Review: The Land Where Sinners Atone by V.F. Mason

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Zachary King
Heroine: Phoenix Hale
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 14, 2020
Started On: February 14, 2021
Finished On: February 19, 2021

“Sex is phenomenal. Love though? Love is scary as fuck.” – Zachary

The Land Where Sinners Atone by V.F. Mason is another dark, anti-hero romance from the author whose books answers the need in me to read stories featuring heroes that most would not even think are worthy of redemption. But I love them more so for the fact. I am no fan of overly sweet romances – I like the darkness, that raw edge, and the tension that courses through you, until you are on tenterhooks unable to turn away from the disaster that is imminent. And for that reason alone, I would always continue to read titles from Ms. Mason, as long as she continues to deliver the variety of heroes that speaks to my heart.

The Land Where Sinners Atone tells the tale of 32 year old Zachary King, his family being one of the most influential families in the world, who seeks revenge and vengeance on 29 year old Phoenix Hale, when she is accused of killing the beloved wife of Zachary. With Zachary out in full force to make her pay, the news that the DA cuts her a deal is the last straw for him.

It is punishment enough for Phoenix that nothing in her life would ever be the same again. Her career, the husband who promised to love and cherish her for all eternity, her friends and colleagues, all of them leave her in the dust, and there is no will left in Phoenix to fight to keep them, especially when she has to fight for the survival of someone more precious than all of them put together. But the long arms of the rich who seek vengeance reaches behind the prison walls, and it is heartbreaking what happens to Phoenix to finally break her.

At 32 years old, new evidence that comes to light sets Phoenix free, setting Zachary on her path once again, this time seeking her help to find the actual perpetrator. Zachary makes no apologies for what he did to Phoenix, and his sheer audacity in asking for her help sets Phoenix on the edge, not to mention the fact that he raises her ire in ways she would rather not define.

Ms. Mason weaves a tight plot for the most part, which entwines snippets of the past which shows how Phoenix strikes an odd friendship with a boy three years her senior, and how throughout the years that friendship is conducted via letters and emails. Phoenix at one point wants more, but that had been the first time fate had intervened, forcing her to choose a different path which led her to become an ex-convict who wants the man who put her behind bars in a way she never would have thought possible.

When the truth comes to light of what they mean to each other, of the secret that Zachary hides, and of the true intent and nature of the killer, it is a harrowing couple of chapters until we reach the finish line and turn the pages to the epilogue with bated breathe, praying with everything you are, hoping with every fiber of your being, that everything turns out to be alright.

For the most part, I loved the story that Ms. Mason delivered with this number. Zachary is the kind of hero that takes your breath away from just his sheer presence alone. There is a forcefulness to him, a ruthlessness that is enshrined in his DNA that speaks of violence if ever there is a need for it, and yet at the same time, a gentle side to him that really shakes you up in the midst. Phoenix is not the only one who is flummoxed by the many facets to his character, and as the reader I was feeling it every step of the way.

I think what detracted from my enjoyment of the story somewhat was the fact that I felt the story steered off course towards the end, and I think that it could have been much better had it been otherwise. Zachary too was perhaps not ultimately dark enough for my tastes, because lets face it, Ms. Mason has delivered much darker heroes in her stories such as Psychopath’s Prey, which was my first and most unforgettable book by her.

At the same time, I absolutely adored the bits and pieces on the entwined pasts interwoven into the story up to a point, giving the tale the lighter edge it needed. But even then, I wanted that connection to have come to light differently perhaps, while at the same time I could appreciate that the story’s fast pace meant that things were just happening and that there was no right or wrong time for it to happen. The heat between Zachary and Phoenix is off the charts hot, with their first coming together hot enough to singe the reader.

I fell in love with Phoenix from the very start – she basically makes the story what it is, her character carrying the kind of strength that makes you root for her, admire her, and want the best for her. Her psychology in terms of how she fared from a young age to her chosen career path, and her sheer brilliance at it – all of that and more makes her a heroine who is worthy of all my love and then some!

As usual, stories that depict the psychology of the depraved, the ones who lose their way because of childhood trauma left unaddressed, that is a message that resonates loudly as the story emerges from darkness towards light. We might think it is best for a child who has undergone severe trauma to ignore what happened to them, but the festering wound beneath manifests in different ways in different people. Not all of them turn out to be empathetic soul. Some of them, their souls are left too tainted for them to see the light in anyone else.

Recommended for fans of dark romances featuring anti-heroes and for fans of Ms. Mason’s work.

Final Verdict: Zachary and Phoenix’s coming together is as explosive as the need for vengeance that courses through Zachary, who sets out to destroy everything Phoenix holds dear. Adrenaline rush guaranteed!

Favorite Quotes

I pull her into me, our chests pressing against each other, but before she can dart away from me, I thread my fingers in her hair and arch her head back then whisper against her mouth, “Because of this, right?” And with that, I slam my mouth on hers, connecting us in a kiss.
One single kiss.
Yet it forever shifts the balance in our relationship and opens up possibilities I thought I’d never want again.

The minute our tongues brush against each other, we moan and goose bumps break on my skin. He deepens the kiss, tilting me back until I’m angling my head to meet every glide of his tongue, the hot, passionate kiss vanishing all traces of guilt away and replacing them with a need so strong I can’t stop tightening my thighs around him. My nails scratch the back of his head as I open my lips wider to deepen the kiss even more… if it’s possible.

One minute, he holds me prisoner, and the next, I yelp when he sends me landing flat on my back across the counter, his body covering mine. Once again, his mouth lands on me, but this time the kiss is different.
Any gentleness is gone. Instead, the kiss is passionate and all-consuming, sending waves and waves of goose bumps breaking on my skin while his hard-on digs into my core, sliding up and down, giving me a brief hint of what it can do to me. Fusing our mouths, I hope he’ll end our misery and give us both what we want
so much.

Zach steps back, straightening up, takes out a condom from the back of his pants, and lowers the zipper on his jeans before tearing the foil packet open. He easily wraps his hard-on in it. My eyes widen for a second at the thick, long, angry flesh leaking precum at the tip, and then his hands are back on my hips, pulling me closer until I wrap my legs around him and his erection digs against my core. He rubs it all over my center and leans forward, licking away the tears on my cheeks, one by one, then swallows a piercing moan tearing out of my mouth when he thrusts into me, shifting me on the counter a little and stretching me so much I wonder if I’ll survive it.

My hands slide down his back, raking my nails over it, wanting to bring him pain, the same kind of agony mixed with pleasure he evokes in me while my pussy gets tighter and tighter around him, welcoming every drive of his hips until it all finally becomes too much. I arch my neck back, screaming when it finally hits me. A hot flash spreads all over my body, hammering me with pleasure over and over again, almost making me drown in it for how strong it is—it’s nothing like I’ve experienced before.
He thrusts a few more times and then groans into my ear, biting on my earlobe. He spills inside the condom and grips my ass cheeks so hard a moan slips past my lips.

“Zach, please,” I whisper. However, he is relentless and removes his fingers, replacing them with his tongue again, giving my core an open-mouthed kiss that should be forbidden for how much it makes me feel.
Digging my nails into the back of his head, I place my foot on his shoulder and close my eyes, starting to slowly roll my hips back and forth, finding the friction with him moving rhythm
ically inside me.

“Zach,” I beg and warn at the same time, wanting to finally reach the blissful oblivion without a care in the world.
“I know, darling. But you’ll come on my dick and not on my tongue. Because…” He enters me with just the tip, my pussy clenching around it. He groans above me. “Exactly that. I want the walls of your pussy to squeeze around me so much you won’t ever think this is a mistake. Because no one in this world can make you feel the way I do.” Before I can protest to that, he drives into me with one, swift move. I cry out as the headboard of the bed hits the wall and my body instantly clamps around him.

