Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverunleashed.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9
Publisher: Signet
Hero: Manny Manello
Heroine: Payne
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 01, 2011
Started On: February 23, 2017
Finished On: June 04, 2017

Lover Unleashed by JR Ward is the ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and brings to readers the story of Payne, born to the Scribe Virgin, and thus the twin of Vishous. The revelation that his twin is alive comes in an earlier book, one that shocked me to boot. I cannot even imagine the depth of feelings that must have coursed through Vishous himself when the fact was made known to him.

Payne is a heroine who is powerful in a way that only one born out of such a union can be. Like Vishous, Payne’s beauty is such that it has the ability to take away the breath of those who come across her. Her beauty is one that mesmerizes people for the lack of a better word. What is more stunning is the immense power that she holds in her hands, which comes to light with the divulgence of the unthinkable she had done to the man who had sired her.

It is also Lover Unleashed that brings a new band of “enemies” to the turf of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a group of fighters from the vampire race who are just as vicious in their manner when it comes to the war with the Lessers. Yet, they do not identify themselves as a Brotherhood. Xcor, the group’s leader is a vampire to contend with and then some, a bastard born to the Bloodletter himself, walking on a path to avenge the death of his father, a murder that he had never forgotten nor forgiven.

Payne’s appearance in the Brotherhood company comes through a tragic event that unfolds, leading Dr. Jane Whitcomb, the shellren of Vishous to seek the services of chief of surgery at the hospital where she had worked prior to her “death”. Manny is brought in to the Brotherhood compound on the premise of helping Payne where Jane’s medical abilities fall short. While bringing in people, especially humans who are none the wiser to the existence of the vampires as a race is a big no, Wrath, the King makes an exception owing to the extenuating circumstances and his involvement in what leads to the circumstances.

Manny’s appearance in Payne’s life brings forth a connection neither would have thought possible. For Manny, the possessiveness that streaks through him as his gaze lands on Payne in her hospital bed is one that shocks him to the core, almost as if his very DNA recognizes Payne as his and his alone. While Vishous and the rest of the Brotherhood might have other ideas where Manny is concerned, Payne is as drawn to him which brings forth complications that aren’t as black and white to resolve.

Alongside Payne and Manny’s developing story, it becomes a testing period for Vishous and Jane’s relationship as well, which was something I loved in the story. Vishous is someone who has a penchant for sex of the darker variety, an aspect of himself that he had “given up” on when he had embraced his love for all that is Jane. However, with dark memories rising up from his past, Vishous is at a loss as to how to deal with them, and the friction between him and Jane is one that was painful to read about, but a much needed one in my opinion.

Someone like Vishous, who had undergone so much, and carries such a powerful weapon on his own self, a man with such a dark past – that doesn’t just find a cure overnight because they have fallen in love. Even if love of the kind that vampires have is an all consuming one, I believe that JR Ward did immense justice to both Vishous and Jane’s characters by bringing to light this side of their relationship, and the role that Butch plays in all of it to help them.

It is often difficult to review books so well written, especially of a series of the caliber of Black Dagger Brotherhood, because so many things keep happening at the same time, which makes these books the stellar reads they are. The stories continuously keep evolving in a way that leaves readers on the edge, and I believe the same must happen to JR Ward herself when it comes to the places her immensely complex characters take her.

I loved so many things about Manny and Payne’s relationship, together with the way Vishous and Jane faced their own troubles and made things work – because their love is worth all that and more. All throughout the story, there was one thing that kept circling in my mind – the fact that Manny is over the top hot. The way Payne and Manny want each other was is out of this world hot, burning up my eyeballs and then some, and I enjoyed every single aspect of it.

The friendship and love that exists between Butch and Vishous is one that was tested as well, with Butch having to step outside of his comfort zone to help his Brother for whom he would practically lay down his own life for. There is an understanding between them that is hard to put in words, but materializes so beautifully under Ward’s craftsmanship.

When all is said and done, Lover Unleashed delivers a story that is well rounded in every way. Each book in the series continues to amaze me in a way I would never have thought possible. I know that I should not be surprised any longer when it comes to JR Ward and this series, and yet the fact that she continually does so is reason number one that I would keep coming back for more.

Wholeheartedly recommended for fans of the series and those that love well rounded tales of the paranormal romance genre that delivers scorching and such well done scenes of passion!

Final Verdict: Lover Unleashed, the ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is just as astounding as the rest. JR Ward is an author not to be missed for this very reason!

Favorite Quotes

Pushing into the examination room, he—
Oh . . . dear God.
Oh . . . Lord above.
The patient on the table was lying still as water and . . . she was probably the most beautiful anything he’d ever seen: Hair was jet-black and braided into a thick rope that hung free next to her head. Skin was a golden brown, as if she were of Italian descent and had recently been in the sun. Eyes . . . her eyes were like diamonds, both colorless and brilliant, with nothing but a dark rim around the iris.
“Manny?”
Jane’s voice was right behind him, but he felt as if she were miles away. In fact, the whole world was somewhere else, nothing existing except for the stare of his patient as she looked up at him from out of her immobilized head.
It finally happened, he thought as he burrowed under his shirt and took hold of his heavy cross. All his life he’d wondered why he’d never fallen in love, and now he knew: He’d been waiting for this moment, this woman, this time.
The female is mine, he thought.

“Teach me,” she said darkly, her lips parting, her hips rolling under his own. “Take me.”
Her hand moved between the two of them and found his erection, rubbing at it, making him moan.
“I am empty without you,” she said. “Fill me. Now.”
With an invitation like that, he didn’t give anything else a second thought. Fumbling around, he shoved his scrubs down his thighs and then. . .
“Oh, fuck,” he groaned as his hard cock slipped up her slick core.

With his tremendous strength, V repositioned her in the blink of an eye, pivoting her around and shoving the sheets out of the way so he could lift her hips up and over his torso. Her thighs were split over his face and—
“Vishous,” she said around his erection.
His mouth was slick and warm and right on target, fusing with her sex, latching on and sucking before his tongue snaked out and licked inside of her. Her brain didn’t so much turn off as explode, and with nothing left to think with, she was blissfully lost in what was happening and not what had gone before. She had a feeling V was the same. . . . He was all about the stroking, lapping at her and sucking on her, his hands digging into her thighs as he moaned her name against her core.

“Fuck, I need you,” he cursed.
On another quick burst of power, Vishous lifted her as if she didn’t weigh more than the sheet did, and the shift was not a surprise. He always preferred to come inside her, deep inside of her, and he spread her legs before settling her on top of his hips, his blunt head nudging into her . . . and slamming home.
The invasion was not just about sex, but him staking his claim, and she loved it. This was the way it should be.
Falling forward and bracing herself against his shoulders, she stared into his eyes as they moved together, the rhythm pounding until they came at the same time, both of them going rigid as he jerked inside of her and her sex milked him. And then V flipped her onto her back and shot down her body, going back to where he’d been, his mouth fusing on her, his palms locking on her thighs as he ate at her.
As she came hard, there was no break or pause. He surged forward, stretching up both her legs and swording in, entering her on a solid stroke and taking over.

