Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Romantic Suspense Series: Cold Justice: Crossfire, #3 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Payne Novak Heroine: Charlotte Blood Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: June 08, 2020 Started On: June 13, 2020 Finished On: June 14, 2020
Cold Wicked Lies is the third book in the Cold Justice: Crossfire series by Toni Anderson. Ms. Anderson is one of my go-to authors for romantic suspense because, for the most part, she always strikes the right balance when it comes to juggling romance and suspense, delivering emotive and intelligent reads that speaks to the heart.
In Cold Wicked Lies, highly skilled operative and HRT leader Payne Novak finds himself forced to work with FBI negotiator Charlotte Blood in trying to end a standoff between law enforcement and a sealed off compound that is an implosion waiting to happen. While Charlotte tries to defuse the situation by doing what she does best, Payne who finds it difficult to not take charge in any given situation is forced to take a step back and watch Charlotte work her magic.
Not being a believer in the soft tactics, Payne is in for a surprise where he finds himself filled with admiration for Charlotte and all that she stands for, not to mention the slow simmering attraction that flares to life between them, which needs very little to ignite into undeniable passion.
While the danger inside the compound mounts, it is up to Charlotte and Payne to sift through the seemingly straightforward picture that emerges at first from the ground, with one wrong move having the potential to tip the scales in the wrong direction.
I loved Cold Wicked Lies for many reasons. I found both Charlotte and Novak to be refreshing in a way that was endearing. While the antagonism between the two is tangible at the beginning of the story, it is evident as the story progresses that they are both skilled professionals, able to put their personal feelings aside and work for the best outcome possible when it comes to their jobs. That won points from me for both of them.
On the other hand, I loved how Toni brought to light the reverse “sexism” that can exist in society. Whereby we women can judge men based on their looks, the way they carry themselves etc. when we as a gender cry foul at them for doing the same thing to us. Perhaps it is true what they say, we do become what we hate if we are not careful about where our personal prejudices take us.
I definitely love how Toni can create such strong and independent heroines without sounding preachy about it. She manages to drive home well intended messaging across to her readers without us wanting to turn our e-readers off. Because lets face it, we are bombarded enough as it is on social media and all available platforms about what we should be thinking, how we should be thinking, and where that thinking should lead us to. Freedom of conscience, anyone?
I also loved the angst and the surprising twists and turns that the story took, along with the heart thumping variety of mind blowing scenes of passion in the mix. A few well placed words here and there, with deft touches in terms of characterization, and Toni manages to do what most erotic novels fail to bring out in readers; the ability to feel for their characters and be the moment right alongside with them as the tension mounts, the heat builds, and the explosions happen.
While I would have loved to read a bit more on the pasts of Charlotte and Novak, nevertheless, I enjoyed Cold Wicked Lies for what it delivered in spades, leaving me with the urge to read the next one in the series, right after.
Final Verdict: Cold Wicked Lies is Ms. Anderson just as I love her books; informative and intriguing, featuring relatable and earthy characters, while delivering a well paced and sensually charged read!
He angled his mouth across hers, and she opened willingly, tangling her tongue with his, absorbing him. He wished he could capture the feeling in a bottle and keep it with him forever. That silky volcanic heat. The sharp edge of teeth, the sweep of her tongue into his mouth. His pulse crackled along his veins. His hand found its way to her breast, molding the cotton of her shirt over the perfect handful of flesh. He reveled in the hard press of her nipple against his palm. Blood headed south, and his dick was so hard he was in danger of passing out. She brushed against him and holy shit, that felt better than the past five years of his sex life.
Her fingers wrapped around the length of him, and she made a little pleased humming sound that for some reason made his cheeks burn. He cupped her ass, rubbing her clit against his hard length, and feeling her push against him. “Wanna be fucked against the wall, Charlotte?” he whispered. His hand slipped along her seam, his fingers easing inside and finding her hot and ready. “Or on the bed?” “Both,” she whispered back, taking a gentle bite of his ear lobe. His knees almost dissolved.
The effect of slow, sensual thrusts dragged out the erotic sensation, and the need to climax built inside him in small incremental steps up a very long spiral staircase. He wanted to give her endless pleasure. Wanted to make this good for her. His competitive spirit was finding an outlet he hadn’t thought of before. He didn’t simply want to have great sex with Charlotte Blood. He wanted to be the best lover she’d ever had.
She started to make a sound, and he kissed her harder, holding her breath captive in his lungs, swallowing her groan, feeling her shatter around him a second time. It broke him. He drove harder, but the noise was too loud, so he pulled them away from the wall, planted his feet wide apart and held her in place, as he pounded into her deeper and harder.
His eyes never left her face, searching it for clues as to what worked for her and what didn’t. Spoiler alert. It all worked for her. The perfect complement of fullness and friction. She gripped his ass and pulled him even closer, fighting him every time he tried to retreat. It turned into a beautiful synchrony of frenzy, and an orgasm ripped through her. She opened her mouth to scream, and Novak planted his hand over her mouth as he pounded harder. The lack of springs in the mattress meant they were almost silent, and she wasn’t sure she’d have cared even if they hadn’t been.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Henry “Harry” Sinclair III Heroine: Faith Maria Parisi Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: June 07, 2020 Started On: June 11, 2020 Finished On: June 12, 2020
Thoroughly Whipped by Tillie Cole is a book that surprised me in many ways, because of how unexpected the story that unfolded was. Featuring 28 year old Henry “Harry” Sinclair III and 25 year old Faith Maria Parisi, who couldn’t be more different from each other had they tried, needless to say when their paths cross for the first time, it ends in disaster, with Faith hoping that they never come across each other again.
Three years later, Faith’s worst nightmare comes true when none other than Harry becomes the new CEO of the magazine at which she works. Having called him an overpriviledged cockface among other things, Faith is however determined to make the best of it, and prove to Harry that she is more than capable of delivering when it comes to her profession.
It is partly her determination to prove to Harry that she would be able to deliver a feature article for the magazine, something which she had been wanting the opportunity to do so for a long while, the timing just seems right when she is invited to an elite and by invitation only sex club known as NOX. Excited by the prospect and having never been apologetic about her sexuality, Faith embarks on a journey that is about to change her life, both professionally and otherwise.
At the club, she is introduced to a character known as Maître Auguste, someone who keeps his identity a secret and teaches her body the greatest pleasures it has ever known. At the same time, Faith also finds herself seeing a different side of Harry from the one she has always thought to be true, the kind of man she could seriously fall for if given half the chance.
One thing leads to another and before she knows it, Faith is involved with two men who sets her senses afire, both of whom are able to take her to new heights when it comes to sexual pleasure. But Faith knows that deep in her heart, it is Harry with whom she is in danger of falling in love with, that is if she is willing see beyond the secret that Harry holds close to himself, a secret that could possibly mean a fatal end to what is blossoming to life between the two.
