a perilous path all because he was just not doing enough to keep his wife satisfied on all fronts.

All that changes in a heartbeat when an explosion takes the lives of both Bree’s husband and Eason’s wife, leaving them both bereft, hurting, and bewildered in the wake of the heartbreaking loss. Eason might have carried Bree to safety from the explosion, but it is Bree who finally sees him for who he is, as they are both forced to rely on each other to get through the days ahead. However, as these two navigate the circumstances of the new reality that they have been thrust into, dark secrets come to the forefront, threatening to crumble the foundations upon which the bond between Eason and Bree is forged to life.

Bree had never been Eason’s fan – she had always found Eason lacking, all owing to the fact that she had viewed Eason through the lens of her best friend’s viewpoint. All of that changes when Eason becomes her rock in the turbulent times that faces them both, the family they become as they leave the painful night behind them and starts the slow and painful process of moving on.

Both Bree and Eason are wonderful characters; every single character that you come across in the book is special. Kids often have a tendency to annoy me in books – but Ms. Martinez makes it all work, bringing the right mix of cuteness and wholesomeness to the mix. The plot was well done; at first I was a bit skeptical thinking that what comes to the forefront was just too easy – but in the end Ms. Martinez surprised me with the plot twist that brought a different edge to the story as it reached its climax.

Eason was perfect. Bree was perfect. The secondary characters were perfect. This story was nothing short of perfect. Recommended for those who want a story that would sweep them off their feet on a journey that is all consuming!

Final Verdict: Beautiful, surreal, and utterly spellbinding, From the Embers makes for an explosive read in every single sense!

Favorite Quotes

“I don’t hide anything from you.”
“Good,” she said. “Let’s keep it that way.”
My throat got thick, and as hypocritical as it was, I hoped the sweat breaking across the back of my neck and the tempo of my racing heart were both hidden. Her proximity suddenly felt suffocating, which was almost as confusing as it was intoxicating.
Together, we stood there, surrounded by white lights and unspoken emotions. There were gratitude and respect, but most of all, there was love. Maybe not the conventional or romantic variety, but it was there all the same.

“Look, I know this is going to complicate the hell out of things. But being with you is the only thing that feels right in my life. I’m gonna be real honest: I’m mad at them. I’m hurt. I’m embarrassed. And I can’t even begin to imagine the agony that’s going to follow over the next few weeks as we sort this shit out with Luna. But there are two things I know for sure: I want you, Bree, and I’m not waiting one fucking second longer to make my move.”
In one swift motion, I rolled over and tucked her beneath me. Smoothing the wisps of hair out of her face, I added, “I can’t wait any longer to kiss you from head to toe, to make you feel good and know for sure it was because of me.”

After unwrapping her like a candy and sampling the sweetness between her legs, her hands balling the sheets beside my shoulders, I nearly lost my mind.
Just before I tipped the scales out of my favor, she annihilated them altogether by rolling on top of me. “In my dreams, you said I wasn’t ready. But I’m ready, Eason. I’m so damn ready for you.”
She’d had dreams.
About me.

Every day, Eason was easygoing and laid-back, but in bed, he was a completely different animal. He was powerful and strong, almost unyielding in the way he ravaged my body with his. He was bold and sure, confident in knowing everything I needed even before I could anticipate it myself. He was demanding and gentle, but above all else, he didn’t hold back.
Eason gave. I took.
He went harder, faster. I begged for more.

“I swear to God, Bree, your fucking body was made for me.” His hips twisted as he pushed deeper. “I can’t go much lo—”
I silenced him with my mouth on his. “Shhh. Then don’t. Give it to me. Give me everything.”
Breaking the kiss, he went up onto his arm, looked down at where our bodies were crashing into each other, and then pressed his forehead against my shoulder as the most erotic moan rumbled through his chest. “Fuck.”
His heavy weight collapsed on top of me as he pumped and twitched his release. For as ugly and tainted as the world could be, the sight of Eason losing himself in an orgasm would forever be one of the purest and most beautiful things I could experience.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo

Review: The Bride in Blue by Miranda Lee

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Wedlocked
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jonathon Parnell
Heroine: Sophia
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 25, 1996
Started On: May 02, 2021
Finished On: May 02, 2021

I have forgotten the countless number of times I have indulged in The Bride in Blue by Miranda Lee, one of my favorite Harlequin romances to revisit time and yet again. However, it is also amazing that I have never put down a review of this book for whatever reason, which I aim to rectify this time around.

The story begins with Sophia the bride wearing blue on her wedding day, to be lawfully wedded, not to the man whose child she is carrying, but to his younger brother who steps into take her beloved Godfrey’s place to do the right thing. From the start, Jonathon Parnell had rubbed Sophia the wrong way – he was just too much of everything, and being the distraught bride mourning the loss of the love of her life certainly does not make it easy for her to see him any other way.

There is a powerful connection that exists between Jonathon and Sophia. While Sophia might be naive and inexperienced not to know that, Jonathon does and that is the singular most reason why this story is so appealing on multiple fronts. There are those readers who would find Sophia annoying – and I admit, she is annoying at first, because like everyone else, she is quick to judge Jonathon without understanding the dynamics that drives his behavior.

When Sophia finally starts to see the undercurrents that exists within the family and how Jonathon is the pariah for some reason, the man who is always on the sidelines left wanting – though his cold and aloof manner would hardly tell you anything, that is when Sophia starts to realize the true worth of the man who is her husband.

The sexual desire that awakens in Sophia is a foregone conclusion when it comes to Jonathon; readers will have to experience Jonathon for his animal magnetism to understand why, not to mention the fact that he harbors a secret he is unwilling to part with when it comes to his reluctant bride.

At the cost of repeating myself and sounding gushy, I so love this story. I would say this is Miranda Lee at her very best, delivering a hero that makes you literally melt from the way he just strides into a room. Yes, Jonathon is that kind of hero. Once Sophia starts to see Jonathon in a new light, you can see the feisty side of hers emerge; the woman who gives it her all when it comes to loving and protecting Jonathon.

