Review: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookMakeMe
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: Broke and Beautiful, #3
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hero: Russell Hart
Heroine: Abby Sullivan
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 11, 2015
Started On: October 18, 2015
Finished On: October 21, 2015

Anyone who loves Tessa Bailey’s books knows what one can do for you. How it can mess you up in ways you never thought possible. Which is why I started reading the Broke and Beautiful series even though I am not much of a fan of the New Adult genre; though if Tessa writes them, I am definitely reading them. Though I missed out on the first book in the series (perhaps I will get around to reading it one of these days – a girl can always hope), I became an avid fan of the series from the moment Ben (the hero from the second book in the series), walked into MY life. Yes, my life. Note the possessive edge!

One cannot read either of the books in the Broke and Beautiful series without being invested in all of the characters. Thus, my heart was clamoring for the story of Russell, oh the big bad Russell, from the moment I laid my eyes on him. The man is a walking talking temptation unto womenkind if ever there was one. Well, of course after MY Ben of course! Abby and Russell’s friendship is one reason why Russell keeps his hands off of his precious Abby. Another being his past – a past that has screwed him up enough to believe that he would never measure up to someone like Abby.

Abby’s past wasn’t a walk in the park on a breezy Sunday morning either. A genius at numbers, something she inherited from her father, Abby’s life defines the word loneliness, until she finds a friendship of the kind she never thought possible with Honey and Roxy, and of course the three gorgeous men that relationship had brought into her life, one of them being Russell, the friend that she can always count on. Abby’s perspective of Russell as the friend she never had takes a dive when a set of events makes her take notice of the man he is – the man who sets her senses reeling, panties wet, and sets an ache tumbling through her that cannot be denied.

Russell is a man who can take torture, and I mean torture of the kind a lesser man would crumble from. But his heart doesn’t allow him to take that step, until of course there is no way that he CANNOT give into the passion between him and Abby. And then comes the heartache. Sigh! While I wanted to give Russell a bit of a good shaking until the chips in his head aligned just right so that he could see what preciousness that he was throwing away by playing noble, I wasn’t too happy with Abby for not realizing that for a man like Russell, the friend who would lay down his life for her – there must have been something that would cause him to behave as such.

But worry not ladies. If anything, Tessa Bailey knows how to write a mean ending and of course makes you pant your way to the finish line! And I mean literally pant your way through it because with all that heat? You won’t have a choice!

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of Tessa Bailey. Though not my favorite, Make Me still delivered a good read!

Final Verdict: Hot dayum!!

Favorite Quotes

Abby didn’t realize she’d closed her eyes until Russell’s heavy tread forced them open, and she saw him standing in her doorway.
Shirtless. Damp. Jeans sitting low on his hips.
A red-hot fist formed beneath her belly button. For Russell? She tried to shoot into a sitting position so fast, the back of her head bashed against the headboard, which really didn’t help her confusion. Not a bit. She wasn’t supposed to notice Russell in that way, right? But when a water droplet rolled down the center of his abdomen and vanished into the waistband of his jeans, she noticed. And she noticed good.

When the orgasm crested over her, Abby’s heels dug into the mattress to push herself back into the welcoming strength of his body, bearing down on his pleasure-giving hand at the same time. And God, even with the wicked climax turning her inside out, she wanted to feel his erection against her backside. Wanted to tempt him to do something about relieving the hunger she sensed in him. Already, his movements were growing uneven, staggered, his breathing ragged at the back of her neck.
“Yes,” he grated. “That’s how I make you come. Hard as fuck when you’re in my bed. That’s the way I do it.”

Long seconds of Abby’s studying his face had passed, as if she could discern what was taking place in his head when even he didn’t have a fucking clue. Those eyes were obscured a moment by her eyelashes, and Russell could feel that gaze move over his erect cock where it tented his jeans, then shoot back up. Hexpected surprise, maybe more confusion. Instead, he got relief and excitement. No. Not that. He couldn’t handle that.
Her sweet, ripe tits rose and fell on a shudder. “I’m sorry I used the situation to my advantage, Russell. It was wrong of m—”
He kissed Abby. Abby. He . . . kissed Abby.

“Abby, attraction is a weak-ass term for what’s going on here. It doesn’t begin to describe what I’d like to do to you.”
“Wh-which is?”
He placed his mouth against her ear, the truth coming out on a rush of breath. “I’d like to bang your little virgin brains out.”

“Come on, I’ll walk you to the train.”
Sti cazza. In another, more appropriate term, screw this. With a silent prayer for courage, Abby found the hem of her sundress and peeled the garment over her head, letting it fall to the floor. “I’m not ready to leave yet.”
[…]
Doubts fell from her consciousness like a cup of overturned paper clips when Russell stalked forward, prowling across the room and shifting the air around her. This impulsive disrobing had started as an act of rebellion, but now a furnace blast hit her head to toe. The raindrops pelted the window in time with her jumping pulse. The fierceness in his eyes told her to expect being pinned against the wall again, but it never happened. Instead, he fell to his knees in front of her, gripped her bottom . . .
And buried his face between her thighs.

