Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

slavetosensation_2Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series is one of those series that words of praise cannot do justice. It is a must read for anyone who loves romances, strong, protective and alpha heroes and their admirable heroines whom you root for every step of the way.

The first book in the series, an absolute favorite of mine has a new cover and Nalini is holding a giveaway to celebrate! Don’t forget to take a peek at my review of Slave to Sensation. I don’t think I could have ended up being gushier even if I had tried!

Book Blurb

Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind—and none of the heart…

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

MBR’s Review of Slave to Sensation

Wow!! That is all I am capable of saying at the moment with the remnants of Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation still coursing through me. If not for Dina’s review of Kiss of Snow on Goodreads that picks up bits and pieces of Hawke from each and every story till the 10th book in the Psy-Changeling series that delivers Hawke’s story, I would not have been tempted to pick up and read the first book in the series which has left me with a sort of breathless anticipation to continue reading.

Slave to Sensation introduces us to the world of Psy and the Changelings whose worlds cannot be more different even if they tried. Psy’s are well known for their icy control, inhuman practicality and their inability to resort to any sort of violence – or so they say. Changelings on the other hand are races that allow their animal sides to rule them and thrive on all sorts of emotional bonds and attachments that they form within their packs.

Our heroine Sascha Duncan has lived her whole life as a Psy knowing deep inside that she is unlike the rest of her race. Where icy control should be what runs through her veins, Sascha is a Psy that feels, a trait that would get her terminated if the Psy Cardinals were ever to find it out. Thinking that she is going crazy and that life as she knows it would come to an abrupt end if she ever were to show her vulnerability to her own race, Sascha is a woman torn apart on the inside, crying out for something which she doesn’t even fully comprehend.

When things on the business front brings her in contact with the sexy Lucas Hunter, alpha of the DarkRiver pack, she is at a loss as to how to handle the full frontal attack of sensations that bombard her right from the very first meeting. Lucas is a Hunter on a mission, who has vowed that he would do everything in his power to crumble the lines of defences around the Psy to find out who it is that are preying on females of their kind. What he doesn’t expect is to feel a compulsive need to touch and be touched by the woman of mass contradictions with whom he is to spend considerable time with for the next couple of months.

Scared out of her wits that Lucas and the way he constantly touches her is accelerating her deterioration process, Sascha tries her damnedest to erect walls of control around her heart and emotions which proves to be no match for the lethal touches and kisses that invoke a blaze of hunger across all her senses that refuse to be denied any longer.

When the news about a killer amongst her race comes to light, Sascha knows that finding him and bringing him to justice is the one thing she would do for the Changelings whose way of life makes her crave to embrace life with Lucas by her side which she knows is an impossibility. However, Lucas who has finally found his mate refuses to be denied as Sascha undertakes a mission that could very well mean her death and the end of a love that grows and fosters no matter how much Sascha may try to shield Lucas from eternal pain and loss that is sure to follow.

Slave to Sensation is a masterpiece that has everything going for it starting from its very appropriate title, the story underneath which has the power to invoke powerful emotions in the reader. The fascinating world which Ms. Singh creates is an unbeatable one where you can’t help but be in awe at the powers of her imagination in coming up with a world that feels as if its unfolding right in front of you.

All the characters whether it be Sascha and Luke, or the delicious Hawke from the SnowDancers pack to the ruthless and emotionless Psy are well rounded lending the story an extra richness that only in-depth character development can give a story.

Lucas (sigh) has wanting me to braid my non-existent long hair  just so that I can feel even a minute figment of what Sascha feels throughout the story when Lucas focuses his lethal brand of charm and seduction on her. Loved the purring and the rumbling that went on and especially the way Lucas protects, cossets and cherishes Sascha. Fantastic right from the very start, this is a series that fans of paranormal/urban-fantasy romances should not miss!


And if that doesn’t entice you into giving this a go, here’s an excerpt of the novel.

“Mr. Hunter.”

Sascha looked up at the sound of her mother’s voice. And found herself within touching distance of the most dangerous male she’d ever seen. There was no other word to describe him. Well over six feet tall, he was built like the fighting machine he was in the wild, pure lean muscle and tensile strength.

His black hair brushed his shoulders but there was nothing soft about it. Instead, it hinted at unrestrained passion and the dark hunger of the leopard below the skin. She had no doubt she was in the presence of a predator.

Then he turned his head and she saw the right side of his face. Four jagged lines, reminiscent of the claw marks of some great beast, scored the muted gold of his skin. His eyes were a hypnotic green but it was those slashing markings that grabbed her attention. She’d never been this close to one of the changeling Hunters before.

“Ms. Duncan.” His voice was low and a little rough, as if caught on the edge of a growl.

“This is my daughter, Sascha. She’ll be the liaison for this project.”

“A pleasure, Sascha.” He tipped his head toward her, eyes lingering for a second longer than necessary.

“Likewise.” Could he hear the jagged beat of her pulse? Was it true that changeling senses were far superior to those of any other race?