The angst factor was just right, and the sexual tension that permeates throughout the book heady enough, and I could not ask for more! Sophia’s fantasy when it comes Jonathon, when at last she is ready to accept him as her husband in the truest form – well, you will have to read on to find out!

Recommended for the sheer effect of Jonathon as he wreaks havoc on your senses.

Final Verdict: The Bride in Blue is the kind of book that stands the test of time, the reason why when I read for pleasure, my chosen genre would always be romance!

Favorite Quotes

‘Say “I will,”’ Jonathon hissed into her ear.
‘I…I w-will,’ Sophia stammered, to her mortification.
‘God,’ came the low mutter from beside her.
Jonathon bit out his ‘I will’ as if he were giving a guilty verdict for murder. When the celebrant pronounced them ‘as one’ in a flowery way, followed by a sickening smirk and a ‘you may kiss your bride’, Sophia darted Jonathon an anxious look.
She didn’t want him to kiss her but she couldn’t really see how they could avoid it. Everyone else knew their marriage was a sham, but the celebrant didn’t. Jonathon looked just as reluctant to oblige, but, seeing perhaps that he had no alternative, he took Sophia firmly by the shoulders, turned her his way and bent his head.
Sophia steeled herself for the cold imprint of his mouth on hers, so she was somewhat startled to find that the firm lips pressing down on hers were quite warm. Her eyelashes fluttered nervously, her mouth quivering tremulously beneath his. His mouth lifted, and for a second he stared down into her surprised face. Something glittered in that cold blue gaze.
Then he did something that really shocked her.
He kissed her again.

Jonathon’s eyes narrowed on the rapid rise and fall of her chest. ‘Are you saying you want to go to bed with me?’ he asked, his voice disbelieving.
Sophia kept her eyes steady on him, even whilst her cheeks were burning. ‘I can’t say I do, but I can’t say I don’t. I haven’t had much experience in such matters. But you must know you’re a very attractive man, Jonathon, and I’m sure, a very experienced one. What do you think?’ she rashly flung at him. ‘Could you make me want to go to bed with you?’
Those blazing but oddly cold blue eyes seemed to seer through her dress, their fire heating her skin, their ice freezing her nipples into hard little pebbles. With breathtaking and incredibly sensual slowness, his gaze travelled upwards, leaving behind a parched throat and parted panting lips. At last he reached her eyes, her large, liquid brown eyes which grew larger as they glimpsed the power within that ruthlessly sexual gaze.
Oh, yes, she realised breathlessly, he could make her want to go to bed with him. But it would be nothing like what she had experienced with Godfrey. His kisses would not be sweet or soft or romantic. There would be no meeting of souls, only a meeting of bodies. Hard, panting bodies, reaching for each other in a strictly primitive passion.

‘I shouldn’t be doing this,’ he muttered against her lips, groaning a type of despair, she thought, as the last millimetre between them was crossed.
And then she didn’t think anything. There was nothing but his mouth, hard on hers, his hands tightening on her flesh.
When his mouth lifted momentarily on a raw moan, she gasped for air, only to instantly have his lips back covering hers and his tongue, hot and wet, surging deep inside. Wild swirls filled her head, the blood pounding in her temples. She pressed her hips against his, whimpering a need she had never felt before.

Standing there as he was in the moonlight, with his shoulders squared and his fists curled, his chest still rising and falling with the physical effort of that savage swim, he presented an image rather similar, Sophia fancied, to that of a primitive man who’d just forded a flooded river. Soon, he would stride on home to his cave where his woman would be waiting with food cooking over an open fire.
But this caveman wouldn’t want to eat straight away. He’d been away, after all, for days, seeking out new hunting fields. What he suffered from was hunger of a different kind.
Sophia could see him now, eyeing his scantily clad mate with hot eyes, then coming forward to grab a clump of her hair at the back of her head, bending her body back till he could suckle on one of her bare breasts like a starving infant before dragging her back on to their rough bed of furs at the back of their cave and vanquishing his hunger, not once, but several times.

He crossed the carpet with huge strides, looking larger and larger with each step till he towered over her. She lifted rounded eyes to his narrowed ones, her tongue suddenly thick in her mouth. A flood of nerves consumed her, bringing with it a trembling deep inside.
But even as her apprehension built, so did her desire, her eyes clinging to his, her body unconsciously straining towards him.
He ripped the nightie from her body, rent it in two from top to toe and threw it aside before sweeping her shaking body up into his arms and carrying her to the bed. He held her briefly against his damp body, hot eyes raking over her naked flesh before spreading her out on the quilt then swiftly stripping himself. Sophia was stunned by the speed with which he loomed over her, a dark silent force that breathed but did not speak.

‘No, don’t stop,’ she cried a second time when he abandoned what he was doing.
He didn’t stop. He merely started replacing his mouth and hands with his body, making her gasp when she realised he was as large there as he was everywhere else. A sob caught in her throat, her eyes squeezing tightly shut against the pressure of his titanic desire seeking entry into her almost virginal body.
When he suddenly achieved the unachievable, slipping deeply inside, Sophia’s eyes flung wide. All discomfort had ceased, the only sensation one of being thoroughly and very satisfyingly filled. What Jonathon was feeling, she couldn’t tell. He didn’t look at her from where he was still kneeling between her legs, his hands under her buttocks, his concentration seemingly on that area where their flesh became one. His face was in shadow, but his stillness suggested a silent savouring of their union.

Jonathon, however, had driven her mind and body into a crazed frenzy from the first moment he’d kissed her tonight. Yet they weren’t in love with each other. It hadn’t been making love, what he’d done to her on this bed, what he was still doing to her…
His name was torn from her lips, a lost, bewildered cry which called for him to explain how she could feel like this when there was no love involved, to comfort her in her confusion, to hold her till this cataclysmic experience released her from its tenacious grip.

