Review: Burn for Me by Sara Cate

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Cullen Ayers
Heroine: Everly West
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 14, 2021
Started On: November 07, 2021
Finished On: November 12, 2021

Previously published in the Tangled Sheets anthology as Spitfire, Burn for Me is the revised title with added content, released in October of last year. This is a dark romance and is not intended for readers who do not like heroes who push the boundaries beyond the popularly accepted limits in the genre.

32 year old Everly West is looking for a fresh start by seeking a teaching position at the Florence University. What had begun as part of Everly’s internship eight years back, requiring her to write an investigative piece on a local had ended up with a major human trafficking operation being uncovered, with George Ayers being convicted of the crime and sentenced to jail. The case had left its mark on Everly in a way that at times she herself cannot reconcile with.

Everly had spent the next eight years of her career trying to attain the same high to no avail. However, the staid teaching position that she takes up ends up being more than she bargained for, when on her first day of class, in walks 18 year old Cullen Ayers, the 10 year old boy now a grown man, whose life had irrevocably changed with his father being convicted.

Cullen’s hatred towards Everly is a palpable thing when they meet, with Cullen placing the blame on Everly’s shoulders for the shit show that his life had become since. Everly brings out the worst in him, the anger that he harbors is one that seethes, needing an outlet, a living being of sorts that resides in him refusing to be denied.

They say that there is a thin line between hatred and love, and perhaps that applies to the situation all too well. Because beneath all that anger, the attraction that simmers to life between Everly and Cullen is one that is like a live wire; touch it and you risk being burned.

What starts out for Cullen as a way to taunt Everly results in a passion that burns bright and hot between the two, and before Cullen knows it, Everly is in his blood, under his skin, and slowly making her way into his heart. For Everly, the fact that Cullen is her student and fourteen years younger are things that should matter, but she is tired of feeling like a dead woman walking, and with Cullen, she feels alive for the first time in years.

Burn for Me is not an easy read by any means. Cullen is a tough nut to crack, his hostility towards Everly reaching points of high where it almost feels like there is violence in the air that could do Everly physical harm. But Everly is no doormat heroine, and she gives as good as she gets, while seeing through to the belligerence that is part and parcel of who Cullen is.

But any fragile emotional bonds that is forged to life between the two is constantly under threat from the secrets that remain to be uncovered, with Everly ever so determined to get to the bottom of the story behind George Ayers, even if it means raising the ire of Cullen to new heights.

True to Sara Cate’s style, the story delivers a ton of angst, reverse age-gap protagonists, and heat of the kind that scorches your e-reader. I reveled in all of it and more, and applaud Ms. Cate for writing Cullen as he is; unapologetic, circumstances of life having molded him into a man hardened by life’s cruelties, but yearning for the touch of the one woman who drives him to the edge of violence over the possessiveness that takes hold of him.

Everly is a quieter force in the story, but just as potent. Cullen brings an edge to her life which she thrives in, the commanding way in which he treats her in the bedroom something that she has craved for, without even realizing the fact. All of this and more balances out their relationship, each giving the other what they need, which in the end made for a spellbinding read!

Recommended for those who love dark and edgy romances; Cullen is a force to be reckoned with in every single way!

Final Verdict: Cullen and Everly burns through the pages, scorching your fingertips, heart, and soul, leaving at times destruction in their wake, but always followed by love of the kind that is all consuming!

Favorite Quotes

It occurs to me at that moment how much more I want to do with this new burst of energy—sick, twisted things I’ve never really thought about wanting before, and that thought has my cock getting surprisingly hard in my shorts.
“You belong to me now, Miss West. And if you even think about calling the police on me or telling Coach or the administration, you might as well slit your own throat because I won’t let you sleep a wink without wishing for death. Do we have an understanding?” I snap, my tone laced with hatred as I grit out each word.

Our eyes meet for a moment, and there is no more smug indignation in her eyes, just fear. Something passes between us. It’s subtle, and maybe I’m seeing something that’s not there, but it looks like fire in her eyes, like maybe I love this and she doesn’t hate it as much as she should. With her tear-soaked eyes still on mine, I force her mouth shut.
“Swallow.”
She whimpers again and does what she’s told.
“Good girl.” Then I wipe her tears with my thumb before shoving her away from me.

His mouth lands harshly on my lips. I’m too stunned to move. My hands are pressed against his chest, but not with enough force to actually push him off of me. In the recesses of my mind, I know if I really want him off, I can get away, but I don’t. I just let him kiss me.
His tongue slides between my lips, diving into my mouth like he owns me, and I guess at this point, he does. The metal on his tongue surprises me for a moment as it slides against mine. He lets out a low growl when the hand around my waist squeezes me closer, practically fusing my body with his.