The brush of her lips was nothing but velvet, except the anticipation of what was to come had him hyper-focusing so everything was magnified. He knew precisely where she was—
The scrape was viciously soft as she nuzzled him.
Then her hand snaked around to his nape and clamped on, holding him in place so hard, he realized she could snap his neck if she wanted.
“Oh, God,” he moaned, giving himself over completely. “Oh—fuck!”
The strike was strong and sure, two points going in deep, the sweet pain robbing him of sight and sound until all he knew was the sucking draw at his vein.
That and the massive orgasm that rolled through his balls and pumped out the head of his cock, his hips jacking up against her as his erection kicked and jerked . . . and kept going.

“Do this thing you want to me, healer,” she moaned. “Whatever it is. I know you are holding back.”
A growl came out of him and he moved so fast that the only thing that could have stopped him was her saying no. And that word was evidently not in her vocabulary.
In a flash, he was between her thighs, his hands spreading her wider, her sex laid open and weeping in the face of his male urge to dominate and mate.
He gave in. Fuck him, but he let himself go and kissed her core. And there was nothing gradual or gentle about it; he dived in with his mouth, sucking at her and tonguing her as she cried out and scratched at his forearms.

Vampire . . . he thought. Beautiful vampire.
Mine.
As that thought coalesced in his mind, he acted on autopilot, shifting his head to the side, offering his jugular to her—
He didn’t have to ask twice. In a great surge, Payne sprang up, all but launching her whole body onto him, her hand shoving into his hair and tightening on his nape. As she held him in her grip, he was utterly immobilized, hers for the taking . . . prey for her predator. And now that she had him, she moved slowly, her fangs dropping to his skin and dragging up the column of his throat, making him stiffen in anticipation of the puncturing and the sucking. . . .
“Fuck!” he barked when she bit him. “Oh . . . yeah . . .”

“I want more of you,” Payne murmured as she nuzzled him.
Well, he was still hard as stone even though he’d—
“I want you in my mouth.”
Manny’s head kicked back and he groaned as his cock twitched like it was taking a jog down there. But as much as he wanted her, he wasn’t sure she knew what she was in for. Even the thought of her lips on his—
Payne’s head went down into his lap before he could find the breath to speak, and there was no preamble; she sucked him right down, pulling him in and holding him in her wet, warm mouth.
“Fuck! Payne!”

Snaking a hand around the back of her neck, he drew her lips close to his throat. “Take me.”
The sound she made had him orgasming inside of her—it was too fucking hot for him to hold back. And as his cock spasmed, her fangs struck deep into his vein.
The sex went wild. She moved against him, her tight core fisting him up and milking him as he came again . . . and then he started to pump his hips hard. The drinking and the crazy rhythm swept them both away into a heady pounding of bodies that he knew they were each going to feel in the morning: There was nothing civilized to this; it was male and female distilled down to the most primal core.
And it was the very best of anything he had ever had.

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

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Review: Lover Mine by J.R. Ward

Format: E-booklovermine
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8
Publisher: Signet
Hero: John Matthew
Heroine: Xhexania
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 1, 2010
Started On: November 02, 2016
Finished On: November 06, 2016

Having finished Lover Avenged, I quickly set out to read Lover Mine, the story where John Matthew and Xhexania (Xhex) finally come together. With the way Ward had left things when Lover Avenged ended, with Xhex having being taken hostage by Lash, none other than Omega’s number one and the leader of the Lesser’s, I couldn’t wait to find out what wonders Ward would bring forth, especially when it came to John’s character.

John’s beginnings is one that sets him apart from the rest of the members of the Brotherhood. Revealing more would be spoiling it for those who have never read the series. His past when it comes to light, reveals the extent of his involvement, not only in Wrath the King’s life when he was child, but also Xhex herself, when she was born as a half breed vampire with a Sympath side that she hides from the rest of the world.

John’s second chance at life had come at a cost. It had meant that his journey to becoming part of the Brotherhood had once again being a test of his steadfastness, will, and strength. Bearing many similarities to the way his life had been forged in the past; through sweat, tears, and blood. John’s sense of loneliness is one that goes deep into his past, his need to belong and be loved an integral part of him that had being tested sorely when Tohrment had disappeared on him.

John’s attraction and deep connection with Xhex is exactly the reason why John and Xhex fit so perfectly together. While one might think John is the one that brings baggage to their relationship, Xhex redefines the whole concept itself by the past hurts and scars that she has from the pain she carries in her heart. Tough on the outside, a warrior to boot, and dominant in her own right, Xhex and John should not have fit together so perfectly – but for more than one reason, they do. That is perhaps the basis of why their relationship is amazing on so many levels, because Ward has brought together two people who should not have worked, and yet they do, and beautifully so, against all odds.

I am a fan of strong heroines, but for me, there is strong, and then there is the constant need for a heroine to outdo all the males in her vicinity and prove her capabilities beyond the male in her life that grates on my nerves. How Ward managed to allay all my fears that I might not like Xhex if she came on too strong was one more reason for me to adore their relationship. Because for me, Xhex gives as good as she gets. When she does give into John and his love which has both its tender and violently possessive edge to it (all in a good way, of course), it brought forth so much emotion in me that I felt that all the pain that John and Xhex had undergone before had been totally worth it!

One of the other aspects of the story that stood out was Qhuinn and Blay’s side story- I even noted down at one point that their mini story that was developing was way more interesting than it should be – but then again, that is exactly what you get when you pick up one of the Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. You sink your teeth into a story so juicy that you are rooting for a million things that is happening in the book, even the notorious villain himself.

That brings me to Lash and why I found his character fascinating on a level that had me at one point even “rooting” for the Lessers. I put rooting here very lightly because I found Lash to be a worthy opponent in the age old fight between the Vampires and the Lessers, i.e. in reality the fight between Scribe Virgin and Omega. A well done villain in my opinion, makes the reader question why they turned out the way they did.

In my opinion, Lash never stood a chance when it came to the larger scheme of things. Firstly his genetics had basically set in stone what his future would turn out to be like. Secondly, being brought up as part of the Glymera (the elite and rich of the Vampire society) had perhaps meant that his “evil” side had been given room to nurture and grow in a way that we continually see even when it comes to the human race. It was those fleeting moments of regret that coursed through Lash that grabbed me the most, thinking to myself that perhaps, had Lash being given the chance, he might have defied his genetics and turned out to be someone worthy of saving.

One of the major disappointments for me when the story ended has to do with how Lash’s character met his ultimate demise. I would have thought that Ward would continue to give him enough “armor” to take the fight between the Lessers and the Vampires to the next level. But then again, given Omega’s character itself, I would say that perhaps Lash’s end when it came, was quite fitting in a way. But I definitely wanted to see more of him in the series because he brought an edge that wasn’t there before when all was said and done.

