Review: Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverunbound
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #5
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Vishous
Heroine: Jane Whitcomb
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 25, 2007
Started On: September 13, 2016
Finished On: September 15, 2016

The fifth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series brings to us the story of Vishous, the bisexual vampire hero who is the son of the vicious Bloodletter, a vampire known for his utter brutality, strength, and barbarism. Vishous as a member of the Brotherhood, is highly intelligent, has a penchant for BDSM, and hunting Lessers is the one thing that he lives for. Vishous is also the Brother that is “cursed” with visions of the future.

When a series of events brings the Scribe Virgin to him bearing news of the most shocking variety demanding that he give himself up to be the Primale of the Chosen, Vishous reels from the bombshell that she drops on him. Being the Primale means that he become mated to one of Scribe Virgin’s choosing, his daughters who would grow up to become members of the Chosen themselves serving members of the Brotherhood, the sons who will go onto become members of the Brotherhood themselves.

That Vishous does not take the news well would be an understatement, and this is how Vishous ends up getting injuries of the life threatening variety and up on the operating table of Dr. Jane Whitcomb at the St. Francis Medical Center. What happens when Vishous wakes up with that streak of possessiveness for his mate running through his veins is what sets the ball rolling when it comes to Jane and Vishous.

Vishous has a past that is dark, as dark as that of Zsadist’s. Vishous is a hero that was adorable, someone who is sinfully sexy, commanding, and with a deep streak of vulnerability at his very core that even he is not fully aware of. His deep and complex feelings for his fellow Brother Butch and his wife Marissa aside, facing his past is something easier said than done, as years of abuse at the hands of his father has left its deep seated mark on him.

Though almost everyone who has read through the series had remarked upon the ending of the story, I was still taken aback by how it all ended. Perhaps Ward’s foresight into where she wanted to take the series was one of the key reasons behind Jane’s character ending up as she did. Having read stories further down the series since then and before writing this review has left me with that impression more than anything else, and it actually does make sense to me now as to why Ward gave that sort of an ending to the story. Jane’s character was just as lovable as that of Vishous, and I don’t think anyone could have asked for a more perfect fit for someone like Vishous than her.

As with all the books in the series, Lover Unbound is also not just the story of how Vishous and Jane get together. Rather, so many things happen in the continuing threads of stories within the main one. The fight with the Lessers that takes on different and more dangerous turns, the lives of the Brotherhood themselves changing within the context of what is happening around them, how the old ways are slowly becoming replaced with the new, and delicious tidbits about characters whose stories are to follow.

J.R. Ward is an amazing writer. Every single story I have read from the series attests to this fact.  I can’t wait to experience what she has in store for her readers further down the line in the series.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: With surprising twists and turns, it is Ward’s unpredictability that serves to be the strength of the series.

Favorite Quotes

With no warning at all she was tackled from behind, pushed face-first into the wall and held in place by a rock-hard body twice the size of her own. Her gasp was first one of shock, then one of sex as she felt V grind into her ass.
“I tried to tell you no,” he growled as his hand buried itself in her hair and locked on, pulling her head back. As she cried out she ran wet between her legs. “Tried to be nice.”
“Oh… God—”
“Praying’s not going to help. Too late for that, Jane.” There was regret in his voice—as well as erotic inevitability. “I gave you a chance to have it on your terms. Now we’ll do this on mine.”
She wanted this, She wanted him. “Please—”
“Shh.” He cranked her head to the side with a twist of his wrist, exposing her throat. “When I want you to beg, I’ll tell you.”

“Ask me what’s next, Jane.” He licked up her throat again, then clamped what she knew was a fang onto her earlobe. There was a delicious lick of pain, followed by another rush of heat between her legs.
“What’s… next?” she breathed.
“I’m going to get on my knees.” His head went down and he nipped her collarbone. “Say to me now, ‘And then what, V.'”
She nearly sobbed, so aroused her legs started to fail her. “And then what?”
He tugged on her hair. “You forgot the last part.”
What was the last part—what was the last… “V.”
“No, you start over. From the beginning.” He pushed his arousal into her, a hard ridge that clearly wanted in her now. “Start over, and do it right this time.”
From out of nowhere an orgasm came bearing down on her, the momentum carried forward by the rasp of his voice in her—
“Oh, no, you don’t.” He backed off from her body. “You don’t come now. When I say you can, you will. Not before.”