I enjoyed Thoroughly Whipped more than I thought I would, not that I picked this up expecting it to be a bad read. Though the sparks and antagonism that I wanted to continue and heighten between Harry and Faith didn’t go on as long as I expected it to, I did find myself enamored by the changes that took place in the relationship that budded to life between the two. Coming from diversely different backgrounds, Faith and Harry are complete opposites of one another, which is where half the fun lies.
I loved Faith for being able to see through the armor that surrounds Harry and understanding him for who he is. At the same time, I loved Harry for being the kind, generous, and the oh so sexy lover that he was to Faith, delivering exceptionally well on that simmering sexual tension between the two.
I highly recommend Thoroughly Whipped to those who love spiced up reads, complemented with great emotional depth, and manages to astound you, all in a good way.
Final Verdict: Thoroughly Whipped is a novel that is astonishingly delightful, quirky, and oh so sexy in a way you cannot help but fall in love with!
I cried out when he slipped two fingers inside me, his tongue never letting up. “I’m coming,” I said, the crash of pleasure slapping over me like the hardest of floggers. My body tightened and I collapsed, thankful that the stocks were holding me in place. Maître quickly pulled his tongue away, but before I’d had a chance to recover, he slid inside me with one hard thrust. I screamed as I clenched around his huge cock. He filled me so much. I gritted my teeth as he started pounding into me like the man had been starved of sex. His hands moved from gripping my hips to pressing against my back. His rhythmic thrusts never faltered once.
Harry stood beside me, as still and as stoic as a marble statue. This close I could smell the addictive scent of his cologne—the mint, the sandalwood, and the musk. It was driving me insane. I clenched my thighs together, trying to stop the pressure from building as high as the penthouse floor we chased. In my peripheral vision, I saw Harry’s chest rise and fall at a heady speed. His hand in mine twitched, his jaw clenched, and when I saw the hardness in his pants, I moaned aloud. That was all it took. That one rebel sigh from my throat caused Harry to snap. He came barreling toward me, pushing me back against the elevator wall, and he crashed his mouth into mine. In mere seconds, he was everywhere. His scent, his taste, and the press of his hard, warm body smothered my every inch. Gone was the prim and proper Harry Sinclair, and in his place was a man wild and intent on bringing me to my knees.
“Harry,” I moaned again as he tucked his head in the crook of my neck and increased his speed. He thrust and thrust until I was a body filled with nothing but pleasure. My eyes rolled closed as I held him tighter, starting to feel flickers of the deep orgasm that was building. “Harry,” I cried, biting into his shoulder as my legs began to tremble. He growled at the bite then lifted his head, his eyes locking on mine. That was all it took for me to break apart, fireworks exploding around me.
Harry’s fingers traced my spine then dipped lower. Kissing my face, he pushed a finger inside me. My forehead fell against his chest as he fingered me from behind, brushing over my sensitive G-spot, which had barely had time to recover before he was back, punishing it with those talented hands. Harry’s mouth moved to my ear. “I’ve wanted to fuck you for so long,” he said, his deep voice and fingers causing tremors to rack through me. I felt his dick harden at my thigh. I bit my lip, brushing my cheek against his. “I wanked off so many times, imagining you on this bed, in my arms, under me, screaming my name.”
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Metal Blonde Books Hero: Lazarus Scott Heroine: Marina Owens Sensuality: 3.5 Date of Publication: November 14, 2017 Started On: May 29, 2020 Finished On: June 06, 2020
Bad at Love is my second read from Karina Halle and features the most favorite trope of mine when it comes to romancelandia, i.e. friends to lovers. The story begins four years prior to the time in which the main events take place, depicting that fateful night when Marina Owens meets the sinfully sexy and broody Lazarus Scott. Lazarus being the half brother of one of her closest friends does not stop Marina from being smitten by him that very night. However, nothing comes of it and time passes by, with the two becoming good friends, until the present day, where things are about to change dramatically for the both of them.
Marina at 25 years is the owner of her own business and successful in her own right, making a name for herself in beekeeper circles. Where she feels inadequate emerges when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex in terms of romantic entanglements. When she confides in Lazarus of her most recent debacle, he comes up with the craziest idea that she has heard from him – they date each other for a little while, each to guide the other on where they are going wrong when it comes to relationships.
30 year old Lazarus has a different problem altogether when it comes to the women in his life; let it never be said that he is a man-whore. He is known as the serial monogamist, who just never finds it in himself to carry on with any relationship for more than a couple of months at best. So, with the best of intentions, laying out ground rules to guide them, thus embarks Lazarus and Marina on uncharted waters when it comes to their friendship.
For two people who are so in tune with one another with banked fires of desire between them, it is inevitable that the floodgates would burst open given half the chance. And as things heat up between the two, both of them are forced to make the hard choices; should they risk their friendship and go all in, no holds barred towards something which could end up destroying the very fabric of their existing camaraderie and closeness, or should they take a chance on what could end up being the love of a lifetime?
I loved both Marina and Lazarus to bits! Marina was such a wonderful, wonderful heroine. I love heroines who are true to their characters, who aren’t fussy, who are just honest about where they are coming from, and their emotions. To me, that sounds like a character who is grounded, someone who I can totally get on board with.
The most refreshing aspect of the novel itself for me was how honest Marina was about her feelings; she just puts herself out there and tells it all without resorting to qualms and tactics that would have just prolonged the inevitable. She was ready to face the heartache or come what may even if Lazarus were not meet her half way. She just embraced the fact that she loves Lazarus and loves him like crazy, and is brave enough to understand what her friend Naomi tells her; that Marina’s insight into who Lazarus is and how he loves, is in fact colored by how Marina views the word and love in general.
Lazarus, oh my Lazarus! He is one of those accented, British heroes that we all love to love. Sexy, sinfully good looking, and extraordinary in the sack (and he knows it), there is nothing like a confident hero who can make a girl lose her mind in the bedroom and then some. The dark and edgy bits to him just complements perfectly with who Marina is, and I believe that is one of the reasons why they gel so well together.
I loved how Lazarus was really sweet to Marina where it counted, and understood the pains of his childhood having marked him in a way that makes it difficult for him to see beyond the scars that haunt him. I loved the fact that in Marina, he found someone worthy, someone with whom he can find solace on the darker days and take comfort in the fact that she would have his back, no matter what.
Definitely recommended for all romance lovers who adore the friends to lovers trope. And of course fans of good contemporary romances in general! I loved how heartwarming and endearing this was all around.
Final Verdict: In Bad at Love, Ms. Halle brings together two characters whose timing was never right, whose love when allowed to blossom, shines ever so bright.
His tongue slides into my mouth, slow, almost painfully slow, this teasing drag along the edge of my tongue that makes my skin run hot and tight. A desperate urge rises up from inside me, the steel of his tongue ring cool and sleek. Fuck. This is happening. And it’s still happening. Like any new dance, it starts off tentative, wary, and then morphs, his mouth growing hungrier, our tongues sliding in and out with building urgency. Laz presses his hips into mine and I can feel how hard he is. For me. All for me.