“Please.” He gestured for them to take seats at the glass-topped table and remained standing until they’d done so. Then he chose a chair exactly opposite Sascha.

She forced herself to return his gaze, not fooled by the chivalry into dropping her guard. Hunters were trained to sniff out vulnerable prey. “We’ve looked at your offer,” she began.

“What do you think?” His eyes were remarkably clear, as calm as the deepest ocean. But there was nothing cold or practical about him, nothing that belied her first impression of him as something wild barely leashed.

“You must know that Psy-changeling business alliances rarely work. Competing priorities.” Nikita’s voice sounded utterly toneless in comparison to Lucas’s.

His responsive smile was so wicked, Sascha couldn’t look away. “In this case, I think we have the same ones. You need help to plan and execute housing that’ll appeal to changelings. I want an inside track on new Psy projects.”

Sascha knew that that couldn’t be all of it. They needed him but he didn’t need them, not when DarkRiver’s business interests were extensive enough to rival their own. The world was changing under the noses of the Psy, the human and changeling races no longer content to be second best. It was a measure of their arrogance that most of her people continued to ignore the slow shift in power.

Sitting so close to the contained fury that was Lucas Hunter, she wondered at the blindness of her brethren. “If we deal with you, we’ll expect the same level of reliability that we’d get if we went with a Psy construction and design firm.”

Lucas looked across at the icy perfection of Sascha Duncan and wished he knew what it was about her that was bugging the hell out of him. His beast was snarling and pacing the cage of his mind, ready to pounce out and sniff at her sedate dark-grey pantsuit. “Of course,” he said, fascinated by the tiny flickers of white light that came and went in the darkness of her eyes.

He’d seldom been this close to a cardinal Psy. They were rare enough that they didn’t mingle with the masses, being given high posts in the Psy Council as soon as they reached any kind of mature age. Sascha was young but there was nothing untried about her. She looked as ruthless as the rest of her race, as unfeeling and as cold.

She could be abetting a killer.

Any one of them could be. It was why DarkRiver had been stalking high-level Psy for months, looking for a way to penetrate their defenses. The Duncan project was an unbelievable chance. Not only was Nikita powerful in her own right, she was a member of the innermost circle–the Psy Council. Once Lucas was in, it would be his job to find out the identity of the sadistic Psy who’d stolen the life of one of DarkRiver’s women…and execute him.

No mercy. No forgiveness.


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Requested Review: Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy

Format: E-bookpetalsandthorns.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Roland
Heroine: Amarantha
Sensuality: 5
Date of Publication: July 13, 2010
Started On: May 20, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Petals and Thorns is a novella based on the Beauty and Beast theme interwoven with strong elements of BDSM. Amarantha the heroine finds herself married off to someone known as the Beast, a man too hideous to be seen out in public, who shrouds himself under a cloak, whose voice from the get go has a hypnotic effect on the reluctant Amarantha. All that Amarantha has to do is “suffer” through seven days with the Beast, her husband, and leave with her virginity intact in order for their family to be saved. And while the Beast had agreed to not force her to give up her maidenhood, everything else remains fair game.

Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, the Disney version of course. There is a timeless love story if ever there was one and my interest was piqued enough to give this a go because I wanted to see how the author would interweave BDSM elements into the story.

While the flow of the story was pretty much okay, I found that the Amarantha didn’t pretty much have a choice when it came to the Beast and his command over her body. A virgin without any experience whatsoever to guide her, Amarantha was at a disadvantage from the beginning of their marriage and I found the Beast to be a bit cruel at times in his attempts to make her bow to his will.

While I have read novels whose main theme has been BDSM, I have never remained emotionally hollowed out by any of it and yet I guess Petals and Thorns is going to be the first of its kind for me. One thing I think that led to the fact was that the story while its quite short with just 80+ pages to it, didn’t contain any elements from the Beast’s point of view. I guess that in itself leads the reader to draw the conclusion that the Beast’s ministrations on his wife was a tad cruel. Towards the latter part of the story, that tension eased a bit as readers are able to see that the Beast isn’t as much in control of his emotions & reaction towards Amarantha as he’d like her to believe.

I felt that the Beast and Amarantha, though seemed to be well matched in their desire for one another towards the end, seemed mismatched in other ways. While the Beast appeared to be well read with varied interests in other aspects of life as well, Amarantha didn’t seem as in tune with him in this aspect. I guess it was the lack of her exposure to much in life that made her the innocent she was.

Recommended for those that love hardcore BDSM themed romances.

Final Verdict: Jeffe Kennedy brings to readers the beauty and the beast, BDSM style!

Favorite Quotes

She forced herself to look at him. “I must tell you, I don‘t see how I can ever be your wife in truth. I cannot imagine asking you to—“
“To take your maidenhead? To rend you with my cock so that you scream in agonized pleasure?”
The shock drained Amarantha‘s cheeks of color. Even as the image somehow stirred her.
“Sir Beast, you cannot say such things to me.”
“It seems, my bride, that we must stretch your imagination as well. The only thing I may not do is take you by force. Everything else is open to me.”