Abby buried her fingernails into his ass, her thighs beginning to tremble around him. “I’m going to . . . oh my God, don’t stop. I’m . . .”
Russell dropped his head forward and closed his eyes, putting all his focus into staying right where the fuck he was, not deviating from what was pushing her toward a climax. Just a little longer. Just a little—
“Russell.”
Holy shit. His eyes flew open in time to witness Abby’s tits shaking between them, her teeth buried into her bottom lip as she arched on the chair. Her heels had a firm hold at the small of his back as she rode it out, her pussy squeezing him in tiny spasms that he would crave like air for the rest of his time on earth.

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

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Review: Need Me by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookneedmetb
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Broke and Beautiful, #2
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hero: Ben Dawson
Heroine: Honey Perribow
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 21, 2015
Started On: April 24, 2015
Finished On: May 10, 2015

From the deliciousness of the cover to what’s inside, Tessa Bailey seems to have outdone herself with the second book in the Broke and Beautiful series that wooed me in more ways than I can count. Tessa Bailey is a master, no a goddess, when it comes to delivering dirty of the good kind. As a reader who always loves a good bout of scorching steam in her romances, Tessa is a godsend from whom I dearly ask never ever to change in the delectable heroes and stories that she continues to deliver.

Having not read book one in the series, I can assure you with 100% certainty that you would be able to carry off with reading Need Me as a standalone. Tessa has managed to do a marvelous job with a trope that can be tricky to pull off, i.e. romance between a professor and his student.

Before you go on building your own assumptions about Professor Ben Dawson who teaches Introduction to Literary Theory, let me do my civic duty and inform you that Ben is worth your time in gold! And yes, I mean it. A man whose words alone seduced me from the beginning, whose control over his baser emotions was a thing of wonder to see break into such absolute mess of a pieces was just exhilarating to watch. I might be a bit too enthusiastic about that fact but lets face it, we all love a hero whose control breaks under the right circumstances and boy, does Tessa deliver a healthy dose of just that!

Honey Parribow, from the small town of Bloomfield, Kentucky has dreams of her own which is why she moves to the big city to make it a reality. Though she misses her home and family overly much, the essence of her being which yearns for things that her hometown would not be able to provide for her makes her stick it out. Not to mention her ‘unhealthy’ obsession with her lit professor Ben makes it all worthwhile.

When a culmination of events brings Ben to his knees and convinces Honey of all that she had firmly believed to be true about her “crush” on the professor, things take a turn that neither of them expects to. Ben finds himself in waters that he has steered clear of all his life. To make the same mistakes that his father had made, to ruin a life that he had built for himself with rigid control, rules and structure that seems to tumble down in the face of all that is Honey Parribow.

With plenty of angst to match and oh god, hot sex of the panty scorching variety included, Tessa takes the reader on a veritable feast for the senses that I just could not get enough of. If you are fan of Tessa, I don’t think you would need any further encouragement from me to take the tumble. If not and you have a thing for tropes like professor/student themes that deliver dirty talking heroes that would want to make you throw yourself at him, then I assure you that you’ve chosen right. Trust me on that.

There were so many aspects that I loved about the story. The emotional roller coaster ride this story took me on is one that is unforgettable. I was driven to laughter, tears & moments of sheer angst that felt so good that I didn’t want any of it to end. Few authors can make a reader feel right from the very beginning of a story till its end. Tessa Bailey is one who can, and does deliver, every single time. Need Me definitely is a story to be reckoned with and I think I’ll forever remember Professor Ben Dawson with a goofy smile and naughty glint in my eyes because every inch of his delicious self demands nothing less.

Ben Dawson is hands down the reason I fell for this story, hook, line and sinker. From the moment his uber controlled self strode into the story with his rules about keeping his personal & private lives separate, I knew that he’d cause me palpitations of the good kind. And oh boy, did he deliver! He delivered all that and so much more that I went into this state where I wished for a professor of my own just like Ben Dawson. But I have a feeling that the world cannot handle more than one of his kind; demanding in bed, a bit of a brood and of course towards the end sweet of the kind that is just potent! Sigh! I guess I can go on waxing poetry over Ben Dawson and even that wouldn’t be enough!

Tessa Bailey knows how to deliver characters that speaks to your heart. She’s yet to disappoint me in that aspect and I loved Honey Parribow to bits and then some. She was the perfect balance of wholesomeness, sexy and all things woman enough to drive the very stoic professor out of his ever loving mind. Loved Honey’s courage, what drives her to pursue her dreams & of course the way she is able to so effortlessly drive the professor to profess all sorts of dirty deeds that he wants to do to her and with her. Oh boy!

Only thing that I wanted more was a bit more of Honey and Ben towards the ending. After such a painful angst ridden of a “separation”, my heart needed the healing and I guess I acutely missed that & felt that the ending was a trifle bit rushed. In all other aspects, Need Me was perfect and I wouldn’t change it any other way.

I cannot end the review without sharing some of the notes that I made along the way while I was reading, which I think would convey more of what I was feeling than a lengthy review would! And forgive me. I went sort of crazy with the quotes. But I tell you, it was ALL worth it!

My God, Tessa Bailey, where on earth did you dream up Ben from!!!

Sigh! What’s with Tessa and the way she makes her men strut around that makes ME want to say, hell yes please, take me now!!!

Tessa Bailey! Oh the things you do to a woman!!!!