I don’t know how long our eyes are locked like this. Our bodies are locked like this. Our hearts are locked like this. An eternity passes where all our unsaid words are passed between us like prayers. “Sweet girl,” he whispers to me seconds before his mouth crushes mine. I groan against his lips, his mouth hot and wet and hungry. This is a deep kiss, the kind of kiss you shouldn’t have on a public dance floor. It’s pulled out from a wild and charged place far inside me, a place I’ve always kept the bars on, keeping back my primal instincts like you would predators in a zoo.
“Fuck,” he groans. “Your cunt feels better than it tastes.” “You have a dirty mouth,” I manage to say. “You have no idea,” he says roughly, his lips capturing mine in a deliriously slow kiss that matches the deliriously slow way he’s thrusting into me. Everything feels like bliss, the pain now melting into something that makes me wild and thrilled. I dig my hands into his back, my nails leaving marks and our kiss gets messier, teeth, lips, tongue, mouths completely missing each other. I’m starving for him, starving for years, going mad.
“Laz,” I moan but it sounds more like a whimper, like he needs to put me out of this sweet sweet misery. “I want you to come,” he hisses, his fingers razing my clit until I’m almost bursting at the seams. “Open your eyes.” They fly open and I’m looking up at him in wild awe, stark determination on his brow, a side of Laz I’ve never seen, a side I want to keep seeing forever. I want him undone, I want to render him powerless, I want to see what I can do to him, how much ecstasy I can bring him.
Tears rush to my eyes and I grab onto the tight, sweaty planes of his back as I’m liquefied beneath him. I hold him like I’ll never let him go, I’ll never let go because I’m not sure I’ll exist if I do. I’m just stardust now. “Fuck, Marina,” he grunts roughly and then his head goes back, his throat exposed, neck muscles corded as he pushes in deeper, deeper. The sounds coming out of his mouth as he shudders into me will be forever burned in my heart. The feel of him, the look of him, feral and somehow tamed now.
“Fuck!” she yelps, “Oh god. Oh god, Laz. Laz.” Her voice trails off into moans that shake me to my core. She’s so fucking beautiful like this, her body trembling beneath me, throbbing against my tongue. She’s becoming undone. But I’m not done yet. I’m only getting started. With borderline desperation, I grab the base of my cock and straighten up, gripping her hips, the covers falling back behind me. Sitting back on my knees, I thrust into her, barely able to control myself. She feels so good. A silky, tight fist that won’t let go.
If she’s losing her mind, so am I. I’m no longer myself. Just an animal. I piston myself into her, over and over again, the headboard slamming against the wall. I can see us in the reflection of the painting above the bed, me fucking her raw, deep from behind, my muscles flexing as I push in, fast, hard, our skin blistering from such wild need. My fingers work her clit, harder, faster, so slick and messy, slipping and sliding against her. Then she’s coming, and her pulse on her throat is racing into my palm. She cries out again, loud, frenzied, like she’s being obliterated in the most perverse way.
Then the kiss deepens, a slow, hard pull that reaches deep inside me, feeding the hunger. Our mouths, lips, and tongues dance like savages with each other, violent and ravenous andwild. He suddenly grabs my waist and hoists me up a few inches, positioning his cock just so before lowering me. I gasp at the intrusion, my body so fucking ready yet so unprepared that I have to remember to breathe. If it wanted a break after New York, it’s not getting one. “Fuck me,” he mutters against my neck as he deliberately drives his cock upward and into me, my muscles expanding around him as much as they can. “So fucking good, Marina. You feel so fucking good.”
One of his hands is lost in my hair, tugging on it the way I like, and I let out a breathless gasp from the sweet pain. The other is lifting up the hem of my dress, pulling it up around my waist. I’ve stopped wearing underwear these days and he lets out a deep moan that I feel vibrate through me as he explores me with his fingers. “No knickers,” he murmurs. “Good girl.” He sticks three of his large, long fingers inside me and I clench around them, begging for more. “Hurry up and fuck me,” I tell him. He laughs, low and rich, reaching down to lift me up so my legs are wrapped around his waist.
We are joined as one and the more he thrusts in, deeper, deeper, the warmer he feels, like a fire that can’t be held back much longer. A trickle of sweat rolls down his brow and his eyes pinch shut as he starts to climax, his mouth going for the crook of my neck where he bites and sucks and licks as he pounds me, losing control. “Fuck, Marina, oh fuck,” he hisses, inhaling sharply. “I’m coming. I’m coming.” Before I even have a chance to try and catch up, he lets go of my waist and strokes my clit with his free hand. Boom goes the dynamite.
He gets to his feet, runs his slick hands down my spine and then grips my hips as he positions himself, and with one long, slow push he eases inside me. I’m so wet and ready that he glides right in. But oh, when he pulls back out, that slow drag and piercings hitting just the right spot, somehow, I’m groaning for him all over again. “Don’t stop,” I hiss as he plunges back inside, deeper this time, coaxing another unrestrained noise out of my throat. “Never stop with me.” “Fuck,” he swears, gravelly and low. “I’d do this until my dying day if you’d let me, Marina.”
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Harlequin Hero: Eliot Buchanan Heroine: Tifaine Brandon Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: June 24, 1986 Started On: May 29, 2020 Finished On: May 29, 2020
Published in 1986, An Unbreakable Bond by Robyn Donald is not for the fainthearted. Featuring a hero that borders on and ventures into the territory of cruelty, with a heroine who stands her ground, as confused as she is by the tidal wave of desire that clouds everything between them, this is Harlequin as I love their titles.
22 year old Tifaine Brandon (Tiffany) meets Eliot Buchanan not under the best of circumstances, with Eliot thinking her to be the mistress of his uncle. The disdain that Eliot feels for her partly results from how she makes him feel; unhinged in a way that he has never been around any woman in his life.
With a secret that Tiffany holds close to her heart, Eliot has no way of knowing the truth, even as the clash of wills results in scenes a lot of readers would find it hard to accept. At the same time, this rollercoaster ride of emotions and the constant upheaval that is a given when it comes to stories by Ms. Donald makes it hard to put this down. Fact that I finished this in one day is testament to that.
With all the misgivings I had, especially in relation to a particular scene which I will not detail here, I still loved the escape the story provided me with. The ruthless nature of Eliot drew me in as much as the proudly defiant nature of Tiffany’s did. The passion and sizzling attraction between the two is often thick enough to cut through with a knife, and that was as invigorating and heady as the rest of the components of the story as they came together.
In a way, what made Eliot’s cruelty “worthwhile” was the fact that he actually admitted to what had or almost did happen at a certain point in time in the story. He abashedly points out to how out of control Tiffany makes him feel, and the depths to which his emotions go when it comes to her. Somehow I understood where he was going with that; great passion does not allow for placidity when it comes to emotions. If you want peaceful, you go with the person who makes you feel as little as possible.
Recommended for fans of older and vintage Harlequin titles. This is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially in this day and age.