When I turned the last page of the novel, I kept wondering to myself, when would John’s real identity emerge, and what a game changing revelation would that be in the larger context of things – given how history ties him to a lot of significant events that had taken place and shaped the lives of the Brotherhood as they are now.

Highly recommended! This series in its entirety is one that needs to be read by everyone who is a fan of urban fantasy and paranormal romances.

Final Verdict: Beautifully put together in way that makes for compelling reading. Mesmerizing is the way Ward manages to make mincemeat out of 700 plus pages of a novel, never letting the reader off the hook until the very last page is turned.

Favorite Quotes

“Better yet,” Blay drawled, “why don’t you just kiss me–” Blay was whipped around and shoved hard against the dresser, the chest of drawers slamming against the wall with a thunder. As cologne bottles rattled and a brush hit the floor, Qhuinn forced his lips down hard on Blay’s, his fingers biting into Blay’s throat.
It didn’t matter, though. Hard and desperate was all he wanted from the guy. And Qhuinn was clearly on board, his tongue shooting out, taking . . . owning.

Typical of her, she was the one who put him to her sex. Xhex covered one of his hands with her own and got him right where they both wanted him to be.
Hot. Silky. Slick.
The orgasm at the head of his erection broke free the instant his fingers slipped through and came flush against the entry he was dying to breach: There was absolutely no holding the release back and she laughed in a throaty way as he jetted his marking on her legs.
“You like the way I feel,” she murmured.

“Come in me,” she groaned, as she pulled at his shoulders. John lifted his head and moved up her body, his arousal nudging against her inner thighs, getting closer.
She kissed him hard, grinding her mouth against his as she shoved her hand down between them and guided him where she needed him-His massive body torqued at the contact as she bit out, “Oh, God . . .” The blunt head of him parted her and he slid in nice and slow, filling her, stretching her. She arched so he could go all the way in and shifted her palms down his smooth back to the dip at the end of his spine . . . and even lower so that she could sink her nails into his ass.

His face was an erotic mask of the features she had seen so often, his lips drawn back off his long, white fangs, his brows down tight, his eyes blazing, his jaw clenched so hard that his cheeks had hollows in them. With every thrust, his pecs and his abdominals popped, the sweat on his skin gleaming in the dim light. The sight of him was the chaser to what he felt like deep in her, the sucker punch that came on the heels of the body shot, knocking her out completely.
“Take my vein,” she growled at him. “Take it– now.”

“Listen, John Matthew.” She took his chin in her hand. “You’re not turning me into one of those females who goes gaga over her lover. Not happening. I’m not hardwired for that.”
Her voice was stern and she meant every word–except the instant he rolled his hips and that huge arousal pushed into her, she purred. Purred.
The sound was utterly foreign and she’d have sucked it back down her throat if she could have. Instead, she just let out another of those decidedly non-tough-guy moans.

Her leathers were on the floor a split second later. Then with a quick hop, she jumped up and locked her thighs around his waist. Reaching down, she positioned him against her sex and squeezed her heels into his ass, making the penetration so very real. As his arousal sank deep, she took all of him, the sliding push enough to make her orgasm wildly.
Riding her release, her fangs shot out into her mouth, and John broke the kiss to tilt his head and flash his vein.
The puncture was sweet. The strength that came from him meteoric.

With a silent curse, he grabbed onto her thighs and squeezed, her muscles shifting under his hold, and he didn’t stop there. He drew his hands farther up, to the juncture where her legs met her torso, that electric crease drawing him to where they were joined.
His thumb slipped into the carnal heart of her and found the top of her sex, rubbing it in circles-In the dim light from the bathroom, he watched her arch back, her fangs cranking down on her lower lip in an effort to keep herself from crying out. He wanted to tell her to let her roar free, but he didn’t have time to pity her discretion–he came hard, his lids squeezing shut as he shuddered beneath her.

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

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Review: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloveravenged.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Hero: Rehvenge
Heroine: Ehlena
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 28, 2009
Started On: October 16, 2016
Finished On: November 02, 2016

Just as I mentioned in my last review, JR Ward did such a magnificent job of juggling multiple characters and storylines that I needed to Rehvenge’s book as soon as I was done reading Lover Enshrined. I have been reading the BDB series without really checking whose story is up next; I like the element of surprise it gives me, and plus, my trust in JR Ward’s ability to keep me entertained and on my toes while at it is an implicit one.

So when I picked up Lover Avenged (hopeful I was, of course), it was a delightful surprise to know that this was indeed Rehvenge’s story. Rehvenge makes for such a fascinating and formidable hero in so many ways. Being a half sympath, Rehvenge is someone who is a drug lord and pimp, and dangerous to boot. His liaisons with his blackmailer is one that has continued for years, one that was born out of sheer necessity for survival, and one that is proving detrimental to his very physical existence as well.

Rehvenge’s past is one filled with darkness, with an accusation hanging over his head that he has never fully given an explanation as to why. For him, cloaking himself in the dark of the night, staying away from humans and vampires alike as much as possible, is the way he survives. However, when he comes across Ehlena in one of his increasingly frequent and required visits to the clinic, Rehvenge’s reaction to her is one that takes both him and her by surprise.

Ehlena works as a nurse and is in a state of near destitution when Rehvenge comes into her life. Wary of trusting anyone as sinfully good looking as Rehvenge, and fearful of the disdainful reaction her less than favorable status might invoke in him makes Ehlena try her best to stay away from Rehvenge. However, as with most best laid plans, this one too falls through the cracks, and before Ehlena knows it, she is as involved as it gets with a man who harbors a secret of the kind that could destroy her and the very fabric of her existence itself.

Similar to Phury’s book, even in Lover Avenged, I felt that Rehvenge and Ehlena were given the role more of a secondary storyline than the primary focus of the novel. Of course, everything that was happening was equally relevant and as interesting. But I would have loved to have had just a little bit more of Ehlena and Rehvenge in the story, to have given them the opportunity to woo readers like myself a little bit more with a love that I fell for, hook, line, and sinker from the very first moment.

I also found myself totally engrossed in Lash’s role as he grew to prominence from being Omega’s son and the chosen one to lead the Lessers, and his plan that was cunning in the extreme to shake things up in the Vampire race once again.

So many starkly emotional moments were lined up in this book as well, from the moment the King aka Wrath faces the fact that he is indeed King of the race and it was time for him to step up. The role being something he had shied away from for a long while, having never wanted it, nevertheless it was his, and his “condition” more or less makes it more so relevant in his life.

I also found the snippets of Xhex and John’s story in the novel thoroughly invigorating. Their obvious attraction to one another from which Xhex alone shies away from, given the fact that she is a strong and equally dominant female to John’s maleness, plus the fact that her previous love affair had gone so horribly wrong – needless to say, Xhex has trust issues and major ones at that, which puts both of them at seemingly impassable crossroads.