You’re so lovely,’ he muttered, his eyes narrowed upon her. When he ran the back of his fingers across the tips of her breasts, she gasped aloud. He groaned, and dropped his head.
‘God, Sophia, do you have any idea how much I want you?’
She simply stared at him, unable to say a word.
‘I need to have you right now,’ he went on, sweeping her up into his arms. ‘No foreplay. Nothing for you but the knowledge that I’ve never been like this with any woman before. I haven’t a hope of controlling myself as I did last night. Believe me, I guaranteed that performance by swimming in a cold pool till I was almost exhausted. It took the edge off my need. Not so this time,’ he told her as he strode back into the bedroom. ‘This time I will be appallingly quick. I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to frighten you, or disappoint you. But I must do this. Don’t say no.’

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Review: His Countess by S.M. LaViolette

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Erotic Romance
Series: Victorian Decadence, #3
Publisher: Crooked Sixpence Press
Hero: Gideon Banks
Heroine: Alys Taunton
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 02, 2020
Started On: April 09, 2021
Finished On: April 09, 2021

Book 3 in the Victorian Decadence series brings to readers the story of 38 year old businessman Gideon Banks, who is legendary for his depravity, whose lecherous behavior had him expelled from Oxford at one point in time. Gideon makes no apologies for who he is, but at the same time, he increasingly finds himself dissatisfied with his lot in life, that is until he becomes the Sixth Earl of Taunton and finds himself saddled with the former mistress, Alys Taunton.

26 year old Alys becomes a widow after eight years of marriage, having become disillusioned with the institution itself. She wants nothing to do with marriage, but as society would have it, she requires the protection and good will of the new Earl if she were to survive. While Gideon believes Alys to be of the stuck up lot in high society, Alys wants one thing from Gideon: for him to tutor her in the pleasures of the flesh.

What starts off as a raunchy one-time sexual escapade, with Gideon who might have been reluctant at first, brings such heady pleasure to both, which of course makes Gideon wary of what that might mean in the long run. The resultant effect ends in a marriage of convenience for which Gideon lays down one basic rule – he does not do fidelity, nor does he expect it from his wife. However, each raw encounter with his wife brings Gideon to the brink of surrender to which he resists with all his might, until one final act of power play on his part results in what Gideon has been pursuing out of sheer fear.

I found His Countess to be great in terms of readability, when most romances these days are either too preachy for their own good and/or filled with modern jargon that strives to keep certain reader-bases happy. But in reality, what it does is remove the essence of the genre that makes for such raw and gut-wrenching reads. I want my books to mean something; the drama as long as it adds value to the story and fleshes out the characters well enough for me to fall in love.

I enjoyed the journey that Gideon takes towards his happily ever after, even though like in previous books, I cannot fathom wanting to have so many sexual partners all at the same time. I can understand the lure certainly, when it comes to a someone who can give you pleasure of the kind you have only ever dreamed of. We are hard pressed to come across just one single person who does that in real life, and for the protagonists in these stories to just get it on with anyone of their choosing is still a bit jarring for me.

In my opinion, men and women experience sexual pleasure differently aside from the fact that we all identify with raw animal magnetism of those that attract us at our very core. But that does not translate into gratification of the kind that seems to come so easily to the characters of these books, no matter what. For women, our minds play a key role in reaching fulfillment, but for men it is a different ballgame altogether. Perhaps, new age adults might believe differently, but quantity does not necessarily translate to quality in the short or long term.

My ramblings about sexual pleasure aside, these decadent books by Ms. LaViolette are unlike most historical romances readers would come across. While Ms. LaViolette categorizes these books as historical erotic romance and not erotica, I would say it is a bit of both. There are few authors who dare push the conventional boundaries of romance novels, and with Ms. LaViolette, I would say she has no boundaries to begin with, giving readers highly erotically charged reads that are hard to put down.

As most readers and fans of this series, I cannot help but yearn to read Smith’s story. However, I believe it would be quite a while yet, given what Ms. LaViolette has stated in that regard on Goodreads. One can keep hoping and praying that Smith lets Ms. LaViolette write his story and give us all what we want!

Recommended for fans of the series and those who love plenty of eroticism in their novels.

Final Verdict: While Gideon Banks might not have a conventional bone in his body, his countess changes it all. Great characterization renders this a page-turner!

Favorite Quotes

“That’s what I want—something physical, animal, those things you were doing to L-Lucy and Susan.” She swallowed. “I imagined you doing them to me.”
Her words set off a commotion in his head—not to mention in his cock—that was too powerful to ignore. Gideon grabbed her arm and yanked her close, holding her clamped against him from hips to shoulders.
“You are rapidly approaching a place where I will not turn back,” he snarled into her ear. “Do you understand?”
“Yes . . . please.”

Alys made that embarrassing sound again and clamped her jaws shut. But her body’s trembling was beyond her control.
“Never hold back from me, Alys. I want to hear every whimper, yell, groan, grunt, and gasp.” His finger elicited several of those examples immediately, whatever he was doing making her dizzy and weak. “Come for me, little one,” he urged. “That’s right,” he praised as her hips jerked. “Let go and soak my hand.”
Her body responded to his crass order almost as much as his skilled touch and explosive, exquisite pleasure spread from that one little spot to every part of her.

Gideon held her gaze and pulsed gently in and out. “Do you want more, Alys?” he asked, his head almost dizzy with the effort of exercising restraint.
“Yes, Gideon,” she said in a whisper. And then she flexed her pelvis and his iron control shattered.
Gideon slammed into her, pounding her with hard, deep thrusts. “Tell me,” he rasped in between strokes. “Tell me when you’re close.”
She never answered because she was already there.
His restraint, already worn to threads, snapped and Gideon drove into her thrice more and then froze, emptying himself into her convulsing body.