Final Verdict: In An Unbreakable Bond, Robyn Donald gives readers a tale that consumes the whole of you, even as you are reluctant to give it your all.
His eyes blazed into flames as his mouth came down again, forcing her lips apart so that he could explore the depths of her mouth in a kiss so unlike any other she had ever received that she thought she might faint. Indeed, her knees did buckle. He made a noise deep in his throat and shifted one arm so that it supported her. His mouth burned down the stretched arc of her throat. The weakness in her limbs spread until she was trembling. Deep inside her strange sensations sprang into life; they flamed fiercely, heating her blood so that a flush ran like fire across her skin.
‘No,’ she gasped, using her hand to push at him. ‘Don’t be silly.’ He too was breathing heavily, his expression set as he used her hand to pull her out of the chair and into his arms. He looked—out of control, she thought with a tremor of fear. But Eliot didn’t ever lose control. And she wished that she knew more about men because perhaps then she would understand his actions. Fear was swept away as he groaned and bent his head to capture her mouth in a kiss so seducingly sweet that she could not resist him. ‘Relax,’ he muttered, his breath warm in her mouth. ‘I swear I’m not going to hurt you. I swear—oh God, you torment me…’
Completely unconscious of what she did, she slid her arms around his shoulders, holding him firmly. A moment ago she had been furious, his black enchantment of her senses only adding to her rage. Now a strange and awkward tenderness filled her. She didn’t know what to do. ‘Oh, God,’ he muttered, his face drawn. He looked exhausted, almost haunted; as she watched his eyes closed and he began to kiss her, tiny little kisses across the high line of her cheeks, tracing out the contours of her face with his mouth. ‘You’re driving me crazy.’ The words were barely understandable, his voice was so thick.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Tai Wakefield Heroine: Daisy Lewis Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: April 25, 2020 Started On: May 27, 2020 Finished On: May 28, 2020
Lovewrecked is my very first read from Karina Halle. It seemed to be the perfect fit at that point in time, as the country was slowly emerging from the first and God willing only lock-down that will be imposed owing to the pandemic, and I was feeling a bit antsy, in need of something that would provide the sort of escape I was looking for. Seeing this on Amazon, promising a sizzling enemies to lovers story, I thought to myself, why not, and the rest as they say is history.
Lovewrecked tells the story of how 34 year old Tai Wakefield meets 28 year old Daisy Lewis, when the latter travels to New Zealand for her elder sister’s nuptials. Having lost her job and her boyfriend who was supposed to help her get through the wedding which she wasn’t all that much looking forward to attending, needless to say Daisy is not in the best form when she meets the formidable grump that is Tai.
From the onset, Tai’s grumpy nature makes Daisy want to ruffle his feathers in an attempt to see how far she can go. There is a lightheartedness to her character that I found a bit annoying at times, but then there is a reason behind why she is the way she is, which Ms. Halle unveils as the story moves further along.
As the story moves forward, Tai and Daisy along with her sister and husband find themselves shipwrecked and with no rescue in sight, the group of four are forced to spend time together in a way that no other situation would have imposed upon them. It is then that we see the other side of Daisy, where readers get an insight into where her seemingly frivolous and carefree attitude comes from, and the simmering tension between Daisy and her sister, which all goes back to their childhood.
I would not go as far as to say that I loved Daisy when all was said and done. Even though for the most part, I did find appealing qualities about her towards the end, I was not overly enthusiastic about her because of her annoying habit of skimming everything on the surface as things seemed to happen. I also found it a tad abrupt, the way she came to terms with her past, her wants, and needs towards the end, which just seemed to align with what was burgeoning to life between herself and Tai.
Tai on the other hand, was the kind of grumpy hero that I live for. Gorgeous, and sinfully sexy, Tai is a man with a past that makes him weary of long term commitment, especially when it comes to someone like Daisy who would never feel at peace living the kind of life that Tai has built for himself in a remote corner of the world. Tai makes it his life’s mission to keep emotional entanglements at bay, and yet it is Daisy’s persistence when it comes to him that chips away at the armor around his heart.
Overall, Lovewrecked did provide the kind of read that Karina Halle promises readers at the beginning. It was fun and lighthearted for the most part, with the secondary characters adding value to the story and characterization without deflecting attention from the main protagonists. The epilogue was also cute and served the story well towards leaving the reader with a good feeling overall.
Though promised as an enemies to lovers story, I found very little of that in the romance that buds to life between Tai and Daisy. Perhaps that was one reason why this depraved heart of mine wished for Tai’s character to have given the story more angst than it did, because I did expect the story to take a different turn than it did. But then most books do end up doing that. However, with all that, I still enjoyed Lovewrecked and would definitely look up Ms. Halle’s titles in the future.
Recommended for those who enjoy a feel good contemporary romance with a sexy grump of a hero who who continually has the habit of making your toes curl.
Final Verdict: Pure escapism, with just the needed touch of emotional depth is guaranteed with Karina Halle’s Lovewrecked!
“Fine. Fine, you saw me get off,” I grumble. “You happy now?” “Very.” I cock my brow, the words taking a moment to rest on my tongue before I spit them out. “Did it make you hard?” Yeah. I said it. A bold look flashes in his eyes, more intense than the darkest coffee. “What do you think?” I think yes. “Are you still hard?” I don’t know where the hell I’m getting the gumption to ask him these questions, but fuck it. It’s only fair now. The look in his eyes intensifies and I watch his throat as he swallows. “Why don’t you find out,” he manages to say, his words measured.
Before I even know what’s happening, I lean forward, my body operating on instinct only. And I kiss him. I can’t help it. All these weeks of wanting to do this, wanting to know what his lips feel like against mine, it was inevitable that I’d lose control. He stiffens at first, hesitating, then I feel the muscles in his back relax as he kisses me back. And…shit. I mean…wow. He’s a good kisser.
“Tai,” I whisper, sticking my finger into the jar. I stand right in front of him, holding my finger out, the honey dripping on the end. He blinks at it. “Where did you get that?” “Open your mouth.” His eyes meet mine and for a moment I think he’s going to be a real hard-head and refuse. Then he does as he’s told. Opens his mouth. That gorgeous, sensual mouth. Wraps his lips around my finger, and gives it one, long deep pull that I feel all the way to my toes. His eyes never leave mine, if anything they intensify as his tongue rolls over the sides of my skin. A moan vibrates through him, and I think it might be the sexiest sound I’ve ever heard.
I can see the fight in his eyes. The want to say no, the urge to say yes. His urges win. So do mine. In a flash he whips me around so I’m pressed up hard against the palm tree, the rough bark digging into the back of my head. He’s kissing me roughly, with impatience, teeth, lips, tongue all in a frenzy, creating a hurricane that will gladly consume us.
The pressure inside me goes over the threshold. My skin flushes like I’m on fire and then… I’m falling. Sinking against the palm tree. Falling into his hand. Letting go. Coming hard.