I’m hot, so hot, as his cock stretches me with each thrust, as if claiming its territory even if both of us know it’s temporary.
I palm his head, searching for his eyes, and when I find them, I connect our mouths with an incoherent murmur, and we lose ourselves in the kiss. His movements speed up, the pace pushing me to the brink, then closer and closer until finally it hits me so hard I still before throwing my head back and crying out, my core spasming all over him, sucking him inside and not wanting to let go.

Desire is a weakness wrapped in all-consuming emotion with the power to rule your every single thought. And although you know you will burst into flames if you’re not careful enough, nothing in this world can stop you when it calls your name, demanding surrender and acceptance.

“You are so beautiful. How can a man resist such a beauty?” His grip on my hips tightens, his fingers digging into my skin as his voice drops a few octaves. “Others can look, but no one is allowed to touch you. Do you understand?” The possessiveness lacing his tone and the flash of anger in his eyes snap me out of the haze he created around me, and with a gasp, I move to the side, wanting to escape him when realization of the situation settles in on me. “Especially Sebastian Hale.”
Unbelievable.
Putting my hands above his, I tug on them, trying to snatch them away from me, but they stay glued on me until I huff in frustration. “Stop this. Don’t act like—”
“Like who?” he asks, biting my neck and earning himself a groan from me. “Like a man who is obsessed with every breath you take?”
“Like you have rights to this body or me.”

Licking the nipple and coating it in my saliva, I tug on it a little, biting her harshly before instantly soothing it with more licks, all while my palm slides lower and lower until it reaches the hem of her panties. Without warning, I tear them away from her, the flimsy silk barely giving any resistance. “Zach!” she whispers through her moan, but I pay no attention to that, moving to the other breast where I repeat the action while my hand cups her dripping-for-me pussy. The heel of my palm digs into her clit while my fingers rub the walls of her pussy, spreading her juices all over them.

“What do you want, Phoenix?” he asks me again, his fingers threading in my hair and tilting my head back so I can look at him, and I know he sees a challenge in them.
I’m done telling him what I want, since he doesn’t listen anyway.
I’m going to take what I wan
t.

Holding his stare with mine, I circle his neck, bringing him closer to me until my lips touch his ear, and I whisper to him, “Make love to me, Zach.” His fingers bruise my hips when he settles between them and slams into me, making me cry out. My scream reverberates around the room, and my nails scratch his back.
His hard cock stretches my pussy that clenches around him, awakening every nerve in my body as he pushes deeper and deeper and then moves back, only to thrust into me again, rooting inside me over and over again as my body welcomes every jerk of his hips.

This man.
The man who I hate and love so much it borders on insanity, but I don’t mind as long as he shares this madness with me.
My pussy clamps over him tighter and tighter until he hikes my legs over his hip higher and starts to give me faster thrusts, one after another. I feel the hot flash travel all over me before it hits me full force, sending me flying over the edge with thousands of sensations breaking goose bumps on my skin.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Thriller
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr, #1
Publisher: NAL
Hero: Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr
Heroine: Kat Boleyn
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 03, 2006
Started On: January 31, 2021
Finished On: February 01, 2021

What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris is the debut book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. Having read Ms. Harris’ books under the name Candice Proctor prior to this, and seeing the rave reviews that her historical thrillers were receiving, I decided to give this a go and immerse myself in the remarkable storytelling that I knew Ms. Harris would certainly deliver.

The story begins with 18 year old Rachel York murdered inside a church, mutilated, and sexually molested with a significant clue pointing to none other than 28 year old Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, the only remaining son of Alistair St. Cyr, the Fifth Earl of Hendon.

With England at the cusp of political change, the atmosphere rife with discontentment of a disgruntled populace, it is Sir Henry Lovejoy, chief magistrate for Westminster at Queen Square that is tasked with bringing Sebastian to account and close the case as soon as possible. However, Sebastian does not make it easy for Sir Henry, by going underground and setting out with his own investigation in order to clear his name.

With Sebastian’s experience from the five years he spent in the military intelligence, equipped with an acute sense of hearing and sight which serves him well, Sebastian’s journey takes him to none other than Kat Boleyn, the woman whose rejection had been responsible for his stint in the Napoleonic Wars. With the assistance from Kat and a scrappy few individuals that he can rely on, Sebastian digs deep into the murder which reeks of sadism and the escalating hunger of the perpetrator whose aura of violence reeks of darkness that has been festering for a long time.

I loved my first taste of Ms. Harris’ writing, which I undoubtedly had absolute faith in even before I turned the first page. The attention to detail, the darkness within, the tight plot – all of that and more contributed towards making this an excellent read. Sebastian and Kat’s relationship was another intriguing factor in the novel, with Sebastian learning that everything may not have been what it had seemed to be years ago.

Sebastian is definitely the kind of hero I want to know more about and I will be continuing with this series in the time to come.

Recommended for those who love historical thrillers. This debut novel in the Sebastian St. Cyr speaks for itself.

Final Verdict: With What Angels Fear, Ms. Harris sets the stage for a series that is sure to win the hearts of readers across the globe who love an enthralling thriller that is utterly absorbing!

Favorite Quotes

Fevered hands tore away cloth, found the pleasures of smooth warm flesh beneath sliding fingers. And in that moment, he didn’t care about the nature of her association with Leo Pierrepont. He didn’t even care about the things she had said on that dark day six years before. He needed her.
With a soft sigh, Sebastian buried himself inside her. They moved as one, slowly at first, the tempo rising as he felt the coldness and the fear inside him fade away into the gentle rhythms of her body and the warmth of her keening breath mingling with his.

The night around them lay quiet and dark, filled only with the ragged twining of their breath and the crackle of the fire on Kat’s bedroom hearth. Hands trembling, she clutched Sebastian’s tensing body to her, her legs tightening around his waist as she felt the shudders start to rip through him, heard him say her name in a tortured cry, felt his body pulsing so deep within her own.

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

Review: A Governess Should Never… Tempt a Prizefighter by Emily Windsor

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Governess Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Senara Press
Hero: Seth Hawkins
Heroine: Matilda Griffin
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 09, 2020
Started On: November 26, 2020
Finished On: December 04, 2020

“But had I known such a love as ours existed, I would have searched forever to find you..”

A Governess Should Never… Tempt a Prizefighter by Emily Windsor as the title indicates, brings two very unusual protagonists together; a retired pugilist and his governess, whose backgrounds are as different as night and day. When 31 year old Seth Hawkins seeks a governess for his 13 year old daughter, the last thing he expects is for a lady like Matilda Griffin to apply for the position and turn his entire life upside down.

Matilda is on the run from her guardian, until such time that she regains control of her own life. She seeks refuge in the unlikeliest of places and finds it, by convincing her employer that she is more than qualified in the tutoring that Seth requires for his daughter.

As the days pass, a friendship is forged to life between Seth and Matilda, which kindles the slow burn of desire between them. Seth may be a retired professional boxer, who used his brawn and body to make his way and get out of the poverty ridden life he would otherwise have had to endure throughout his life, but he is a man who is keenly intelligent, with a heart that yearns for love as much as Matilda’s does. Matilda may have grown up in a more affluent household in comparison, but loneliness had been her one constant companion, which she had kept at bay through the books that enriched her life.

