Review: Don’t Kiss the Bride by Carian Cole

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Jude Lucketti
Heroine: Skylar
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 31, 2021
Started On: March 15, 2021
Finished On: March 17, 2021

Carian Cole is a new to me author that I found through my Kindle Unlimited recommendations. Being the huge fan of May-December romance tropes that I am, Don’t Kiss the Bride seemed to be right up my alley, with a marriage of convenience theme in the mix.

18 year old Skylar who is going through her last year of high school, is someone who has it tougher than most in life. Skylar makes ends meet by working after school and suffers from an eating disorder brought on by neglect. Her father having left Skylar and her mother to their own devices, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to even taking care of her own health, both physical and mental.

As luck would have it, Skylar’s run in with 34 year old Jude “Lucky” Lucketti brings her the fortune of a lifetime. Jude, a sexy, broody construction worker, from the first time he meets Skylar, there is something about her that tugs at his heartstrings and makes him want to protect her. When Jude becomes privy to the extent of Skylar’s plight at home, he offers the seemingly perfect solution: to enter into a marriage on paper only, so that Skylar would be under his care which would get her the help that she needs. They would just be roommates or rather housemates, nothing more, nothing less.

Jude himself comes from a broken family, his father having left their home when he was seventeen. Jude blames himself for the black hole into which he had sunk at that point, running around with the wrong sort of crowd and losing his way. He blames himself for how his sister went missing and it is perhaps one of the reasons why he is so driven to help Skylar by moving her into a better environment where she could recover in peace.

What Jude does not factor into the equation is how he is drawn to Skylar on a level that would be frowned upon by many and shunned by society at large. The fact that Skylar seems to be drawn to him just as much only makes him more determined to stay firm and true to his original plans when they initially said their I do’s. But fate has a way of bringing two halves of one soul together and there is no fighting the tide when the need is as ferocious as the waves that break ashore during the violence of a summer’s storm.

I loved this story for so many reasons. Carian Cole’s writing is beautiful and draws the reader in like an old friend whom you have come to call on after years. Within the pages you find the comfort of the words spoken by that friend, which both ravages and soothes your inner being.

I loved Jude in all his glory. He is charming, sexy, broody, and kindness itself when it comes right down to it. Haunted by his sister’s memories, Jude is someone who is torn between being the platonic husband on paper only to being Skylar’s husband in its truest form. The struggle is only too real when the desire between them pushes all his buttons. Once they give in, there is no stopping where it takes them in their relationship, as fragile as the bond maybe when they start out. When Jude’s past comes calling, it is then and only then the reader is exposed to the darker elements of Jude’s soul which I absolutely loved!

I loved Skylar; who wouldn’t? She is a survivor amidst everything else. She is strong, beautiful on the inside and out, and an old soul at that. She finds affinity with Jude on many levels, desires to be his above everything else, and is willing to understand that the lifeline he offers is the only way she can get herself onto the road of recovery. When Skylar embraced the darkness within Jude, that was when I knew that they would be able to weather any storm that may come their way.

I admired the fact that Ms. Cole did not make light of the recovery of the mental health aspects explored in the story. Skylar’s mother was beyond help – her husband had tried and so had Skylar. There is a point at which those around you can no longer offer you the help you need; when you refuse to acknowledge the need for that help. That is a message that we all need to understand as the world increasingly battles with rising numbers of mental health patients.

Getting over mental health issues is a tough and lonesome journey for the one that suffers from it – no matter how much those who love you may surround you, there would always be aspects of it that you would have to suffer through on your own. Which is why I found Ms. Cole’s take on Skylar’s journey to recovery something I could relate to – there was no magic pill nor therapy session which was the hallelujah moment – but rather it was a process as it should rightfully be. There were triggers which made it difficult for Skylar to push past her fears and those were the moments Jude’s understanding mattered the most, and I loved Jude for being sensitive a soul enough to know when those moments presented themselves.

Society would judge the relationship between Skylar and Jude to be an uneven one; after all, Jude is the one who has the financial independence that allows him to look after Skylar. He is also the mature adult in society’s modern definition, and it was with sensitivity that Ms. Cole handled those aspects of the novel as the story progressed. I found the relationship between Skylar and Jude evening out as Skylar came to her own self when she started to make progress in her recovery. The fact that she is as fiercely protective of him as he is of her made my heart full in ways I cannot express.

During one of Skylar’s inner monologues regarding Jude, she thinks along the following lines, “I’m captivated by the hard and soft sides of him—rough in just the right moments, but so incredibly gentle in the perfect moments, too. Jude may not talk much, but his touch speaks a thousand words.” I was right there with Skylar and found myself nodding along with her sentiments of who Jude is. I don’t think I can sum up his character better even if I tried.

Highly recommended for fans of Carian Cole, those who love age gap romances, marriages of convenience, and heroes whose contrasting sides makes you melt on the inside.

Final Verdict: Don’t Kiss the Bride carries such a surprising mix of sweet tenderness with darkness of the kind that speaks to your heart!

Favorite Quotes

I put my hands on his chest and slide them up to his shoulders. As he bends toward me, I close my eyes and lift one of my feet up into that flirty flamingo pose we see in movies.
Our lips touch softly, until he tilts his mouth over mine, capturing my lips with his. A barely audible gasp escapes me and he inhales it with a slow, sensual suck of breath. His hand squeezes my cheek, and then he pulls away, slowly dragging his thumb across my jawline before he turns to Carol and walks off to speak to her.

Neither one of us makes an effort to move. We stay there, quietly breathing together. Our entwined fingers slowly dance against each other. Hers long, soft and thin. Mine thick and calloused.
Resistance crumbles, and I turn toward her face, just inches from mine.
I don’t know who kissed who. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was her.
Doesn’t matter, because my mouth is on hers when it shouldn’t be. But fuck, her lips are soft and sweet, and I can’t resist one more taste of her.

“Is that what you want?” His lips touch my nose, then wait, hovering just a breath away.
I nod as we breathe against each other. “Yes.”
My answer is a subtle invitation. If he chooses to accept it, then any touching or kissing from this point forward won’t be an oops or an accident.
It’ll be a conscious choice. A decision we made together right here on my bed.
Fisting my hair, he gently pulls my head back, angling my neck up toward him. My eyes fall closed as he presses his lips to my throat and holds them there, warm and soft, before lightly sucking. My breath catches when he slowly drags his mouth up to briefly touch mine—whisper soft and gentle—before lifting up and bringing his lips back down to the base of my throat. Open-mouthed, teeth grazing.