There was no prelude, no easing into what he did to her. It was his mouth. Her core. Two sets of lips meeting. His fingers dug into her cheeks and kept her in place as he went to work, and she totally lost track of what was his tongue or his goateed chin or his mouth. She could feel herself being penetrated between lapping drags, hear the sounds of flesh on flesh, knew the mastery he had over her.
“Come for me,” he demanded against her core. “Right now.”
The orgasm arrived in a devastating blast that had her bucking against the sink until one of her hands slipped off. She was saved from falling only because V’s arm shot out and gave her something to grab onto.

It was like nothing she’d ever known. It was sex to the millionth power.
And then she felt his gloved palm grip her shoulder. As he pulled her upright, he kept riding her hard, in and out, in and out. His hand moved up her throat, locked onto her chin, and tilted her head back.
“Mine,” he growled, pounding into her.
And then he bit her.

“You’re hard.”
“I am.”
She arched on the bed, the undulation riding up her torso from her hips to her breasts. “You going to do anything about it?”
He bared his fangs and hissed. “If you’ll let me.”
She moved one of her legs to the side, and his corneas nearly started bleeding. She was glistening at her core, and not from the shower.
“Does this look like a no to you?” she said.
He ripped off his bottoms and was on her in a heartbeat, kissing her deep and long, lifting his hips, positioning himself, sinking in. She was so much better like this, in reality, not a dream state. As she came for him once, twice… more… his heart broke.

“Watch me take you,” she said, running one of her hands up to her neck. When her fingers coasted over the remnants of his bite mark, V’s lips pulled back from the ball gag and his fangs elongated, digging into the red latex as he growled.
She kept touching herself where he’d bitten her while she rose on her knees and stood up his arousal. She sat on him good and hard, and he orgasmed as soon as he entered her, kicking deep inside, flooding her. He was still fully erect afterward, even as he stopped twitching.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Great Read!(1)

 

Review: Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdukeofmidnight
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Maximus Batten, the Duke of Wakefield
Heroine: Artemis Greaves
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 15, 2013
Started On: June 27, 2016
Finished On: June 28, 2016

Duke of Midnight is the 6th book in the Maiden Lane series and by far my most favorite. Towards the end of Lord of Darkness, the 5th book, once again Elizabeth Hoyt makes a startling revelation, perhaps the most astonishing one at that since the series began. The identity of the 3rd Ghost of St. Giles, this time someone who is more driven by his own personal vengeance against those that had done him and his family wrong, a member of the nobility, not to mention a member of the Parliament itself; Maximus Batten, the Duke of Wakefield.

Readers who have had their run ins with Maximus in previous books in the series would have been hard pressed not to be intrigued by all that he is. Projecting a cold and formidable front, the Duke of Wakefield is someone who seems to be as straitlaced as they come, his utter dislike or perhaps even hatred for gin and makers of gin something that is known all over the country. While Maximus works hard to push through relevant laws that could tackle with gin making, something which he believes most passionately is the core reason behind the decay of society, at night, Maximus dons the mask and costume of the Ghost and traipses through the worst of slums in London, in the hopes of finding clues that would lead him to the villain he has been pretty much searching for a major part of his adult life.

Artemis Greaves is a character that came into prominence through the introduction of her beautiful cousin Lady Penelope Chadwicke into series, for whom Artemis is companion to. Lady Penelope is someone who wants nothing but the best for herself. Thus, determined to have Maximus as her husband, Penelope embarks upon the quest with much fervor, which does earn her the attention of Maximus in his usual cool, aloof and calculated manner. There is no joy in a transaction which Maximus believes suites him rather well. There is no fire that burns in him to possess Lady Penelope, unlike Artemis her companion who makes him want to go into hiding with her by his side and forget the whole world.

Artemis gets under his skin without Maximus knowing of it, their interludes during the quiet hours of the morning on his estate grounds something that pricks and prods at him until his emotions are tangled up in need for none but Artemis. But Artemis is one with her own agenda to push forward. Someone who is ready to do anything for the freedom of the one man for whom she would lay down her whole life for, even if it means enlisting, bribing or even coercing the help of the powerful Duke himself to do so.