Holy shit Tessa!!

Final Verdict: You’re going to fall in love. In love with every single inch that’s Professor Ben Dawson.

Favorite Quotes

She took a deep breath and eased closer to him. The door rattled, telling her he’d backed up and hit it. Good. He couldn’t go any further. She placed her palms on his chest and felt him shudder. Heard him curse in an almost desperate manner. Memorizing every inch of terrain encountered by her hands, she smoothed them higher, over his shoulders, before dragging her fingertips back down the way she’d come. When they reached his hard abdomen, Ben heaved an exhale and tunneled his hands into her hair. It was so sudden and so fierce that Honey’s knees almost gave out.
“What are you doing?” he demanded.
“Touching you. Feeling what you look like.”

“Fuck. I’ve been so hard all day, babe.”
She felt dazed at hearing her straightlaced professor curse. Admit to a weakness. “Why?”
“So many reasons.” His laughter sounded pained, turning into a hiss of breath as she began to stroke him through his pants. “But it feels like it was all for you. I don’t know how to explain that.”
The beating in her chest expanded, reaching her throat. Her limbs felt heavy but pliant at the same time. Coupled with the darkness, the anonymity, his words emboldened her. I’ve been so hard all day, babe. It feels like it was all for you. She went up on her toes and laid her mouth on his ear. “I’ve been soft for you all day, so I guess we’re even.”

“Did you think of me when you put those good girl panties on this morning?” He coasted his hands up the tops of her spread legs, letting his thumbs drag up the sensitive insides of her thighs, taking her skirt higher as he went. “Did you think they’d make my dick hard if I got a peek at them?”
“Yes.” The answer burst out of her in a desperate whisper, as if she’d been holding it in. “I thought of you when I chose them.”

Ben sounded out of breath when he rounded the doorway into the classroom. He stood outlined by the frame for a moment, looking her over from head to toe. Burning her. God, he looked amazing. If possible, his stubble had grown more pronounced during the reading, hair standing out at every direction. Honey trapped a gasp in her throat when he slammed the door behind him and came toward her, moving so fast her heart shot to her throat. His long legs ate up the distance. The weight of his determined gaze had her gripping the large metal desk behind her for balance.

He hauled her body up against his, bending her backwards over his forearm and yanking her back up, as if he couldn’t decide how he wanted her. How to get close enough. His fingertips traced the hem of her dress before slipping beneath to skim up the inside of her thigh. When his warm hand molded to the flesh between her legs and squeezed, Honey broke away with a moan.
“Does it still hurt?” He grated the question at her lips. “Tell me it still hurts so I can lick it better.”
A sharp exhale burst from her mouth. “It still hurts.”

“Do you know what I thought about during the reading, Honey?”
“What?”
Her head fell to the side, giving him room to suck and lick at her neck. “I thought that if we were sitting in the back row, I would have made you sit on my lap. With my dick inside you.” He drove into her tightness, again and again. So wet. So damn wet. Fuck yes. The rhythm was perfect. Steady enough to give her time to come, fast enough to satisfy this urgency she made him feel. “No one would know except us. Unless you moved, even just once. Because then you’d have to keep moving. We’d need it. And we’d have to fuck right there in front of everyone.”

Her lips curved into an even wider smile. “Where I come from, a good story is a gift.”
“You must be buried in gifts, then.”
She looked up at him. “What do you mean?”
Feeling a little uncomfortable, he tried to sit up straighter, but she shook her head and he stilled. “Your papers.” He cleared his throat, and it echoed in the empty classroom. “I’ve read the classics ten times over, I’ve studied and written enough words to drown us both, but I bet I’ve never held anyone’s attention the way your papers hold mine.”

“Come on, babe. I’m right behind you.”
“Ben.”
Sweet fucking hell.
No one came like Honey. She bent forward with her hands braced on the wall, practically giving him a vertical lap dance as her body trembled. Legs spread, hips grinding on his hard dick while she moaned his name. As if she needed to feel every damn part of what their bodies had produced. He’d never get over seeing it. Especially not at that moment, when release clamored in his stomach, successfully finding an outlet right between her gorgeous thighs.

Roxy pulled her knees up to her chest. “So, Professor Ben, huh? Please tell me he slapped your ass with a yardstick.”
“Well it wasn’t a full yard . . .” Honey coughed into her fist. “But it was impressive. It reminded me of that scene in A Few Good Men where Jack Nicholson yells, ‘You can’t handle the truth’ at Tom Cruise. Except Ben was Jack Nicholson and my vagina was Tom Cruise.”

Honey tried not to be miffed that he didn’t appear bothered by the lack of nookie on the table. It made her wonder if he had a plan cooking behind those scholarly looking glasses. “Who was Elmer to you, Honey? Please note that I’m speaking in the past tense.”
“My high school sweetheart.” She pursed her lips. “You jealous of ol’ Elmer, Ben?”
“ ‘Jealous’ is too common a word. His existence is a threat to my sanity.”