When I reach for his pants, he nudges my hand away.
“No,” he whispers with his mouth against my ear and his fingers buried inside me. “Tonight, I just want to fuckin’ devour you.”
In a blink, he disappears under the blanket and quickly lowers my sweatpants. His mouth joins his hand between my thighs. His tongue laps at my throbbing clit, his lips cover me, so warm and wet.
I turn into a quivering, wet, orgasmic, lovesick mess.
Closing my eyes, I let go of everything, cling to him, and let myself get lost in us.

“Kiss me,” she whispers, pulling on the chain of my necklace.
I can’t resist anymore.
Grabbing her waist with my free hand, I pull her hard against my body and crush my lips down on hers. Her gasp of surprise fuels the fire she’s already stoked with her inviting touches and perfect words. I move my hand over the curve of her ass and down to the back of her bare thigh, lifting her until she hops up and wraps her legs around my waist.
Kissing wildly, I kick the bedroom door shut with my foot, then push her back up against it. Breathless, she snakes her arms around my neck.

Effortlessly, he lifts me up and lays me down on top of his puffy charcoal comforter. I lie back and watch him as he removes my shoes, then stands between my legs as he unzips my shorts and tugs them down, along with my panties.
“I think I just want to stand here and look at you all night,” he says, inching his hand languidly up my thigh like he’s got all the time in the world. His eyes sweep over me and he gives his head a little shake. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”
I peek at him through my lashes. “I could say the same about you.”

“Touch me,” he says, his voice hoarse with desire.
I stroke him slowly, gripping him in my palm and caressing the hot, damp tip. His head bows down, his hair falls over his face, his eyes close. My heart swells with adoration and lust for him. Leaning forward, I put my lips against his flat stomach. His ab muscles flutter deliciously as I rain a slow trail of kisses from hip to hip. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning, getting an amazing gift in the form of sexy tats and an incredible body all wrapped up with a big red bow of sweetness on top. He groans and grabs my shoulders, pulling me up to meet his lips, kissing me with such hunger I can’t breathe
.

“I want you,” I whisper with my lips against his ear.
“You’ve got me,” he whispers back.
The tear of the foil packet permeates the silence of the dim room, and a few seconds later his hands are on my outer thighs, his fingers digging roughly into my flesh. He pulls me closer and thrusts into me balls deep, stretching me to take his full length. I let out a gasp that’s half-pain and half-pleasure. I don’t even care that it hurts a little, because watching him lose himself inside me is like watching art come to life. The way his tattoos, shiny with sweat, flex with his muscles. The way his long hair flies around his head with every thrust. The rivulets of sweat dripping down the center of his chest. The bite of his teeth into his lower lip as he drives into me.
Pure. Hotness.

“Don’t mess with me, Skylar. You’re not gonna like it if I put my hands on you like this.”
I reach up and touch his cheek, running my finger over the dark stubble. He stares at me through half-closed, dark eyes.
“Try me,” I whisper.
Without wavering, I hold his gaze. Whatever he needs right now—I’ll do it. I’ll be it. He’s been my rock since the day we met—never wanting or expecting a thing in return. He’s not drowning his feelings in the bottom of a bottle on my watch.
Suddenly, his hand flies up and grabs the back of my neck, pulling me hard to meet his lips. He kisses me ferociously, his tongue carrying the bite of whiskey. He palms my breast, twisting, pinching, and tugging my nipple between his fingers until I cry out.

“I don’t want you looking at me.” The anguish and self-hatred in his voice and in his eyes rip my heart in two.
Turning on my side, I reach for him, wanting to kiss all the hurt away. “Lucky—”
“Do it or get the fuck out.”
With a quiet nod, I flip back over onto my stomach, and he grabs my hips, pulling me up onto all fours and yanking me back to meet him at the edge of the bed. His hands grip my waist and he drives into me hard, fast, and unforgiving. Moaning his name, I clutch the comforter in my hands, head down, as he slams into me, his balls slapping against my wet pussy with each pounding descent. I’ve never had sex from behind, and it’s painfully primal but so intensely erotic. I don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud of myself for enjoying the raw, animalistic sensuality of it.
And him.

When I arch my back, pushing to meet his thrusts, my walls clench around him again and again as wave after wave of orgasm rolls through me. As I’m reeling from the last of the lingering shudders, I cry out when he suddenly pulls his cock out and pushes me flat down, covering my entire body with his. The length of his stiff shaft wedges between my ass cheeks and spurts hot cum onto my lower back. He bows his head down into my neck and kisses my shoulder blade, biting my flesh and panting heavily, whispering words like wet and tight and so fuckin’ perfect. A shiver of ecstasy cascades down my spine. He stays there for a long time, with his sweaty chest pressed against my back, and I revel in being entirely enveloped by him, trapped in his powerful embrace.

My head falls back against his shoulder and I turn to kiss his neck, nipping at him with my teeth. Water splashes as his hand dives between my thighs like a shark. Two thick fingers zero in on my G-spot, curving upward with precision and rubbing rhythmically. Whimpering, I grip the sides of the tub to steady myself as I rock back and forth, thrusting up into his hand, then back against the ridge of his cock.
He grasps the side of my face and turns me to him. Our lips clash, breathless and needy. He crosses his legs over mine, pinning me down. My body is buzzing, my hips rolling up and down, back and forth. The tip of his thick cock pushes between my ass cheeks, nudging my pulsing entry.

He untangles his legs from mine, grabs me beneath my knees, and bends each of my legs up over the edge of the tub, spreading me wide over him. I grasp the slippery sides of the porcelain as he lifts me by my hips, positions me over his cock, then lowers me down onto him.
“Holy shit,” I gasp as he spears my pussy hard and deep.
Cupping my ass with one hand, he guides me up and down his shaft while his other hand reaches between my thighs, circling and lightly slapping my clit.
I feel his lips on my wet back, kissing a trail up my spine to the curve of my neck. His breath is ragged, matching mine, as we move faster and harder, splashing hot water around us in waves as my body plunges deliciously down onto his.