Finding common ground between herself and Seth is surprising for Matilda, but it doesn’t stop her from seeking more, to understand the complexity of the man who holds her heart. Their deeply meaningful conversations are one of the reasons this book stands out, especially the frankness with which Seth claims her after all is said and done. He is a gentleman to his very core and the man who answers the need that flares to life in Matilda as a woman of her own right.

I enjoyed my first Emily Windsor, even though I was a bit hesitant at first to pick this up because of a number of reviews which weren’t all that positive. But then, I don’t usually rely on other reviews all that much and choose to make up my own mind about what works and what doesn’t for me, and it has served me right for the most part as it did with this one. Like most romance readers, unusual main leads intrigue me in stories, and I am delighted that I did give this a chance.

I loved the slow awakening of desire and the emotions of the more tender variety that burgeoned to life along with it. I loved how both Seth and Matilda were protective of each other, how they saw the best in one another, and how they both yearned to spend the rest of their lives with none other than the other.

Recommended for those who love beautifully spun historical romances featuring the not your usual variety of hero and heroine. You won’t be disappointed!

Final Verdict: There is just something beautiful about historical romances done right, a magic that lingers in the air when you are immersed in the story. That is what I found in A Governess Should Never… Tempt a Prizefighter.

Favorite Quotes

Miss Griffin moistened her lips, and his jaw twitched, an involuntary tremor coursing within.
“May I?” she asked.
At his nod, she took a run for the nearest shelf and brushed a finger reverently over the book spines.
Seth shuddered and watched as her lips unconsciously curved in utter delight.

All might have been fine; it may well have ended there; he would have drawn back.
But her hand clasped his shoulder and then climbed till her fingers twisted in the short hair at his nape, nails lightly scratching, yanking him close and crushing their lips together.
Ferocious need erupted, spiralling his control and grinding it to dust.
He hauled her tight, a hand to her curvaceous rump so that she half-straddled him, a scalding heat upon his thigh, and he kissed down her neck, nipped her throat, the shadows a colluding partner to his endeavour.

“Matilda, I warn you, if you strip to your chemise, I will kiss you.”
“And I shall want you to,” she whispered, knowing it to be the truth.
His jaw firmed. “And if we kiss on this occasion, Matilda, I will not cease.”
“And I shall not want you to.”
His breath hitched, rumbled. “And if I do not cease, then fair warning, I will never let you go.”
“And I shall not want you to,” she whispered once more, conscious of what she was saying, that she wished for a lifetime of adventures with this man.

“May I?” he growled, elegant diction beyond his capability.
She smiled her acquiescence and he tugged laces, then wrenched, kissed the skin above her chemise – smooth and with the scent of meadows.
The corset fell away, in harmony with his breath.
Crisp white linen hinted at curves, shadows beneath implying treasure beyond his most feral imagination.
And oh, how he had imagined. Night after anguished night.

“Seth,” she gasped.
“My beautiful, exquisite Matilda,” he whispered, and with those words – ones no one else had ever applied to her – that tightness released and the rosemary-scented room ceased to be as her eyelids closed, rapture flooding to every tip of limb, submerging her beneath warmth and light.
With a rip of cotton, a heady, muscled weight was upon her, powerful hips and thighs parting her legs further before a thrust against her core, raw and rude and resolute.

“My Matilda,” he bit out, low and agonised. And he dragged back, only to plunge anew, a guttural grunt locked in his throat.
The tightness caused a sharp inhale but the rapture of before still simmered, and as he rocked, gentle and short, that hurtling bliss returned – faster and tauter.
“More,” she gasped, aware he held back from whatever he wished to do, aware his strained arms and clenched teeth hid a sharp longing. So she caressed his back, scratched those magnificent buttocks.
His hips jerked, and a growling Seth began to pound. A broad hand claimed her thigh, hitching it aloft as she cried out, and he plunged deeper.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Beautiful Monster by Sara Cate

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Hero: Alexander Caldwell
Heroine: Sunny Thorn
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 09, 2020
Started On: October 26, 2020
Finished On: October 31 , 2020

Love cannot be replaced. The love someone denies you cannot be filled by someone else.

Beautiful Monster by Sara Cate tells a story that surprised me in many ways. Drawn to pick this up because of the huge age gap factor, I found more than enough to keep the pages turning which set my senses humming.

The almost 20 year old Sunny Thorn lives with her mother and elder sister, both of whom drives her crazy in their own ways. Having tried going to college for one semester and failing to fit in, Sunny had yet to go back, and it is when 40 year old Alexander Caldwell moves in next door and offers her the chance to paint a mural at his home that things start to change for both of them.

Alex is a man who is at a loss as to how to turn his life around. Tired of meaningless sex and the trouble he always gets himself into, Alex makes a vow to himself that the next time he sleeps with someone, it would mean something more than just for the sake of having sex. Sunny however tests that resolve of his time and yet again, and even though Alex feels like beating himself up over the fact that he is lusting over someone so young, neither of them can help themselves as the connection between them becomes too fierce to ignore.

One thing leads to another, and Sunny and Alex gets involved leading to a disastrous conclusion that was inevitable at some point. However, it is up to both of them to forge their individual paths back to one another, if their love is worth all that and more.

This is the first time that a romance book has delved deep into the effects of past relationships and meaningless flings on one’s life. Usually, books tend to skim over those details, but in Alex, Ms. Cate has definitely given us a deeper view into how it can actually affect one’s psyche when one loses sight of the boundaries that one must adhere to even in the pursuit of pleasure and happiness.

Sunny’s character was beautiful in so many ways. She might be young age-wise, but she is mature and wise in a way that was telling, why she turned out to be such a good fit with Alex in the long run. Though the age factor does hinder the progress of their relationship at the beginning, it fades into insignificance given how they both feel about each other. I loved Alex as well. Perfect mix of sexy and battle-scarred in the emotional sense.

Recommended for those who love their steamy sex wrapped up in emotional goodness. My first Sara Cate certainly did not disappoint.

Final Verdict: Multi-layered with complex characterization with that dollop of sexy to keep the pages turning; Beautiful Monster made for splendid reading!

Favorite Quotes

“I didn’t give you your birthday present,” he says, holding me so close to his body that I can hardly breathe.
“What is it?”
Moving my hair out of my face, he leans down, his face a breath away from mine.
“Happy birthday, rain cloud.” Then his lips are on mine. They are so soft and warm, and I nearly melt from this unexpected moment. I feel his hands travel up my back until he’s digging his fingers into my hair and tilting my head. His tongue slips through my lips, and I have no idea how I’m still alive because I swear, I haven’t taken a breath in minutes.

“Lie down,” he commands, and I listen. My mouth feels dry, and the only sound I can hear now is the thrumming in my ears and the shaky intake of our breaths.
Alexander leans over my body, placing a hand next to my head while the other travels up my thigh. “Has anyone touched you here, Sunny?” he asks, his voice shaking.
“No,” I cry, pleading with him to touch me. “Please,” I beg.
“Please what?” he asks, looking into my eyes.
“Please touch me,” I gasp, feeling so vulnerable.
“I will,” he says, teasing me, drawing circles between my legs. “Know why?”
“Why?” My voice is strained.
“Because I want you to know how it’s supposed to feel when a man touches you.”

“Don’t stop,” I gasp, reaching up for his kiss again. My fingers claw at his back, feeling the sheen of sweat there as he picks up speed.
He calls my name as he buries his face into my neck, his fist still clutching my hair as the other engulfs me in a tight embrace. We are glued to each other, lost in a trail of ecstasy when he finally lets out a guttural roar, slamming into me so hard my body seizes again, the warmth exploding between my legs.