I fell in love with Ehlena at a very pivotal moment in the story. The moment that a gentle person like herself, coming to the conviction that she would kill anyone who would hurt someone as seemingly powerful as Rehvenge was the moment that there was no going back for me. And Ehlena proved herself in ways that I wholeheartedly approved of, and I couldn’t have asked for a better fit for Rehvenge and the darkness that resides deep inside of him.

The way JR Ward made the whole Sympath angle work, and turn it to the advantage of the Vampire race that majorly shies away from the likes of Sympaths was nothing short of brilliant in my opinion. The way Rehvenge rose to the occasion, took over the colony, and finally assumed a role that was befitting him in so many ways – that was so powerful in a way that made the story the amazing read it was for me.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Every installment in this series has been nothing short of intense. Lover Avenged just reaffirms this truth in a way that sets in stone JR Ward’s mastery over the genre.

Favorite Quotes

“Hello?”
The sound of her voice in his ear did something the hot shower, the mink throw, and the eighty-degree ambient air temperature couldn’t. Warmth spread out from his chest, beating back the numbness and the cold, suffusing him with…life.
He extinguished the lights so he could concentrate all he had on her.
“Rehvenge?” she said after a moment.
He eased back down onto his pillows and smiled in the dark. “Hi.”

“More,” she demanded, pushing her hips up.
His amethyst eyes lifted. “I don’t want to be too rough.”
“You won’t be. Please…it’s killing me….”
With a growl, he dove down and sealed her sex with his mouth, sucking her, pulling her into him. She came again, this time in hard, shattering blows, but he did her right. He kept going, riding out her jerks and arches, the sound of lips against lips rising up with her guttural cries as he worked her and made her climax over and over again.

“Take the stockings between both hands, stretch them out taut, then run them in between your legs front to back.”
She laughed with an erotic edge, then said sweetly, “You want me to work myself against them, do you?”
His breath shot into her ear. “Fuck, yes.”
“Dirty male.”
“A tongue bath from you might clean me up. What do you say?”
“Yes.”
“I love that word on your lips.”

With breathless demand, she said, “Take my vein—”
He hissed like a predator and went for her neck, biting hard.
Beth’s body jerked under his, and between their hips he felt a welling warmth that had nothing to do with what he’d left behind inside her. In his mouth, her blood was the gift of life, thick on his tongue and down his throat, filling his belly with a furnace of heat, lighting up his flesh from the inside out.

Before she could go over the door in front of him slid open, and he strode across the distance that seperated them, the winter wind catching his sable coat and sweeping it out from his body. His glowing amethyst eyes flashed. His stride was pure power. His aura was undeniably male.
Her heart leaped as he stopped before her. In the glow from the city, his face was hard and loving at the same time, and though it no doubt froze him to the bone, he opened his coat, inviting her to share what body heat he had.
Ehlena leaned in and wrapped her arms around him, holding him tight, breathing his scent deeply.
His mouth dropped to her ear. “I missed you.”

“I need you,” he groaned.
Rehv struck hard and she cried out, her spine bending nearly in half as he caged her with his strength. Fuck, she was perfect. She tasted like thick, heavy wine and with dragging pulls of his mouth, he drank her down deep.
And moved her over to the bed.
Ehlena didn’t stand a chance. Neither did he.

Triggered by the feeding, his vampire nature plowed over everything, a male’s need to mark what he wanted, to establish sexual territory, to dominate, taking over and driving him to rip down her slacks, pull up one of her legs, position his cock at the threshold of her sex—
And push his way into her.
Ehlena let out another keening cry as he penetrated her. She was incredibly tight, and fearing he might hurt her, he fell still so her body could accommodate him.

It didn’t take long for his balls to cinch up tight and for his hands to crank down on her hair. Gasping against her mouth, he gave one last great thrust and came hard, soaking her hand and his stomach and the blanket.
When her touch drifted down to his barb and she felt the extension, he froze, praying she wasn’t disgusted by the way he was built.
“I want to feel this inside me,” she groaned against his lips.
As her words sank in, Rehvenge’s body exploded in orgasm again.
Man…he couldn’t wait for them to get wherever they were going.

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

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ARC Review: In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-bookinthebarrenground.png
Read with: Adobe Reader for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Cameron “Crash” O’Halloran
Heroine: Tana Larsson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 16, 2016
Started On: August 03, 2016
Finished On: August 06, 2016

In the Barren ground of the soul
nothing can grow.
For here is bitter and cold where
the sun hangs low.
Where a midnight caribou mutilation
awakens a howl of emptiness with ice
where once there was heart.
And it comes with hunger
for blood in its mouth.
For, in the Barrens of the soul
monsters take toll . . .

Loreth Anne White is an author whose name belongs right up there with the masters of the romantic suspense genre. Label her books as romantic suspense or thrillers, either way, you get a story that is worth your time and money in gold, and In the Barren Ground, her latest procedural romantic suspense novel fits right in.

Set in The Barrens, a vast wilderness in northern Canada bordering the Arctic Circle, the terrain is as unforgiving and harsh as they come. When winter rolls in, few are the numbers of people around, and predators come out to stalk whatever food they can scrounge up from the vast areas of hostile territory.

Constable Tana Larsson takes up a post in the remote fly-in community of Twin Rivers because of mistakes of her past, to escape the memories that haunts her more than she would like it to. Though the isolation of the town makes her question her decision at times, Tana knows deep inside that she needs a place as such to lick her wounds in private, to let herself heal and in the process learn to fit in and accept her new role as a mother to be.

When Tana gets called in to cover a wolf mauling that had cost the lives of two students, the evidence at hand suggests something more sinister at work, a force that looks as if it has been in operation for over a span of years, none of it jiving with what the people of Twin Rivers has believed up till now. Though the folks of the town are less than helpful in their hints that Tana is stirring up bad spirits by going deeper into a case that had already cost the sanity of a law enforcement personnel before her, Tana is determined to piece together the clues that points towards a meticulous and horrific serial killer at work.

With the help of a local bush pilot known as Cameron “Crash” O’Halloran, who elicits the sort of reactions from her that are not at all welcome, Tana enters into a dangerous game with a killer who has pretty much perfected the art of killing and getting away with it. The ritualistic nature of the kill, the patterns of it suggesting a sort of violence that is deep rooted in issues of the kind for which help of any sort might never ever be enough.

Before this, I had the misfortune of reading a procedural romantic suspense novel a year or so earlier, which nearly put me to sleep and made me want to bang my head against the wall. The narration of all the procedural aspect made the book intensely dry and made me want to weep from the effort it took for me to finish the book. So my apprehension when it came to reading this was a given, since In the Barren Ground is also characterized as a procedural romantic suspense novel. My worries were totally unnecessary, as I found myself totally captivated by the story that unfolded, a trait that has always held true when it comes to every single book I have had the fortune of reading when it comes to Loreth’s work. Loreth sports a mind of the kind that delivers dark and edgy, the kind that I absolutely, wholeheartedly revel in.