She heard the warning in his voice and inched up her skirts, just high enough to slip her hand under. He knew she wore no underthings, and she blushed at it. Amarantha dipped a hesitant finger into her private area, finding it slick and swollen. She nearly hummed at the sensation.
“Now show me.”
If possible, she flushed more deeply, that he might have thought she lingered. She held out a trembling hand for him. It gleamed slick in the sun. The Beast bent over. She felt his hot breath whuffing over her hand.
“You move me, Amarantha,” he finally murmured, his voice rough.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | Smashwords | iTunes


ARC Review: Montana Actually by Fiona Lowe

Format: E-bookmontanaactually.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Medicine River, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Josh Stanton
Heroine: Katrina McCade
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Started On: May 19, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Dr. Josh Stanton’s move to Medicine River County, to a town called Bear Paw comes from the need to quickly pay off his student loans. The move from Chicago hadn’t come easy for Josh. The relationship that he has just gotten out of, after being burnt from the brunt of it all doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Josh comes from a family of prestigious surgeons. The fact that he had chosen to specialize in ER medicine and lands in a town which requires he divide his time between the clinic and the ER isn’t an irony lost on him.

Katrina McCade returns to her hometown after eight years of living it up outside of it. What brings her home back to her family is too shameful for her to reveal. The fact that she had been duped by the man she had been in love with, ready to share her life with is something that is proving quite difficult for Katrina to get over from. The last thing she needs is for the entirely too irresistible Dr. Josh to be her new tenant, a man who makes her stir crazy from desire one minute and makes a side of her she is not too comfortable with to rear up the next.

While the attraction between Katrina and Josh is inevitable from the start, what makes the story juicier is that neither of them wants to be in a relationship and thinks of their non-relationship as a sort of “people who can barely stand each other – benefits” sort of agreement. What neither of them bets on is finding things that they both like, respect and eventually come to love about each other. But the scars left behind from previous relationships prove to be not that easy to get rid of. However, it does deliver the sort of deliciousness that proved Montana Actually to be a book that was hard to put down.

Fiona Lowe makes it so easy to fall in love with every single aspect of this book. From the reluctant and very sexy Dr. Josh to Katrina to the whole bunch of secondary characters that brings the whole story alive; there is nothing I would change in any of it. The entire setting, how Josh who would like nothing better than for the nightmare he has been saddled with to be over, finds himself slowly settling into the pace of life at Bear Paw and finding it in his heart to accept and be accepted into a tightly knit community was a wondrous thing to watch unfold.

Every single character that appeared in the story was endearing and unique in their own way. The secondary romance included in the story was just the icing on the cake if you ask me. Fiona’s insight and sensitivity in handling a character such as Beau with his speech difficulties reminded me of Ellen O’Connell’s story Without Words. There is an emotional impact when characters such as Beau are delivered in the right manner that just makes a story that much more worth savoring.

The sparks between Josh and Katrina that emerge from the very beginning was a sight to behold and enjoy as well. Josh with his reluctant fascination towards a woman who makes him want to grit his teeth at times and then makes every primal instinct within him come alive at the very next second shakes him up unlike anything else. The pain that Josh holds in his heart from the life and relationship that he’d left behind is very real one, one that nearly broke my heart. But the delicious fun that Josh indulges in with Katrina, all in the name of just sex alone of course, was too fun to watch to dwell on the pain and heartache. And before I knew it, I was in love with Dr. Josh myself.Oh well, who am I kidding. I was in love with him the minute he stepped into the shower – with all his clothes on!

Katrina herself has got a past that rivals Josh’s. The fact that she had come back to her hometown after so long speaks volumes. Her heart had broken into pieces when her last relationship had ended with disillusionment of the kind she never thought possible hurting her soul. Katrina swears off men, especially doctors and the last thing she needs is to have lascivious thoughts about the town’s new physician. But that’s exactly what she ends up doing and more and it was sheer joy to see these two make their way towards their happily ever after.

While the story might seem all light, fluff and laughter, it was hardly that. There is enough emotion in it to practically sucker punch you over and over again. It takes a rare kind of book for me to shed actual tears and Montana Actually turned out to be one of those unique books with the ability to make me bawl my eyes out. Perhaps it was because I was in a pensive mood myself or because Fiona Lowe is that good; I’m going to go with the latter, I had to stop reading at a certain point and take a break because the emotional impact of it all was too overwhelming to continue. I don’t mean to scare any of you into not picking this up; let me reassure you that you would want to continue because there is definitely love and laughter at the end and of course the delicious sneak peak into the second book in the series to contend with!

It is tough to pull off a book with multiple characters and even plot in a secondary romance and make ALL of it work to give such a deliciously beautiful book. I for one am kicking myself for having waited this long to read this. Oh well. Life happens and my reading ambitions definitely have a way veering off track during those times. Last but not the least dear Ms. Lowe, keep em’ coming. For there is nothing more that reaffirms my belief that romance books are what keeps the world turning than a good book that engages all my emotions.