There are multiple reasons why Duke of Midnight ended up being my favorite of the series. For anyone who knows of my reading tastes, I am someone who is drawn to dark characters, a bit ruthless and driven by needs that they cannot control when it comes to the heroine in question, no matter how hard they may try. Maximus was that hero for me from the Maiden Lane series. Brought up to take his rightful role as the Duke, the responsibilities of being one are thrust upon him at a tender age when both his parents get killed. Maximus has to grow up overnight without having time to properly grow into the duties required of him. Thus makes Maximus a hard man, a man who is principled, a man who often times comes off as cold, aloof and removed from the rest of the world, an image that serves him well most times.

Maximus is also the only Ghost of St. Giles who actively continues his training for the role, having turned part of his home into a training facility where he subjects himself to grueling hours of training so that he is one lethal machine of brawn, intelligence and strong will, focused on getting to the truth behind the murders of his beloved parents and making those responsible pay.

That strong ironclad will of Maximus was something that I admired and bemoaned over in equal doses. There is something quite alluring about a man who knows his own mind, well, for that matter I love a woman who knows her own mind as well – but with Maximus, him being my favorite hero in the series, I am allowed to be a little biased. The fact that his attraction and want for Artemis clouds all his senses does not make him give up on what he has planned for his life, but rather, he wants Artemis on his terms, as hard headed and stubborn it makes him. But the beauty of it when it comes to heroes who are strong minded comes in their submission to the greater force of love for the heroine, which is an aspect I enjoyed in Duke of Midnight. The moments of jealousy which overtakes Maximus during the heady encounters with Artemis, the ones that makes him go all “mine” with sheer possessiveness – those were the moments I reveled in.

Artemis is a heroine who shone equally bright in the story. With a future that looked bleak, with nothing to her name but the goodwill of an uncle who took her in, Artemis’s determination to work against the odds nevertheless, to prove the innocence of her brother was something that resonated deep within me. Even her burgeoning feelings for the Duke is something Artemis is willing to sacrifice in order to see to it that her beloved brother is removed from Bedlam, where he is rotting away into an existence that would prove to be the death of him, sooner rather than later.

I believe that Artemis is the best fit for someone with such powerful emotions and desires as Maximus. She is able to get through to him in a way that no one else can, her ability to read him so effectively being a quality of utmost importance given how easily he can don on a mask that would show to to the rest of the world that nothing touches him, when in fact things deeply do. Artemis dares him to show to her that side of his that few would ever see – the one without the artifice that society dictates he wears whenever he goes out and about. That for me, was the beauty behind the union between Artemis and Maximus when all was said and done.

Loved it all, which is why I would recommend this book with the whole of my heart!

Final Verdict: Earthy & evocative, with just the right touch of erotic; scorches the pages & moves the heart.

Favorite Quotes

A shrill whistle rent the air. Percy, who had been trotting along beside them, lifted his head alertly before racing to Wakefield’s side. Bon Bon scrambled on short little legs to keep up with his new friend.
Artemis watched the dogs go and found herself staring at the duke. He was looking in her direction, and even at this distance he was commanding, almost as if he were demanding something of her.
She felt light-headed.
Then Penelope tapped him on the arm and he turned to the other woman to smile and make some comment.
Artemis shivered despite the bright sunshine.

Something quickened in him, rising, hardening, reaching eagerly for the challenge. She was no soft society lady. She might disguise herself thus, but he knew better: she was a goddess, wild and free and dangerous.
And a most suitable opponent.
He picked up Lady Penelope’s gloves and, unsmiling, saluted Miss Greaves with them. She bowed to him, equally grave.
Maximus turned to the house, thinking. He had no idea how he would do it yet, but he meant to best her. He’d show her that he was the master, and when she’d admitted his victory… well, then he’d have her. And he’d hold her, by God. His huntress.
His goddess.

Ridiculously, he thought he could feel his heart beat faster. Despite their antagonism, despite her threats to his equilibrium, he wanted to see her, and right now he wouldn’t examine why.
In another few steps he made the clearing with the pond and looked about. He could see the dogs milling a quarter way around the pond—even Bon Bon was there—but he couldn’t yet see her on the path.
And then he did see her and arousal went straight to his cock.
Artemis Greaves was in the pond, as graceful as a naiad, her skirts bound up at her waist, standing thigh deep in the sparkling water.
How dare she.