“Harder,” she gasps, clutching onto my neck, and I oblige.
“Who do you belong to, baby?” I pull her off the counter, hanging her legs from my hands as I pound her gentle flesh, her moans growing louder and higher.
“You, Alex. I’m yours, all yours.” Her voice is so strained I know she’s close.
“That’s my girl.” I feel her coming, pulsing around my cock, and it practically milks the cum out of me.
Trailing my lips down her face to her mouth, I carry her back to bed, both of us still panting. This time, I don’t have a hard time sleeping.

He pulls into the driveway, and I’m already unbuckling. Just as he puts the car into park, his hands are around my legs. Before I know what’s happening, I’m straddling his hips in the front seat of the car. He crashes his mouth against mine, and I let out a moan when the thickness in his pants rubs against my clit. My panties are so wet already, I’m sure I’m making a mess all over his lap.
“Sunny,” he breathes against my lips, thrusting his hips up against me. “Get a rubber out of the glove compartment.”
My heart beats even faster when I don’t move for the box, and it almost makes me shake with anticipation when I whisper back. “I’m on the pill, Alexander.” The second half of his name comes out in a whimper as he grinds against me again. He lets out a groan and bites my collarbone gently. His fingers stretch my panties to the side, rubbing the pad of his thumb through the moisture pooling there. I’m s
o desperate for him to fill me, I could cry.

“How was your run?” she says with a gasp as I turn her around, her back against my chest.
“Not as good as this,” I murmur with my lips on her shoulder. Cupping her soft tit in my hand, I drag my tongue along the back of her spine. She lets out a heavy sigh, arching her back and pressing back against me like she’s begging me to enter her.
As I slide my dick easily into her folds, I wonder how I went so long without this. When I’m inside of her, it feels so fucking right. And not just because it’s like heaven, but because Sunny and I fit. Every goddamn thing between us is meant to be together.

“Tell me you’re going,” I say with my teeth next to her ear.
She moans in response, and I rear my hand back, landing another sharp sting against her ass.
“Tell me.”
“I’m going,” she cries.
“That’s my girl.” My hands run the length of her body, trying to memorize every inch. “I love you so much it hurts, Sunny.”
“Show me,” she gasps, and I feel her tears run over my fingers as they graze her lips.

Just as we pass a dark alley, I’m swept away from the sidewalk, and I meet his chest with a crash, stealing the breath from my lungs. I don’t even bother gasping for air. All I care about is his lips, so when he leans down, I wind my arms around his neck and pull his mouth to mine.
We kiss each other hungrily, his body grinding against me like it’s the first breath we’ve taken in months. He moans into my mouth as I devour his lips. I will never let him go; I tell myself. Now that he’s back in my arms, there is no way I can let that go.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: The Professor by Charlotte Stein

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Mischief
Hero: Lukas Halstrom
Heroine: Esther Hayridge
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 24, 2015
Started On: May 26, 2020
Finished On: May 27, 2020

The Professor by Charlotte Stein is probably one of the sexiest novels I have read in the entirety of my reading life. I don’t say that lightly. Being the lover of good smut that is delivered right, I am quite particular about what I like. But, there is an edge to Ms. Stein’s writing that is evocative in a way that is indescribable. Unless one has experienced the range of emotions that Ms. Stein makes you feel with the turn of every page, I do not think a mere review can do justice to the magic that happens when Ms. Stein puts pen to paper.

Taking on one of my favorite tropes, i.e. the professor hero versus the student heroine, which brings its own forbidden variety of deliciousness to the story, The Professor features 31 year old Lukas Halstrom and 22 year old Esther Hayridge.

Esther is not a student of the brilliant variety. She barely scrapes by and most would just term her as average, that is until she mistakenly submits what she wrote for her own eyes; an erotic fantasy of her own which she mistakenly submits as an assignment for Professor Halstrom’s class. Bracing herself for the humiliation that would most definitely follow, none is more surprised than Esther when Lukas instead offers to tutor her in private, to hone her writing skills.

One may think that Lukas has intentions of the carnal variety from the onset. Perhaps to an extent, his baser instincts were roused by what Esther submits as an assignment requirement, but he is exemplary in his behavior and attitude towards her from the get go. It is only the content which they discuss that is thought provoking which borders on indecency, especially when it comes to Esther’s reaction to the discussions.

One thing leads to another, and before they both know it, they have crossed a line, the consequence of which comes in the form of Lukas upping and leaving the university altogether. It is only then the story truly begins, with the bout of heartache that follows, and the hope that comes in the form of a sealed letter that bares open the very heart of the formidable Professor.

Ms. Stein does a remarkable job in peeling back the layers of Lukas’ character through the eyes of Esther. I have yet to come across a hero in control and command of his needs and emotions as Lukas, and believe you me, I felt exhausted at points in time from how he holds himself back. But one cannot complain too much given how Lukas manages to leave not only Esther a hot mess when all is said and done.

However, at a certain point, I felt that the control he exerted was a bit too much, even when I understood that what Lukas wanted with Esther wasn’t the usual tawdry affair that he tends to have with the fairer sex. It is his way of showing that Esther matters to him in a way that no woman has before, and that he does not want physical aspects of their relationship to affect what could possibly bloom to life between them.

In the end, the fact that it was Lukas who came back for her perhaps made all of that worthwhile, especially after the roller coaster of emotions that the last couple of chapters puts the reader through. In my opinion, even though Lukas resists the effect Esther has on him at every turn, they are two halves of one soul who found their way to one another. There is no stopping what springs to life between them, to the point where neither time nor distance seemed to matter in the long run.

Recommended for fans of Charlotte Stein and fans of erotic romance that makes you feel in spades. I would recommend turning on the fan at full speed before you turn that first page and get lost in the midst of the red hot tide of desire between the two!

Final Verdict: Emotion that is tightly wound with exquisitely delivered smut makes The Professor hard to put down. It is no mean feat to strike the right balance between the two and Ms. Stein proves her worth with every word in the book!

Favorite Quotes

I say it as it is: my cunt, my clit, my slick little slit. I work them all until my thighs tremble and my head goes back and I know, I know I’m going to come. I’m going to do it all over my hand right here, while imaginary people stand and watch. Those cool, bright, amazing people that surround me every day, bored to tears by everything I am, suddenly open-mouthed and horrified and just dying to ask what drove me to it.
And when they do, I think, as my orgasm crests…
When they do I will tell them truly:
Because my Professor talks dirty to me.

My mouth is crushed against his, but it isn’t him doing the crushing. It’s me, pressing and pressing as if I could somehow get beneath his skin if I only did it hard enough.
At the very least I could burn the memory of this into me. I want to always know every inch of it, from the warm whiskey taste of him to the sense of being so completely surrounded by someone. The insides of his arms, the push of his chest, his great height curling over me…all of it, I need all of it. But only when he finally pulls away do I get why it was so important. I feel how he wrenches himself from me, and see his horrified expression, and I utterly understand what made me so desperate to feel all of this to the utmost.
He is never, ever going to do it again.

[Letter from Hetty to Lukas] I think yes; I think underneath the layers of tweed you are as louche and debauched as a lord from some story about swooning on a moor. That if you were given the chance you would indulge appetites even I can barely guess at – though God knows I try. My thoughts seethe with all the things you might possibly like to do. Would you like to kiss my cunt?
Or is it more than that?
Filthier than that?
Are you debased, my Lukas, in ways I am far too innocent to ever imagine? Would you get me on my knees and fill my mouth with your cock and your come? Or perhaps your proclivities run a different way. Maybe you lie in bed at night with your hand around a dick I cream at the thought of, and think of fucking my arse. Oh, God, I get close to coming, just thinking of you doing something like that. Something reckless, and greedy.
Be greedy for me. Hold nothing back.
If we must live like this then hold nothing back.