Grabbing her throat, I pull her up to me and kiss her deep, delving my tongue into her mouth until I own her every breath. She pants against my mouth with her small hands splayed across my hips.
I pull out almost completely, and she gasps in frustration. Resting the tip of my cock against her entry, I cup her face in my hands and kiss her lips softly, then pull away, hovering just millimeters from her mouth. Slowly, I push into her just a fraction. Her wet lips envelope me, deliciously tight and hot.
“Give it to me,” she begs.
“Look at me,” I whisper. She opens her eyes and stares into mine, and I watch her eyelids flutter half-closed when I feed my cock into her inch by inch. She looks so fucking beautiful and sensual, it takes all my self-control not to cum instantly.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo

Review: Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Dr. Matthew C. Russell
Heroine: Bailey Anne Jennings
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 06, 2018
Started On: December 05, 2020
Finished On: December 11, 2020

26 year old Bailey Anne Jennings is a surgical assistant at the New England Medical Centre, going on five years. Having become the guardian of her now 14 year old sister Josie from six years back, Bailey’s life pretty much revolves around her job and taking care of Josie and staying afloat while at it. Dating, having fun, being carefree, dreaming of marriage and a happily ever after; all of that flew out the door when Josie came into Bailey’s life, turning her into a single-mother of sorts overnight.

Dr. Matthew C. Russell is a surgeon who requires exemplary performance from his team. His reputation is not the best as a colleague and/or a boss, but when it comes to being a doctor, his name is spoken with the awe and reverence it deserves. When Bailey’s boss retires and wants her to work with Dr. Russell, Bailey knows it is going to be tough standing next to the one man who has managed to stir her dormant interests as a woman, without her even realizing it.

But working for Matt proves to be harder than she bargained for, and it is when she stands her ground and goes head to head with him that Bailey starts to understand the man underneath all that cool fire. The attraction that flares to life between them singes, the heart and warmth that develops speaks to you on an emotional level. But when Matt’s dreams and ambitions comes calling and stands in the way of their burgeoning relationship, it will take a lot of soul searching and understanding on both ends to cross that hurdle and come out as winners together.

I loved my very first R.S. Grey and am delighted that I decided to give this a go. Ms. Grey’s writing is crisp and snarky, while at the same time, delivering heat of the kind that just warms you from the inside out. Both protagonists were so easy to fall in love with, alongside with Josie who was such a delight! Her mischievousness definitely made her a favorite of mine.

I enjoyed wholeheartedly the thread of humor that was interwoven into the story. Even during those moments you don’t really think you would laugh out loud, I found myself snorting to something Bailey was thinking and/or saying, or something that Josie says that is outrageous enough to raise eyebrows.

I loved the intense connection between Dr. Russell and Bailey – I felt like I was swept away on their journey, feeling everything that Bailey was with Dr. McHotshot (the Greys Anatomy-ish name that she dubs him with). I appreciated the maturity of both Bailey and Matt; the angst factor in the story does not emerge due to their pettiness or lack of communication with one another, but rather because of the complexity of the emotion that is called love.

I also appreciated the realistic portrayal of the medical setting at the hospital. The focus on Matt and his zeal for helping the most vulnerable was one I admired. Bailey’s ambitions and the role she plays is not to be overlooked either. Reading about Matt’s previous marriage, how his ex-wife sees him, and the difference when it comes to Bailey’s perception of him – all of that played a crucial role in shaping my opinion of Matt and how in Bailey he has found his ideal partner for life.

Recommended for those who love opposites attract stories & romances in medical settings – Dr. Russell has the take charge attitude which makes him a swoon-worthy hero! I will definitely be reading more of R.S. Grey in the future!

Final Verdict: Dr. McHotshot meets his match in his new surgical assistant, who makes his head and senses whirl with emotions of the baser and tender variety, leading the reader on an unforgettable journey!

Favorite Quotes

“Bailey,” he says, reaching out to hook his finger underneath my chin. He tips my head up just a bit so my mouth is lifted to his.
I’m a shaking ball of anxiety at what he’s about to do. He can’t kiss me again. I’m still coming apart at the seams after the first one.
“I’d kiss you right now if I could.” My chest is heaving as he continues speaking. No amount of air is enough air. “I’d bend down, just like this—”
His mouth hovers over mine. I feel the barest touch of his lips. Every hair on my body stands on end. My hands reach back and grip the metal shelf because without it, I feel like I’ll f
loat away.

“Kiss me,” he pleads, his hands sliding around me, hauling me up against him so there’s no space left between us. “Bailey…kiss me.”
The words are as effective as a puppeteer’s strings. The longing in his tone breaks the final chains straining around my heart. His parted lips find mine again and this time, I’m not frozen. I’m a woman taking exactly what she wants. I moan with hot need, tangling one hand in the thick hair at the base of his neck at the same moment my mouth opens and my tongue teases his. I kiss him with a hurried fervor, suddenly too anxious for this. I kiss him with all the desire I’ve foolishly tried to repress, every bit of longing that’s built up over the last few weeks
.

We kiss until my lips are sore, until I have to break away and gasp for breath, until I feel lightheaded and dizzy with need. If I had a bottle of water within reach, I’d dump it on my head. Everywhere he touches, it feels like he’s dragging a flame across my skin. It sears. It ignites. It turns me on to the point of clothes-tearing, nails-dragging, teeth-biting insanity.
My hands are on his suit pants and I’m fumbling with the button, like gimme, gimme, gimme.
I want him to push me up against this wall and end my three-year dry spell. I want to finally know what it feels like to have Matt drive into me and lose control, rock his hips against mine and…I’m sayin
g all of this to him.

“I want you,” I demand sharply, sounding nearly possessed with need, but he’s the one thinking clearly, because he shakes his head and uses the pad of his thumb to swirl in the exact spot that makes my toes curl and my eyes pinch closed.
Those first few waves of pleasure start to crest, but he staves them off, working me up even more before his thumb returns, swirling just slowly enough to put me in a straitjacket.
“There’s not time,” he insists, his voice velvety and commanding before he quiets my protests with his mouth. His teeth bite my lip and he’s a little rough, but then I knew he would be. That softness he hides from the world is lost in this moment too.

He wraps his hands around my hips and pushes me toward my small bed. There’s no use trying to keep up with his deft movements. We’re backing up at the same time his hands slide into my panties and cup my ass. He uses his grip to bring me against him and his hard length grinds into me. I can feel him through his pants. I know how patiently he’s waited. For hours—weeks.
He whispers against the shell of my ear, telling me how badly he wants to feel me wrapped around him.
His hips roll and my eyes pinch closed. There are still layers of clothes between us, but the sparks are there, warning me. I don’t want to come like this, just from his hips grinding against mine.

My panties are tugged off and thank God he’s quick with the condom he pulls out of his wallet because I’m dying a slow death as he settles himself back between my thighs and thrusts into me…slowly…slowly…and then all at once. A moan rips through me as I finally orgasm just from that one, hard thrust. Fireworks dance behind my closed eyes and Matt’s mouth crashes against mine. His kiss is painful and biting and he’s angry at me for breaking my promise to stay quiet. He punishes me when he thrusts harder again and again. I wish I could tell him I’m not in control. My body is his, these limbs and mouth and that delicious spot in the center of my thighs are his to do with as he pleases. I wish I could tell him this is no punishment. This is a gift.