Final Verdict: Fiona Lowe effortlessly charms her way into your heart with Montana Actually. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Josh strode quickly through the door, filling the diner with his height, his breadth and his restless energy.
Light gray eyes—eyes that no longer looked like a red trail map—met hers. A flare of surprise burned in them along with something that made her shiver in a very good way. As fast as it had glowed brightly, it faded away leav- ing her wondering. In its place was the more familiar and slightly detached gaze.
She swallowed hard, determined to sound cool, calm and collected. “Doctor Stanton.”
“Nurse McCade.” He eyed the coffeepot in her hand suspiciously. “I hope you’re more in control of hot coffee than paint.”

One minute there was a safe and healthy distance between them, and then the old sofa cushions caved inward, rolling her sideways. Her shoulders bumped into his arm and then she fell across him. Suddenly, she found herself sprawled half on his lap.
“Sorry,” she spluttered as her body squealed in delight. “This sofa is a disaster.” She tried to move but the sucking cushions pinned her against him—a solid wall of muscle radiating heat. Heat that wove through her, taunting her with delicious quivers that danced and swirled before rushing straight to the apex of her thighs.

He groaned and, tantalizingly slowly, traced the outline of her top lip with the tip of his finger. Like a match to paper, she went up in flames as heat and joyful anticipation rocked her. She opened her mouth under his touch, her tongue licking the tip of his finger before her lips sucked it inside her mouth.
The black pupils of his eyes bled into the silvery gray. “Dear God, you’re killing me.” As he withdrew his finger, his other hand curved around the back of her neck and he kissed her.

The kiss was deliciously restrained and divinely decadent. Honor and lust—a kiss of the ages. A kiss any woman would envy.
A kiss that was driving her wild. She wanted to shake the control and unleash the passion.
Tingling from head to toe and desperate to really taste him, she opened her mouth under his, flicked out her tongue and invited him in. He didn’t hesitate. He branded her with his heat and his need for her, both giving and taking, and her knees buckled. She grabbed onto his shirt and he staggered backward, bringing her with him.

He waited for her to say or do something to tell him exactly what she wanted, but she stayed silent, so he lowered his mouth to hers.
He tasted salt, beer and restraint. He lightly nipped her lower lip.
She moaned, rose on her toes and opened her mouth under his, taking him in.
Thank you.

“If I didn’t think it would give you a swelled head, I’d tell you that the reality of you naked, even fuzzily out of focus, far outshines the fantasy.”
He grinned at her with dimples dancing. “I aim to please.”
“So do I.” She closed her hand around him, loving the hot and silken feel of him in her palm.
“Jesus, Katrina,” he moaned as his hands reached for her. “Too much of that and I won’t be pleasing you for another twenty minutes.”
“Where’s your self-control?” she teased.
“I lost it the moment I met you.”

She wasn’t sure if she crawled up him or if he lifted her or if it was a bit of both, but suddenly her arms and her legs were wrapped tightly around him and her back was pressed up against the tiles.
All of her quivered with unmet need and her body screamed for him. “Fill me up.”
Snowstorm gray eyes gazed into hers, filled with match- ing need. “Now?”
“Yes, please, right now.”
He pushed up. She pressed down and beseeching muscles gripped him tight, so tight it was as if they were scared he might change his mind.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | eBookMall | iTunes


ARC Review: Watch Me by Cynthia Eden

Format: E-bookwatchme
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Dark Obsession, #1
Publisher: Hocus Pocus Publishing
Hero: Chance Valentine
Heroine: Gwendolyn Hawthorne
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 9, 2014
Started On: May 18, 2015
Finished On: May 18, 2015

Watch Me by Cynthia Eden is the debut book in her Dark Obsession series. Cynthia has a way of creating heroes who do the crazy, obsessive and of course uber possessive thing that is one of unique aspect to her romances. With the entire series titled as Dark Obsession, well, that is telling in itself.

Chance Valentine is part owner of the VJS Protection, a private security firm founded by him and two of his friends. While Chance has no family of his own to speak of, his one obsession has from the start being his ex-boss’s daughter, Gwendolyn Hawthorne, from whom he had walked away once before.

When Chance is tasked with investigating a new threat to Gwen’s life, all bets are off this time when Chance encounters Gwen, the inborn need  to claim her as his and never let go, one that he is afraid would get the best of him. No one hurts Gwen had always been his mantra, and it becomes more so when their relationship shoots up to its next obvious level, bringing Chance to his knees and shattering all that legendary control of his.

Meanwhile, the danger to Gwen’s life escalates, making everyone working the case work against a deadline not of their choosing but the horrific stalker who would do anything to kill off the target.