And it gets worse when his mouth moves back to mine. This time his kisses are deep, and wet, and hot. His tongue eases in and out of my mouth, in a way I could never mistake. He wants me to think of his cock doing that exact same thing. He wants to show me how he would take me – so slow and easy, until my whole body is boneless. Until I come all over him, shuddering and gasping and oh, God, God, God, the thought alone is almost enough to make me do it. At the very least I know I’m moaning, and possibly shaking.

He eases those fingers through my insanely slick folds, and his lips actually part. A sound comes out of him – one that might be a sigh but could be a moan. It definitely feels like a moan. My clit jumps at the sound of it, and I know I make an even bigger mess of myself down there. I know I do, because he rubs through it. He eases it over my plump lips and around and around my eager hole, almost slipping inside but not quite, oh, not quite.
Though it hardly matters.
How could it, when he follows that with a stroke around my clit? No teasing, no preamble, no watching me squirm like a fish on a hook. He just starts rubbing me there, fast and firm and so sure it stops my breath.

The hand he spreads over my back is much too firm and far too eager – as are the fingers that start tugging my knickers down my legs. He almost snaps the elastic several times, and above that sound is another, deeper, sweeter one.
His harsh, desperate breathing. Like he can hardly contain the urge to take his pleasure. He can’t wait to fuck me, I think, and come close to groaning in arousal and disbelief. My pussy is creaming over the very idea, every inch of it so ready for that cock of his. I can feel it clenching just at the thought. The moment he slides in I’m going to do it all over him – and that much is true. I do come almost the second I feel him against me, hard and long and oh so juicily.
But it’s his face that he puts between my legs.

He grasps my hips and holds me there, while he works me over again.
And when I say works me over, I mean works me over. He does it like the night before, insistent and firm and nearly forcing me towards orgasm. No teasing – quite clearly he thinks I’ve had enough of that. No, no, he just rubs the flat of his tongue right over my over-sensitised clit, until I’m almost screaming with the sensation. It’s far too thick and far too hot, like a kind of branding. I want to pull away, but he won’t let me. His grip is so firm I can scarcely move. I can’t even close my legs, because his knee is between them.
And then, oh, then he starts flicking at my swollen bud with the tip of his tongue. Right on the underside, right where it’s sweetest, so quick and firm I can only go limp against the window.

‘I don’t have heavy-lidded eyes the colour of an ocean at the end of the world. Or a brow so expressive it could probably take to the London stage. Or a cleft in my chin that looks like someone kissed you there too long and left a little imprint,’ I say, and immediately want to take it back. I can see him straightening in his chair, and I know, I know, I know he’s going to go hard.
I just don’t realise how hard.
‘Yes, but you do regularly look at me with that gaze as black and bright as midnight and make me want to throw away every bit of restraint I spent my life carefully cultivating. There are no lips I have longed more to kiss; no hair so wild and dark that I see it in my dreams. Whatever you might say about how I look, you are lovelier. I see worlds in your face, and spend nearly all of my time desperately wanting to go to them.’

‘When I see myself together with you, when I allow myself to fully picture it, the things I see are not typically sexual in nature. More commonly I am accosted by an image of us walking together – we are always walking together, and perhaps it is raining. Perhaps we stop beneath the awning of a shop that sells beautiful cakes, and you turn your lovely face up to mine, and look at me with the same eyes I see gazing at me now. They are full of mischief and tenderness together, as though I mean something as wonderful to you as you do to me. And then you take my hand, in a way no other person has. And I let you, in a way I have never let anyone before. And for the first time in my long and very tiring life, I know that I am at peace.’

I feel the slipperiness sliding over one sensitive nipple, and taste it sharp and tangy on my tongue, and everything just starts to go.
I even tell him so.
‘Oh, God, I’m coming,’ I say.
I’m coming.
And maybe it’s me moaning that aloud. Maybe it’s the sight of me, striped with his come and still on my knees. But either way, he has one final treat just for me. He waits, it seems, until I’m shuddering with pleasure. Waits until I’m calling his name. And then he hauls me to my feet with one hand and kisses me.
He kisses my come-covered mouth, as I lose myself in this bliss.

His prick is leaking copiously, all down the shaft and over my hands, and it gets messier the more I go at him. The greedier I get the clearer the response, until finally I think he might be bucking into my grip. He’s definitely making noise, because he does it right in my ear. He moans that I should go faster, that I should unbutton my top, that he wants to see me as I stroke him.
And just when I think he couldn’t get any filthier:
‘I want to come in your mouth again.’

He slides in as smooth as every other fuck I ever had wasn’t, opening me up in a way I can scarcely believe. It steals my breath. It makes me moan, loud and long and so full of abandonment. I don’t care that anyone can hear – but then, neither does he.
‘Good Lord, you feel sweet,’ he says, loud enough that I actually feel it deep down in my bones. I shudder at the sound of it, cunt tightening hard around the intrusion. So hard, in fact, that he struggles to move. He makes a sound like someone clicking their fingers, as soon as he attempts it. Then again, when he manages one stuttering stroke.
He can hardly blame me for it, however.
He’s the one with the gloriously, incredibly, amazingly thick cock.

People say ‘make love’. But they don’t really mean it. It’s just a pretty bow to dress up a base thing, and make it palatable to people who wouldn’t find it so otherwise.
Yet I believe it here. I feel it breaking through me – the sense that I am being made, somehow. That I am being loved. And I keep feeling it all the way to the very end, when he gasps my name against the side of my face. Our bodies so close together I should feel swamped, though I don’t.
All I want to do is hang on tight, as my orgasm stutters into life.

He groans so close to my ear I feel it vibrate all the way down me. It has this sort of chain effect on my body – starting with my too tight nipples then on down to my tensing belly and then finally, oh, finally I feel it in my clit. It circles me there like his fingers, like his tongue, until I can sense it starting to shudder through me. My pussy clenches around his cock, so fiercely I fear I might be hurting him.
But if I do, it is the delicious sort of pain. The sort that makes him twist on top of me, teeth bared and eyes dark with pleasure, every inch of his body going into a desperate attempt at really fucking me. He wants to do it hard, I can tell. He wants to hammer into me until my teeth rattle. Only the more he succeeds the tighter my cunt tightens around him, until all we can both manage is a sort of desperate push-pull.

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Review: No Reprieve by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jake Jackson
Heroine: Seven Selkirkik
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 24, 1991
Started On: May 11, 2020
Finished On: May 12, 2020

Published in 1991 from Harlequin, No Reprieve by Susan Napier is a delightful and quirky read for the most part. With a psychic heroine who is a librarian, and a cynic of a hero who is a journalist specializing in exposés, needless to say the fireworks are a given when these two clash.

26 year old Seven Selkirkik is confronted by the indomitable 36 year old Jake Jackson in her home, when he turns up to warn her off on pretending to be able to help grieving families and fleecing them for what they are worth, plying them with false hopes. In a case of mistaken identity which Seven takes advantage of, she lets Jake believe what he may, until she is drawn into finding Jake’s long lost daughter.

Jake does not know what to do with Seven and how she makes him feel. Its exasperation, desire, and a sense of discomposure that he feels, even when all the facets of her character continues to draw him to her. Jake is a skeptic through and through, wary of the charlatans and false messiahs of the world who take advantage of the emotionally vulnerable. The question remains then, how will these ever reconcile their differences long enough to understand what their love is worth?