He pressed their foreheads together and looked her in the eye. “Listen to me.” He waited for her nod. “You’re going to take me somewhere now where I can see you without your panties on. I’m going to get you off good and hard, maybe a few times. And then, Honey, we’re going to talk.” He bucked his hips into her twice. “But first, I’m going to fuck you so dirty, you won’t be able to look anyone but me in the eye afterward. Have you heard everything I’ve said?”
He removed his hand so she could answer. “Yes. Okay, Ben.”
“Good. I’ll be at the truck.” He stepped back, letting her slide down the wall. “Tell them whatever gets us out of here.”

When her palm brushed over his erection, his head fell back and hit the car on a groan. As she unzipped his pants, she leaned in and licked the column of his neck. “Whenever I fantasized about you during class, I pictured you wearing a tie when I did this.”
“Did what?”
Honey gave him a sly smile in response. Having succeeded in undoing his pants, she slipped her hand into his boxer briefs and stroked his heavy arousal. “You asked me earlier about my favorite position.”
“Tell me,” he panted. “Say it.”
She placed her mouth over his ear. “On my knees.”

He ceased his torture of her breasts to lift his head. “You want me to finger bang you, Honey?”
“Yes. Yes.”
His eyes locked on hers as he drove two fingers inside her. Oh God. She was going to come. Going to come. But she couldn’t, because his touch didn’t move, granted her no friction. Her hips lifted and fell in a plea, but he didn’t grant her request, choosing instead to study the movements of her body like one eyed a juicy steak. “If you move like that when I’m inside you, babe, I will fuck you all the harder.”

“I’m the only one who belongs inside you,” he growled. “Show me why, babe.”
She tightened her thighs around him and ground herself down as the climax shook through her. Her scream was swallowed by his hungry mouth as it claimed her, tongue pushing her lips wide to tangle with hers. His big body, plastered so tightly against her, began to shudder. He ripped his mouth away with a shouted expletive, eyes squeezed closed as his release took him.

Her heels dug into the small of his back. “One thing you do, though, is by far the hottest.”
“Tell me. Tell me now. I’ll never stop doing it.”
Honey’s lips twitched. “When you talk to me in that professor voice.” Her eyelids fluttered, as if just saying it out loud was enough to get her going. Sweet hell. This girl. “You do it all the time, you know. Out of nowhere, your tone changes, and it . . .”
“What?”
“It makes me so wet,” she murmured, hitting him with the full impact of those big eyes. “For you.”

Ben kept her pinned with his body, continuing to speak in the voice he usually reserved for lectures. “That’s a good girl, Ms. Perribow.” He rotated his hips, grinding the base of his cock against her clit. “Now take down your panties and bend over my desk. Stay that way until I’ve dismissed you. Not a moment sooner.”
Honey cried out, her body going bow tight beneath him before it started to shake. Ben watched her with nothing short of awe. Unbelievable. He’d actually made her come just by talking to her. He liked the power of that. A lot. Maybe too much, because his body was now thrumming with the relentless need to be inside her. Now.

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

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Review: A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookaroseatmidnight
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Nicholas Blackthorne
Heroine: Citizeness Ghislaine de Lorgny
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: February 28, 1993
Started On: January 18, 2014
Finished On: January 23, 2014

I picked up A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart in my attempt to make my way slowly back to earth, after riding the high of reading Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh. I tend to need some time to come to terms with the fact that I might not be able to come across a book that would give me such a high in the near future and most of the time is struck with the need to read a book from an author that would certainly entertain me if nothing else. And this historical set in the 1800’s did just that, in the end leaving me a bit contemplative too, which is something that tends to happen often after I finish reading an Anne Stuart romance.

Ghislaine de Lorgny’s mission in life for the past couple of years has been a simple one. She has been biding her time until she meets the man who would die at her hands, the man who turned his back on her and never looked back, the man who had broken her heart and let her be crushed in every single way left thereafter until the fire for revenge and need for vengeance had become what had kept Ghislaine going. Opportunity comes calling when the man himself comes to the home in which Ghislaine resides in, giving her the perfect chance to exact her revenge even if it means she’d have to leave the life that she’d made for herself in the past couple of years.

Nicholas Blackthorne is a man who possesses the blackest of reputations. With no scruples seemingly whatsoever, Nicholas lives his life as he pleases, the bleakness inside of his soul hidden by the depth of depravity that he shows to the rest of the world. When Ghislaine comes into his life once again, Nicholas does the unpredictable thing and carries her off with him, seemingly to teach her a lesson that she would never forget, all the while refusing to acknowledge just how much of his black soul is already possessed by the woman in question.

A Rose at Midnight might not be an easy read for some people, but then that is one reason why I love novels by Anne Stuart. There is a sensuality to her ruthless heroes that is indescribable, the way in which she can redeem even the most unlikely heroes one that always would keep me going back for more. Nicholas seemed like a hero who would never find his footing as someone who would redeem himself enough to win the affections of Ghislaine, but then Anne Stuart’s characters are hardly that straightforward and Nicholas was definitely no exception.

The life that Ghislaine had undergone during the uprising in France, the way she had lost her family and everything dear to her, not to mention how she had been defiled in the most vile manner while hatred had borne in her heart for the man who had been in the next room served to be reason enough for the rough and tough journey of the heart that Ghislaine takes towards love and peace of her soul. Acceptance of her feelings for the complex man that Nicholas is takes a lot of doing and I understood every single bit of turmoil, hatred, anger and deep sense of betrayal that she felt in the process. I would say that it would take a woman of immense courage to let go and embrace love, a love so fierce and powerful that even the darkness that had invaded her soul a long time back was no match for the sheer potency of it all.