In the Barren Ground, while procedural, it made me appreciate all the more, the intensive and at times tedious work that officers of the law enforcement have to put in in order to get a case right, and to do it right as well. The evidence gathering, collating, picking up the clues and patterns; all of it and more requires a mind that is keen as well as intelligent, and a heart that believes in justice and doing it right and not taking short cuts, because you never know which piece of evidence would end up becoming the pivotal piece in a case.

I loved Tana‘s character. There is strength and resilience in her, the sort that knows when she needs help and when she can do it alone. I think this is basically the first thriller of the kind that I have read, in which the lead character did not go in half cocked, thinking she could save the day just by turning up. No. She used her God given intelligence which made her see that to face off a killer of the kind who takes pride in the planning, the lure and the hunt should not be taken lightly, because if Tana were to piece it all together, the whole world of the killer comes tumbling down. I loved that about this story and that was definitely one of the highlights.

Crash’s character was an absolute delight. Crash is a man who throws all your assessments of his character sideways, his character as appealing on the inside as on the outside. What drew me to his character was how he could read people, how he understood where they were coming from, the career which he had worked in before honing skills in him that turned out to be pretty useful when all was said and done. Crash has his own agenda which he seeks, his own demons to fight, his own past that is filled with regrets of the kind that could break a guy. But Crash perseveres, and knows which battles to fight and which ones to give up, which made me love him all that more!

The killer in this novel, well, that is the masterpiece when it comes right down to it. Loreth’s imagination takes the reader to places where some might not even want to go. Those who have delicate sensibilities might not like where her stories take them. But for me, Loreth’s stories are the high that I seek whenever I pick up a thriller of the kind. The fact that the identity of the killer totally surprised me, something that has been happening too rarely lately for my sake, was one of the winning aspects of this story! Be prepared for a killer that has multiple facets to the character, a testament of the mastery that Loreth holds over the genre.

The setting itself is one that lends credence to the whole story. Definitely not the kind of place you would want to end up with a killer who enjoys the hunt and is relentless. Loreth’s writing is so evocative, and I always keep repeating this point in my reviews; it just feels as if you are one with the story. As if you are standing at the edge of The Barrens, the cold seeping through, right into your very bones, the chill you feel when you encounter the malicious intents of a killer for whom all reason had been lost, and the subtle, yet strong connection that forges to life between two unlikely protagonists; all that and more, and you feel every single aspect of the story to the deepest recesses of your soul.

This is a story that sends chills running up and down your spine, taking you to the edge of your seat and back. Be prepared to lose sleep and to read through the night. Brace yourself to become engrossed and engaged in a read that would have you turning on every light in your house, because that is how edgy and real the story that unfolds is. Definitely and absolutely recommended!

Final Verdict: Taunts and haunts you! An irrefutable page turner!

Favorite Quotes

It was 3:48 p.m.
Nearly ten minutes away from pickup time. Only five more days before she was due back at school.  With her friends. Her mom. But as Selena  slid  into  oblivion,  she  realized  she  would  not  make  her  twenty second birthday. Perhaps, she thought in an absurd final moment of consciousness, this basin in which she lay beneath the cliff face was one of those  “dreaming  places” where  she should  never have stopped  to rest, or to empty what she had from those bags . . .

Tana banged on O’Halloran’s door, praying she’d find him in a better  state  than  Jankoski.  The  door  opened  almost  immediately,  startling her.  Warm light spilled out into the night. His dark-blond hair stood on end. He wore a tight, long-sleeve tee.  Tattoos poked out from the base of his sleeves. His jeans slung low  on his hips. He grinned, and it put dimples into his rugged, weather-browned cheeks, amusement into his light-green eyes. He reminded her of a scarred and cocky junkyard dog. An edginess crackled through her. Because he intimidated her. Just a little.

“You know why they call this place Headless Man?”
“I’m sure you’re about to tell me.”
“Two prospectors were found a few miles southeast from here, in the twenties, sitting  with their backs leaned up against  a cliff face, just like  we’re doing.  Fully dressed.  Boots on,  packs and  picks and  guns at their sides. Only trouble—no heads. Just gone. Just the two torsos propped  there like they were having a good old chat. Still had  diamonds in their bags.”
She turned to him. “They ever find the heads?”
“Nope.”
“How’d the heads been removed?”
“Ripped. Clean off. Bodies all intact, just those heads torn off their stumps.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BAM | BookDepo

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Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdukeofsin
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #10
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Valentine Napier
Heroine: Bridget Crumb
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 31, 2016
Started On: July 07, 2016
Finished On: July 08, 2016

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt, brings to readers the much awaited story of the anti-hero Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, who has graced many a story before as a very memorable secondary character. Valentine is the man who walks a fine line between good and bad, mostly moving in the circles of the latter, his main bargaining chip being information about the elite of the ton.

Valentine was featured rather prominently in Darling Beast and Dearest Rogue, only to “disappear” in Sweetest Scoundrel. Bridget Crumb, Valentine’s newest housekeeper who is ever efficient, seeks employment at the Duke’s residence for reasons of her own. Bridget comes on a mission to save her birth mother from blackmail at the hands of the Duke, a man she sees as darkness itself. Even though Bridget cannot find any redeeming qualities about the Duke in her search for the documents she seeks, she is nevertheless intrigued on a level that has her questioning her sentiments.

When the Duke finally makes an appearance, Bridget is thrown by the way Valentine goes out of his way to rattle her, to get a reaction out of her. And when Valentine requires the help of Bridget to get through one of the darkest times of his life, Valentine finds himself enamored by the anomaly that Bridget presents. A woman who seems so practical and proper in every single way on the outside, with a fire that burns and wants to soar on the inside.

As Bridget gets to know Valentine and his past, she realizes that there is no defending herself against the onslaught of emotions that catches her, tumbling her headlong into love with a man deemed dangerous by mostly everyone. For Valentine, who finds the concept of love abhorrent, any ounce of such an emotion brutally stripped from him by those who should have loved and nurtured such emotions in him, it is a rising tide against which he struggles, the need to call Bridget his own when Valentine is furthest thing from a sentimental soul.

Duke of Sin is a story that has a lot going for it. An anti-hero of the kind that actually could be cruel but goes and does things that are totally out of character for someone like him. I fell in love with Valentine the night he lay struggling for his life, his darkest nightmares colored by the evil that had been his childhood coming to light. I cried for the little boy that had been treated in a manner that would have taken a darker soul to a place from which he would never have returned. The fact that there was still good left in Valentine, as hard it might have been to see at times, a good that people hardly saw because he always does things for his own benefit, was reason enough to root for him.

Bridget is a woman who holds her own ground when it comes to a man who is used to getting his own way. I loved Bridget for understanding the soul starved for love that was Valentine’s, for being insightful enough to see that beneath all that beauty and harsh cruelty lay a heart that was capable of great love. Though Valentine might never end up being the gentlest of souls, and I would not want that for him either way, I loved Bridget for being woman enough to take him as he is, without hesitations when it came right down to it.