I loved the two main protagonists and the secondary characters. Seven, who strives and craves for normalcy when she is far from being average and normal, having chosen the staid profession of being a librarian just so she could remain sequestered in her little corner of the world. She craves stability, never having had that in her childhood up to a point.

While Jake is driven and dynamic in a way that is the complete antithesis of Seven, the fire that is between them is too strong to deny. Jake who should rightfully be turning away from a woman like Seven finds himself inexorably drawn towards her until they reach a point of no return.

No Reprieve reminded me of one my favorite books from Linda Howard, Cry No More, a book that I re-read from time to time. No Reprieve presents the main events in a sort of reverse manner, where it is the hero this time around that loses a child and has to come to terms with what he should do when the time comes to take that painful decision.

I loved the ending and the fact that Jake went after Seven when all was said and done. I loved how the reluctant psychic manages to chip away at the brittle walls surrounding the heart of the cynical and jaded hero, who believes love and loving only makes one vulnerable to loss. I also loved the epilogue and I delighted in seeing the changes in both Seven and Jake, with the family getting along marvelously.

Recommended for those who love a good category romance you can sink your teeth into. Ms. Napier certain delivers!

Final Verdict: Combining emotionally gripping scenes with the sensually tender, No Reprieve is a story meant to draw the reader in for an unforgettable ride!

Favorite Quotes

His mouth shifted and clung, opening her more completely, his hand cupping her face as a flickering tongue of fire darted inside her, stroking her, consuming and feeding her response until it matched his own. The hand that held hers moved behind her, pinning her wrist to the small of her back, arching her against his aggressive heat. He was hard and full, unashamed of his arousal, moving his hips in slow, thrusting circles that lifted her on to her toes as she tried to ease the ache that the relentless, grinding rhythm created inside her. When he released her captured arm it curled naturally around his clenched shoulders, her fingers spreading out across the tensed muscles, unconsciously kneading his flesh. He made a dark, harsh sound of satisfaction as he felt the sweet sting of her short, curved nails, and tasted the searing pleasure of her surrender.

‘You are sensitive…’ he murmured with greedy satisfaction, his eyes on the quivering promise of her lower lip. ‘Exquisitely so… I’ll be more gentle, I promise…’
She shook her head again and his lids narrowed. ‘Too much…’ she gasped. ‘It’s too…like, like…falling…I felt… I felt…’
His slitted eyes were as black as sin as he guided her faltering courage back on to its predetermined path. ‘What you’re supposed to feel. I was falling too, mouse, only faster… When it gets too much you don’t pull back.. .you jump!’

He held back as long as was humanly possible, his body straining savagely against its self-imposed bonds, but he wasn’t proof against the blatant seduction of her innocence, against the shocked expression of wide-eyed wonder and gasps of bliss that greeted each bold new venture. And the moment his hardness slipped between her satiny thighs, teasing at the soft, feathery cradle that rocked the heart of her, was his last moment of even near-coherent thought. No longer gentle teacher and ardent pupil, no longer strong leading weak, masculine invading feminine, they merged as equals, not falling but rising, ever faster, higher, harder, until the primitive power that propelled them exploded in a final, violent burst of glory.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Lady Sherlock, #3
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Lord Ingram Ashburton
Heroine: Charlotte Holmes
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: October 02, 2018
Started On: April 26, 2020
Finished On: April 27, 2020

The third installment in the Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas, i.e. The Hollow of Fear, begins where the second book ends, and continues several months after the fact, with Lord Ingram Ashburton being implicated in the murder of his estranged wife. For the first time since the series started, readers get to see Charlotte Holmes “emotionally” affected in a way she never has been before, even going as far as to lose her appetite for her beloved cakes and desserts.

As the story continues, readers like myself who covet Ms. Thomas’ romance novels are rewarded with just barely enough entanglements of the nature taking place between Lord Ingram and Charlotte. There is so much push and pull factor happening when it comes to Ingram and Charlotte. There is much left unsaid, much yearning, and the desire between the two at times is almost a palpable thing. For someone like Charlotte who lives inside her mind most of the time, it is rather intriguing to see Lord Ingram through her eyes, the way she views his character, their shared history, and the parts of his life that are far removed from hers.

The ending as always, “surprised” me the with who the villain turned out to be. Having watched enough movies and TV series based on the character of Sherlock Holmes, you kind of tend to think along the lines of wo would be the most unlikely villain of all.

I liked The Hollow of Fear better than the first two books, perhaps because the characters themselves are being fleshed out more through each installment and of course there is the fact that things “progress” between Lord Ingram and Charlotte in a way that had me on tenterhooks. I would always look for romance in whatever Ms. Holmes writes, and I guess I am a glutton for punishment in the way I seek out the tidbits that hints as much when it comes to Lord Ingram and Charlotte.

Though at times I wished for the story to be less intensive in terms of dialogue and included more on actual investigations, I did understand partly why the books are crafted as such. For the most part, these plots are centered around the ingenuity or cleverness and the mind games that play out based on Charlotte’s superior powers of deduction.

Recommended for fans of Sherlock Holmes mysteries and fans of Sherry Thomas.

Final Verdict: The Hollow of Fear brings important milestones to life when it comes to Charlotte and Lord Ingram. Enjoyed the twists and turns that heralded the end of this installment.

Favorite Quotes

He did not move again. Not because he might startle her—she had ever been imperturbable in these matters. But because he was startled. He had thought he knew everything there was to know about his desire. Had considered it, so long fettered and trammeled, as tame, or at least manageable.
When it had always been feral. Primal.
Her lips touched his nape, just above the rim of his collar. He spun around, cupped her face, and kissed her on the mouth, a kiss that he might never be able to stop.

He looked at her. She smoothed the back of a spoon across the jam glaze on top of the tart, returning his gaze. He stood very still—no fidgeting for him. But in the rise and fall of his chest there was agitation. Inquietude.
“Why are you nervous?”
He hesitated. “You make me nervous.”
“Why?” She was not nervous at all. “You must have done this hundreds of times—at least.”
“Not with you.”

“I have much to learn,” she said happily. “I wonder if Mrs. Watson can impart any wisdom.”
Good God. “How about I tell you exactly what I like?”
“Really?” She batted her eyelashes at him, needlessly long lashes that would have been a lethal asset had she any interest in flirting. “I’m astonished, my lord. You never tell me anything except what you don’t like.”
“In that case . . .” He placed his lips against her ear and whispered for some time.
When he pulled back, her eyes were slightly glazed. “I was rather hoping, given how starchy you are in public, that in private you might be a man of varied and somewhat depraved tastes. I must say I’m not disappointed.”

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Review: The Cruellest Lie by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Morgan Stone
Heroine: Claudia Lawson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1994
Started On: April 14, 2020
Finished On: April 16, 2020

I can always count on Susan Napier to deliver reads worth salivating over. With fears of the pandemic raging across the world at an all time high during the period of lockdown imposed on us, I had to distract my mind with books by authors that I could count on. Which meant rummaging through the back-list of books by authors like Susan Napier and indulging in them to my heart’s content.

The Cruellest Lie tells the story of a very pregnant 26 year old Claudia Lawson who meets an angry and hostile Morgan Stone at the start of the story. What begins as a misunderstanding on the part of Morgan culminates in an incident that marks both Claudia and Morgan, one similar emotion tying them together as two years pass by since and they meet again; regret over what took place and the words left unsaid.