“Tai,” she whines, sounding breathless, impatient. “It’s Captain Wakefield,” I tell her, grinning. “Captain Wakefield. What are you waiting for?” Nothing. I suck in my breath and with one swift, hard thrust I plunge my cock deep inside of her. “Fuck!” Daisy yelps, and I realize I may have been a bit rough. I’m about to apologize when she cries out, “Keep going.” That I can do. I slowly pull out and then spear her again, my cock sinking into the hilt as my fingers make bruises on her hips.
With my finger slipping and sliding all over her swollen clit, I stroke that sensitive bundle of nerves until she’s tense and ready to explode. Then, as she yells out my name and begins to shake and shudder, clenching around my cock, I let go. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I growl, thrusting in harder and deeper, faster, like I’m trying to impale her right into the sand. Everything inside me tenses from my balls to my chest and then I’m being walloped by a tsunami, the orgasm ripping me apart and dragging me out to sea.
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!
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.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Fostering Love, #1 Publisher: Forever Hero: Shane Anderson Heroine: Katherine Evans Sensuality: 4 Date of Publication: June 07, 2016 Started On: May 21, 2020 Finished On: May 21, 2020
Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn is the debut book in her Fostering Love series. While Ms. Jacquelyn is a totally new to me author, the blurb which hinted at unrequited love, a widowed hero, and a ton of angst was what sold me and I didn’t look back. I needed a story that was spectacular enough to “wean” me off the continuous high I had experienced while reading one Susan Napier book after the other throughout April and May. Unbreak My Heart turned out to be just perfect for the cause.
Unbreak My Heart brings together the two main protagonists, Shane Anderson and Katherine Evans (Kate), who are both 29 years old. While Kate and Shane had been best of friends from a certain point of their childhood on wards, the minute Shane had set eyes on Kate’s closest friend Rachel, Kate had ceased to exist for him. Ignoring the hurt in Kate’s eyes had been his modus operandi, and it had helped that being enlisted in the military, Shane was hardly ever around afterwards.
Kate’s life had pretty much revolved around that of Rachel’s and her family when Shane was not around. With Shane away for long periods of time, Kate spends most of her time helping Rachel bring up their four kids, up till the point where tragedy comes calling and changes everything. With Rachel gone, a year on, the hurt is still raw for Shane and on the eve of Rachel’s death anniversary, their vulnerability leads to sex of the most spectacular kind, which ends with Kate becoming pregnant.
Shane’s fractious relationship with Kate does not undergo a magical transformation when he receives the unwelcome news of Kate’s pregnancy. If anything, his feelings related to Kate becomes more chaotic than ever, the draw he feels towards her something which he resists at every single turn. There are moments in which Shane gives in, is tender and loving, and yet what is more devastating is what follows soon after; the constant need in Shane to blame Kate and assume the worst when it comes to her.
Through a sequence of events that was heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time, (I seriously do not know how Ms. Jacquelyn managed to do that) she delivers a tale that is nothing short of mesmerizing. I could not put the book down unless it was for the basic necessities, because it had been that long since I had come across a novel that features a hero like Shane – who at best would be deemed irredeemable by many readers. But Shane is the kind of hero that I love the best, perhaps because I am a glutton for punishment.
Needless to say, I loved Unbreak My Heart to bits and then some. I found Kate to be amazing. The love that she feels for Shane is an all encompassing and enduring one at that. There is a profound statement in the story that jumped right at me – that love can overlook many things, and I believe that to be true. When we talk about accepting people for who they are, shortcomings and all, because lets face it, none of us are perfect at the end of the day, love is in reality all about overlooking those bits and pieces and seeing the bigger picture.
Kate might be seen to be a doormat heroine by some, because she puts up with a lot of shit from Shane at first. But given the shared past between them, during which Shane and Kate had seldom spent time together from the point where he had decided to ignore her in the pursuit of Rachel, the trouble starts brewing when they are forced to endure each other’s company. Kate’s feelings had never wavered when it comes to Shane, but for Shane, discovering Kate along those lines and the way he falls so hard for her amidst all that reluctance on his part was something worth all that heartache and pain.
There were times I felt like dousing Shane with a bucket of cold water for good measure, just so that he could see reality for what it was. I also loved the strong cast of secondary characters that lent an extra richness to the developing story and made it more wholesome with their presence, which also ended up being the reason behind Shane finally being able to get his head out of his ass and really see things from a different perspective.
One would wonder how Kate was able to forgive everything when all was said and done. I guess the simple and complicated answer to that would be love, in its purest of forms. Kate is just pure in heart in a way that a lot of us may not be able to understand. No matter what she goes through, there is no malice nor hatred in her heart, which is a rare thing indeed.
When one comes to understand Shane and baggage he carries from his experience through the foster care system, it is easier to see where he is coming from. It is evident that Shane is scared shitless of the way Kate makes him feel which is evident as the story reaches its climax. One can see why it is so, because Kate is not someone who deserves love of the half-assed variety; she deserves it all.
I know that Unbreak My Heart would not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you are anything like me and love irredeemable heroes paired with heroines who make them fall and fall hard, this is for you. If you want a romance that is politically correct, with rainbows and sunshine, with a unicorn or two thrown in for good measure, then it is safe to say that this is not the book for you.
Recommended for those who love emotional and angst-ridden reads that makes you feel all the feels! Unbreak My Heart does that in spades! Thank you Ms. Jacquelyn, for writing Shane’s character as he was.
Final Verdict: Unbreak My Heart delivers the reality of the pain that stems from unrequited love and the courage it takes to love in the truest and purest sense. I wouldn’t change a word in this book for the world!
“When you cry, your lips swell up,” he whispered, making my eyes finally pop open in surprise. He was so much closer than I’d realized that my breath caught in my throat as he stared at my lips. Then his mouth was on mine. “Pushing, always fucking pushing,” he mumbled against my mouth before sucking my bottom lip between his and biting down hard enough to make me whimper. He tugged at my lip with his teeth, and I felt my body heat in response. “What are you doing?” I asked as his eyebrows furrowed. “Fuck if I know.”
“Harder,” he ordered, groaning as he grabbed the back of my head and pressed my mouth to his throat. “Do it hard.” I followed his instructions, biting and sucking on his neck like it was my job, and his hands shook as one held me against him and the other slid down the side of my throat and ripped the strap of my bra and cami down my shoulder. He tasted salty, and the stubble under his chin rasped across my tongue. “Jesus,” Shane groaned as he leaned back on his knees and gazed at my breast that had popped free. “Your nipples are pierced.”
“So bare and slick,” Shane whispered darkly, bending over my body until his chest rested against my back. “And what is this?” His fingers found my hood piercing, and I froze as I waited to see what he’d do. I felt one finger playing softly with the piercing as my breath grew ragged, and I was so focused on that sensation that I didn’t feel him positioning behind me until he was thrusting inside. I think I may have screamed as he came to a stop halfway inside, but my ears were ringing so loudly that I wasn’t sure. Not that I would have cared either way.