Recommended for fans of anti-heroes who love a scorching tale of romance and love. Hoyt provides all that and more in every single one of her books!

Final Verdict: In Valentine, Hoyt creates a hero of the kind we all fall for, regardless!

Favorite Quotes

He moved swiftly, like a striking snake. Once. Twice. Thrice.
So fast his hand was blurred.
Blood spurted from the footman’s side, but his eyes were still open.
Slowly he looked down at the mortal wounds.
And almost lazily Val slit his throat.
The thing that had been Cal thumped to the carpet.
Bridget gasped, her hands covering her mouth. Oh, God!
Val turned, still naked, still impossibly beautiful. Only the gore spattered on his belly, chest, and arm, marred his perfection.
He walked toward her and she couldn’t help it. She backed away from him.
He smiled.
Sweetly. Like a boy. The dagger still in his left hand. And caught her arm with his right hand.
“This is who I am, Séraphine. Naked, with blade and blood. I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.”
And he laid his lips over hers and pushed his hot tongue into her mouth and kissed her until she couldn’t breathe and it was only later that she found the bloodstains on her dress.

He bit at her collarbone, licked down across a breast and suckled frankly on a nipple, drawing strongly and suddenly.
She grasped for his head, off-balance as if she were falling, even though she lay on a solid bed. His hair was silky beneath her hands, curling around her fingers.
But then he pulled away, tonguing under her breasts, each one, and down her belly, pausing to mouth her navel, and then thrusting her legs apart, climbing nimbly between, and thumbing wide her labia.
She gasped. “I… wait—”
But he’d already laid his mouth against her flesh, licking her there roughly as if he did indeed intend to devour her.
She’d never… that is…
She screamed, thrusting her hand into her mouth to muffle the sound as she came hard and fast.

Oh, God.
He was doing something, moving, but she’d lost her bones and could only half open her eyes.
She looked up in time to see him kneeling upright, his eyes gleaming, as he ripped open his falls. His penis was dark red and angrily erect, standing to his navel. He caught her hips and pulled her until she was on his lap, then he bent and, without ceremony, thrust himself within her.
“Now,” he rasped, no grace, no drawl, no civility at all. “Come again for me now.”
And he pulled her on and off his cock, rotating his hips all the while, his eyes on her, watching, waiting, as if she were the last drop of water in a desert.

But he batted her hand away, replacing her fingers with his thumb, pressing down hard.
And she arched, screaming, the lightning blazing from her center, sparking through her limbs, flying out her fingertips.
She was incandescent.
He fell atop her, heavy and male, pulling her legs up around his narrow hips, and ground down into her, once, twice.
His cock jerked within her and she could feel every muscle in his body tense. He groaned into her ear like a man dying and then fell senseless and limp.
And as she followed him into exhausted slumber she heard his single word:
Mine.

She moaned, all warm, damp woman in his hands, breasts in his face, thighs over his legs, astride him like a female dragoon, and he wanted to inhale her. To drink her in and keep her.
Possibly forever.
He wanted to lick her cunt again, make her cream for him, make her scream and writhe, but the angle was wrong and he made a vow: no more baths before bed—they were just too much for his frayed nerves. Instead he drew hard upon her sweet little nipple and plunged his hand between her thighs.
She was wet. Oh, sweet, wonderful woman! She was wet already, slippery and soft and ready for him.

He worked the falls of his breeches with his other hand and freed his grotesquely engorged cock, weeping, pleading for surcease.
Raised her arse a little, placed himself at that hot, wet paradise, and thrust.
She opened her eyes as he pulled his face away, watching her.
He thrust again. The way was tight. Narrow. She was wet, but she hadn’t yet come tonight.
Her mouth opened, a strand of hair caught on her shining lips.
God.
He thrust again. Hard. And was home.
Burning fire surrounded him. He’d never be cold again.

He watched as she went up in flames.
Burning like an archangel, glorious, frightening, awesome.
And when he caught fire as well, when he emptied his loins into her furnace, in groaning, exquisite jerks, all he could think was this:
His Séraphine thought that deep inside him was a golden core—a good man who could be redeemed.
She was wrong.
And when she plumbed his depths and discovered instead a frozen hollow, she would do what she must.
She would leave him.

He braced himself over her, his golden curls falling into darkened glittering azure eyes, lines imprinted on his pale beautiful face, and gazed down at her with awful, terrible foreboding. “Death.”
She was falling apart under his assault, sparks flying behind her eyes, warm honey in her limbs, but she forced herself to meet his gaze, to keep her eyes open even as her mouth went slack with pleasure. “Life.”
His hips faltered, and his head rolled on his shoulders as if he’d been hit, as if he were in great pain, his lips drawn back from his teeth. He groaned, continuing to thrust, but more slowly, less gracefully, a man in his death throes.
And as she watched, he opened his eyes and gasped, “Séraphine.”
She answered as naturally as breathing, “Valentine,” and felt his hot seed fill her.

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

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Review: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booksweetestscoundrel
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #9
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Asa Makepeace
Heroine: Eve Dinwoody
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 24, 2015
Started On: May 24, 2016
Finished On: May 27, 2016

I have been meaning to dive into this delectable novel for quite sometime now. Crista on Goodreads is a romance reader whose tastes fairly match that of mine. So I make it a point every now and then to grab some recommendations off her shelf of books, which is how this sweet number caught my eye. This was not my first Hoyt novel as I had previously sampled her talent through her novel The Raven Prince which I reviewed way back in 2012.

Sweetest Scoundrel is book 9 in the Maiden Lane series. Though I picked this novel up without having read the rest of the novels prior to this in the series, I had no trouble at all in picking up the story and I believe this works perfectly well as a standalone. However, having since then gone back and sampled the rest of the novels in the series, I have to say that the full impact of meeting some of the secondary characters that makes their way into the story might not be felt if you decide to pick this up like I did. Nevertheless the enjoyment factor when it comes right down to it is not affected in anyway.

Asa Makepeace is the owner of the pleasure garden known as Harte’s Folly, though few know of the fact, especially not his family. Asa has a chip on his shoulder the size of Manhattan itself when it comes to letting his family know how he earns his living. Though when I first heard of the term “pleasure gardens”, I thought to myself it must be something akin to a brothel or the likes of it, which must be the reason why Asa was so reluctant for his siblings to know of his occupation, I was proven wrong as I read along. I realized that the term was used to denote places which were highly popular in the 17th, 18th and 19th century as a place where patrons can buy tickets to gain entrance and then enjoy a variety of performances such as plays, operas, and symphonies, and even enjoy a meal or two and explore the gardens within which the whole thing takes place. Asa’s reluctance for his family to know that he is the owner of the place stems from his childhood, and the fact that the Makepeace family is fairly religious considering all things.