Two years later, when Morgan comes back into Claudia’s life, she does everything possible to evade him, but her job demands that she play nice and get along with him, at least until the project that he wants her to work on is completed. However, as Claudia spends more time with Morgan, contrary to her previously held opinion about him, she comes to understand that behind her nervousness when it comes to Morgan lies the fact that she finds him undeniably attractive and is drawn to him on a level that she never has been to anyone ever before.

However, what remained unsaid about the incident that took place back then stands between them and the pursuit of something longer term than what transpires between them, and it will take a lot from both Morgan and Claudia to face the inevitable truth when it comes to their feelings for each other.

I loved many aspects about The Cruellest Lie. I understood the complexity of the emotions that drove Claudia to blame Morgan solely for what had taken place at that point in time and the growing up she had done within the two years time she comes in contact with Morgan again. I also understood why Claudia chose to try and ignore what was happening between them, because let’s face it, none of us like being vulnerable to a significant someone unless we know that they would be willing to catch us if we fall flat on our asses.

Morgan Stone was undeniably delectable. Ms. Napier has a way with her heroes that gets to me every single time and this one was no exception.With her flair for writing such vividly sensual scenes of passion which does not have to be explicit but gets you there every single time, there is a reason why Ms. Napier’s books stands the test of time. She writes strong heroines at a point in time when feminism as a concept was just beginning to see the light of day in most parts of the world. And she ties them up with equally strong and dominant heroes that makes your heart go pitter-patter. The ending was classic Ms. Napier; humorous and endearing, which clinched the deal for me.

Recommended for those who love Ms. Napier’s voice and those who love a good dose of Harlequin romance every now and then.

Final Verdict: The Cruellest Lie is another hit when it comes to Ms. Napier’s remarkable style of penning romances you can absolutely count on.

Favorite Quotes

‘Isn’t this what you’re afraid of, Duchess?’
His parted mouth came down on hers, damming the cry of protest in her arched throat, sending a dazzling bolt of fearful excitement shearing through her consciousness. After the first instant of quivering shock it was like being enveloped in a slither of hot, wet silk that bound her, stroked her, wrapping around her senses, entangling her in inescapably erotic knots.
The world went black as she closed her eyes, shutting out the deliciously terrifying sight of Morgan’s blue eyes a breath away from hers, blazing with a carnal intensity that was matched by the sensual movements of his mouth. It was a mistake. Now there was nothing to distract her from the pure intoxication of her tactile senses.

She murmured, struggling to surface from her sensual stupor, and he soothed her by at last seeking one of the rigid peaks sheltering behind the seams of her bra, taking it between his teeth and biting, firmly. Wanton desire exploded violently in the pleasure centres of her brain, obliterating her returning reason. Her head fell back in erotic shock as in the same moment he shifted the hand under her skirt gently between their bodies and touched the secret V that sheltered her femininity. It was a light, sliding touch, one fingertip barely intruding between the silky compression of her inner thighs, clamped together between his powerful knees, but combined with the stinging tug on her nipple the explicit delicacy of that warm fingertip curling against the clinging film of her panties was every bit as shattering as his full possession would have been.

His hand finally stilled against her, the handkerchief tucked into the exposed hollow between her breasts where the tiny white bow that concealed the front catch of her bra just peeked above the first fastened button. She felt a tiny tug and that button, too, fell open. Her eyes flew to his face. He was waiting for her, his smile blazing with sensuous challenge as he flicked open another button, and another.
‘Now you can plead ravishment.’

‘Am I pleasing to you, Claudia?’ he murmured, making no attempt similarly to hide the blatancy of his desire. ‘I hope so, because you’re very, very appealing to me … especially like that, your lovely full breasts peeping at me through your fingers and the soft rounded thigh drawn up to shelter the hot dewy silk I’m aching to feel around me .. .’ He shuddered lightly, throwing his head back as his whole body flexed with the acuteness of his need. He was proud of his passion, engendering a similar pride in Claudia as he looked down at her and asked bluntly, ‘Can you ease that ache for me, Claudia? Will you touch me and taste me and pleasure me in the way that I need to be to feel completed?’

‘You forgive me for my unreasonable jealousy…?’ If she had been in her right mind she would have been delighted to hear him beg but as it was the words could no longer satisfy her. She welcomed the completeness of his possession. ‘Yes … yes .. .’
‘You’re mine,’ he rasped, the muscles in his arms cording with agonised tension as he supported himself over her writhing body, driving her harder, deeper into a sustained frenzy. ‘Say yes, dammit, tell me you want to do this with me every day of your life.’
‘Yes, yes, yes…!’ she sobbed, and the explosive reaction that was her reward tumbled her into sweet oblivion.

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks

ARC Review: That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy

Format: E-Bookthatcanbearranged
Read with: Desktop
Length: Novel
Genre: Graphic Novels
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Hero: Gehad
Heroine: Huda Fahmy
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: March 10, 2020
Started On: December 27, 2019
Finished On: December 27, 2019

Huda Fahmy is a Muslim living in the United States, sharing her real life experiences in the form of comic strips published on Instagram. I started following her somewhere around last year; I mean who wouldn’t love the at times acerbic humor and wit that flows so smoothly through her meaningful comics that most Muslims can relate to?

When I found out that Huda was releasing her new book, That Can Be Arranged sometime this year, I have been counting down the days. That is until during one of my once in a blue moon forays into Netgalley served me with the best of surprises; this title was up for grabs for an ARC review. Quickly downloading it and reading through it in one setting, I was fascinated by the story of how Huda found her soulmate for life in Gehad her husband.

Islam is a pivotal part of Huda’s comics, and the way she so brilliantly imparts Islamic knowledge and wisdom without sounding preachy is something I have come to appreciate immensely in her work. As a romance lover, I loved Huda and Gehad’s story. As a Muslim, I loved it even more. Why? Because Huda’s real life journey towards finding her soulmate gives hope in a way not many stories can; that valuing your own self and loving yourself is a first step towards finding someone who would love all of you, imperfections and all of that. That is not a lesson that many learn before they make huge mistakes, which I believe for the most part Huda managed to skirt around.

Easier said than done, right? Huda too felt the same when she first started out on her journey, trying to fit certain molds that society can often project on your subconscious. The well-meaning family, both immediate and otherwise can often dampen the spirits of the most enthusiastic, especially when they have a tendency to kick you where it hurts when it comes to affairs of the heart.

Luckily, Huda is spared most of the heartbreak because she is strong in many ways from the onset, her mother and father being supportive of what she wanted for herself rather than trying to marry her off to the first thing that crosses over from the realm of eligible men. Her continued efforts towards learning more about her religion which actually brings her finally to Gehad and identifies in him her soulmate was beautiful in a way that is indescribable.

There is a certain allure in the way Huda combines traditions with that touch of modern flair which I identified with on a deep level. While I know that living as a Muslim, especially in a country like the US at a time when Islamophobia is on the rise and is rampant must be difficult, I did identify somethings that I wouldn’t mind having over here, a “100%” Islamic country as well. One of them being Muslim scholars who are more approachable and understanding of the unique challenges faced by Muslims of the world today. That in essence is a huge gap in most Muslim societies, the inability of scholars to get to the heart of the issues and reach out to the disillusioned among us. It is so easy to give into despair in a world that is so skewed in favor of the few, it is so easy to get lost in the fray.

In short, I loved it all. Recommended for anyone who appreciates humor and wit, combined with the belief that God indeed works in the most mysterious of ways.