I also loved the secondary romance tucked into this dark and gritty story which somehow seemed to lighten up the pages a bit. I loved Lady Ellen’s inquisitive, forward and at times clueless nature when it comes to the love of her life aka Honorable Sir Antony Wilton-Greening. Their courtship which takes place in their pursuit of Ghislaine and Nicholas seemed to make the darker emotions this novel seemed to generate easier to bear and I have to say I loved every single minute of their journey towards a beautiful and well deserved happily ever after.

Time and yet again, Anne Stuart astounds me with her creativity (even when I should know better by now), her characters and the way she unabashedly writes the best alpha heroes out there one that earns her the highest of ranks in my list of favorite authors. And every single time, with very few exceptions of course, I have always ended each book with the deepest sigh from within my soul, knowing that I couldn’t have asked for more!

Final Verdict: A Rose at Midnight is magnificent, the intricacy of this multi-layered tale is not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

She could have withstood a brutal assault, his mouth grinding against her. She could have withstood a rough rape of her mouth, and she was fully prepared to disappear into that quiet place in her mind where no one could reach her.
But she was unprepared for the softness of his lips against hers. The damnable gentleness as he brushed his mouth against hers, feathering it lightly, so lightly that it was a caress. And she hadn’t been caressed in more than a decade.

“Just a kiss, love,” he said, putting his fingers under her chin and tilting her head up to meet his mouth. She held very still as his lips tasted hers, but he could feel the faint tremor that ran through her small, strong body, and he wondered idly what caused it. Hatred? Or desire?

Her body was stiff at first, and then slowly grew more pliant, her hips tilting up against his with the light encouragement of his hand at the small of her back, her perfect breasts through the thin layers of clothing pressing against his chest. He could hear the lazy buzz of bees in the background, the distant song of birds, and the wind rustled through the leaves overhead as he kissed her, until she was shaking, until he was shaking, until he wanted to push her down in the sweet-smelling grass and tear away her clothes and his, until he wanted to find comfort in the sweet danger of her body.

“It will be rape,” she said in a wild fury.
“No,” he said. “It won’t.”
She survived the fierce possession of his kiss. She survived his overpowering strength, as he pulled her to the bed, pushing her down and covering her flailing limbs with his strong body. She survived the touch of his hands on her breasts, the feel of his arousal against her stomach. But she couldn’t survive the sudden gentleness, the slow start of heat in her belly, the warmth in her breasts, the damnable yearning that blossomed in her heart.

She felt as if she were floating, lost in the feel of his lips on hers, the shocking intimacy of his tongue in her mouth, more intimate than anything she’d endured during her enforced couplings. She wanted to dissolve, to lose herself in the seductive wonder of his mouth possessing hers. She wanted it never to stop, to last forever in a billowing cloud of passion without end.

He’d told her she was beautiful, his precious child, his angel in a dark night. He’d told her she was his soul, his life and breath, and the heat of his desire.
And, God help him, he’d told her the worst thing of all. He’d told her that he loved her. And even now, he wasn’t quite sure if he’d lied.

“Don’t fight it, my angel,” he whispered, his voice a mockery. “I’m not going to finish with you until you come.”
She whimpered then, and hated herself for doing so. He covered her mouth with his, and like a fool she kissed him back, as his hair fell around them both, curtaining them in darkness. He reached down and caught her hips, pulling her up against him, and then his body went rigid in her arms, and she felt the flooding of a great warmth, one that for the first time was answered with her own warmth.

“You have two choices, Ghislaine. You must either kill me or love me. Make your decision.”
He watched her grip tighten on the knife, and he wondered whether this time she would do it.
He reached her, standing in front of her, his tom, bloodstained shirt barely covering his chest, and waited.
“Oh, my God,” she said in a broken voice. And she dropped the knife with a noisy clatter, and flung herself into his arms.

He caught her shoulders, pulling her up close against him, and this time he kissed her, hard and deep, a kiss she answered. Her dress ripped as he tore it off her; his breeches ripped as she tore them open. She touched him, felt the silken strength of him, and he groaned, deep in his throat, pushing against her hands.

He stared at her in mute frustration. “All right, I love you, damn it,” he snapped. “Does that satisfy you?”
She considered it. “It’s a start. But you’ll definitely need more practice. You haven’t learned the proper intonation. You need—” He silenced her, efficiently and swiftly, his mouth covering hers.
When he lifted his head they were both breathless. “I love you,” he said again, this time a little more softly.
She smiled up at him. “Much better,” she whispered.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: To Love a Dark Lord by Anne Stuart

Format: E-booktoloveadarklord
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Avon Books
Hero: James Michael Patrick
Heroine: Emma Mary Catherine Langolet
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: December 28, 1994
Started On: September 9, 2013
Finished On: September 10, 2013

So what happens when I finish an Anne Stuart novel and wonder what to read next? Like a junkie with an addict, I WANT the next fix from Anne Stuart which plagues me until I give in. I must be thankful for the fact that there are so many books by her that I have still yet to read. Though I have mostly focused on her contemporary romances to-date, that changed with Never Kiss A Rake that was published this year, that I reviewed previously. Since To Love A Dark Lord is a romance that is loved by many, I thought I would get my next dose of Anne Stuart by plunging into the first ever romance that Anne Stuart attempted to write featuring a dark hero.