Maximus glanced away so she couldn’t examine too closely the expression on his face. “Who was he?”
“Thomas Stone. The son of the town’s doctor.”
He sneered. “Beneath you.”
Her gaze hardened. “As you so kindly pointed out, my father was notorious for his flights of fancy. Too, I had no dowry to speak of. I couldn’t very well be choosy. Besides”—her tone softened—“Thomas was quite sweet. He used to bring me daisies and violets.”
He stared, incredulous. What sort of imbecile brought such common flowers to a goddess? Were it him, he’d shower her with hothouse lilies, peonies overflowing with perfumed bloom, roses in every shade.
Bah, violets.

“What”—he turned and seized both her arms—“has gotten into you?”
“He’s dying,” she whispered furiously, trembling within his grasp. “I didn’t receive the letter until almost noon—because Penelope didn’t think it important enough to give it to me earlier. Apollo is lying in that hellhole dying.”
His jaw set as he searched her face. “I can have a carriage readied for you to return to London within the hour. If the roads are—”
She slapped him, quick and hard.
His head turned slightly with the blow, but other than that his only reaction was the narrowing of his eyes.
Her chest was heaving as if she were running. “No! You must go to London. You must get him out. You must save my brother because if you don’t, I swear upon everything I hold holy that I’ll ruin both you and your illustrious name. I’ll—”
“Little bitch,” he breathed, his face turned fiery red, and he slammed his mouth against hers.

“You come to a bachelor’s rooms—bedroom—well after dark all by yourself to give him a trinket you could just as easily hand him in the morning.” His voice was mocking. He wanted to break her suddenly. To make her feel the rage he did at the situation they had been placed in. Were it not for her history—and his—he might’ve courted this woman. Might’ve made her his wife. “Have you no care for your reputation?”
She stepped toward him until she was so close he fancied he breathed the same air as she and when she tilted her face up to look at him he saw that she wasn’t nearly as calm as he’d imagined.
“No,” she murmured, her voice a siren’s song, “none at all.”
“Then I’ll be damned if I will,” he muttered and kissed her.

He pulled back, his chest heaving, and looked at her angrily. “Don’t start something you mean to stop.”
She met his gaze squarely. “I don’t mean to stop.”
His eyes narrowed. “I cannot give you marriage.”
She’d known. She’d never thought he could—she would’ve sworn so had she been asked a minute earlier—but his blunt words were an arrow of pain piercing her heart nonetheless. She bared her teeth in a smile. “Have I asked you to?”
“No.”
“And I never shall,” she vowed.

She shivered.
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten when your fichu slipped from your dress,” he murmured. “Strange, for I’ve seen more immodest décolletages at every ball I’ve ever attended, yet I’ve been entirely unable to remove the thought of your breasts from my mind.” His gaze flicked up to hers, dark and enigmatic. “Your breasts and other parts of you. Perhaps it’s the very fact that you usually cover yourself so modestly in public that makes the unveiling that more anticipated. Or perhaps”—he bent and whispered in her ear—“it’s you. Merely you.”

He slid his thumb between her folds and found that nub at the top, pressing down as he watched her face. She arched involuntarily, the sensation singing through her limbs.
A muscle ticked on his jaw, his face stern and ruthless, as he pressed again, his finger finding her entrance and slipping in.
She bit her lip, staring back at him, refusing to break their gaze, wanting him to continue.
“God,” he whispered. His nostrils flared suddenly, and seemingly against his will, he kissed her.

She held her breath.
His eyes flicked open to look at her. “Be brave.”
She raised an eyebrow, waiting.
He grinned.
There was a pinch, a growing pressure. She tensed. It hurt. He was so big and she felt suddenly small and fragile. Was this truly meant to be?
He leaned down and brushed his lips against her nose. “Sweet Diana.”
Then he shoved hard.
She inhaled. It burned, but that didn’t matter. She was called Artemis, and a huntress could withstand pain.

“Diana,” he whispered. “My Diana.”
She touched the corner of his lips, and he opened, taking her thumb into his mouth, biting tenderly on her flesh.
She felt his belly rubbing against hers, the wet slide of his hard flesh in hers, the brush of his chest against her nipples, and she liked it. There was no pain now, only a feeling of closeness. Of animal intimacy. Perhaps she’d been wrong: perhaps this was the moment a woman was nearest to the wild animal: when she was without constraints or thought, no society telling her what she must do and what she must not. Free from civilization.
They were bound together in this primitive act.