Her breathing was little off, kind of heavy and shuddery at the same time, and the feel of it on my shoulder was the straw that broke the camel’s back. “Is that all you—” Kate started to ask. My mouth was on hers before the last word was spoken, and I made an embarrassing desperate noise when her lips parted and she let me inside. She tasted like ginger, probably from the cookies she had brought with her that morning, and for some reason it ratcheted up my desire until I was practically shaking.
“Shit,” she moaned, bending her knees so she could press down on my fingers inside her. “It’s not enough.” “It’s enough.” “No, I’m so close. God. It’s not—” I bit down on her nipple then, careful of how sensitive she seemed to be, and she came, gasping and shuddering as my hand between her legs became drenched in her. I pulled my hand from her slowly, running my fingers over everything I could reach, then lifted it and put those two fingers in my mouth. She tasted different than I remembered. Maybe even better.
“Your body is insane, Kate,” he told me as he rolled over until he was leaning over me. “I look at you, and I don’t see the fucking ratty clothes you wear. I see the way your breasts bounce when I pull on your nipples. I see the way you clench your jaw when you come, and the way your red lips get swollen from sucking my dick.” My mouth dropped open, and I looked at him in shock. “You were my wife’s best friend. My dead wife. Do you get that? I look at you and I don’t see Katie who drove me nuts when we were kids, or Katie who was Rachel’s best friend. I see Kate, the woman who can take me hard then fucking begs for more. That’s not okay. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?”
“It’s okay, I’ve got you,” he breathed, lifting both of my legs until they were bent and pressing against his chest and he was hitting my G-spot again. “There you go.” “Please,” I begged hoarsely. “Harder?” He pulled back and thrust in desperately as he kissed me hard. “Yes. Yes. Like that.” “Jesus Christ, you’re sexy,” he mumbled into my mouth. “You’re almost there, Kate. Take it. Fuck!” I detonated, and he followed closely behind me with a deep groan.
I cut her words off with my mouth as we reached the back door of Miles’s truck. Thank God the windows were tinted, and I knew that Mike and Miles would studiously avoid looking where we were standing…but it wouldn’t have mattered if they hadn’t. She whimpered and gripped my head in her hands as I swept my tongue into her mouth, and I couldn’t resist grabbing her ass and hoisting her up until she was braced against the truck with her legs wrapped around me. I didn’t know what I was doing. Things between us were getting so complicated. Too complicated. But I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving without the taste of her in my mouth.
“Take it off,” he ordered gruffly, the tendons in his neck growing taught. “All the way, Kate.” I closed my eyes as I pulled the shirt over my head and only opened them again when I heard him let out a harsh breath. “Fuck,” he groaned, his eyes dilated until they were almost black. “Do you know what we’d be doing if I was there right now?” I nodded mutely as I watched him watching me. “You’re so fucking incredible, Kate. Jesus, those breasts—” I laughed a little as he whimpered, then slid the shirt back over my head, hiding my body from view.
He slid his tongue into my mouth as I began to shake, and I kissed him back until I finally couldn’t concentrate on both his mouth and his hand at the same time. “Harder,” I ordered, clenching my teeth so hard it was a wonder I didn’t shatter them. “Goddamn,” he groaned, sucking on my shoulder as I got closer and closer to the edge. My hands were frantic as I tried to touch all of his torso at once, the nails of one hand digging into the forearm between us as it flexed over and over. His fingers were curled up inside me, and every time he jerked his hand up, his palm rubbed over my swollen clit. I came hard, my mouth at his throat as I tried not to make any noise.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Harlequin Hero: Ross Tarrant Heroine: Francesca Lewis Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: June 1988 Started On: May 16, 2020 Finished On: May 21, 2020
Published in 1988, Reasons of the Heart is one of the earlier works of Susan Napier. The story begins with Francesca Lewis turning up at a cabin that was owned by her recently deceased grandfather, the cabin supposed to be a sanctuary of sorts for her to recuperate and get back on her feet. Determined to change the direction and focus of her life afterwards, Francesca however is not at all ready to run into 30 year old Ross Tarrant, her nemesis from the past.
Francesca’s painful memories come tumbling forth when she finds that she has to share the cabin with none other than Ross. Right from the start, these two rub each other the wrong way, the sparks fly, and Francesca in her bid to keep Ross at a distance, judges him by what she knew of him in the past. There is a delicious sizzle in the air whenever these two are in the same room, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of it.
Even though Francesca is determined to keep Ross at arm’s length, with every turn, Ross continues to surprise her, and the insults they exchange on a daily basis quickly become the highlight of her day, exasperating and arousing her in equal doses up till the point where Ross makes her see just how right they are for each other. However, for someone like Francesca who has never known what love is like, what being fully loved and accepted for herself is like, there is much growing up for her to do before she can come to terms with her love for the man who has never stopped making her feel all too much.
I loved Reasons of the Heart. There were so many intriguing aspects to the novel that I felt mesmerized and at times gleeful about the direction in which the story was headed. I do enjoy witty banter between the two main protagonists and Ms. Napier certainly delivers on that front, and is not shy on following up on the heated chemistry that is between the two.
Francesca was a complex female lead and she could be termed as a difficult character at first. Francesca running scared every single time that she felt vulnerable and/or found herself to be lacking should have gotten old real quick. But the way Ms. Napier peeled back the layers of her character, exposed her childhood and what it had meant to grow up with two grandparents who had perhaps never wanted her makes for interesting reading. Where she had paid for her mother’s choices all through her life and never really gotten to understand who she is deep inside; all of that and more made her a riveting character.
I also loved Ross to bits! He is that perfect mix of cocky, sinfully sexy, handsome, and endearing. Ross was also endlessly patient when it came to Francesca and her hangups about love and life in general. At the same time, Francesca does teach Ross a few things while she is at it, and I loved Francesca for being brave enough to face her fears while at the same time bringing Ross to his knees in the very best possible way.
I wished for an epilogue so very much when I finished this story. There was much angst in the story that I reveled in, which should have been followed through by an epilogue that would have given readers a sense of “closure” when all was said and done.
Recommended for fans of complex character driven category romances.
Final Verdict: Complex characterization, the right touch of angst, and sensuality of the kind that drives one to distraction is what Ms. Napier delivers to readers with Reasons of the Heart.
‘I can see, Princess, that you’re not going to rest until I’ve made the obligatory attack on your virtue, so…’ He reached over and swept her across the jumbled pile and into his arms. His mouth was a shock of warmth against hers, his large hands spreading across her shoulder blades to ensure that any resistance on her part merely rubbed their bodies suggestively together.