He bends and kisses me languidly, teasingly. My tongue rolls with his and he moves his hand between my thighs. I wish I could say I put in a good effort fighting off that second orgasm, but the truth is that after only a few hours, Matt knows my body too well. His thumb swirls in time with his thrusts and I’m shattered. I can’t take another. “I’ll die,” I tell him.
He laughs huskily and drops his mouth to my breast, taking the tip into his mouth. It’s his answer, and it’s every bit as confident as him blatantly replying, Oh yes you will. Now come.
I do, and this time, I manage to stay as quiet as a church mouse, mostly because I’m so preoccupied with watching Matt lose himself.

“Bailey.”
He sounds hoarse, and there’s a deep crease between his brows.
My hands fist the front of his shirt and I’m up on my toes, eyelids fluttering shut as his mouth descends on mine.
Our kiss is slow and gentle, a testing of waters. I’m the one to increase the tempo. “I need this,” I beg breathily, and Matt delivers. My knees buckle as the kiss intensifies. Our tongues touch and there’s a flutter in my stomach. I have a need only Matt can satisfy with his big hands and his impatient growl. I’m lifted up off my feet again and carried to his couch.
God, we have so much to talk about, but even more than that, we have moments to make up for.

His mouth crashes down onto mine as I start to shake. Over and over again, sparks of pleasure shoot through me and my orgasm becomes his and he’s right there with me, coming hard and kissing me to the point of pain.
For every moan we stifle, we take it out on each other with our hands and our mouths and his hips grinding me into the leather couch. I’m sweating and breathing hard as I flutter my eyes open and find myself back in Matt’s office.
At work.
In the middle of the day.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Apple Books

Review: All the Missing Pieces by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Chris Sherwood
Heroine: Reese Charlotte Carlisle
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 21, 2020
Started On: December 04, 2020
Finished On: December 05, 2020

28 year old Reese Charlotte Carlisle lives a life mostly in seclusion, ever since her life had changed so drastically upon the scandal that had broken her family apart. With her father in jail, her brother no more, Reese is all alone in the world and she prefers the anonymity her current life affords her. The only voice she allows herself is the meaningless one night stands she engages in on occasion, assuming different identities that suits her when the mood strikes.

On the fateful night she comes across Chris Sherwood, Reese is Denise, a dental assistant who is divorced and loves dogs. Something about Chris shakes her up in a way she does not like, and even though she thinks that she got away scot-free, that is hardly the case.

Before Reese knows it, Chris worms his way into her life and by the time she realizes the blunder she has made, it is too late to walk away unscathed. It is then Reese is forced to face the past she put on the back burner and truly assess what her father had done, putting her at risk and at the mercy of those who may not think twice about putting her in harms way.

All the Missing Pieces is romantic suspense at its finest – the first novel of its kind by Ms. Keyes. I have enormously enjoyed Ms. Keyes’ writing in her contemporary novels such as Time Served and Going the Distance. While her Burnham College series and other young adult novels have been a hit or miss with me, this novel I tell you, hits all those spots and then some.

The brilliance of Ms. Keyes as a writer explodes unto the pages with All The Missing Pieces, and the story clawed its way into my heart from the very start. The Julianna Keyes that I fell in love with when I first stumbled upon Time Served, which resulted in me quickly catching up with her entire backlist of published works, echoes with every single word in the story. Her writing has become more refined and forceful in a way that readers will definitely take notice of in this novel.

All The Missing Pieces is entirely written in the first person from Reese’s point of view. Rather than making the reader feel as if they are losing out on essential details, it somehow adds to the lure the story presents. What I loved most about the novel is that there is no repetition, no tiresome inner monologues, no rehashing details to death in the lengthy read that this turned out to be. I loved the fact that with this novel, Ms. Keyes has let her creativity take her to places where she might never have gone otherwise. I loved the fact that she has created a character that you can root for amidst everything that was happening.

The ending when it finally came, seemed fitting. Some readers however may not like Chris for what he does, but I understood where he was coming from, and it made the connection between Reese and himself all that more meaningful given the history. A brand new start with the man who forced his way into Reese’s life and forged that connection initially based on lies and half truths, coming to her finally as who he is, with no secrets between them was poetic to me.

The most brilliant aspect to the story is how Reese’s character evolves throughout – from the spoiled rich girl to the woman who is on the run from life itself, to becoming the stronger version of who she can be, while tending to the broken girl within, who died a brutal death in the wake of the truth behind her father’s actual treachery.

Never let it be said that authors venturing into new sub genres is a bad thing. Ms. Keyes has proven her talent in weaving a story that stands out amidst everything else. Recommended for fans of romantic suspense!

Final Verdict: With All the Missing Pieces, Ms. Keyes proves her mettle as a writer and her mastery when it comes to shifting through different sub-genres in the world of romance!

Favorite Quotes

“Still think you want this?” he murmurs.
“Let’s find out.”
The last thing I see is the tiny quirk of his mouth before he kisses me. There’s nothing soft or sweet or searching about the way he kisses, and it’s a relief. It says he gets it. He gets that this is one night only, we’re not soul searching, we’re not bonding, we’re not falling in love. This isn’t a getting-to-know-you type of fuck. Th
is is getting-off-and-getting-gone.

I scrape my nails up so I can anchor us together, using him for balance as I slip my other hand between us, feeling the soft rub of the denim, the smooth cotton of his briefs, then, finally, him.
He hisses when I grip him roughly, tugging hard, punishment for making me wait. He gets the hint and pushes two fingers into my panties, tormenting me.
“Do it,” I order. “Hurry.”
He buries his face in the side of my neck, and I feel his lips on the delicate skin, his teeth, the suction. He’s going to leave a mark.

He moves harder. Faster. He plants a forearm next to my head. I can smell him; sweat and laundry detergent. No expensive cologne, no hair products. His five o’clock shadow scrapes my cheek and I wince, but I don’t complain. I just feel it.
He kisses me, messy and unfocused. He seems like the kind of man who should be out here, who does things earthy and raw, who has dirt under his nails and knows how to change a tire and fuck a woman and not ask too many questions.
I wonder who he thinks I am.
The question makes me explode.