She opened her eyes to find him watching her like a predator. Calculating, waiting.
He held her gaze, and she saw a faint smirk curl one corner of his mouth. The rug was suddenly gone from her lap, and then she felt the slide of her skirts up her legs.
“Do you remember that morning?” he asked, his voice impossibly deep. “You emerged from the pond like a goddess triumphant. You’d flaunted your ankles the day before”—he brushed warm fingers over her left ankle, making her shiver—“but that morning I saw the tender curve of your inner thigh, the sweet bend of your knee, the shy sweep of your calf. You revealed them as coyly as a siren singing a man to his ecstatic death—and you didn’t even know it, did you? By the time you reached the shore I was hard as iron.”

His thumbs rubbed slow circles on her hipbones as if to gentle her or maybe to keep her relaxed. Although if that were his purpose, it wasn’t working. She still held his gaze in defiance, but her breath was quickening as if she were climbing a staircase.
Abruptly he looked down.
He stilled, simply staring at her. He made no movement, but there was a wild possessiveness in his eyes that made something inside her stretch and purr in response. He wanted her. Wanted this part of her. She was suddenly jealous of any other woman he’d ever looked at like this. He hadn’t the right—they hadn’t the right. This look, his expression, this moment was only between them and no one else.
They were a universe of two.

His movements were sharp and abrupt as he drove himself into her again and again. He was nothing like the sophisticated aristocrat he was in front of others. One corner of his mouth twisted in a sneer, his eyes a glaring furnace. He used her body for his own pleasure, for his own need, working her up and down on his cock. He was little more than an animal now.
And she gloried in it. She—she—had driven him to this. Had made a man who captured kings and foreign diplomats with the surety of his eloquence quite simply lose his mind.
He pushed up with all his might, shoved to the hilt within her, and froze, head thrown back in an agony of pleasure.
She leaned forward and delicately licked the salt sweat from his lips as his seed flooded her.

He lay on top of her, his upper body braced on his arms but his hips and legs weighing her down. Trapping and holding her.
“You’re mine,” he said, laying his cheek against hers. “Mine and no one else’s.”
“Maximus,” she warned.
“Yield, Diana,” he whispered, parting her legs. She could feel the thick heat of his cock pressed hard on her bottom. “Yield, warrior maiden.”
“I’m not a maiden. You took that.”
“And I would again,” he growled. “I’d steal you away and keep you in a castle far from here. Far from any other man. I’d guard you jealously and every night come to your bed and put my cock into your cunny and fuck you until dawn.”

“Do you want that, Diana?” he muttered into her ear, his breath humid on her skin. “Do you want to be mine and only mine, away from this cursed world, in a place inhabited by just we two?”
“Oh, yes,” she said, her voice fierce.
He levered himself up. “I’d go a-hunting in the day and kill a fine stag. I’d bring it back to our hidden castle and dress it and cook it over a fire and then I’d sit you on my lap and feed you, morsel by morsel. All your sustenance would be by my hand and mine alone.”
She laughed then, for she knew he didn’t truly want such a biddable doll. She squirmed and turned in a sudden movement so that she lay facing him.
“No, I’d hunt with you by your side,” she said as she reached up to pull his face down to hers. “I am your equal, my lord. Your equal and mate.”
“So you are,” he breathed, and bit her lip.

 “Diana,” he murmured in her ear, licking. “Diana, you are everything I’ve ever wanted and shall never have.”
Tears pricked at her eyes and she opened her mouth to sob.
“That’s it,” he said. “Weep for me. Bear my pain. Take my come. For I can give you nothing else.”
And he thrust into her in hard, sharp punches, each movement striking against that place within her. She gritted her teeth and bowed her head into the pillow. It was too much. Too little. A continual assault against her senses.

He opened his eyes. “Never leave me.”
She shook her head, breaking free from his rein and rising like the huntress she was. She let his poor cock slip to the very mouth of her before slamming herself back down. She rode him. Her thighs were strong and lithe, her brows drawn down in resolute purpose, and her lips were parted wide in something very like wonder.
It was the last that made him move. Dear God, if he couldn’t have anything “else, if she was determined to hollow him out and leave him a husk, then he would remember this:
Artemis riding him like the goddess of the hunt.