Final Verdict: A unique portrayal of navigating the marriage market in a Muslim society, giving insight into the traditions and societal expectations on women, and a journey of self discovery and spirituality towards finding the one!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

awesomeread

Review: The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne

Format: E-Bookthehunter
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Victorian Rebels, #2
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Hero: Christopher Argent
Heroine: Millicent Karolina Lapinski
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: February 02, 2016
Started On: September 01, 2019
Finished On: September 26, 2019

“Death is inevitable. To fear it is to waste energy.”

The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne is book 2 in her fabulous Victorian Rebel series, where she writes about rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards who steal your heart and leave you wanting more. The Hunter explores the story of Christopher Argent who is an assassin, whose very nature makes him the perfect killer for hire. That is until Christopher’s services is procured to assassinate London’s darling and the stunningly beautiful actress Millicent Karolina Lapinski (Millie).

Christopher who is always able to detach himself from the lives he has taken thus far is unable to do so when he meets Millie, and in the process puts her and her son’s life in danger. With Millie Christopher for the first time learns the meaning of unthrottled desire. In Millie Christopher sees a woman who drives him crazy with need, and with whom his senses come alive as if he has been waiting for her touch all his life.

Christopher’s darkness lies deeply engraved in him, making him one of the most fascinating heroes I have read of late. I enjoyed The Hunter more than I did the first and third book in the series, the latter of which I read first. The lack of an epilogue is perhaps one of the main reasons why the rating did not go higher. Having gone through the roller-coaster ride of emotions that this book takes readers on, I believe we need an epilogue to let go of Christopher’s story with a heart that believes he got the best of what the world has to offer in terms of love of the kind that perseveres, no matter what.

Christopher’s character is perhaps one of the most emotionally complex characters that the series has offered thus far; his birth in the belly of the beast that is Newgate Prison and the unconscionable violence and tragedy that had been so much part of his life and shaped him into adulthood, marking him for life. I was traumatized by the sheer scale of violence that Christopher was subjected to, much of it with just enough details for the reader to form a full picture.

I found the delve into his psyche the most fascinating aspect of the story. Millie’s son Jakub was just adorable and I believe that he really did make a difference in the way Christopher sees himself. Millie was also such a darling character. She was a match for Christopher in every sense. A fierce lioness where needed and a gentle lover who knows just the right touch; when to press forward and when to give in, which is crucial in dealing with a man like Christopher whose life up till that point had taught him that he was a man unfit for loving and being loved.

Seeing Dorian and Farah was such a nice touch to the story as well, both of them easing into the new roles of their lives as husband and wife made me really happy.

I am so glad for having stumbled across these titles because at the cost of repeating myself, they come with the kind of darkness that I as a reader revel in. Heroes whose darkness is embraced by the heroine rather than embarking on an agenda of reform for the hero which is just plain annoying and unrealistic when it comes to characters who have gone through so much as Christopher did.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of dark historical romances. This one is all kinds of delicious!

Final Verdict: Christopher is the kind of hero that makes a romance stand out. The Hunter is a novel that takes readers through tumultuous emotions of the kind that delivers!

Favorite Quotes

“It won’t hurt, I promise,” he whispered as his fingers gently reached the nape of her neck, and then her jaw, and paused there.
It already hurt. She ached, ached in places generally best left ignored. Millie’s breath had now been reduced to little more than needy pants. “If you don’t kiss me, I’ll die,” she confessed.
He froze.
Vibrating with frustrated arousal she surged against him, lifting to her toes and grinding her lips against his.
The kiss was as hungry as it was sudden. While his eyes may have been cold, his mouth was hot and tasted of wine and male. She kissed him with abandon, enjoying the way his entire body jolted and went instantly rigid.

His fingers tightened again against her throat, just a little, and she gasped. Then moaned as a thrill of fear titillated down her nerves and settled as a pool of moisture between her thighs.
“Again,” she demanded, her arms winding around his neck, her body rubbing against his like a cat demanding to be stroked.
His curse was lost in the cavern of her mouth, and she knew in that moment that they both needed to see whatever this was between them to fruition.

Her scent filled his nostrils and held him prisoner. Soap, sweat, and something that reminded him of late summer berries. Everything about her enticed him, and the clenching of the muscles beneath his stomach pulled a sound from his throat so desperate, it could have been a plea.
In that moment, he could feel that she lost her fear.
And he lost his mind.

“I wonder…” Her husky voice vibrated through him, sending shivers of yearning down his spine that arced to his turgid sex with agonizing need. “I wonder, Mr. Argent, if you take instruction as deftly as you give it.”
Christopher froze beneath her, his entire being focused on the growing heat between her parted legs, creeping closer to his aching arousal with the graceful arch of her body as she continued to sit back.
“Never,” he breathed. He obeyed no one.
“Not even if I ordered you to claim my lips with yours?”

“Kiss me,” she commanded, rolling her hips back until she was pressed intimately against him, her voice containing a growing desperation that might not entirely pertain to the carnal heat building between them. “Kiss me like you did the night we met. Like a man who captured my gaze across a glowing room and seduced me with a waltz. Touch me as though we are back in that dark corner beneath the stairs of the Sapphire Room and you are Bentley Drummle, nothing more than a harmless, charming businessman.”
“Millie,” Christopher warned, confused by the almost frantic need in her eyes. By the fear and strain that seemed to underscore her passion.
“Kiss me like you never meant to kill me.”

Despite his words, his dreamlike exploration didn’t last. She may have initiated this kiss, but she was a fool if she thought she’d control it. Not only that, but she hadn’t been prepared for it, for the pure blistering intensity of it. His lips were hard, yet full. His movements raw and unapologetically carnal. He kissed her with a wicked mouth, one that issued threats and vulgarities and brutal, albeit sometimes endearing, honesty. He kissed like a man unused to kissing. No artfully applied maneuvers or sensual variations. He kissed like a man about to—to fuck. Like he wanted to pour himself into her, or perhaps crawl inside of her. This was a dominant kiss. A shameless kiss. The kiss of a man who knew his sins and granted himself absolution.
This was the kiss of a killer.

His rough chin scratched at the soft valley between her breasts, and she stiffened when she realized his mouth was drifting lower, leaving her upper half completely exposed.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
“Your scent on my body, on my hands, drove me mad with hunger,” he said against the plane of her quivering belly. “Once I bathed I wanted it back. I want to taste you until you say my name.”
Dear sweet Lord, she couldn’t let him do that. It was too wicked. God, who was this man? Where was her terse assassin? Where was the man who bent her over and took her with her clothes left on? The one who’d pleasured her in the ballroom earlier and then pushed her away and disappeared? Who knew that in his dreams he was so utterly sexual? That he could set her blood to burning and mortify her at the same time?

Her sob touched him as deeply as he penetrated her. Soft hips spread beneath him in sweet feminine submission.
“Come for me,” he demanded on long, almost punishing thrusts. “Say my name … One … more … time.”
“Christopher.” His name was ripped from deep in her throat. “Please.” A plea or a prayer, he couldn’t tell. It didn’t matter. She whimpered, then screamed. Her body clenched around his cock, bore down on him with a throbbing pressure so intense, he couldn’t fight it.
He closed his eyes, battling the ecstasy building in his abdomen and preparing to burst from him. He clung to the moment, held as long as he could.

His possession was unbelievably slow as he sank inside of her, filling her with a heat she’d not known existed. For a moment they stayed like that as his cock stretched her slick channel and throbbed inside her welcoming body. They both stared, stunned by the incomprehensible intensity of the moment. It was like a thousand bolts of lightning converged within them, between them, and they somehow had joined more than just their bodies.
But fused their souls, as well.

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