“No, you are not my fucking mother, Everly. Don’t you ever compare yourself to my mother again. You will never be like her. She wasn’t a bitch like you.”
I let out a gasp and instantly try to pull away, but he grabs me hard by the back of the neck, squeezing so tightly that pain shoots all the way down my spine. “You’re hurting me,” I say with a whimper. Still, he doesn’t let up. Instead, he grabs my hand off the steering wheel and slams it against his crotch, and I lose the ability to breathe when I feel the rock-hard bulge in his shorts.
“Hurting you gets me hard, Everly. You see how fucked up I am?”

“What’s wrong, Everly? You’ve never heard of hate-sex? A revenge fuck. Angsty, depraved, and dirty as sin.”
My mouth goes dry, and I can’t respond.
“Is that what you want? Because that’s sure as fuck what I want, and that’s why that asshole will not touch you, understand?”
When his hands grip a handful of my hair, I shudder. Arousal warms my belly as he yanks my head backward. There was some reason why I shouldn’t do this.

The back of my skirt is lifted up to my ass as Cullen pushes his hips against mine, dry humping me from behind, and making me see stars with the way my arousal slams into me like a truck.
God, I want him to unzip his pants and just fuck me right here. I don’t even care that I could be caught, lose my job, and be in the headlines all over again, but for much worse reasons. I don’t care. The feel of his perfect cock entering me with force would be worth it. My body is on fire, flames licking at my belly as he grinds his impressive length against my ass.
“Fuck me,” I whisper, shamelessly. So fucking shamelessly. I should be the very definition of ashamed right now, but I’m not. I just don’t care.

“Cullen, please,” I beg, but he doesn’t give me what I crave. Instead, he teases me. Slipping his fingers through the folds, he slides a finger in roughly, making me cry out. Then, he pulls it out and spreads the moisture all over, pulling his hand out and touching his wet fingers to my lips.
“Taste yourself,” he whispers, and I do. It’s erotic and filthy and sends my heart racing, a strange new feeling sprouting in my stomach, like being turned on by something that also makes me feel wrong and dirty. It’s so much better.

“Show me now.”
With a hesitant expression on her face, she peels open her robe, giving me a view of her bra and panties before lowering the phone and spreading her knees. Peeling her thong aside, she aims the camera right at her beautiful pink pussy.
My breath comes out heavy and loud. “Touch it.”
“Cullen, no.” She’s putting up such a weak fight, it makes me laugh.
“Do it, Everly. I need to see you touch it.”
With the slightest huff, she obeys. Her fingers run through her lips, and I groan. I notice how her mouth opens, her breath hitching, and her eyes darkening in lust.

“Everly,” I whisper her name, the sound of it like satin on my lips.
Her heavily-hooded gaze stares back at me as she watches me stroke myself.
“I’m going to come soon,” she says in a high-pitched cry, and I bite my lip, loving the way her hand picks up speed and her chest stops moving.
“Come for me, baby,” I manage to groan out just as my balls tighten, the head of my cock swelling as my own orgasm rushes to the surface in a hurried chase.

He throws his bag into my trunk and drops into the seat next to me, but he doesn’t hesitate a moment before grabbing my face and pulling me to him for a bruising, violent kiss.
Time stops, and I let out a yelp just as he fuses his lips to mine. And he tastes good. Kissing Cullen is like visiting a private place all on your own, where there are no rules or witnesses. I don’t necessarily kiss him back, but when his tongue presses its way into my mouth, I let it. He nips at my lips as he consumes me, and I try to stop time. I don’t want to open my eyes and face his disdain for me anymore. I just want to exist in this kiss.

Her cheeks are flushed, her eyes hooded with lust, like it’s the only thought on her mind—need, want, lust. When we reach the master bathroom, she turns to flip on the shower before spinning back toward me to pull up my shirt.
It’s the first time she’s really taken control, letting herself express how much she wants me, and I like it. Everly wants me, and even though it’s not like she’s the first woman to want me, the attention warms a part of me that’s always felt cold and dead before.

While I’m staring at the mirror, she glides her hands along my abs and up to my pecs, skimming her fingers softly over my nipples, toying with the barbell through each one. And even though my skin is still covered in a thin sheen of sweat, she leans forward and kisses my chest.
A groan builds softly from the base of my chest, growing louder as her mouth finds my nipple and her teeth bite the piercing there.
Fuck, I’m not going to make it.

Spinning her around so her back is against me, I hold her tightly across the chest with one arm as I plunge my fingers in again. Writhing against me, she cries out as I stroke her relentlessly. I want her as close to coming as I can get her. Clutching onto my arm, she hangs from my hold as I zero in on her clit, rubbing it so hard I know she’s teetering somewhere between pain and pleasure.
“Cullen,” she gasps in a plea. She’s begging me for more.
My dick is pressed against her back, and I squeeze her closer. God, I want to fuck her so badly, but I can’t. I have to keep my head.

I put up a fight, crawling away, but he grabs me by the ankle, jerking me toward him. Letting out a scream laced with laughter, I push away from him, but he’s so much stronger than I am. Plus, I don’t really hate the idea of being at Cullen’s mercy, not anymore.
This thing between us has morphed from actual torment to superficial torment, like we’re playing the parts, fulfilling roles. He is my punisher, and I am welcoming my discipline.