“So tight. Clench for me, Alys.” Her entire body jerked as she contracted around him.
He gave a husky laugh. “I like the way your cunt obeys my commands—like an obedient pet.” His hand began to pump, slow and deep, his middle finger grazing something exquisite inside her. “I want to shove myself inside you but our fun would be over far too quickly. So let me pleasure you, first. Let’s see how many times I can make my pet come.”
It was his words as much as his actions that drove her toward the precipice with such dizzying speed. Any residual embarrassment at being so exposed slid away as he worked her with relentless, and increasing, intensity.

“You see, my love,” he’d gasped in between savage thrusts. “There is something to be said for riding astride. Now,” his jaw hardened and his nostrils flared, “Ride me to a lather.”
Alys had to admit she’d enjoyed the vantage point and being in control of their rhythm—at least to a degree. He’d not been a passive partner but had exhibited breathtaking strength as he’d thrust upward into her, every line and curve of his body hard and taut.
He’d made his pleasure obvious when he’d spent in her. “I love filling you with my seed,” he’d snarled in her ear while he pumped inside her. “I going to fuck you every chance I get, little one. I won’t be happy until you’re swollen with my child.”

“You see how excited you’ve made me?” He gave himself a pump, causing his slit to leak for her. “Tongue it, taste me,” he ordered, holding his cock by the root, the action making it look even bigger, thicker.
She trembled as she leaned closer, opening her mouth.
“Take my hips with both hands. Good. Now, show me your tongue—yes, like that, stick it out and make a point. And then poke it into my little hole.”
The tentative touch of her hot tongue ripped a groan from his chest.
“Christ! Yes,” he snarled, shoving his hands into her hair and holding her skull immobile. It took every ounce of self-control not to start fucking her mouth like the beast he was.

He opened his eyes, hungry to see her lips stretched around him. He grinned; she was sucking his fat head like it was a sweetie.
“The part below the crown is the most sensitive,” he encouraged, shuddering when she immediately began to investigate. He allowed himself only the slightest pulsing of his hips, his fingers massaging her skull. “One day,” he told her through clenched jaws. “I’m going to fuck your mouth as hard as I fuck your cunt.”
Her groan went right up his cock to his balls and he almost came.

“I’m going to check and see if you’ve been exercising for me.” He slammed into her without warning.
A mortifying animal moan slipped from her mouth; fortunately it was drown out by Gideon’s crude grunts and words.
“So. Fucking. Tight.” He punctuated each word with a brutal thrust.
He was wicked for saying such things and she was twice as wicked for loving his filthy mouth.
“You feel as delicious as you taste, my little pet.” His hips pounded savagely as he held her with fingers that would leave bruises. “I’m so looking forward to filling your body with my spend,” He said through clenched jaws. “I’ll fill all your holes, darling,” he whispered, the words so shocking Alys wasn’t quite sure she’d heard him correctly.
“But not just yet, I think. First I want you to come for me.”

“You seem almost fey, this morning, Gideon?”
He turned toward Alys, who was watching him with an affectionate look.
He grinned. “I’m looking forward to my daily riding reward.”
As he’d intended, she blushed and rolled her eyes. “You know, some people might consider riding itself a reward.”
Gideon laughed. “Not me.” He allowed all his desire for her to show on his face. “I’m going to strip you naked, tie you to a tree, and spread your legs wide, exposing your beautiful body to the morning sun. The only thing I’ll let you wear is your boots.” He grinned. “And then I’m going to kneel between those delicious thighs and make you scream.”

“What do you think Silber would say if he saw you like this?”
Pleasure rippled out from her tightly clenching sex. Alys only realized she was grunting and whimpering when he stepped closer and shoved a gloved finger between her folds.
“Did you just come, Alys?” he demanded roughly, pumping the finger inside her still-contracting sex. “I think you did.” He flicked her sensitive bud and she cried out. “I think you love the thought of being watched, put on display.” He lifted his hand, the black leather slick with her juices.

“Please, Gideon.”
“Please?” He cocked an eyebrow as he absently swatted the sensitive skin of her breasts, harder and harder. “Please what, darling?”
“Please. I want—”
He smiled like a cat that had eaten the canary. “What?” He smacked her mound and the stiff leather grazed her bud. “Do.” Smack. “You.” Smack. “Want?”
Each swat brought her closer to yet another climax.
Gideon dropped to his knees. “God, yes.” He spread her with sheathed, impersonal fingers and sucked her into his mouth.

“I can’t,” she gasped when he began to stroke her again. “Not again.”
“Just once more,” he said. “See how I’m begging? Please. Come once more for me?”
She groaned, but dropped her head, her shoulders dipping but her bottom pushing toward him, the position deliciously submissive.
“My good, obedient girl,” he murmured, stroking into her with his cock while he slowly brought her to orgasm.
When he felt the contractions coming, he fucked into her with vicious thrusts, until he could hold back no longer and drove himself deep, coming in wrenching jerks.
Mine! Mine! Mine! He crowed inside his head, glorying in his possession and marking her with each spasm of his cock until he was aching and empty.

“Open for me,” he ordered sharply, smiling when her legs instantly parted. His warm, questing fingers slipped between her thighs and grazed the seam of her sex and he shoved two fingers right up into her body. Her throbbing body.
Alys whimpered and pushed her hips to meet him.
“Do you always get this wet and swollen when you are angry?” he growled in her ear, leaning closer, his arm moving in slow, deep thrusts. He bit her ear lobe and she jumped. “Never lie to me about what arouses you, Alys. Your fantasies are mine, all mine—they all belong to me. Now, open for your husband.”
She spread wider to take him, her wanton body so greedy for the pleasure he could give that it didn’t care how mortified her mind was.
“Say it,” he demanded. “You’re mine—you belong to me.”
“I belong to you.”