There was a time I loved attention. I wanted my picture on every cover, every website. I didn’t care what they said, as long as they said something. Now I don’t want to be seen. I want to be forgotten, ignored, uncared for. And for a long time, I’ve gotten my wish.
A feeling comes over me, one that has nothing to do with sex. One I try and fail to fight. I do my best to keep my eyes on his hand but they rise of their own accord, locking on his in the glass. He’s watching. He’s everywhere.
I shatter. I cry out and clutch at him, and he catches me when my knees give way. Everything inside me is lurching and convulsing in endless, artless waves of pleasure.

He doesn’t make me wait this time, urging my thighs apart so he can have better access. He can have everything right now. Absolutely everything.
Chris does this the way he does everything else, with his own brand of slow and steady and rough and sure. I’m melting so fast I have to lean back to brace myself against the dresser, arching my hips to his face. He doesn’t ease up when I’m moaning and shaking, my stomach flexing, one hand clutching his hair, making sure this doesn’t end until it has to. Until I can’t take it anymore. Until I’m covering my mouth to stifle sounds I’ve never heard before.

I kiss him like there’s a chance everything will be okay, like it’s possible. He doesn’t know this kiss is a goodbye and an apology. He doesn’t know that with every second I’m promising myself I’ll stop, even when my panties are gone and he’s pushing inside and I’m so ready for him.
“Reese,” he mutters, the words slipping through my hair, warm against my scalp. He threads his fingers through mine and rocks his hips, making me shudder. The pressure of him is wonderful, but it’s my name on his lips that does it for me, that feels better than anything else ever could. He tells me to keep my eyes open and this time I do. When he looks back on this moment, I want him to know it was as real as I could allow it to be.

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

Review: Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Act Your Age, #1
Publisher: BookBaby
Hero: Tyler Henderson
Heroine: Katie May McGrath
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 27, 2017
Started On: October 31, 2020
Finished On: November 12, 2020

Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield is a romance that takes a deep dive into the psychology behind the need for kink and why some, more than the rest of us are drawn towards it, need it in a way that they are rendered incomplete without it. The story features many tropes that excites me as a reader of romance such as the huge age gap between the main protagonists and the fact that the hero is as grumpy and taciturn as they come, not to mention he is her boss, she his employee.

Combining all of the above tropes, needless to say, my first Eve Dangerfield certainly did not disappoint. 45 year old Tyler Henderson is a man steeped in misery in the wake of his fiancé’s departure from his life. Time certainly has not done its intended job all that well, and even though Tyler would rather chew his arm off than admit to the fact that 25 year old Katie May McGrath, the youngest and only female engineer at the company pushes all his buttons and then some sexually, Tyler is determined that he steer clear of Katie.

However, fate has other plans for these two, as one work trip is all it takes for the blinds to come off and for both of them to understand that the sexual heat and sizzle between the two is not the kind one walks away from, not to mention the fact that in each other lies the answer to their deepest and darkest desires.

Katie had grown up knowing that while she might be young and inexperienced, that in her mind lies the filthiest of fantasies where the man dominates her sexual escapades. Which means she automatically gravitates towards men like Tyler who cannot be bothered to give her the time of day, and goes as far as to completely ignore the fact that she actually does exist.

Tyler on the other hand, while older and definitely more experienced in appeasing his needs, finds himself at a loss as to explain to his partners, just why daddy-kink in particular appeals to him. For the young adult he had been (eons back), it had been a painful journey, but he had more less believed that his fiancé was it for him, until she had decided that he wasn’t it for her.

When Katie and Tyler embarks on their affair, it is with rules in place which each swears to respect, but then again, with heat that scorches the sheets and each answering the need that has festered in both of them for years, it is only natural that emotions would get involved in the process, even if especially Tyler is not ready to walk down that road again.

Keeping Katie from engulfing him altogether is how Tyler believes he is keeping his sanity intact, when in fact, the direction in which they are headed is bound to end up hurting each other. There was much angst towards the end of the story, which made this book the emotionally swell read it was.

Act Your Age was such a marvelous romance because the story does not just give us kink alongside with laughter and feel good times, but it also allows the reader to peep through to the deeper psychological need behind it, which all lies in the fact that we are all inherently different from one another. Our experiences as we grow up, our DNA itself perhaps contributes towards the way our brains are wired to work in terms of pleasure, pain, and release. Ms. Dangerfield certainly does make one think when you start on the journey alongside with Tyler and Katie, and usually, when you pick up a romance that is pretty much erotic by all means, one seldom believes they would be doing much thinking along the way.

While Ms. Dangerfield’s voice is one that is totally new to me, I felt right at home and at ease with the way the words just flowed, the emotional angst and sexual heat just exploded across my senses. Combining mirth with sexual heat is something few authors can pull off, and the fact that Ms. Dangerfield does that so effortlessly wins points from me!

I loved both Katie and Tyler for obvious reasons. Katie who tries to find her footing in life, coming from a large family that never understood her nor the psychological ailment she has suffered all through her life, finds her family in the friends she makes along the way. Tyler obviously being more messed up in his obstinate desire to never give away his heart to anyone else, suffers all the more for it and made my heart melt just like that. And don’t even get me started on the way he takes charge in the bedroom and delivers, oh so beautifully. His hangups in bed and out of it comes from his need to protect his emotions and that was as telling as if he were waving the white flag of surrender from a certain point onward.

Having enjoyed this number immensely, I want to thank Ms. Dangerfield for taking the time to write this lengthy novel, which if cut short would not have been half as good. While I know that there is a second book in the series entitled Not Your Shoe Size which takes place a couple of years down the line, I would have appreciated even a two-pager worth epilogue for this one. After all the emotional wrangling that readers go through to get to the end, an epilogue clinches the deal for the most part.

Absolutely recommended for those who love their smut with a delicious serving of heart and a side of insightful thinking.

Final Verdict: Act Your Age is definitely what the doctor ordered if you like grumpy heroes who makes your panties melt with one searing glance. Daddy-kink lovers; you would love Tyler more than any other!

Favorite Quotes

A moment’s silence, and then, “I gave Professor Sloan my number.”
Ty’s hand froze on the door handle. “Don’t you fucking dare.”
“A lot of guys don’t mind being called ‘daddy.’ Now that I’ve done it once I’m sure I can do it with—”
In a heartbeat Ty had crossed the floor and before he could stop, think or consider, he was kissing her, his lips fusing with hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth. It was like sucking on a sugar cube, the sweetness so pleasurable, every taste demanded the need for more.