Sweetest Scoundrel begins at a point where Asa runs into a bit of a trouble with Harte’s Folly being reduced to ashes in a fire, which meant having to start all over. Running short of the kind of capital required to do that, Asa had taken the helping hand lent by the Duke of Montgomery, which is how Asa’s life is invaded by Eve Dinwoody, the Duke’s half sister.

Eve is described as a woman with plain features, someone men would not notice all that much at a first or even third glance. That is what happens with Asa as well when Eve practically forces her way into his business activities, throwing Asa’s life into disarray of the kind he starts to find appealing in a way he never thought possible. But Eve’s past is mired in the kind of darkness and violence that has held her a captive of its memories, leading Eve to live a life half-lived, under the protection afforded by those that she keeps close to her heart.

Working with Asa in close proximity makes Eve stand up and notice things she would not have if otherwise. And for the very first time in Eve’s life, in Asa’s warm and passionate embrace, Eve finds within herself the courage to step outside of the circle that binds and shackles her to the past, a way to break free of the mold that every one has pretty much thought was a given where she was concerned.

Hoyt’s stories aren’t just plain romance novels. There is so much more happening in each and every single one of her stories that I have read since picking up Sweetest Scoundrel to read. There is of course romance of the kind that makes your heart go pitter-patter, there is the factor of enchantment to her stories via the chapter openers that precede every single chapter with a mini fairy tale that keeps you turning the pages. There is also the portion of mystery that adds in the intrigue factor and that is what makes reading a Hoyt novel an experience of the kind you would not find elsewhere.

Asa is a hero well crafted. He is handsome, earthy, passionate and virile in a way that makes your insides go hot in just the merest of seconds. He is also a straightforward kind of character that makes him more endearing in my eyes. There are so many novels out there, especially historical romances where characters always talk in double entendres that can be quite tiring, perhaps an effort by the author to make his or her characters sound overly intelligent. Thus, I appreciate candid honesty in characters because I tend to be a pretty straightforward person myself.

I loved Asa for so many things, the utmost of reasons being his patience when it comes to dealing with Eve. It is not easy for a woman such as Eve to give into her desire to touch and be touched by a man such as Asa. Not because he is a brute or scares her in that sense, but because of a past that makes her reluctant to even test the waters when it comes to the opposite sex. Eve’s courage when it came right down to it was something that I approved of wholeheartedly. There is being afraid and there is being stubborn and mule headed enough not to want to change. I was glad that Eve belonged to a category of her own and charted her own path towards what was best for her. Some of the scenes of passion are downright hot and steamy! Whoever said that historical romance writers do not know how to steam up a carriage window have not been reading right!

Sweetest Scoundrel is a novel that all romance readers, especially those who love unconventional historical romances ought to read. I friggin’ loved the whole thing!

Final Verdict: Rich in detail & multi-layered in characterization, Sweetest Scoundrel makes for a beguiling read!

Favorite Quotes

She lifted her chin. “Then I suppose our discussion is done.”
She turned to go, but he had a hard grip on her upper arm, pulling her back.
“Not yet it’s not,” he growled.
She fought down the old, nauseous fear. “Let go of me.”
“Why?” He cocked his head, an ugly sneer on his beautiful lips. “Can’t stand my touch?”
“Yes!” she tossed back, losing her patience, her self-control, and any upper hand she’d ever had in their argument.
Which was when he took her by the shoulders, pulled her roughly into his arms, and pressed his mouth to hers.
And Eve lost her sanity.

Her breath caught on the thought. Was he saying that a woman would put her hands—her mouth—there?
Her bodice felt suddenly too tight as her breaths became faster. She didn’t know where to look: at those long fingers massaging his own leg or his glinting, knowing green eyes.
“And of course,” he continued, “a woman can pleasure herself—with her hand—and a man…” His hand drifted up, straight to the top of his widely spread legs. He gripped himself frankly—lewdly—and looked at her.
She lost all sense of propriety. All sense of place and time and who he was and who she was.
She stared back into those sensuous green eyes and whispered, “Show me.”

Her nostrils flared as she inhaled. There was a musky scent in the air, salty and animal, and it made her clench her legs together.
He grinned suddenly, his white teeth gritted together, as if he knew what he did to her. His fist was moving faster now, the deep red head of his cock appearing and disappearing between his fingers. It shone, fully revealed, and so big she bit her lip.
“Now,” he grunted. “Now, Eve, watch me. Are you watching me?”
“Yes,” she moaned.
The muscles stood out in his neck as a white liquid erupted from his cock, flowing and spurting, his legs shaking, his hand slowing.
And the entire time he watched her.

He couldn’t take it anymore.
He wrapped his hand around the back of her head and pulled her up, pulled her across his chest, pulled her into a kiss so filthily explicit his tongue might as well have been fucking her mouth.
They groaned in unison and he wrapped his hand over hers, forcing her fingers tight around his erection, showing her how to pull up, the loose skin sliding over his hot core—oh, sweet, sweet God—and down, fisting tight, moving faster, his hips pumping up into their shared grasp.
She moaned and his hips jerked at the sound.
And then she sucked his tongue and hot pleasure speared him. He convulsed, spunk spewing over his fingers, over hers. He smeared them both in it as he yanked himself through it, shuddering.

She wanted to ride him, wanted to hide him away in her bedroom, to use only for herself.
She was jealous of every woman who had come before her. Had used this wonderful penis. Had heard his groan.
She opened her eyes. But it was the women who would come after that she truly wanted to kill.
He was hers. He should never share this part of himself with anyone else.

She threw back her head, riding him hard, the sweat sliding down between her breasts. He lurched up, half sitting, his arm propping him up, and licked the sweat from her body.
She cried out, gasping, holding his head to her even as he sucked one nipple into his mouth. She felt the pull, felt the answering gush, and knew she was falling apart, spreading outward, a star exploding.
He gasped and let go of her breast, bowing his head to her chest, his hair wild and tangled against her as he groaned and shook.
She felt heat inside her and rose one last time, spreading wide her thighs, shoving him as deep inside her as she could.
Trying to keep him forever.

“Because I deserve more,” she said. “I deserve a man who loves me above all else. I deserve a family and happiness.”
“Then go!” he growled. “Go off and find this mythical man and spread your legs for him if it’ll give you what you want.”
She took two strides toward him and slapped him, quick and hard, and then her eyes widened as she realized what she’d done. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
He turned his face back to her slowly, almost lazily. “I’m not.”
And then she was in his arms, his mouth on hers, wild and hot and dangerously close to out of control. He thrust his hand into her hair, holding her head immobile, and ravished her mouth, biting, tonguing, thrusting.

She remembered her hand and how to work it, tearing open his falls and the smallclothes beneath. Her breaths were coming in hot little pants now and she stared up at him as she took him into her fist. She would remember this. She’d remember this until her dying day, she promised herself.
“Ah, Eve,” he groaned, his head falling back, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed. He thrust once, convulsively, into her hand, and then he was lifting and spreading her legs, taking his cock out of her hand, thrusting into her.
She gasped, it was so fast. A complete possession.