Beyond the peep, it was as if they’d heard him. Or at least as if Alys had. Because they broke off kissing and grinding and the next thing he knew, Silber gently set Alys down and then led her to the seat that faced the peep—the closest one, the chair Gideon had most specifically instructed Jackson to arrange. They held hands for a moment and then Silber lowered himself into the chair, his huge body filling it.
Alys turned her back to him and the stable master placed his monstrous hands around her slender waist and lifted her over his spread thighs. Alys opened her shapely legs and reached for his rod, her eyes not moving from the peephole as she guided the fat crown toward her entrance—an opening Gideon knew to be exquisitely tight—and then took him into her body, inch by goddamned inch, her white teeth biting her lower lip and eyelids fluttering. She wore a rapturous expression as her body absorbed Silber’s ridiculous organ, until she was stuffed full, her body utterly impaled.
Gideon’s hand was nowhere near his cock when he came, splattering onto his waistcoat. His eyes flickered closed as his hips spasmed, powerful contractions wracking his body.

His hips began to buck, his control visibly slipping as he drove into her with primitive force, the muscles of his torso, back and shoulders gloriously defined as he held her arms immobile. His jaw clenched in a grimace as he pounded into her so hard Alys swore she could feel it inside her own wet, swollen body.
He thrust deep and then froze, the powerful muscles of his buttocks clenching as he jerked into her. Alys knew what it would feel like—hot jets of his spend filling her, the contractions of his shaft throbbing against her sensitive sheath.
She shoved her hand between her thighs and grunted as her finger finished what Jackson had started. As she came, biting her lip hard to suppress her cries, Jackson’s eyes opened, as if he knew. And then he did something she’d not believed possible: he smiled.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

Review: Sweetheart by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Busy Bean, #1
Publisher: Heart Eyes Press LLC
Hero: Daniel Beck
Heroine: Haley Elliot
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 01, 2021
Started On: April 02, 2021
Finished On: April 02, 2021

It has been a while since I last indulged in a romance from Sarah Mayberry, one of my favorite authors when it comes to exquisitely spun contemporary romances. The Busy Bean series is a multi-author series, the debut book of which is this installment.

26 year old Haley Elliot works at the Busy Bean as a barista-waitress. With rumors abound that there is a brand new roasted coffee supplier in town that is winning over the hearts of coffee lovers, it is none other than Daniel Beck, ex-boyfriend of her sister’s that she comes across in her quest to find the source. Haley had a massive crush on Daniel back in the day, something she had been keen to keep to herself, given how maladjusted and oversensitive her sister had been even back then.

Daniel wants nothing to do with the Elliot’s, the nightmare that his relationship with Haley’s sister being reason enough for him to avoid Haley at all and any cost. However, fate has other plans in store for the both of them, as an attraction that is as fierce as it is undeniable locks them both in a “fight” where resistance is futile.

Sweetheart is the kind of romance that is low on the angst factor with two characters who are mature and realistic in their approach to anything that happens between them. While Haley has crushed on Daniel for ages, she believes for the most part that it would remain an unrequited crush at best, that is until Daniel takes her in his arms and blows that theory to smithereens.

For Daniel, even though he would like to resist the pull he feels towards Haley at every turn, and to be honest, I would not have blamed him if he had done just that, he takes the time to come to the conclusion that between Haley and him lies something that he would like to pursue, even at the cost of running into his ex who had done a number on him.

Daniel’s discovery of all that is Haley and recognizing the beautiful and vulnerable soul she is, was the best part of this story. I loved Haley for everything she was – the obedient daughter who lived in the shadow of her beautiful sister who took the center-stage of their lives. Haley, who could not for all intents and purposes, celebrate who she is, her talents, and the kindness that is inherent when all is said and done. For Daniel to see all that and become her staunchest supporter, who was willing to stand by her and fight for her; that is the single most reason that I fell in love with Sweetheart.

Recommended for those who love a romance between two mature and well developed characters, who undoubtedly would steal your heart.

Final Verdict: Sweetheart; the word’s meaning resonates in its truest form within the story that unfolds; beautiful and soul-stirring in a way that steals your heart.

Favorite Quotes

I stood outside the restrooms watching Haley Elliott rush for the door, paralyzed by the truth bomb she’d just dropped.
You could look me in the eye occasionally and, you know, treat me like a human being.
Her voice had gotten tight, and her chin had wobbled. She’d spun away, but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that she was on the verge of tears as she wove her way toward the exit.
I’d done that to her. I’d made her feel so bad, so demoralized, she’d been reduced to tears. All this time I’d thought I’d been doing a decent job trying to cover my unease around her, and apparently I’d failed. Dismally.

The logistics didn’t matter. The only thing that did was the soft press of her mouth against mine, the smooth warmth of the nape of her neck beneath my hand, the thud of pure recognition that ran through my body as she opened her mouth and I tasted her for the first time.
Because this woman felt right in my arms. She tasted like everything I had ever craved, and when I stroked her tongue with mine, she made a small, inarticulate needy sound that went straight to my cock. Her hands fisted in my shirt as I deepened the kiss, desperate for more. She made the needy sound again, and I abandoned the delicate smoothness of her nape to grab her ass and pull her closer.

“Bedroom?” he asked, his voice low and desperate, two slashes of color high on his cheekbones.
“Front room.”
He nodded, then slid his hands onto my ass and issued a curt instruction. “Up.”
I didn’t need to be asked twice, wrapping my legs around his hips as he boosted me up. The moment my face was on the same level as his, he kissed me again, and for long seconds we got lost in the wonder of it, our tongues caressing as we deepened our connection.

Beck nuzzled closer, using his nose to push inside my bra cup. I held my breath as he licked and kissed his way toward my nipple. Then he sucked me into his mouth and I was powerless to stop myself gasping with delight.
“Oh, God. Yes. Please.”
I could feel him smiling against my skin, my nipple still trapped in the wet heat of his mouth. He trilled his tongue against me and I almost levitated off the bed, hands clawing at his shoulders.
Beck lifted his head to look down at me again. “Sweetheart, you’re killing me here.”
“I’m the one who’s dying,” I panted.