The Dark Obsession series has resounding similarities to that of the Mine series by Cynthia Eden. Crazy stalker who would do anything to kill & make the heroine’s life practically miserable and an uber alpha hero who has the hots for the woman of his dreams who refuses to give an inch. Even with all the similarities, Cynthia still manages to give a story that kept the pages turning, perhaps owing to the unique twist in its suspense plot which I liked.

To find myself enamored by the guy who readers are led to believe was the villain was a novelty in itself. Though some might guess the actual perp who was carrying out the attacks, I don’t think anyone would have been able to discern the why of it. And that’s where the ingenuity of the plot lay for me.

Both Chance and Gwen were likable characters, both completely fitting the mold that’s Cynthia’s trademark variety of the hero and heroine. Chance with his almost obsessive need for Gwen, who is sweet, beautiful and definitely not a pushover, the kind of heroine that most readers would definitely find endearing.

There were different veins of interesting tidbits regarding secondary characters that signals that some good stories might come out before the series is through. I’m certainly looking forward to Ethan’s story; his character is one that called out to me on a whole different level. I do hope Ms. Eden writes his story sooner than later.

Final Verdict: No one does darkly obsessed heroes like Cynthia Eden does!

Favorite Quotes

He kissed her. Maybe it was because of the adrenaline. Maybe it was because of the desire that he was so sick of holding in check around her. Maybe the why didn’t matter.
Chance let go of his control. His mouth crashed onto hers. Onto those full, make-me-beg lips. His tongue thrust into her mouth and he tasted her the way he’d been dying to for so long.
The lust he felt for her filled him. His cock stretched, aching to sink into her. And he kept kissing her, right there on the ground, with the snow falling around them. He kissed her hard. He kissed her deep. He kissed her the way he wanted to fuck her.
And he knew that they’d just crossed a line, a point of no return.

Her hips arched against him. The long, hard length of his cock pressed against her. She wanted him in her. Wanted them both to be racing toward the edge of oblivion as the pleasure took over.
He grabbed the hem of her shirt. Pushed it up. Threw it someplace. Then his fingers were sliding under the edge of her bra. She needed that bra gone so that she could feel him and—
The bra was gone. He bent his head and his mouth closed over her breast. Her eyes squeezed closed and a moan tore from her when he started to suck her nipple. She was pretty sure that her panties were getting drenched.
And they’d just gotten started.

“Keep looking at me.”
She bit her lip because she was about to go crazy, but she managed to keep looking into his eyes. That finger of his slid deeper and his thumb stroked her clit, right there, the button of her desire.
“I want to watch you come. I want to see your eyes go wild for me. I want to see the pleasure.”
A second finger pushed into her. She was standing on her tip-toes now. Her nails were digging deeply into his arms as she held on tight.
“And that will just be the start,” Chance promised her. “Because before I’m done…”

“Open your mouth for me…”
Helpless, she did. He kissed her. Thrust his tongue into her mouth even as his fingers drove deep into her once more.
She kissed him frantically, kissed him—
He pulled back.
Her eyes were on him.
His fingers slid out, then pushed into her.
She came, gasping hard with the pleasure and still gazing into his eyes as the wave of release washed over her. Her sex clenched around him, her body shuddered and he smiled.
“So fucking beautiful…”
He made her feel that way.

“Don’t be careful with me. You’re the one I want. Show me that you want me, too.” He’d said that he had trouble telling her how he felt. Fine. Gwen wanted Chance to show her instead.
When he kissed her again, his lips were parted. Better…Gwen’s teeth closed lightly over his bottom lip and she bit, tugging.
He growled and his hold tightened on her.
Much better.
“No more lies,” she ordered softly. “Not from you. Not from me. Give me everything you have…” Her tongue licked across his lower lip. “And I’ll give you all that I have, too.” No holding back.
“Everything,” he promised her.
Then he kissed her. Deep. Hard. Wild.

“I always knew…” Gwen whispered. “It would be like this…with us.”
Chance kissed her again. “So did I.” He pulled her against him. Curled his body around hers and made sure the covers were tucked around Gwen.
She smiled as her eyes began to close. She was safe. She was happy. She was—
“It’s what I was afraid of…”
Gwen almost didn’t hear his whisper.
“That I’d have you,” he said softly. “And never be able to let you go.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | iTunes


ARC Review: Back To You Lauren Dane

Format: E-bookbacktoyou.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Hurley Boys, #3
Publisher: MIRA
Hero: Vaughan Michael Hurley
Heroine: Kelly Hurley
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 1, 2015
Started On: May 16, 2015
Finished On: May 18, 2015

The third book in The Hurley Boys series features the youngest of the boys, Vaughan Michael Hurley, whose divorce from the woman he loves and had done immense wrong to, has gone on for 8 long years. Vaughan thought it better to save his pride than admit to his wrongdoings and seek to reunite. But the news that Kelly is about to marry another and start over anew with Vaughan ‘s two daughters brings about the realization that he must act before its too late.