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

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ARC Review: Project Virgin by Megan Crane

Format: E-bookprojectvirgin
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Hero: Damon Patrick
Heroine: Scottie Grey
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 21, 2016
Started On: April 29, 2016
Finished On: May 01, 2016

Damon Patrick is a seventh year associate at the historic law firm Granger and Knox, a renowned litigator and San Francisco’s favorite sex symbol. 26 year old Scottie Grey is a first year associate who is barely out of law school, who just booted her fiancé out the door for being the lying and cheating man he had turned out to be.

When Damon notices the missing engagement ring on Scottie’s finger which is followed by the lengthiest conversation they have had to-date regarding non-work related stuff, Scottie to her horror realizes that she had started to have very strong reactions towards Damon which does not bode well at all. The topic of her status of virginity somehow comes up, which is how Damon eventually “volunteers” to help her get rid of the pesky matter, once and for all.

Told in first person from Scottie’s point of view, Megan Crane I believe has done justice to the story with a novella of this length. Damon definitely lives up to the description that I started off this review with – he is definitely a sex symbol if ever there was one.

This book made me reassess every not-so-positive thought I might have had about kissing scenes when it comes to a lot of books. The act itself can barely get a passing glance from some authors, while others quite ineffectively launches into a description of tongue tangling and tongues doing other stuff which sometimes does not come off as such an erotic act. However Megan Crane has made me a believer of just how erotic the act of kissing itself can be in books with how Damon chooses to kiss Scottie, possibly out of her senses and beyond. I am a definite believer in Damon and his prowess in kissing and otherwise. Wowza!

Because the book is told in Scottie’s point of view alone, it is at times difficult to assess what Damon might or might not be feeling. For a man who has no problem in getting any woman he wants (I believe I would not turn him down if he were to turn up on my doorstep – and I digress), there is little novelty perhaps left when it comes to the harem of women that parades in and out of his life.

I guess what affected Damon most was the fact that Scottie had waited all along, believing in giving herself to the one that she wanted to share the rest of her life with – even though that man had turned out to be the douche-bag of the century. At first it feels as if Damon remains unaffected by the scorching and burn-through-the-ereader chemistry that he and Scottie had going between them. But little by little the chips fall away & reveal that he is as stunned and affected by what is happening between them. 

The way that Megan makes the reader see how moved Damon is by the experience and beyond, when everything else suggests otherwise, that was the part of the story that I couldn’t get enough of! Loved, loved, loved the emotions that this little delicious number invoked.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: In Project Virgin, Megan Crane tells a delicious tale not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

“I  think  I’ll walk home,”  I  said after a  stretch of time  that could have  been  years.  It felt  like  decades, hot  and  dark  blue, and  I  wondered who  I’d be  grieving  tonight when  I cleared my  head  and slept alone.  Alexander or  Damon?   “I  could use  the  air.”
He  shifted then, and smiled, and  I  felt as if everything  had  changed.   As if  the world had been shoved out of its usual orbit, even if  I  couldn’t see  any  difference.   I  felt that restlessness, edgy  and needy, like  a  dull  kind  agony  right beneath my  skin.
“Or,”  he  said quietly, but with all  that electric  confidence  that pooled  deep  in my belly and pulsed hard between my legs, “you could let me give you what you want.”

“Which one of us knows what he’s doing?” Damon asked, his voice dark and hot and close to my ear. “You or me?”
“I don’t know to answer that. You refused to confirm if the rumors I heard about you were true.”
A rumble of very male laughter. Then the scrape of his teeth against the side of my jaw. He’d nipped me. He’d nipped me. My entire body seemed to switch on, straight into a white hot, humming blaze of fire.
“They’re true.”

The position was as ridiculous as I’d feared. My ass was in the air, my hair was tumbling everywhere, and I had to concentrate to lower myself toward him without simply collapsing and writhing against him the way I wanted.
But his mouth. His mouth. He tilted his head back and it was right there. It was temptation and sin. I could smell him—a hint of something spicy and a certain underlying maleness that was all him. I could feel the heat coming off of his skin.
My own mouth watered.
Between my legs, a sweet fire bloomed into a volcano.
Then I lowered myself down and fit my mouth to his.

He bent to capture my mouth with his, and everything exploded.
Holy shit.
I’d been kissed before. Some years, that was all Alexander and I had done.
I’d kissed a lot, and artfully. But never in my life had I ever been kissed like this.
Damon didn’t play. He took.
He was like a hurricane, taking me over and shaking me down, and I loved it. He ate at my mouth. He plundered me, until I was lost in the heat of it, the slide of his tongue and the clamor of my heart.

Damon pulled his mouth away from mine, but he left his hand where it was, his palm moving to gently abrade my nipple. The sensation was a wild tumult, a line of fire that shot straight from my breast to my clit and set me ablaze, and I couldn’t seem to do a thing in the world but arch into him.
He laughed, then let go, claiming my mouth again as he did.
The music in the club swelled around us, the high notes chasing each other through the insistent bass, and it was as if it was inside me, too. I was lost there, the music a delirious throb within me, Damon around me and beneath me, and his mouth moving against mine.

Higher he went, then higher still, until he cupped my pussy with his big, hard hand.
I trembled. Hard.
The club raged around us, right there on the other side of the balcony that shielded us, but I wouldn’t have cared if we were in the center of the dance floor and lit up by a set of spotlights.
“Please…” I whispered.
As if he’d been waiting for that, Damon smiled.

“You’re perfect,” he growled against my mouth, and then he claimed my mouth again as he drove two fingers deep into me.
I’d come before of course, me and my hand or a toy at the ready, but this was something else. This was different. This was a tearing apart. An awakening. I convulsed against him, going stiff as my hips tried to pound themselves against his hand, my head thrown back and my wild cries swallowed up by the loud club around us.
Damon laughed, a sound of rich male delight.
Then he claimed my mouth with his.
And he did it all over again.

He kissed me hard. Deep.
He made a noise I couldn’t interpret and then he was lifting me, positioning me on my back on the bed and then climbing over me.
We both groaned when he came down on top of me, pressing his whole body against mine. I let my legs fall open to cradle him against me, that hard cock of his separated from my aching pussy by two scant layers of thin fabric. For a moment we only stared at each other, making a lie of my commentary on plumbers and possessiveness as we lay there stripped bare in the dark.
I thought we both knew it.

“Have you done this a lot?” Even I could hear the wonder in my voice, and his dark blue eyes crinkled in the corners as he gazed down at me.
“Sex, yes,” he said, dropping his face down to put his mouth against my neck again. “Virgins, no.”
“Have you—”
“Scottie.” A drag of his teeth against my sensitized skin. “Quiet.”
Once again, I obeyed him.
And everything fell away.

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