He was aware of my avid interest and his mouth kicked up into a cocky, knowing smile as he stroked the condom down his shaft. He crawled onto me then, six foot two of brawny man, his legs hairy and strong against mine, and I spread my thighs wide, lifting my hips to welcome his first thrust.
“Oh God,” I whispered as he filled me, stretching me exquisitely.
“Hell, yeah,” he groaned.

“Want to do it again?” he asked, nudging his hips forward a fraction.
Which was when I realized he was hard again.
“Already?”
“I’m a little pent up. Been dreaming about you.”
I blinked up at him. “Really?”
“Yeah.”
“Dirty dreams?” I asked, more than a little thrilled to think that all the time I’d been going crazy over him he’d been going crazy over me.
“Filthy. Depraved.”

“What else?” he asked, thrusting inside me again.
“You let me be on top,” I gasped.
“Yeah?”
Before I could react, Beck rolled to the side and onto his back, his strong arms taking me with him so that I wound up straddling him, my palms planted on his chest, a shocked laugh on my lips.
“Show me how you like it, Haley,” he said, his warm hands sliding over my breasts.
I didn’t need to be asked twice.

“I should really go,” she said, but I knew her heart wasn’t in it.
“So you just came here to apologize and drop off your sketch?” I asked.
“To clear the air.”
“Liar,” I said, softening my words with a smile.
I stepped closer and reached for her shoulder. Her bare skin was soft and warm beneath my hand. She watched me with slightly open lips as I caressed the slope of her shoulder before sliding my hand around to palm her nape. She was already lifting her face for my kiss as I lowered mine. I let out an involuntary grunt of appreciation when she opened her mouth to me, lust hitting me like a sledgehammer as I tasted her again.
What was it about this woman that did it for me so bad?

I kissed him deeply, slipping a hand between our bodies to find my swollen clit. Beck broke our kiss and pulled back an inch, glancing down to confirm what I was doing. I kissed him deeply, slipping a hand between our bodies to find my swollen clit. Beck broke our kiss and pulled back an inch, glancing down to confirm what I was doing.
“Keep doing that,” he said, and I was happy to oblige as he thrust up into me, his muscles turned to granite as he kept his gaze fixed on what I was doing with my hand.
“So damned hot,” he panted. “I’m close, baby.”
“Me, too,” I assured him.
I held his gaze as the first shudder radiated through me and I saw the exact moment he tripped into his own climax. He pulled me closer, pressing his face against my neck as he came.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books

Review: Hate Me by Ashley Jade

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Black Mountain Academy
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Trenton Knox
Heroine: Aspen Falcone
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 28, 2021
Started On: March 30, 2021
Finished On: April 01, 2021

“He tastes like cinnamon and uninvited desire…wrapped in pure evil.”

Hate Me by Ashely Jade is a novel that would be hard to take in for a lot of readers because it deals with a bullish hero who comes off as the worst of the lot at the initial stages of the story, until Ms. Jade slowly reveals his backstory and allows us to peek into his most formative years and the toll of constant physical and emotional abuse from a very tender age. Growing up with a vicious psychopath has its consequences, and that is what Ms. Jade shows us through this mesmerizing story.

The main protagonists, Trenton Knox (Trent) and Aspen Falcone meet at a very young age. The first meet does not go exactly as one would envision it would, with Aspen walking away crying with a bloodied nose and Trent hating the very essence of the girl who for the very first time sees right through to him and the misery that his life was.

Through the years, there are countless encounters between the two, until fate leaves Aspen fatherless and her mother remarries none other than Trent’s father, bringing everything full circle. That is when the story actually begins, with “Stray” as Trent loves to call Aspen finally landing on his home turf.

For Aspen, whatever notions she had before of Trent starts to change slowly as for the first time, she starts to see what Trent’s life must have been like through the years. However, Trent does not make it easy to understand him as he pushes her away at every turn, even though the sizzling connection between them roars to life with a ferocity that refuses to be denied as the story progresses.

Aspen’s life is no walk in the park either once her father passes on, with a mother who only cares to keep up appearances. With little or no emotional support in her life, Aspen takes on paths that are only attractive to someone who has nowhere else to turn to. It feels at first as if Aspen switches from one path to destruction to another when the attraction between Aspen and Trent reaches its climax, but there are undercurrents at play in the story that needs to reach their conclusion before anything long lasting can come to fruition between the two.

I enjoyed Hate Me for the most part; it was captivating through the bigger chunk of the story and had me anxious to find out what would happen next. Additionally, the way Ms. Ashley spun Trent’s arc was gripping, with the layers to his character exposed as the story delved deeper into the combined lives of both Aspen and Trent. Some of the scenes of abuse or the aftermath of it were difficult to read, but nevertheless it was needed to show the depravity of monsters that live in society, taking up revered positions in the community.

The only thing that I could not wrap my head around was the ultimate conclusion of the arc of Aspen’s mother’s character – without giving way to spoilers, all I have to say is that I did not find what happened to her sitting well with me at the end. The only reason why this book did not get a higher rating was because I could not understand that particular ending.

Ms. Ashley gives us a realistic happily ever after once all is said and done, with both Aspen and Trent doing some needed healing and growing up before coming together once again.

Recommended for those who enjoy stories that brings together difficult to understand heroes and the heroines whose spunk and courage definitely makes them stand out!

Final Verdict: Trent and Aspen are two halves of one jagged soul; each beautifully broken in a way that only those who are survivors can be.