James Michael Patrick, the Earl of Killoran is a man who is haunted by too many nightmares, that he has retreated into his own shell, a man who many thinks is beyond redemption or saving. James himself knows that he is as such and he does what he does for reasons that he alone understands. Though lately life has become one bore fest after another and little has provided amusement for him except for hiding his pain behind consumption of spirits, when James stumbles onto Emma who accidentally stabs her lustful uncle to death, life as James knows it changes. Taking the blame for her uncle’s death is something James does on a whim, for the mere amusement the deed brings him.

When Emma is rescued by the sinfully handsome man who doesn’t spare her a backward glance before striding out of her life just like he swooped in to save her from her imminent death, Emma doesn’t know what to do with all the freedom that beckons her after a life spent in enforced solitude from which it had felt that there would be no escape from. Coming to the understanding that her savior wants her to forget him gives her the blow necessary to take her fate into her own hands, which inevitably brings her into the hands of none other than James himself, this time rescuing her to his own intents and purpose to serve as the pawn that would draw out his long time enemy, to enact the revenge that he has been waiting for a long time.

Emma though an inexperienced virginal heroine makes for a swell character. Her gutsy determination in the face of everything that is totally alien to her is to be admired. The fact that Emma understands the pain that is buried deep inside of James was the one factor that had me falling head over heels in love with her. Emma, though she doesn’t know her place in James’s heart or life, nevertheless does everything she possibly can to be there for him, without asking for anything back from him in return.

James of course, turned out to be the type of hero that I absolutely love to read about. There is a certain elegance to the heroes that Anne Stuart creates, even with that coldness that resides inside of them, that aloofness that drives readers crazy to find that one redeemable aspect about him that serves to be the pivotal aspect of the story. And with James, her very first hero with dark elements certainly did not disappoint.

As many reviewers have already pointed out, there is such a wealth of pain inside of James that it is hard not to want to reach out to him and wrap him in your embrace so that you might absorb some of that pain into your own self. James might never wish to think of himself as the knight without all that shining armor who strides to Emma’s rescue time and yet again. But something about Emma calls to him on a baser level, something he fights with every fiber in his being to prevent himself from succumbing to the lure that she presents. If not for the fact that Emma understands all this and more when it comes to James, and is just as helplessly drawn to him as he is to her, James would not have managed to find the sort of love he finally does in Emma’s embrace.

When you read an Anne Stuart, you always tend to have this emotional whirlpool viciously rolling around inside of you. And that tends to expand with the kind of angst that only a dark hero can deliver and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect read that balanced out the darkness, the angst and later on a love that held me enthralled and going back to read the epilogue tucked in at the end time and yet again. I don’t remember how many times I read the epilogue which was short, yet brought to light the life of James and Emma 9 years down the line. If the story hadn’t already been embedded deep into my heart, the epilogue certainly would have sealed the deal for me.

I would be remiss in my review if I were not to mention the secondary romance that takes place in To Love a Dark Lord. The romance that buds to life between the 23 year old Nathaniel Hepburn, a distant cousin of sorts of James whom he takes under his wings in order to teach him a thing or two about depravity, who ends up falling in love with the very unusual and extremely beautiful Lady Barbara Fitzhugh. Theirs was a romance that moved me to tears, Barbara’s story one that I wished I had gotten to read in a full length novel just dedicated to her and Nathan.

Recommended for those who love their heroes dark and a bit twisted. And definitely for fans of Anne Stuart.

Final Verdict: If you are fan of Anne Stuart, this is an absolute must-not-miss!

Favorite Quotes

The house was still and quiet. And somewhere, faintly overhead, he heard the sound of music. Emma was playing again, something soft and lilting and unexpectedly sad. A moment passed before he recognized it. It was an old Irish lullaby, one he’d heard from his nurse thirty years ago.
And James Michael Patrick, the fourth Earl of Killoran, the man without weakness, honor, or decency, closed his eyes in quiet desperation.

It wasn’t one kiss, it wasn’t twenty, it was a long series of unending kisses, leading one into another, so that she barely had time to begin to regain her sanity when he stripped it away once more. He kissed her eyelids, the side of her mouth, the beating pulse at the base of her neck. He kissed her nose and her chin, he bit her earlobe, and then he covered her mouth once more, kissing her with a devastating thoroughness that had her damp and trembling in his arms.

He kissed her temple, her cheekbone, her angular nose. And then in the shadowy night his mouth sought hers.
It was light and darkness, sin and forgiveness, hell and redemption. She put her arms around his waist, pulling him closer, closer still. She could feel the warmth of his strong back through the fine linen shirt; she could taste brandy on his mouth. His hand was between them, against her breast, and she hated the layers of cloth that separated them.

She started past him, and he kept his focus inward, thinking of nothing at all. He would have made it if her chemise hadn’t brushed against his hand. If she hadn’t paused one dangerous second too long.
He caught her, no longer caring what he was doing. She cupped his face, reaching up to kiss his mouth, and it was the last straw. He ripped at her clothes, ripped at his, a maddened beast, shoving her down on the hardwood floor, covering her with his strong body.