‘You’re flushed…’ His finger ran down to the pulse in the soft hollow of her throat. ‘…Your skin is damp, your temperature and pulse rate have increased… An invitation doesn’t have to be verbal to be explicit.’ His lids drooped, masking the intention in his eyes. ‘And if you’re so hot…’ he pulled the front of her robe apart with a single, swift movement, his hands crowding in to capture her breasts, encircling the little, stiff peaks that thrust against the soft bodice of her modest nightdress ‘.. .why aren’t these still sweetly soft?’ He bent his head and kissed the objects of his taunt with maddening precision before scooping up his blankets and backing out the door with a final salute of laughter at her furious confusion. ‘Night-night, Princess. Safe dreams…’
He broke the kiss and they stared into each other’s eyes. There was a gleam of male recognition in his that stopped her breath. Then his hands were cupping her face and his mouth fastened over hers again, gentle, teasing, yet deep and satisfying too. When she trembled, his mouth tensed and hardened, gathering her in even further, stunning her with the tremors she felt in his own body, as if it was part of hers. ‘You taste good, Frankie,’ he murmured in thick amazement, his trembling fingers finding and stroking her breasts in a way that made her kiss him back with untutored enthusiasm. He groaned. ‘Touch me, Frankie, the way I’m touching you.’
At what point had the snide insult become an endearment? Fran wondered as she put a hand flat on his chest to stop herself falling forward into the blue void of his eyes. His chest rose quick and hard against her hand, her fingers sliding through the patch of hair revealed by the opened neck of his shirt. ‘I… I can’t…’ absently, concentrating on the vibrations under her fingertips. ‘You can…’ The words formed against her lips, his tongue stroking its velvety roughness against their parted warmth, then plunging inside with a suddenness that made her head reel. The muscles of his arms bulged as his hands clenched convulsively against the wire at the inward sway of her body against the open trap of his.
She pushed a thigh between his, and he caught and held it against the centre of his body, letting her feel the rigid proof of his arousal. Yet still he didn’t put his arms around her. With a hot surge of mingled power and frustration Fran pushed her rounded breasts against his chest, crushing the taut peaks with a shudder of masochistic pleasure, her mouth widening beneath the silken search of his tongue. Both hands were now clinging to his waist, sliding up under the sweatshirt to find the damp, ridging muscles of his back. Suddenly he tore his mouth away. ‘Stay.’
‘You know… what I do up there in the air,’ he murmured in a voice that had the texture of cut velvet, ‘the “high” it gives me, is the next best thing to sex. Perhaps this afternoon was a subconscious attempt to sublimate my real need… to do this…’ He slowly eased over until he was braced above Fran’s supine body, his hips lowering to grind softly against her thighs until they parted to allow him to lie between, the rough denim weave of his jeans catching against the soft wool-blend of her slacks. ‘…and I needed you up there, with me, to share the exhilaration, the agony and the ecstasy of subliminal sex. God, Frankie, how much longer are you going to make us wait? Tell me, tell me you want me to touch you, and taste you, and feed your appetite with mine…’ With a cry of need that echoed his own, Fran arched against him.
Her wide-eyed delight provoked her lover to even greater pleasures and, when at last his strong, gentle fingers lingered, breath-soft on the delicate flesh between her quivering thighs, Fran was stormed by a violent, racking shudder that almost spilled him from his position of dominance. His hand wrapped around her hips, holding her still. ‘No…wait, Francesca…’ He sucked in his breath. ‘…slow down…’ ‘I…can’t…’ She twisted helplessly, unable to control her body’s demand as he groaned against her. ‘I don’t think I can either…’ He thrust her legs apart with a possessive strength that sent a stab of pain to the core of her pleasure.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Harlequin Hero: Jack Hawkwood Heroine: Elizabeth Lamb Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: May 01, 1993 Started On: May 12, 2020 Finished On: May 14, 2020
The Hawk and the Lamb by Susan Napier was first published in 1993 and proves to readers just how exemplary an author Ms. Napier was in the romance publishing industry. I wish with all my heart that she would write again, but alas, I do not think that particular dream of mine will ever come true. I hope Ms. Napier knows the sheer joy her books have brought me during a difficult year, for which I am forever grateful.
The story begins with 25 year old Elizabeth Lamb being “recruited” by her uncles on a mission to do some detective work. What Elizabeth was hoping would be her vacation turns into a bit of a fiasco when she has to travel alone and finds herself in the company of the very man she is supposed to be spying on for her uncles.
Carrying a valuable family heirloom that she is to “return” to the rightful owners, Elizabeth finds all her attempts thwarted by the delicious Jack Hawkwood, who makes her forget why she actually traveled to Nouméa—the Isle of Hawks. Jack is unlike any man that Elizabeth has ever associated with. Given her job as a researcher and assistant to a professor of literature at Auckland University, and her one love affair having ended in disaster had basically affirmed her belief that there was no “right man” out there for every woman.
With every turn, both Elizabeth and Jack finds themselves ensnared in a web of heady desire that brings both to the point of no return. However, the fact that Elizabeth’s secret could have devastating consequences for what is budding to life between them makes Elizabeth hesitant and rightfully so on an intrinsic level, which gave the story the edge it deserved.
The Hawk and the Lamb was such a great read in many ways. I loved Elizabeth and Jack, both together and individually, and they are two people who were just destined to be together from the start. There is no denying the sparks that fly, the interest that sizzles to life on both ends, and the reluctance on the part of Elizabeth that stems from a sense of self preservation.
Elizabeth who is bookish, voluptuous, shy, and a tad clumsy was a heroine I could root for. I loved her to bits and the fact that she is loyal to a fault and tries her best at something she is so obviously terrible at won her points from me. When she starts enjoying herself with the last man on Earth who she should be doing that with, that itself comes with the sort of inner dialogue that had me snorting.
The dialogue was witty, with the heroine being independent minded enough to give the hero a run for his money and upend everything that he thought to be true. The only thing that could have made this read perfect was an epilogue.
When an author can seamlessly bring together scenes of the laugh out loud variety with seductive eroticism that speaks to readers on a whole different level, that is an author you should never stop reading in my opinion. I will always be thankful for having stumbled across Ms. Napier’s books because they certainly have managed to color my life vividly. Absolutely recommended!
Final Verdict: Humor with right touch of sinful sensuality interwoven with two intriguing protagonists is a potent mix; stands testament to why Ms. Napier amazes me time & yet again!
In a last-ditch effort to assert herself Elizabeth reached out and grabbed the neat pony-tail at the back of his head and pulled sharply. The jolt should have brought tears to his eyes but to her horror he didn’t even flinch, the corded muscles of his neck hardly registering the sudden extra tension. Instead he smiled faintly and as she jerked her hand away the thin black band that had held his hair in place came with it. His hair loosened across his braced shoulders, slipping caressingly through her retreating fingers like fine, dark silk. A strand fell forward, teasing her parted lips, the feathered tip adhering just inside the moist corner of her mouth. Elizabeth froze, her eyes dilating with renewed shock as he delicately reached inside her mouth with his blunt fingers to extract the intimate intrusion, brushing the dampened strands tauntingly across her vividly flushed cheek before tucking them safely behind his ear. ‘Do you like the way I taste, Beth?’