Favorite Quotes

“What is your prob—”
I don’t get to finish that sentence because his hand slides to the back of my neck and his mouth crashes against mine.
What the hell?
Everything freezes…except my heart, which feels like it’s exploding.
It’s my first kiss..
The fact Knox is the one doing it is just…weird.
I should probably stop him. I hate his guts and he doesn’t deserve to kiss me.
But I can’t…because he’s kissing me like he just swallowed poison and I’m the antidote.
At first there’s no tongue. Just greedy lips.
But then he growls, low and deep, and everything changes.
I rest my hands on his shoulders, my knees going weak as the fingers on my neck tighten and he coaxes my mouth open to feed me his tongue.
He tastes like cinnamon and uninvited desire…wrapped in pure evil.

“Do you want my jacket?” Leo offers.
I shake my head, my nipples puckering as I fight to keep my breathing in check. “No. Thank you.”
The woman turns to him again. “What is it you do for a living?”
I’m thankful for her nosiness, because Knox curls his fingers and an orgasm tears through me so fast my head spins as I clutch the chair for dear life.
That’s when I feel a sharp pull on my panties. I’m in no position to protest, so I don’t as he wrenches my thong off before tucking the silky material into his pocket.

I spread her pussy with my fingers, stretching it as far as it will go before I lower my mouth and thrust my tongue deep inside her, extending it as far as I can.
Liquid heat fills my mouth as she squirms below me.
“You know why Leo didn’t know I made you come last night?” I flick my tongue ring against her swollen clit and she moans around my cock. “Because he’s never done it before.” I suckle the sensitive bud as she gags on my dick and the sounds of me eating her fill the jeep. “He doesn’t have a clue how you look when you come.”

His lids lower, and his hand grazes my bare knee. “Why are you down here, Stray?” Ever so slowly, his calloused palm moves up my inner thigh. “What is it you really want?”
An electrifying tremble breaks free and I suck in a sharp breath when he cups me between my legs.
I hate how his touch feels like both damnation and deliverance.
Right and wrong.
Bad meets evil.
His free hand trails down his sculpted stomach until it disappears under his sweatpants.
My heart speeds up, pumping hard against my ribs when he pushes them down his hips and his weighty cock bobs out, slapping against his abdomen.
“Is this what you want?”

Rising on my knees, I slowly lower myself onto him. He’s so big, so thick, it aches as I stretch around him. My eyes flutter closed when I sink down and he fills me to the hilt, my skin tingling and my nipples puckering as I relish the sensation.
Slowly, I start to ride him. I suck in a breath when his grip on my hip tightens, and he bites his lower lip and groans.
He looks so sexy…so hungry. Like he wants this even more than I do.

I gasp when the sharp tip of the knife pierces the top of my breast. “Knox—”
In one fluid movement, he wraps an arm around my lower back and shifts us into a sitting position.
Groaning, he inclines his head and licks the blood from the small cut he made. “Every part of you tastes good.” Squeezing my tits in his big hands, he sucks a nipple into his hot, wet mouth. “So fucking good.”
I tilt my head, arching my back and closing my eyes…getting lost in the feel of his warm lips on my skin and his cock pumping deep inside me.
I hold on to him for dear life as his thrusts pick up speed.
Oh, God.

“Stop.”
But he doesn’t. Instead, he grabs the back of my neck, turning my face up to meet his before he kisses me like I’m the air he needs to breathe in order to survive.
He explores every inch of my mouth, leaving no stone unturned.
I feel the armor I’ve built around me begin to crumble like cheap plywood with every hungry stroke of his tongue.

I hiss when he spreads my ass cheeks and holds them open—exposing all of me—before I feel the head of his cock nudge my entrance. “Tell me you don’t want this.”
“I don’t want to want this,” I whisper, the last of my willpower shattering like glass.
Because everything was so much easier when I hated him.
His gruff voice cuts through the air. “That makes two of us.”
With that, he pushes forward until he’s buried deep inside me.
“Fuck.”
His thrusts are fast and brutal—punishing—yet rewarding at the same time.
I scratch at the seat, tearing the upholstery as he gives it to me exactly the way I need it.

His nose skims the length of me and he inhales deeply, his long fingers tightening around my hips. “I don’t give a fuck.”
He proves his point by licking and kissing my pussy the same ravenous way he does my mouth.
The vulgar sounds of him eating me fill the kitchen, causing my skin to tingle and my head to spin as he continues drawing incredible sensations from my body.
I place my hand on his head, keeping him right where I need him as he stabs his tongue between my legs. He makes tiny circles, causing the metal from the barbell to graze my inner muscles.
I whimper as pleasure coils my insides, and he shoves two fingers inside me before attacking my clit with his mouth.
“Oh, fuck.”

I trail my palm down his chest. “Because you wanted it to be my mouth around your dick?”
His lids grow heavy as his eyes track my every movement. “What are you doing?”
Moving my hand lower, I undo his belt buckle, release his fly, and slip my hand inside, grazing his length through his boxers. “Giving you what you want.”
He raises an eyebrow in challenge. “What makes you sure I want this?”
Tugging on the waistband of his boxers, I reach inside. He’s warm and hard for me. “It feels like you do.”

He playfully tugs my t-shirt. Or rather, his t-shirt. “Take this off.”
I fold my arms around his neck, not quite ready to put an end to his kiss. “Why?”
“Because I want to watch you shower.” Reaching down, he grabs a handful of my ass and squeezes. “I want you to pretend you’re all alone while I watch you play with yourself.” His fiery mouth slides down my neck. “But you’re not allowed to come.” He sucks the sensitive skin above my throat. “Not until my cock is inside you.”

“Knox.” She utters my name like a warning and a plea.
Standing up, I work my cock inside her pussy while I finger her tight little asshole. “How does it feel?”
“Full.” Her teeth saw along her lip as she closes her eyes. “I can feel you everywhere.”
Good.
Pumping my finger, I thrust deeper.
The walls of her pretty cunt squeeze around me, milking my dick as I give it to her harder.
But it’s not enough.

He drops me on the bed and kneels in front of me, his rough hands immediately going to the zipper on my jeans. I raise my hips as he tugs them off. My shirt, bra, and panties follow shortly after.
I reach for the hem of his shirt and bring it over his head.
I need to feel his skin on mine.
I need to feel him inside me…owning me, claiming me, fucking me.
Making everything make sense again.