He reached down and caught her thighs, lifting them up around him. It was too late now. He’d fought it, and her, and now he was the one who had lost. He’d given in to a need so powerful it overwhelmed all others, and all he could do was revel in the feel of her hot, tight body around his, the furious pounding of her heart against his bare chest, her fingers digging into his back, scratching at him, tearing at him, as he thrust into her again and again, searching for a part of him he’d lost long, long ago.

He understood her choked, breathy little cry, so different from the studied sounds she usually made. He knew her restlessness, her heat, and her need. He knew how to love her. And when the first explosion hit her, it was so powerful, so unexpected, that she screamed, clutching at him, and his formidable control vanished, and he pushed deep, holding her, filling her, giving to her instead of taking.

He thought he could prolong it, but he was helpless against the tide of need that swept over him. He needed her, needed to take her in this bed, this house, this land. He needed to thrust deep and fill her with his seed. He needed to claim her, and claim his heritage. He’d fought it for too long.
He lifted himself above her, staring down at her as the bed rocked beneath his powerful, rhythmic thrusts. Her eyes were open as well, looking up at him, and then her eyes fluttered closed as her body convulsed around him, and he came as well, rigid in her arms, no longer fighting it, and her, and his own lonely heart.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

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Score Sheet Review: Reckless Night by Lisa Marie Rice

Format: E-bookrecklessnight.JPG
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dangerous, 3.5
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hero: Viktor “Drake” Drakovich
Heroine: Grace
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 29, 2011
Started On: January 12, 2012
Finished On: January 12, 2012

CATEGORY SCORE GRADE
The hero 100 A
The heroine 100 A
Story line 90 A
Emotional Intensity 90 A
Story’s ability to suck me in 100 A
Heat & Sensuality  100 A
Conflicts within the story 90 A
Writing Style 100 A
Quotable Factor 60 B
The Ending 90 A
Overall Grade 92 A

Score Sheet Summary

For me, Drake is one of those heroes that I would never ever forget. Lisa Marie Rice has a way of spinning a tale that takes you on this beautiful journey which you never ever want to end. And the Dangerous is a series that is one of her best in my opinion. Dangerous Passion is the 3rd and final book published in the Dangerous series and now we have a beautiful little novella that takes place a bit earlier than the epilogue in the actual story.

Drake is not your typical hero and if you want to know why, I suggest you read the book because giving away who and what he is would just be spoiling things for you. And if you already like myself are a rabid fan of the series, you would need no further nudging from me to remember who Drake is.

Drake and Grace’s novella too is focused on their happily ever after, bringing to light the changes that have taken place for both of them in their life together. Their love for each other is an all encompassing one and a beautiful one at that, and at times a scorching hot one too!

Lisa Marie Rice has done well in penning these novellas because if one isn’t already a fan of the series, she definitely wets the reader’s appetite to learn more. And for a fan like myself, I can’t help but want to re-read the entire series and will continue to wonder when my beloved Nick Ireland would get his own little novella to cast me off into my dream world with him along for the ride.

Favorite Quotes

She would never tell him and was ashamed to admit it, even to herself, but she’d fallen in love with him the instant she’d seen him. She’d been taken at gunpoint to the alleyway outside a gallery showing her paintings and had seen a powerful man, not tall but immensely broad. He was facing three armed thugs and he hadn’t looked frightened at all.
He’d looked dangerous.
And she’d fallen.

They had a fabulous sex life. Drake was an attentive, tender lover who took his time in pleasing her. But every once in a while something in him changed and she caught a glimpse of the truly dangerous man he really was. She hadn’t tamed him, not one bit. He just chose to show her a tender side he said he’d only discovered with her.
But sometimes the tiger in him growled and clawed its way to the surface. And then the sex was incandescent.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Score Sheet Review: Hot Secrets by Lisa Marie Rice

Format: E-bookhotsecrets
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dangerous, 1.5
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hero: Jack Prescott
Heroine: Caroline Prescott
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 3, 2012
Started On: January 12, 2012
Finished On: January 12, 2012

CATEGORY SCORE GRADE
The hero 100 A
The heroine 100 A
Story line 90 A
Emotional Intensity 100 A
Story’s ability to suck me in 100 A
Heat & Sensuality 100 A
Conflicts within the story 90 A
Writing Style 100 A
Quotable Factor 60 B
The ending 80 A
Overall Grade 92 A

Score Sheet Summary

The Dangerous series by Lisa Marie Rice is one my utmost favorite erotic romantic suspense of the contemporary variety. Hot Secrets is a short, sweet and red-hot novella that takes place right after the very first book of the series, i.e. Dangerous Lover.

Taking place a year into Jack’s marriage to Caroline Prescott, the one woman whom he had never ever forgotten even through the long, hard and tough journey that had brought him back to her doorstep; through Hot Secrets Lisa Marie Rice allows us fans a much wanted glimpse into their happily ever after.

Jack might be besotted to the point of going crazy when it comes to his gentle and beautiful wife, but the one thing that he doesn’t let up on is his need to keep her safe, which is one reason why I fall so hopelessly in love with heroes created by Lisa Marie Rice.