He climbs onto the bed, covering my body with his. He wrestles my wrists from my chest and pins them above my head.
Looking into his eyes with a dare on my face, I say, “Don’t start something you can’t finish.”
He hears the challenge in my voice and smiles wickedly. “I don’t think you deserve to finish,” he growls, abruptly kissing my neck. His lips and teeth are both soft and rough, kissing and nibbling, making me squirm with the too-good and too-painful contradiction, which is really just Cullen in a nutshell, isn’t it? I want all of him and none of him at the same time.

He strokes my hair again.
He’s not forcing me, and I know I don’t have to, but I want to. So I lift my head and slowly pull down the elastic waistband of his pants and reach for his cock. I am not hurried or frantic as I slowly wrap my hand around him, watching his face for signs of pleasure when I squeeze. His eyes threaten to close as I stroke him once, then twice.
With my gaze on his, I shift closer, so I can run my tongue along his shaft. He moans and presses his fingers subtly against my head.
He wants more, and I want to give it to him.
I don’t even care that I’m not going to get off. I’ll do it just to watch the way he comes and to hear the sounds he makes as I unravel him piece by piece.

I don’t expect him to do what he does next, so I’m reaching for him when he drops to his knees and buries his face between my legs. The warmth of his wet mouth is intense, so intense, I let out a strangled cry as his tongue punches hard into me. It’s almost too much, but it’s him, and he’s touching me, and I let myself melt into that thought.
“Cullen,” I gasp, arching my back and burying my hands in his hair.
He moans, pressing his mouth harder against me, his tongue going deeper. Hooking his arms under my thighs, he practically fuses his lips to my body.

“Cullen, please!”
He’s on top of me in a heartbeat, devouring my mouth the way he was just devouring my sex, making me taste myself. Making me like it.
I feel his thick erection heavy on my belly as he kisses me. My eyes are squeezed shut, tears still streaming when I wrap my legs around him, inviting him in.
“You still want to fight me?” he mutters darkly against my mouth. “You still want to pretend you’re not mine?” When I try to shift my hips to meet his cock, he takes a hold of my face under my chin to keep me still. “Fucking open your eyes, Everly.”

Tell me you hate me now,” he grits out as he pulls back and slams in again. His hands clutch me hard, one behind my neck and the other around my waist.
“I hate you,” I whisper, as another batch of tears flow out of my eyes. I’m not sad or scared or hurt, but the intensity of the moment forces them out, and I can’t stop them now.

“Relax, Everly.”
“I’m not used to relaxing around you.”
With my opposite hand, I grab a handful of her hair and pull her upright so my mouth is next to her ear. “Do you think I really want to hurt you?”
“Yes.”
“You’re wrong. I want you to be my dirty little slut. I want to fuck your brains out and make you come so hard you see stars. Can I do that?”
She lets out a sweet little breath and nods. “Yes.”

“Come on, Cullen. You’re angry. Give me your anger. I can take it.”
His mouth slams against mine so hard, I’m sure it’ll bruise. It takes me by surprise, as he owns my mouth in a possessive, harsh kiss. Thrusting his tongue into my mouth, I remind my body to give up the fight, and he dominates me. I have to trust that he won’t take it too far. I have absolutely nothing to base that on, but I will do this for him.
When he bites my bottom lip, a shock of pain makes me panic, and I let out a whimper.

And he was right. It’s nothing like before. We’re not connecting on a deeper level or savoring the feel of each other. He’s fucking me hard without emotion.
No, there is emotion. It’s resentment and rage and dread. He’s fucking me in frustration, and like he said, this is for him, not me. Still, my body responds, purring under the almost violent, overwhelming motion of his thrusts.
“Harder,” I gasp before I catch myself. He picks up speed, filling the room with the sounds of our bodies slamming together. I don’t even cry out when sparks ignite every nerve in my body, throwing me into a silent fit of pleasure. I keep quiet, keeping my orgasm to myself.

Her back arches and she cries out. It’s a delicious sensation, but I need more. I need everything with her.
Kissing her collarbone, I lick up the water clinging to her skin from her neck to her earlobe. Every moment our bodies are fused makes me feel whole, like she is the piece I was missing.
“I want you to come inside me.” She tilts her hips, grinding herself on me. Her arms wrap around my neck, our lips pressed together as our bodies move in one fluid motion.
“Fuck, Everly…” I moan.

She pulls away from the kiss for a moment and stares up at me. “Give it to me, Cullen. Give me your pleasure.”
She winds her fingers in mine, clasping our hands firmly together as I thrust harder. When I feel myself shuddering and fighting it, she squeezes my hand even tighter.
With our mouths pressed together, I cry out, “I’m coming.” The climax spreads through my body, lasting forever as it clamps down and breaks me, shattering every fragment of who I am until there is nothing left.
Until I am nothing but hers.

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