Kelly has, does and always would love Vaughan. But Kelly is done waiting for someone who refuses to grow up, someone who refuses to come back to her. But then Vaughan surprises her by turning up on her doorstep, wanting to be more of a part of their daughters lives. With little bits of arguments here and small bouts of misunderstandings there, Kelly and Vaughn work through the hurdles to give a story that was just okay.

Every author who has written multiple books tend to have certain “trademark” aspects to their writing. Lauren Dane is someone who I have identified as being able to deliver emotional and intensely sexy reads that has the ability to blow your socks off and then some. While the relationship between Vaughan and Kelly had so much potential, there was little angst, just a bit of acting out on Kelly’s part to show everyone that she was done being the doormat heroine who apologizes for every little thing, even when most of it hadn’t been her fault. While Vaughan is a pretty laid back sort of guy, I still expected him to ooze out the Hurley brand of charm and sexy which sort of failed to materialize.

To be honest, nothing stood out for me in this book. I know that authors and publishers, though they claim to want honest reviews from reviewers, tend to shy away from and can be quite antagonistic towards the “bad” reviews. But as someone who has promised an honest review at the end of the day, I have to say my two piece about what I’ve read.

Back to You was a book that just seemed to be filled with a ton of conversations that were repeated in different forms with different characters in the story. While Vaughn kept apologizing to death and atoning for his behavior, which I believe he did just the right amount of it, I can safely say that none of it put me through the emotional wrangling of the kind that I was expecting. And that proved to be a teensy bit of a disappointment. While most writers shy away from delivering too much angst for the fear of facing wrath from the feminist goddesses, I for one am a total and utter disappointment to the fairer sex because I thrive in it. So to see that there was none of it in a novel that could have had a bit of it to spice things up was disheartening.

The whole crazy bunch of characters in the series have all been nothing short of endearing. But I found myself left with just a general likeness for both Vaughan and Kelly while I expected their characters to invoke deeper emotions in me. It’s not easy writing about characters who are flawed and have made pretty screwed up judgment calls in the past owing to a lot of shared hurt and sense of betrayal and abandonment between them. I guess the problem lies with how much I actually expected the novel to move me, which it didn’t. After a while, you get tired of reading about the other characters, especially Ezra, whose addiction problems were mentioned all throughout the debut book and even this one. I wanted to read about Vaughan and Kelly, not the other Hurley brothers who have already got stories of their own.

Having read just the debut book in the series and skipping the second book to get to this one, I expected blistering and scorching heat of the kind that the Hurley brothers practically exude by their mere existence alone. But even that never truly did materialize with just small scenes of passion thrown in here and there that seemed to cement the deal and aid Kelly in getting over the hurt of a divorce that had left her in pieces. Perhaps the reason I felt such a lackluster reaction to the story was because the characters themselves didn’t seem to react all that passionately to the circumstances and the few curve balls thrown their way. So perhaps, in a way what I missed the most was feeling passionately about a story that seemed just a little short of bland.

Kelly and her struggles with the scars left behind by her mother who’d done a number on her self esteem issues was perhaps the only aspect of the story that truly stood out for me. It was evident that her struggle was real, that it was a continued struggle that she’d won inch by inch because of the person she is. Strong, determined and definitely not a pushover once the story began. Not many would have handled the whole Hurley situation with as much grace as Kelly and that was one plus point in all of the mundaneness of the rest of the novel.

Recommended for fans of Lauren Dane and fans of the Hurley Boys.

Final Verdict: A story that flows smoothly enough, yet doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Favorite Quotes

She’d ached for this. For years and years after she lost it. At times Kelly had wondered if that ability had died along with her marriage. And it was right here, all along.
Tipping her face up, she let herself be kissed.
She’d expected something slow and gentle. But what she got seared her. Stunned her as the raw, sexual heat of his mouth, his tongue and teeth destroyed every last bit of her remaining defenses against him.

He leaned his forehead to hers, breathing hard. “Give me a minute or two.” He took her hand and put it against his cock, through his jeans.
Kelly squeezed a few times. “You’re going to need a lot more than a minute so don’t get cocky.”
“Are you trying to kill me?”
“No. I plan to ride you until you sweat,” she whispered before she nipped his earlobe.

Her nails dug into his back after she’d yanked his shirt off.
He let out a string of curses as he shoved his pants down to free his cock and then yanked her shorts and panties to the side, sliding into her hard and fast.
And naked. She gasped at the feel of him and then at the expression he wore as he held her still, his hands at her hips squeezing just shy of pain.

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Blog Tour: Jivin’ Tango by Connie L. Smith

BlurbJivin' Tango.v3

Lila and Austin have known each other since she befriended his younger brother when she was a toddler. In fact, since her parents moved from her hometown, Lila’s lived with Austin’s family. The two are friends, though more of the teasing, taunting breed than the BFF variety.

But all it takes is one moment for everything to change…

For Austin, that moment comes when Lila performs a rumba in the school’s auditorium to qualify for the state dance competition, the young woman on stage so far-removed from the little girl in his memories.