Ty’s fingers drew tighter around her clit, compressing the bud so tightly she felt like it might burst. “Yeah, baby?”
“I think I’m gonna come.”
“Good.” He bent down and sank his teeth into her neck, his sweat-slick hips pumping hard and fast. “Come, Middleton, come on Daddy’s big dick.”
It was wrong, hearing her nickname and the word ‘daddy’ in the same sentence but it was wrong in the best of ways. She arched her back and climax rippled out from her in long, shimmering waves. He didn’t stop, so it didn’t stop; her orgasm hummed and throbbed through her like a living thing, and she scratched him and chewed her lip and screamed and screamed and screamed. She was no virgin but she thought this is what sex is. Oh my god, this is what sex is.

They made out in the elevator, Kate not giving a damn about Stephen who was surely watching them at the security deck downstairs. Kate had barely closed her front door before Ty pressed her up against it, tearing off her underwear and fucking her with a ruthlessness she hadn’t felt since their first night together.
She came within minutes, screaming his name as the wheels of her roller skates bashed against the wood. One of Aunty Rhonda’s daguerreotypes fell off the wall and splintered, but Ty didn’t stop, and Kate didn’t care. He came a few minutes later, groaning about what a good whore she was, his lovely girl, h
is beautiful little slut.

Ty kissed her hand. “I don’t want to rush this. I don’t want to pressure you or make you doubt what I wrote on that card.”
“The card was great,” Kate agreed. “But, like, sex?”
He gave her a considering look. As though assessing if she was sober enough to drive. “I can kiss you again if you like?”
“What the…no!” Kate ducked under his arms and relaunched herself at his face. Ty put up a token resistance, but within seconds they were making out like teenagers. Kate slung a leg over his hips, determined to get him so wound up he wouldn’t think about saying no. She’d barely straddled him before Ty’s hands were buried in her hair, pulling it taut in his fist. “You’re a bad fucking girl, aren’t you?”
Kate smiled. Hearing him call her that alongside a sting of pain was like a chorus of angels serenading her right in the ear. Loving, respectful Ty was great, but filthy, punishing Ty was the one she wanted right now.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Phenomenal Fate, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Jonas Cantrell
Heroine: Ginny Lynn
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 17, 2020
Started On: June 20, 2020
Finished On: June 21, 2020

Reborn Yesterday is Ms. Bailey trying her hand at a new sub-genre in romance. I have to say that Ms. Bailey takes to this change exceptionally well, crafting characters that are to die-for and bringing to the forefront a love that knows not the bounds of time nor reason. The debut book in the Phenomenal Fate series, Reborn Yesterday is beguiling in the way it is told, with Ms. Bailey’s talent in delivering panty-drenching sex scenes enmeshed deeply within the story that unfolds.

25 year old Ginny Lynn is the funeral home director at P. Lynn Funeral Home in Coney Island. It is through her job that she “meets” Jonas Cantrell; the extraordinarily handsome deceased man ending up on her embalming table. When Jonas “wakes up”, it is to find himself at the receiving end of a joke that his friends play on him every birthday, with this year’s prank changing the course of his life in a way that he never saw coming.

Humans are not supposed to know of the existence of the likes of Jonas, vampires who hug the shadows of the night close to them. For the most part, Jonas has never had trouble walking away from a human, wiping their memories of him when it comes to that crucial moment. However, with Ginny, none it works the way he plans it, and before he knows it, Ginny is in his life; his to love, his to protect, his to call mate for life.

Romance readers who have ventured into the urban-fantasy genre or read paranormal romances must have gone through their fair share of worlds built around vampires, ghouls, angels, and whatnot. Ms. Bailey’s take on the vampire world carries itself differently, though the basics of vampirism itself remains the more or less the same. I found myself totally enchanted and intrigued, and I loved every single second of being part of the journey that was Jonas and Ginny’s towards their happily ever after.

I loved Jonas – no questions about it. I fell head over heels in love with both protagonists early on in the story and there was no looking back for me. Jonas has a savagery to him that is tamped down, and yet at the same time, there is nothing he would not do, no stone that he would leave unturned, if harm were to befall his one and only.

At the same time, Ginny, who is thrust into a world she is clueless about, having never led a life of excitement up till that point, finds herself drawn to the danger and thrill of it all, her fate being entwined with that of Jonas from the beginning. If I had to use one word to describe this book I would choose the word exquisite; Reborn Yesterday had everything going for it in all the ways it matters.

Recommended for fans of Tessa Bailey, fans of vampire romances, and fans of romances in general. This was beautifully delivered from start to finish.

Final Verdict: There is a tender savagery to Reborn Yesterday that is in direct contrast with and yet meshes well with what Ms. Bailey delivers in the new sub-genre of romance she has taken to writing like a fish to water. Keep em’ coming Ms. Bailey!

Favorite Quotes

Their tongues greeted each other like star-crossed lovers, demanding and bereft over their separation. Ginny’s eyes flew open to find the same wonder blazing in Jonas’s, before his lids drooped along with hers, the kiss taking over, sensations making demands and hunger sinking in its claws.
At the next slide of their tongues, Ginny’s knees drew up involuntarily and Jonas rolled forward with a growl, locking their lower bodies together. Pressing. Straining. The vast difference in their strength was obvious. As it was also obvious that he tried valiantly to hold his in check, his body shaking with the effort.
Unfortunately, Ginny’s body couldn’t seem to stop tempting that inhuman strength. Her inner thighs rode up and down his hips and thighs, sobs catching in her throat, releasing into his hot, seeking mouth. Lord, his mouth. It was at once skilled and frantic, like he knew damn well what he was about, but couldn’t keep up with the onslaught of lust.
Yes. God, this was lust.

Their hands wrestled above her head, only to be pinned by Jonas. His hips rocked, the hard ridge of his sex riding to the start of her feminine flesh—and pressing down. Right there. Even through the material of her dress, she caught enough friction to cry out—and the threadbare sound did something to Jonas.
He leaned harder into the kiss, befuddling her senses with long, sensual slants of hard lips over soft, animal groans kindling in his strong chest, his fingers locked so tightly with Ginny’s above her head, she knew his willpower waned.
Good.
More.
Good.
Never stop.

With a growl of pure hunger, Jonas lowered his head and licked the trickle of blood from her neck, bringing it into his mouth and swallowing the way someone might with a fine wine. Almost immediately, his body fell forward on top of her. He caught himself with shaking arms right before he could crush her.
A throttled rendition of her name left him. What was that sound?
There was a muted throbbing between them and at first she thought it came from her own rollicking heartbeat, but no…no, it came from Jonas.
He balanced on one hand, tearing at the left side of his chest with the other.
Was his heart beating?
“Mate,” he gasped, fangs elongating another fraction of an inch. “Mate.”