His thrusts deepen as he kisses my cheeks, my chin, my lips.
Our skin sticks with sweat as we rock into each other and he presses his forehead against mine.
Oh, God.
This is so different…so intimate.
He holds my gaze as we exchange the same breath. “Aspen.”
There’s so much stark emotion contained when he says my name—hate, love, want, desire, obsession—all of it tangled into one.
Just like us.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Tied by Carian Cole

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: All Torn Up, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Tyler Grace
Heroine: Holly Daniels
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 2017
Started On: March 19, 2021
Finished On: March 24, 2021

Holly Grace is five years old when she is kidnapped. Forced into captivity by a man who is the worst kind of predator, Holly is rescued by none other than Tyler Grace the town recluse, who kills her captor and sets her free. Holly sees Tyler as none other than her prince charming, the knight in shining armor who rode to her rescue. Even though Holly does not get to see Tyler for two years after, she waits patiently for their union – because even if Tyler knows it not, he is hers and she is his.

Assimilating back to society takes its time and Holly feels out of place with everything, even when it comes to her family. Being in captivity, solely relying on her captor for eleven long years had left its mark. Holly is determined that one way or the other, she would find Tyler, and it is her quest to find her faithful companion when she was held in captivity which leads her to yours truly, who lives in a cottage in the forest, where Holly finally feels like she has come home.

Tyler has his scars from the past, having gone through a lot of rough patches when his life had changed irrevocably that one fateful night. I found myself thoroughly enchanted by the story as Holly and Tyler found their way to each other even amidst all of what stood in their way. They are two souls fated to be together, something which readers come to know as the story reaches its climax.

I loved Holly for how brave she was through everything, in spite of everything. She goes through the worst kind of tragic experience which had robbed her of the most formative years of her life, and yet she holds onto her hope that her prince would come to rescue her. Some people may find that to be an odd notion for a young girl who is kidnapped at the age of five, but I found it to be what gave her hope that someday she would be freed from the evil clutches of the man who held onto her.

Tyler was just as endearing in many aspects. He is someone who hides himself away because he too is on the fringes of society, on the outside looking in. His regrets are multiple when it comes to his past, and he believes that he would continue to pay penance for it for the rest of his life.

What I had problems with was how the story ended; the epilogue was bittersweet in the way it cheated readers out of a more wholesome look into their shared future together. But having gone back to re-read the epilogue once again makes me think perhaps it was the most fitting epilogue for two individuals who had suffered so much pain to finally find their home in each other.

While Holly’s parents were callous for the most part when she is finally found, realistically speaking, I do believe that her parents were right in getting her the help she required. But it would have been better had they rallied around her and provided better emotional support than they did. But I also understood how Holly’s abduction had destroyed the family as well – and human emotions being what they are can often be messy and chaotic when they somehow find a medium to survive in the aftermath of a tragedy.

There was also the point where the readers do not get to see Tyler embrace his darker side while with Holly. I understood the need to take things slow when it comes to Holly, but at the same time, Holly is someone who wants her prince wholeheartedly, the good and the bad that is within him. And I would have loved to see even one scene, maybe a couple of months into their relationship as they figure things out in terms of physical intimacy and gets comfortable to a point where Tyler could have shown Holly that side of him.

I also felt that the story was a bit rushed from a certain point onward, which is perhaps why the effect that I had hoped for when I picked this up to read did not materialize fully. But even with all that, I still enjoyed Ms. Cole’s voice which stands true to delivering emotional goodness in dealing with difficult subjects such as trauma of the kind that leaves its deep abiding scars on your soul forever.

Recommended for fans of the series, fans of Ms. Cole, and fans of romances of the beauty and the beast theme.

Final Verdict: Holly and Tyler are two halves of one soul, tied together by the invisible thread of fate which propels them towards each other in defiance of everything that may stand in their way!

Favorite Quotes

“Your heart is like a little hummingbird.” He breathes. “It was beating like this the day I found you…” He kisses the valley at the center of my chest, his tongue slowly sending a warm shiver up my spine. “I could feel it against my chest. And it made me want to hold on to you forever.”
I reach up to run my hands across his back, my mind growing fuzzy, drunk on his words and his touch.
“I’ve always wanted you to.” My whispered words invite his mouth to mine, and he kisses me softly at first, then unapologetically rough and deep, pulling me further into a woozy haze.

His mouth comes down on mine again as his hand gently moves over my breast, pushing the fabric aside. His rough palm grazes over my nipple, and a small sound of surprise escapes me at the sensation jolting through my body from that tiny touch.
“I fuckin’ love that sound…” he growls, and he roughly yanks the fabric up to expose my breasts, his mouth and tongue dragging over skin that’s never been touched. Surprise and fear are chased away as he sucks a nipple into his mouth, his tongue flicking over the hard tip, and my entire body responds, craving more of this, more of him, more of everything that feels so incredibly good.

“Can I ask you something?” she asks.
“Of course.”
“If I asked you to, would you stop doing the fighting?”
That’s the last thing I expected her to ask me. “Maybe. Why?”
“Because I love your face. And I don’t want it getting hurt anymore.”
You skeeve me out.
Her words rock me, right into my soul. Right now, she doesn’t know how much her words mean to me, but I know she’s the only person I’ll ever meet that has the true capacity to understand. We’re kinda made of the same ripped-up cloth.

“Holly…” My voices catches in my throat.
“I want to.” Her gray eyes lock onto mine as she pulls my shorts down, and I’m powerless under her sweet, sultry gaze and the sudden warmth of her mouth descending on my rock-hard cock.
All the way down.
My eyes literally roll back in my head as she expertly deep throats me, her lips touching my balls as she takes the full length of my shaft.
Oh, fuck. Nothing has ever felt so fucking amazing.

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