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

fantasticread

Review: Dark Journey by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookdarkjourney
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Anne Stuart’s Bad Boys, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Alex Montmort
Heroine: Laura Fitzpatrick
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 20, 2015
Started On: January 20, 2016
Finished On: January 20, 2016

Anne Stuart manages to accomplish in just 70 plus pages what most authors strive for in their entire careers as writers. There is an ethereal beauty to Anne Stuart’s writing that I have not come across in the works of any other authors, and I have read enough romances in my lifetime to know exactly what I am talking about.

This short read by Anne Stuart served me well in my bid to say adios to Anne Stuart’s works – for the time being, still riding the high from Driven by Fire that I had finished a day back. Dark Journey delves into the lives of the Fitzapricks; Laura Fitzaprick being sickly all her life owing to a heart condition. Her time to leave this world had come many a time, but Death had defied those very moments in a bid to keep Laura alive and kicking – for reasons that he would rather not think too deeply about.

Alex Montmort comes into Laura’s life at a moment that the lives of the entire family are on a teetering edge. Because unknowingly, in their midst, is someone who is driven by anger, jealousy and psychosis, determined to eliminate the entire family in a bid to claim the entire wealth of the family. Laura who has always remained on the fringes of the lives of members of her family because no one would let her exert herself, is stunned by the man who resembles nothing she has ever seen in her life, nor experienced, but can’t help but think she has encountered before. Alex’s timely arrival coincides with strange occurrences all over the world – because Death itself had gone on vacation for a short while.

Alex finds himself drawn towards Laura, who tries and fails in her mind to place where exactly she has run into him before. Laura is fearless in her attempt to understand Alex and pursue the hedonistic attraction that is between them. The only thing that keeps her at bay is Alex and the fact she can’t bring herself to believe that someone experienced like him who could have any woman he desires, wanting a sickly thing like herself, who has zero experience to speak of. But the heart wants what it wants, regardless, does it not?

As the series title attests to the fact, Dark Journey features an Anne Stuart variety of bad boy that you wouldn’t encounter anywhere else. He is ruthless, he is charming, and he can take a scene from zero to hundred by the mere flick of an eyebrow in the right direction. I kid not. Suffices to say that I was smitten with Alex, from the very start!

There is a thin line that we humans walk between life and death. What Anne Stuart explores in Dark Journey is how much would we be willing to walk onto the other side. Would we ever want to? Haunting in the wake of the thoughts this little number leaves behind, proved to be a winner for this heart of mine!

Final Verdict: Tinged with darkness & the masterful prose that is Anne Stuart. 

Favorite Quotes

The ice had melted from his face, his lips, his hair. He kissed her with a ferocity that should have terrified her, but she was past terror, past second thoughts. She wanted to kiss him back, but she wasn’t sure how. Then his thumbs cupped her jaw and gently opened her mouth for him.
He used his tongue as he had that morning. He taught her how to use her tongue, to give, as well as to receive, and when he thrust his tongue into her mouth, her knees buckled.

He leaned forward, sliding his hands up her torso to cover her breasts, and the sensation was the sweetest torment. “Are you afraid of death, Laura?” he whispered against her mouth.
She found she’d been clutching the sheet beneath her. It was a simple enough question, with an obvious response. But she didn’t want the obvious, she wanted the truth. And for some odd reason, she knew that her answer mattered terribly.
“No,” she said, with no doubt whatsoever. “I’m not afraid of death.”
“Then let me show you life,” he said. And, moving down, he put his mouth between her legs.

The first wave hit her, a spasm of reaction that sent starbursts dancing behind her eyes. The second wave came, harder and stronger, and from a distance she could hear a gasping sob that had to be her own.
Before the tremors had died away he moved up, over her, between her legs, thrusting deep, breaking past the fear and the fragile barrier of her innocence, deep and hard and sure, and his hand covered her mouth, muffling her cry.

Reality and time seemed to have vanished into the maelstrom. She lay beneath him, listening for the pounding of a heart that should have exploded five minutes ago, listening as her breath rasped to a more reasonable pace. She reached up and cupped his face, and his long hair fell around her fingers. His sun-glasses were gone, but it was too dark to see his eyes, his face. She could feel dampness on his cheeks, could feel the tentative movement of muscle that might have been a smile. She felt his love, strong, sure, unspoken. She didn’t need the words.