She sank to a crouch, placing her hands lightly on either side of his thigh for balance as she bent forward and pressed her mouth gently against the site of his injury. Her hair, caught by the breeze, blew in a soft dark froth across his hard abdomen. His skin was hot and faintly salty and her lips parted in inadvertent curiosity over the jagged scar that bisected his outer thigh. For a stunned second he didn’t react. Then, beneath her fingertips, the muscles in his thigh bunched violently and his hand fisted in her hair, wrenching her head back. ‘What in the hell do you think you’re doing?’ he demanded hoarsely, the shock flaring in his silver eyes as he looked down at her.
Her palm felt the scrape of a stiffened nipple surrounded by the luxurious softness of his body hair and lingered there, exploring the contrast in textures. She leaned further into his kiss, instinctively teasing the tips of her breasts against his silky-hot skin, the astonishing pleasure of it all going straight to her head and making her mouth as aggressive as his. A deep groan vibrated in his chest, making her tingle all over. His teeth softly savaged her swollen lips. The hips that had been crowding lightly against the juncture of her thighs suddenly ground harder, deeper and Elizabeth became devastatingly aware of the extent of his arousal.
His eyes glowed with a strange yellow colour, like sun trying to break through summer storm clouds. ‘So I don’t scare you?’ If her chin tipped any higher she was going to fall over backwards, but she had to do something to counteract his overwhelming physical impact. ‘Not a bit!’ she defied him. The sun broke through, but his smile was a twist of irony and his voice disturbingly quiet. ‘Then it’s purely one-sided. Because, ma chère, you scare the hell out of me.’
The voluptuous tingling spread from her scalp to the rest of her body, further weakening her feeble resistance. She was going to bite him if he dared kiss her mouth, Elizabeth told herself dizzily, but he didn’t give her the chance to satisfy her hunger. His mouth disappointingly bypassed hers, the hands in her hair tightening to pull her head back so that he could nuzzle at her throat, the warm, moist caress finally settling against the hot pulse just under her left jaw. His tongue was wet and rough as it sanded the betraying leap of blood in her veins. She gasped, clutching his waist as he sucked gently and then bent her head the other way so that he could pay equal homage to the opposite pulse. Only then when he had tasted her thoroughly did he seek out her mouth, murmuring thickly with satisfaction as she carried out her mental threat and sank her white teeth sighingly into the satiny curve of his lower lip. The masculine flavour of him exploded through her senses and Elizabeth didn’t realise how rough and uncontrolled she had become until she tasted the salt in her mouth and realised what she had done.
She stilled, a wild warmth flushing her body as she registered the hardness nestling against her heels that was not his thigh. Her toes curled involuntarily, scrunching the dark fabric covering his inner thigh as she realised that he was not the cool, controlled tormentor of her frightened imagination, that he was as aroused by the game she had instigated as she had been…perhaps more so. Suddenly her misplaced confidence came rushing back. If she was trapped then so was he—far more obviously so. Why, he was practically seducing himself. This was going to be like taking candy from a baby!
He didn’t taste any different, only better, the flavour of him melting over her tongue, the first sip only exacerbating the hunger that drove her to wind both arms around his neck and twist her mouth under his, needing the co-operation that was strangely lacking. Oh, God, was her desperate eagerness turning him off? She tensed as the old feeling of shame impinged on her consciousness. As if her wavering doubt communicated itself to him Jack suddenly threw off his passiveness and took full command of the intimate embrace, his hand cupping her jaw as he plunged his tongue into her mouth, biting and sucking at the soft innermost recesses with a gentle savagery that utterly shattered her former notions of what a kiss could be.
‘Oh, don’t-‘ she begged, as his marvellous hands moved away again and hovered, as if he was wondering what part of her to torture with pleasure next. She put her hands on his shoulders, feeling them thicken and bunch as she unconsciously guided him. ‘Don’t what? Do this?’ This time his finger hooked into the indiscreet slit in the centre of her bodice and created a wicked tension as he pulled, lifting her towards him. He bent and inhaled the fragrant heat that rose from between her breasts. Her eyes closed, her head fell back and his murmur was like tearing silk in her ears. ‘Tell me… tell me everything you like, Eliza-Beth, every wish, every fantasy and I’ll give it to you… all of it… anything, everything you want…’
‘I don’t… I want—’ Her mind struggled to reassert its ascendancy over the tumultuous revolution of her body, capable only of dealing in the simplest of one-syllable concepts. ‘Time…’ His breath was exquisitely damp and hot on her swollen nipple. ‘Time?’ The temptation to deny her brief return to sanity was almost overwhelming. The need for that moist, intimate caress was excruciatingly intense. ‘I.. .yes.’ ‘Time for what?’ ‘I—I don’t remember…’ Opening her eyes had been a mistake. He filled her vision, rearing over her—big, powerful, starkly aroused, his face raw with disbelief and a smouldering sexual anger. He was wild for her, she realised achingly, tenderly, and in a way that Ryan had never been. She would never compare the two men again.
As his fingers wrenched at the concealed zip in the side of her dress, Jack forced her to meet his hotly arrogant gaze. ‘Yes?’ She blazed her answer at him. Even to ask was an unendurable delay. ‘Yes, oh, yes…’ She raged like a storm in his arms, one that he rode in a triumphant frenzy of desire, tearing off their clothes as his body melted into hers, his groans and wild, erotic urgings spurring her further, faster, deeper towards the heart of the whirlwind that had turbulently engulfed them both. The first convulsive paroxysm of pleasure barely checked his extravagant pace as he pursued her from peak to peak until she cried out in an ecstasy of exhaustion.
‘No one’s ever seen me wearing it,’ she said, instinctively defending herself against the threat of that silky murmur. ‘I always wear something high-necked if I put it on…’ ‘But it’s still there around your neck. Still being worn.’ He lifted his head suddenly, his eyes catching the light, and she shivered at the predatory satisfaction that was starkly revealed there, as if he were a hawk brooding over a fresh kill. ‘I want to see it,’ he demanded. Her fist clenched over her chest. ‘You can’t have it, not here. I’ll have to unzip my dress to get it off—’ ‘I don’t want you to take it off. I want to see you wearing it.’
‘Show me,’ he commanded, and stood, legs planted astride, hands hanging loosely at his sides, the picture of a relaxed man prepared to explode into violent motion at a moment’s notice. Automatically Elizabeth turned away from the powerful image of daunting male arrogance and her eyes took in what her mind had subconsciously registered even before the light had been switched on. Not her bedroom. His. He had brought her to his room, his territory… his rules.
Elizabeth had naively thought she knew him as a lover. Now he showed her that she was wrong, that she didn’t know him at all. He curbed and channelled her eagerness with a ruthless strength and a single-minded purpose that heightened her arousal until just the touch of his mouth brushing across her skin was an unbelievable delight, moving languidly on her, over her, in her, until she couldn’t contain the building sensation any longer and exploded in an agony of pleasure, rising and falling feverishly beneath him until he grasped her by the hips and pinned her deep into the soft mattress in a powerful, bucking spasm that arched him like a bow and released him into soaring flight with a savage shout of victory.
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!
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.