He leaned down and licked the side of her neck, long and slow. “Mine,” he breathed, planting a hot, open-mouthed kiss over her pulse. “Inevitably, undeniably mine. May God help us all.”
Ginny braced herself for pain—and she got it. The shocking sting made her body jolt and twist, but a flood of numbing warmth ensued so quickly afterward, she stilled. As if on command. Stilled and felt the sharp fangs sinking into her. Heard Jonas’s muffled exclamation against her skin, followed by an exultant groan.
She’d been caught.
Possessed.

A volcano of bliss erupted inside of her, trapping a gasp in her throat. His words stabbed at her composure like little daggers and she bore down, prolonging the rush of relief by grinding up and back on his thickness. “Oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord,” she whimpered, raking her nails down his back. “It feels so good.”
“Remember that feeling,” he said, pressing his bared teeth to her cheek. “You only get it from your mate. Ever.”

He wore jeans. Dark ones, much nicer than the pair he’d donned the night they met. Along with boots, a white shirt and an overcoat of soft, chocolate brown.
Flowers. There were flowers in his hand.
For her.
“Ginny,” he breathed, stopping in front of her. “I’m sorry I’m late.”
She nodded. Or shook her head. Hard to be sure.
He handed her the flowers, then cupped her face in his hands, brushing her cheekbones with adoring sweeps of his thumbs. Their lips met and they both shuddered, the cellophane crinkling beneath her grasping fingers. Ginny didn’t have to look around the room to know they were the center of attention and she couldn’t have cared less anyway. She only saw Jonas.

His muscles bunched on a rasp of her name, his fangs slicing out.
“Need.”
Knowing exactly what he meant, she relinquished her right hand’s grip on the bedclothes, sank it into his hair and instinctively drew him to her thigh. “Yours. It’s yours. I’m yours.”
With an expression rife with possession and unholy thirst, Jonas pressed a second finger into her body and bit down hard on her inner thigh, groaning brokenly at the taste of her.
Ginny whipped headlong into an orgasm.
It was all the more brutal and beautiful for its unexpectedness.

He stroked into her deep, the new angle allowed that slick, thick part of him unfettered access to that spot—and she couldn’t move her hips to meet him or grind up, she simply had to take it. There was a loud sound coming from a distant land and it took her several guesses before she realized it was the entire bed rebounding off the wall.
The wildness of it was her undoing.
Or maybe it was watching Jonas sink his fangs into the small of her wrist, followed by the further swelling and jerking of his flesh inside her. Knowing he was close to finding unimaginable pleasure after a lifetime of going without. His body stiffened at the same time as hers, his mouth released her wrist and fingers clutched at skin eagerly, pulling one another’s bodies closer any way they could.

Her thighs wrapped around his hips automatically, her toes digging into his taut backside. No choice but to cling, squeeze him between her legs. Her core was so sensitive, so exposed. “Jonas, Jonas, Jonas.”
“You don’t want to make love, Ginny.” His teeth raked over her nipple, tonguing the sting while he made blistering eye contact. “You want to fuck, don’t you?”

“I’m incapable of denying you anything. Anything.” He reached down and fisted his thickness, notching the smooth head inside of her—and ramming himself home to the tune of Ginny’s strangled cry. For a moment, Jonas said nothing, his mouth open against her ear. Then, “You’re even tighter when you’re pissed.”
A tickle roared downward in her belly, her thighs jerking violently as the orgasm whipping through her. “Oh my God.” She squirmed, desperate for an anchor, a branch to grab onto while being shot down the raging rapids. “Oh my God.”

He slammed his mouth down on top of hers, kissing her with the passionate brutality she was starving for, the door rebounding hard off the frame behind her. Bambambambambam.“I’m sorry, my love,” he said hoarsely. “My fucking life.”
Ginny pitched over the edge so fast and so hard, her climax was almost painful. Her thighs shook around Jonas’s hips, her body arching off the door, her scream echoing off the bathroom walls. He pressed his forehead to hers, looking her in the eye as he followed her off the cliff, hips jerking wildly, Ginny on his lips. Behind him, the bathroom bulbs shot sparks and went out, leaving them in the barest light where it crept in from beneath the door.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

Review: Secret Seduction by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Ryan Liam Flint
Heroine: Nina Joan Dowling
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 2000
Started On: May 07, 2020
Finished On: May 11, 2020

Originally published in the year 2000 from Harlequin Presents, Secret Seduction by Susan Napier is another hit for me when it comes to stories by the indomitable Ms. Napier. This being one of her later titles, probably a couple of years prior to the publication of her last book, Secret Seduction stands testament to how category romances can often be hidden gems that sweeps you off your feet when it comes to the world of romance.

The story begins with a ferocious thunderstorm rolling into Shearwater Island, where 26 year old Nina Joan Dowling resides. A painter by vocation, Nina has no recollection of her past and rather likes the solitude she finds amongst like-minded loners like herself who guards the privacy afforded by residing on the island on a permanent basis. The quiet and solitude that she had been enjoying is however short-lived when the storm brings a stranger to her life, a man whom she rescues from the storm.

33 year old Ryan Liam Flint comes to the island seeking answers. Finding out that the task ahead of him was not going to go exactly as he planned, Ryan plays it by the ear, pretending that he has been struck by a temporary bout of amnesia. Nina being the suspicious soul that she is, especially given the sense of unease that she feels when Ryan is around, coupled with how he invokes from her emotions that she had not felt in a long while, needless to say, it is choppy waters that these two travel through for the most part.

Nina is stubborn to a fault, and I would have to say off putting at first or rather through most of the book up till the point more details emerge as to what had taken place, how she had suffered through a tragic loss and couldn’t seem to recover properly. The past that Nina has no memory of is everything to Ryan, what keeps him determined when it comes to winning and wooing back the love of his life.

I was fascinated by how Ms. Napier brought the story around, and was caught utterly by surprise when it came to the flashbacks of the past delivering a tale I could not have predicted at all. I yearned to read more details on their shared past, the heat and energy between two people who were such complete opposites of one another, drawn to the other in a way that makes denying the connection an impossibility.

I loved the angst, the heartache, and Ryan who served to be the kind of patient, sexy, endearing, and yet alpha in the best possible of ways hero, who complements Nina in a way that no one else ever would. Getting Nina on the same page however, is another matter altogether and when the memories come tumbling forth, it was gut wrenching not to say the least.