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

greatread

Review: Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Format: E-bookCorrupt
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Hero: Michael Crist
Heroine: Erika Fane
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 17, 2015
Started On: January 05, 2016
Finished On: January 08, 2016

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas is my very first read from the author. My hankering for romances that are dark led me to Penelope’s books, and I decided to jump with both feet in where this book was concerned. Though Young Adult is not my preferred genre to read, some of the books that I have forayed into have made out to be pretty good reads. A word of warning though; Corrupt is definitely not for those that don’t like their comfort zones pushed. It is a read for those that dare venture into areas they are not comfortable with, but when all is said and done, you still feel a sense of rightness and understand that at the end, it was pretty much worth it.

19 year old Erika Fane is about to leave the gilded cage her life had been pretty much up till then. With the death of her father and her mother taking to drowning her sorrows and shrouding herself in the depression that had not let up since then had made Erika spend much of her time at the Crist’s place which is where her history with Michael Crist comes from. Erika had always had a huge crush on Michael, the older and more aloof version of Trevor, his younger brother who seems more malleable and definitely seems to have the hots for Erika. Erika finally manages to break free of the “accepted mold” her life has become, only to find out that she has run smack-dab into Michael and his group of friends who for some reason, want to exact revenge on her.

Michael has not forgiven Erika for what that fateful night a couple of years ago had culminated into. Neither is he willing to accept the fact that Erika matters to him on a level that his heart, body and soul cannot deny. Michael is not the conventional form of hero, who changes overnight at the mere entrance of the heroine into his life. Rather, Michael clings onto what has essentially protected him from Erika all along. The fact that his family has other plans where Erika is concerned means little to him as he makes his move on her, intending to teach her a lesson that she wouldn’t forget in a long, long time.

Corrupt is a story told in first person from both Erika and Michael’s point of view. I was glad it was told from both, because it would have been very difficult to get where Michael was coming from if not. Michael is harsh, and very much so at certain points in the story that one thinks he would never be able to redeem himself. The story is dark, no doubts about that. Elements that makes certain things almost unforgivable exists in the story and like I said before, Corrupt is not for the faint of heart.

Michael’s saving grace comes from the fact that he understood Erika better than anyone else and wasn’t afraid to give it to her exactly as she wants it. Erika’s brand of pain and pleasure is one that entwines one another, and Michael dishes it out in doses that Erika is more than woman enough to handle. Michael’s refusal to coddle Erika and give her the freedom that she craves for and desires is one that made Michael win points with me. He had never liked Erika being coddled left and right and when push comes to shove, though Michael’s possessive nature makes him protective as well, it doesn’t deter him from pushing Erika to stretch her wings and fly.

Erika’s point of view was equally important in determining whether Michael was exactly what she wanted and needed. Of course, her love for Michael had been one that had stemmed from long back, but that fateful night that had brought Michael and Erika together for a brief moment in time had also been the pivotal point whereby Erika had decided that she and Michael would never be. Though she is far from immune to Michael, Erika is determined that she would lead her own life, no matter how much she craves for the brand of pleasure that Michael is so good at dishing out.

When all is said and done, Michael and Erika’s backstory and entwined history gives that sense of right to their coming together. It’s not perfect, but then again, who wants the kind of perfect that barely skims the surface? I guess the point of comfort that was all the darkness in this novel stemmed from the fact that Michael and Erika; they are two halves of one whole and it is evident once the story reaches its ultimate conclusion. It all clicks into place because Michael, even though he plays mind games and fucks around with Erika in a misguided sense of seeking revenge, it is there in the way he can’t help himself but protect her from the worst of it. Because they are the ‘us’ neither can live without and fate had meant it so. 

The ending had a surprising twist to it, perhaps one all readers might foresee as the story continues. Lots of possibilities for the emergence of a series exists in this novel and I for one clamor for books for the other guys in the story. Damon for one, is the darkest character in the story, at least from what Penelope has divulged so far. I believe he, more than anyone else deserves his own redemption and happily ever after. Kai is another character that intrigues me. Makes me wonder, what would it be that finally makes him go all in.

I loved the epilogue. It didn’t follow the traditional sense of an epilogue, but rather gives a peek into how Michael had gotten ‘corrupted’. Interesting tidbit to leave us with.

Corrupt is recommended for those that can take the pain with the pleasure. I believe, Penelope is an author to be contended with in the world of romances tinged with darkness.