Jack Prescott is alpha to the T, protective to the max and oozes a ton of sexuality just by merely existing in the story. Needless to say, I enjoyed every single minute of this little story which just drove home the point that I miss the beauty that is always a part of Lisa Marie Rice books.

For those who have never read a book from the Dangerous series, this is your place to start because if you are like me, you would be rushing out to buy the entire series before the day is through!

Favorite Quotes

She stepped closer to him, closer still, until her breasts touched his jacket, watching his eyes all the time. “My darling Jack.” She lifted herself up on tiptoe and awkwardly kissed the side of his mouth. “I’m yours. You know that.”
His control broke. His hands fisted in her hair and he kissed her hard, almost savagely. He knew he was bruising her mouth but he couldn’t stop himself. It was as if her mouth were giving him life. He would stay alive as long as he was kissing her.

He couldn’t wait—not one second more—and entered her with one long hard thrust. He was so careful with her, always, but this time he couldn’t be careful, couldn’t be gentle; he needed to possess her the way he needed to breathe.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Format: E-booklordofscoundrels
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scoundrels, Book 3
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Sebastian Leslie Guy De Ath Ballister
Heroine: Jessica Trent
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 30, 1995
Started On: June 15, 2011
Finished On: June 16, 2011

Lord of Scoundrels is a historical romance that has earned its fair share of awards in the world of romance. Being at the very top of the AAR list of 100 romances is no small feat and I went in with high expectations when I started out with this book. True to the awards the book has received, I was totally enchanted and captivated with the story that unfolded and hopelessly and madly in love with both Sebastian and Jessica before halfway through, and enjoyed the third book in the Scoundrels series as much as I imagined I would.

Lord of Scoundrels tells the tale of Sebastian Leslie Guy De Ath Ballister, the son of the Earl of Blackmoor and his second wife. A man who is more besotted with his property than anything else, the Earl holds little regard for his young wife and even less so towards the ugly son that she bears him.

From a young age, Sebastian is a bewildered child because he doesn’t have the remotest clue as to why his father goes out of his way to avoid him. And the only source of warmth and compassion in his life leaves him at the tender age of 8 when his mother runs away with her lover, leaving a scared little boy with a resentful father. Its not long before Sebastian is sent away to boarding school where he learns to toughen up and where he learns to give back as good as he gets and earns the respect of his notorious peers. Needless to say between the merciless teasing and fights with fellow students and the continuous flogging sessions received at school, Sebastian has any figment of love, tenderness or hope beaten out of him long before he turns into an adult.

Twenty five years later, Sebastian is filthy rich and a man powerful in his own right who is still feared by the members of the respectable society towards which Sebastian feels nothing more than contempt. But when beautiful and feisty Jessica Trent invades his life and starts creeping under his skin, Sebastian tries the only trick he is left with; drive her away by being his most notorious self whilst inside his heart and very soul cries out for Jessica in a way he had long since forgotten.

Jessica is no wimpy female who finds her own fascination with Sebastian troublesome to say the least. Animal attraction she can supposedly handle, but marriage and the prospect of falling in love with the most hard headed male she has come across wasnt exactly what Jessica was looking for.

In Jessica Sebastian finds that for the first time in his life that he needs someone else to complete him and knows that if she ever were to leave him he would just wither and die away. You would think that once the man realizes that he would make things easier for his newly wedded wife. But pride and his vow never to let anyone close enough to hurt him has Sebastian trying to drive away Jessica albeit unsuccessfuly and the antics that follow make for quite an engrossing tale.

You can’t read Lord of Scoundrels without falling in love with both Sebastian and Jessica as they together make an explosive combination that just keeps you turning the pages, wishing that the story would just go on and on. I seriously loved the spunky and fiesty Jessica because she was insightful enough to know Sebastian inside out and strong enough to fight him fair snd square where their love is concerned. I especially loved the witty bantering between Sebastian and Jessica whose way with the words cannot help but invoke huge-ass grins all over. And Jessica’s attempts at seducing her husband and the resultant effect on her overly self-controlled husband is definitely one of the highlights in a story that definitely deserves and has more than earned its fair share of millions of fans all over the world.

Highly recommended for fans of romances.

Favorite Quotes

The trouble was Jessica could not feel at all sensible. A magnetic current was racing along her nerve endings. It slithered and swirled through her system, to make an odd, tingling heat in the pit of her belly, and it melted her brain to soup.
She wanted to kick off her shoes and trail her stockinged toes up and down the black, costly boot. She wanted to slide her fingers under his starched shirt cuff and trace the veins and muscles of his wrist and feel his pulse beating under her thumb. Most of all, she wanted to press her lips to his hard, dissolute mouth and kiss him senseless.

Bewildered and heated at once, he moved his big hands unsteadily over her back and shaped his trembling fingers to her deliciously dainty waist. He had never before held anything like her – so sweetly slim and supple and curved to delicate perfection. His chest tightened and ached and he wanted to weep. Sognavo di te. I’ve dreamed of you…
He stood helpless in the driving rain, unable to rule his needy mouth, his restless hands, while, within, his heart beat out the mortifying truth. Ho bisogno di te. I need you.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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