For Lila, the moment is a reflected image of Austin preparing for prom, the guy standing in front of his mirror hardly resembling the child that spent so much of his youth pestering her.

Will they find a way to admit to themselves and their families that their feelings are deeper than friendship? And can Lila focus on this building relationship – and deal with her unstable ex – and still win the dance contest?


Austin’s gorgeous, smart, funny, ambitious, and athletic.

But he’s certainly not a dancer.

I learn that early in our miniature lesson, though it doesn’t bother me. No aggravation surfaces on his face if he misses a step, and his laughter when he completely botches a move proves contagious. He’s terrible, we both know it, and it’s about the most fun I’ve had in years.

When he messes up a particularly simple step, I cackle so much, I let go of his fingers to hold my palms over my mouth. “How could you miss that?”

Without a bit of shame, he shrugs. “It’s actually pretty easy to do on my end.”

“Well, I can see why I never picked you for a dance partner.”

He snorts. “Yeah, Trent was definitely the right way to go with that one. Now.” He takes my hands in his, glances down at his poorly functioning feet, then focuses on my face. “What did I do wrong?”

I have to bite down on my bottom lip to keep my amusement from showing, but I manage. Barely. “You know how some people have two left feet?” I wait for him to nod before I let humor take over my features. “You seem to think you only have one foot, period.”

He scrunches his brow. “What do you mean?”

“That’s what you did wrong.” I take a step back and drop his hands, thinking an example would be the best way to explain the problem. “You went here.” I put my right foot in place. “Then here.” My left foot hardly budges. “Then here.” I move my right foot about ten inches. “You should’ve moved your left foot more. When you didn’t, it knocked your balance off.”

“Something that simple?”

I roll my eyes at the disbelief in his tone, then lace our fingers again. “Yeah. Something that simple. Every step’s important when you’re dancing.”

“Huh.” The song changes, and it’s another slow number, one I recognize from Trent’s oldies collection. Johnny Rivers, singing “Slow Dancing.” I’m tempted to glance at Trent and his date to verify what I suspect—that he’s the one who requested the tune—but instead, I gaze up at Austin and find him grinning at me.

“Now this I can handle,” he brags.

I snicker and sink back into his arms…

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe

About Connie L. Smith

Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.

Connect with Connie: FB | PInterest | Blog | ReadWeave | GR | Twitter

Connie would like to invite all of you to a release party held on FB on May 23rd! So don’t miss out!

ARC Review: Cold Fear by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldfear
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Lincoln Frazer
Heroine: Isadora Campbell
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 26, 2015
Started On: May 12, 2015
Finished On: May 16, 2015

Toni Anderson seems to have hit the mark yet again with her latest installment in the Cold Justice series that I’ve been hooked on ever since it came out. Toni has a writing style that seems effortless in the ease with which she draws you in, and creates characters that tends to leave their mark on you. The fourth book in the series served all that and more and I cannot say enough good things about it!

A homicide practically in the middle of nowhere grabs the attention of ASAC Lincoln Frazer, the head of BAU at FBI, for reasons that sends chills of foreboding down his spine, hoping against hope that he be proved wrong. While a girl killed in some seemingly random murder might not be Frazer’s usual cup of tea, it is the news that something more sinister might be at play that propels him to drop everything and head out to the scene of crime, to contain, control and find a killer who most probably has been killing for more than half his life.

Dr. Isadora Campbell (Izzy) serves as an ER doctor and is the guardian of her seventeen year old sister Kit who seems to test and try her patience at the turn of every corner. When it is Kit’s best friend that turns up dead, and the site of the murder is an all too familiar place for her for comfort, Izzy finds herself battling more than a guilty conscience when the sexy and all too commanding special agent Frazer walks into her life.

While Frazer has his work cut out for him to find a killer who seems to escalate way too fast for anybody’s comfort, it is his inability to compartmentalize as effortlessly as he has done in previous cases that makes Frazer flustered more than anything else. Thinking himself above emotions such as love and the need for things such as long term relationships, Frazer fools himself into believing that he can just walk away from Izzy when all’s said and done. And in the meantime, the clock seems to tick, ever more so closer towards the inevitable, and the secret that Izzy guards close to her heart might be the key to unraveling the entire case as well as the one thing that could break whatever fragile connection that has forged into life between Izzy and Frazer.

If you, as myself, have been a follower of the series from its beginning, you’d completely understand the fascination one might develop for Frazer. The man screams issues buried deep inside from that rigid control of his to the complete command and utter authority he holds over everyone else and if there’s anything that fascinates me in romances more than a hero who is anal about keeping people at a distance, I would be kidding myself. Frazer’s dark soul is one that reaches out to you, wraps its wispy tentacles deep around your heart and pulls with a force that does you in. Frazer certainly lived up to his image, but the icy wall around his heart which had been cracking under emotional pressure from previous books crumbles when he falls for Izzy, hard and fast. All sorts of deliciousness follows wherever Frazer goes in the story. And I enjoyed and soaked up every little bit of it.