Final Verdict: Penelope redefines darkness in romances, delivers a read most cannot even fathom!

Favorite Quotes

[Erika] I twisted around, ready to leave, but then I looked up and instantly stopped.
My stomach flipped, and I couldn’t breathe.
Shit.
Michael sat in one of the cushioned chairs all the way at the back of the solarium, his eyes locked on mine, looking eerily calm.
Michael. The one that wasn’t nice. The one that wasn’t good to me.
My throat thickened, and I wanted to swallow, but I couldn’t move. I just stared, paralyzed. Had he been there since I first walked down? The whole time?
He leaned back in his heavy armchair, nearly shrouded by the darkness and the shadows of the trees overhead. One hand rested on a basketball that sat on top of his thigh, and the other hand lay on the armrest, the neck of a beer bottle hanging from his fingers.

[Erika] The closer he got, the taller his six feet four inches looked. Michael was lean but muscular, and he made me feel small. In many ways. He looked like he was walking straight for me, and my heart hammered in my chest as I narrowed my eyes, bracing myself.
But he didn’t stop.
The faint hint of his body wash hit me as he passed by, and I turned my head, my chest aching as he walked out the solarium doors without a word.

[Erika] Oh, God. He was right.
My eyes burned, and I wanted to cry. Goddammit, he was right.
I locked my ankles behind his back and held his shoulders as his hazel eyes stared at me. He wore jeans and a black hoodie, just like in the past.
I stared into his eyes and slowly slid my arms around his neck, the drumming in my chest charging every muscle in my body, making me strong.
“Yes,” I breathed out, bringing my lips close to his mask and taunting him. “Yes, it turns me on.”
And then I dived down, burying my lips in his neck and devouring him.

[Erika] He jerked me into him, going faster and harder, and the feel of him sliding in and out of me, finally taking me, was doing nothing to ease my need. I was hungrier.
I dived into his neck, breathing against his skin as I grazed my lips back and forth, whispering, “They all thought I was a good girl, Michael.” I dragged his lobe through my teeth. “But there’s so many bad things I want to do. Do dirty things to me.”
“Jesus,” he gasped, hooking an arm under my knee and yanking my ass into him, fucking harder as he let his head fall back.

[Michael] I lowered to my knees, standing above her as I pulled off my hoodie and T-shirt. Then, I pulled a condom out of my pocket and ripped it open.
“You may think I fuck with your head,” I said, looking down at her as I unbuckled my belt and unfastened my jeans, “but you don’t know what you’ve done to me all these years.”
I came down on top of her, forcing her legs apart as I pushed her arms back over her head and held her down with one hand.
Rolling the condom on, I dragged my cock up and down her wet slit, finding her hot entrance.
I breathed hard, whispering over her lips. “You don’t know.”

[Michael] She said she didn’t trust me, but I knew it was a lie. I’d be willing to bet I was the one person she trusted the most.
She and I were the same, after all. We fought shame every day, struggling with who we could let see the real us, and we’d finally found each other.
Unfortunately…we were fucked.

[Michael] I shouldn’t be able to look at her. I shouldn’t love to touch her, and I shouldn’t need to feel her wrapped around my cock every second since I’d first had her last night.
She wasn’t mine. She would never be mine.
And I shouldn’t want her.
I stood up and walked over to the bed, leaning down and studying her pretty face.
Fuck you, Rika.
Fuck you. I can’t choose you.

[Michael] “Such a good girl,” I growled in a whisper, flicking her lips with my tongue. “Say it, Rika.”
“I’m a good girl,” she panted, her voice shaky.
“And I’m going to fuck you up,” I finished, taking my hand off her breast and gripping her hip.
Diving down, I covered her lips with mine, eating her up and tasting her, her tongue meeting mine in more heat and fucking lust than I had ever felt for anyone.
My body was on fire, and I was gone.

[Michael] “I’m not tough, Michael,” she whispered. “Not really. I can play, and I can let you fuck me in your brother’s bed or on your father’s desk and use me as an object to get back at them, but in the end—” She paused and then continued, “In the end I’m still here, Michael. I’m still here. It’s still just you and me.”
She breathed hard against my skin, and I dropped my head, caving. I wrapped both of my arms around her and held her warm body tight as I buried my face in her neck. I couldn’t ever let her go.

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