While Toni does a remarkable job of creating heroes that you definitely drool over and then some, she also has this ability to carve out heroines that gets to you. Characterization is one of the most important aspects of writing any sort of novel, more so in a romance, and Toni has done a fabulous job out of creating Izzy, not to mention the great cast of secondary characters that gave the story the vitality it seemed to exude at the turn of each page. I definitely loved Izzy as much as I fell for Frazer. She is the sort of independent and intelligent soul who truly matches a person like Frazer in every single way and I loved her all the more for it!

Cold Fear is a novel that seeps with the charms and hazards of small town life. It is also one of the creepiest novels I’ve read by Toni Anderson. Creepy because I could practically feel the chills run up and down my spine, my heart jumped at the sound of every single creak and sway of the trees outside and I ‘blame’ Toni for all that because she practically transported me to the scenes of the story, each of them something I seemed to have absolutely lived through by the time I was done.

Toni keeps the reader guessing until towards the very end when everything just unravels at a pace where you can’t do anything else but hold your breathe and send out fervent prayers that those that matter from everyone involved would make it out alive and that they’d live to see another day. The kind of writing that gets deep into the psych of killers of the nature described in the book is nothing short of fascinating, and I loved every minute of the creepy utterly stalked vibes I got out of reading this jewel of a novel. The only thing I wished for? The fulfillment of the against the wall sex fantasy that I wished had materialized, especially when the man in question is Frazer, someone who prizes his control over everything else. Here’s hoping Killion’s story is up next!


Final Verdict: Soul chillingly good! Ms. Anderson nails it. Every. Single. Time!

Favorite Quotes

She walked into the cottage with every nerve in her body feeling like it was raw and exposed. Holding his gaze, she closed the door softly behind her. “I could make you something to eat—”
“I don’t want anything to eat, Dr. Campbell. Unless it’s you.”
Oh, God. She ached. Between her legs. Under her ribcage. In all the small places around her body that hadn’t felt a man’s touch in so long she couldn’t even remember. Time to make a decision and either be honest about this or get the hell out.
“Then I’m thinking this is probably a booty call, ASAC Frazer.” Her eyes met his. “But before we get naked, I do need to know your first name.”

She didn’t push him away.
Instead she opened her mouth and kissed him back, pulling him toward her by his lapels. It was all the permission he needed and he turned them around and walked her backward down the corridor. Her fingers began to undo his shirt buttons and the desire he’d been fighting since he’d first seen her standing on that windswept beach, oblivious to the effect she had on men, burst free.

“You feel amazing,” she said.
Christ, how could she talk? He couldn’t form a single coherent word let alone an entire sentence. She rode him slow and then she rode him fast and he held onto his control by a whisper as her fingers bit into his chest and her face turned toward the ceiling and inner muscles contracted around him, driving him to the very edge.

She wrapped her legs around his waist, digging her heels into his ass as she started to climax again. He held onto her hips as she writhed and twisted, smooth muscles and soft skin feeling like silk against his fingers.
His own release snapped at the base of his spine as her inner muscles milked him until finally his hips were bucking into her and he flew off that cliff, spinning over the edge into blinding light that made pleasure screech along every neuron.
Holy crap.

He wasn’t bulky, which was why he looked so good in a suit. But he was muscled and lean, golden hair sprinkled sparingly over his chest. He shucked his pants and hung them over the back of the chair—ever the federal agent. His legs were solid and strong, an impressive erection tenting the front of his boxers in a way that made her insides clench. The image of him, pinning her to the wall and fucking her blind flashed through her brain.
“What were you thinking about?” he asked carefully.
She smiled. “Sex. Against the wall.”
“Put it on the wish list.”
“Wish list?”
“Your wish list. Today we’re working on my wish list.”

“Please,” she begged. “I want you inside me.”
“I’m not going to hurt you.”
“The narcotics just kicked in. You’re hurting me by not being inside me.”
“So now you’re high? No.”
“Not high. Happy.” She gripped his shoulders. “Trust me, the only pain I’m feeling is unsatisfied lust for your exceptional body.”
He planted his hands either side of her head. “Unsatisfied?” he queried.
“Unsatisfied-ish,” she qualified before pulling him down for a kiss, and tasting herself on his lips.
He pulled back, and one side of his mouth quirked. “Exceptional, huh?”
She traced his features with a fingertip. “Magnificent.”

With no warning he slid inside her, curling his body protectively over her back, but giving her none of his weight.
It felt amazing. She felt wrapped up in him, filled by him, mesmerized by his strong body, his clean fresh scent, his healing heat.
Then he held her hips again, moving slowly, gently, but going deep, touching her just there and that feeling of wonder spiraled tighter and tighter inside her, contracting down until all that mattered was the friction of his flesh dragging against hers. His hand slipped down between her folds to touch her and she was spinning again, out of control, extraterrestrial, outer space, flying and cartwheeling all the way to Mars. He joined her, shuddered and cried out.

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