I loved the last chapter that served sort of as an epilogue. It gives that sense of closure to readers who made it through the emotional read that this proved to be, leaving behind that soft glow of happiness when all is said and done.

Definitely recommended for those who love emotional and beautifully rendered category romances. Ms. Napier is definitely one of a kind in the genre.

Final Verdict: Secret Seduction delivers a story that is raw and powerful in many ways, of a hero who would do anything to prove to the love of his life, the beauty that is the love they have for one another.

Favorite Quotes

‘Nina?’ he muttered. He inhaled deeply and his frown was replaced by a sensuous smile of sleepy satisfaction as he identified the unique personal fragrance that spilled across the pillow. ‘Nina…’
Eyes still closed, his head dipped and his mouth homed unerringly in on hers, parting her lips in a leisurely kiss that caused a delicious chaos in her startled senses. He made a soft sound of lazy enjoyment as his open mouth moved enticingly back and forth over the succulent plumpness of her lower lip, taking tiny, nibbling bites along the ripe curve before sucking it into his mouth, creating an erotic, rhythmic tugging that made her toes curl inside her socks.

‘For goodness’ sake, it’s ridiculous!’ she said hotly. ‘What makes you think he’ll be any good at doing repairs? I doubt if he even knows which end of a hammer is which.’
Ryan’s head tilted, his hair gleaming blue-black in the sun. ‘What makes you say that?’
She spun around and grabbed up his hands, turning them over to display the palms. ‘Well, look! You’re obviously not used to manual labour. No-one who works with tools has hands this soft,’ she jeered, drawing her fingers across his smooth skin. ‘And your fingernails have been manicured.’
He looked down at her, standing between his splayed—knees, a willing captive to her strong artist’s grip. ‘I thought women liked a man to have nice hands,’ he murmured smokily. ‘You have such silken skin yourselves it seems a shame to risk damaging it with rough handling.’

He didn’t even look around the tiny flat as he took off his jacket and loosened his silk tie, his eyes moving over her flushed face and primly attired figure, lingering on the crisply concealing blouse and the lush curve of her hips encased in the tight skirt that ended halfway up her thighs. His nostrils flared as he eased his collar open and saw her gaze follow the movement, her lips parting at the glimpse of the bronzed hollow of his throat.
‘Do you have anything to drink?’
His blunt demand cloaked the crackling sexual tension with a thin veneer of sociability. Nina’s fingers tracked the side seams of her skirt, smoothing it over her hips in an unconsciously seductive gesture.

‘Did you know you never close your eyes when you have an orgasm, Nina? Not until you’ve seen me climax, too. Are you remembering how incredibly arousing it is to watch each other in the throes of an orgasm? And when we made love in front of the fire, you always wanted it to be slow and easy so that it would last a long, long time.
Sometimes we even used to have fires in the middle of summer just for the sake of pleasuring ourselves with prolonged bouts of hot, sweaty sex interspersed with refreshing romps in the pool.

The only warning she had was a faint fan of cool air across her back, and then a big body crowded into the stall behind her, joining her under the wide stream of water, a thick arm snaking around her waist and pulling her back against a nude, hairy male body, already powerfully aroused. Sharp teeth sank into her wet shoulder and a strong hand came around to knead her breasts as his thick shaft settled along the cleft in her bottom. She wriggled her hips and the hand on her breast contracted.
‘I knew you’d come,’ she whispered.
‘We’re both going to come, babe.

‘Open your legs,’ he whispered roughly into her mouth, his hands circling around her soapy navel, massaging ever lower, pressings down over the inside of her thighs until they parted for him, allowing his soap-slick fingers to crowd into the steamy space and play over the secret folds in her skin, exploring her readiness and finding the sweet kernel of budded desire.
Her fingers clawed into his flanks at the drenching burst of pleasure that pulsed hotly against his fingers. ‘Oh, Ryan…’
‘Yeah, babe, I know.

She uttered a tiny choking cry as she approached a pinnacle of sensation only to have the prize snatched from her grasp when Ryan suddenly withdrew and spun her around so that it was now her spine flat to the wall, her thighs urged up around his waist by his rough hands as he bluntly surged back into her welcoming body, grunting in triumph at the slick parting of her folds, shuddering as she instantly contracted around his pulsing hardness.
‘I love to see you watching me when you come apart. I want to watch you, too….’

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | eBooks

Review: Winter of Dreams by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jordan Pendragon
Heroine: Olivia Marlow
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 1993
Started On: May 04, 2020
Finished On: May 06, 2020

Winter of Dreams is another hit from the backlist of novels written by Susan Napier, most of which I went through during lock down and the period that followed. While a few of the titles from her backlist were misses, even then, I enjoyed reading them for the unique stories that I can always count on Ms. Napier to deliver.

26 year old Olivia Marlow is an artist who has lost her creative flow, having received a scathing review from an anonymous art critic who had earned a reputation for doing just that. Having taken ill following the scandal that ensued, Olivia is not at all ready to get back into the game and face the world. A bout of illness bringing her spirits further down, it is not until her sister forces her hand to come out and face the world again that she makes the attempt required.

When Olivia meets the 37 year old Jordan Pendragon, she wrongfully assumes that what her sister had told her about Jordan to be true. That proves to be the point which provided a lot of mirth filled scenes to the story as it developed, that is up till the point that Jordan puts those assumptions to rest by kissing her senseless.

While Olivia tries to hide from how she feels about Jordan, there is also the fact that Jordan himself holds a secret that could devastate Olivia all over again and destroy what is blossoming to life between two people who are so obviously meant for one another.

I found Winter of Dreams to be delightful in so many ways. Sexy and sinfully sensual (which is classic Ms. Napier), with a larger than life hero and a heroine who is gun-shy, who is helplessly ensnared by the web of heady desire that encapsulates them both from the onset.

Though at first the story started out a tad slow, it took off just like that and I found myself soaking in the heady sensations that coursed through me as the story progressed. I liked how Jordan and Olivia took their time to get to know each other and how that was actually reflected in the story. I loved the changes that came over Olivia as time went by, how she blossomed and bloomed into realizing her own potential and the strengths of her own character.

I have to admit however, that I loved Jordan perhaps a tad more in comparison to Olivia. I found him to be a contrasting mix of kindness, gentleness, and firmness that went well with the setting and proved to be exactly what Olivia needed in the end.

Recommended for fans of category romances, Susan Napier, and romances that stand the test of time.

Final Verdict: In Winter of Dreams, Ms. Napier brings to life a hero whose beauty lies in the remarkable facets to his character; the happily ever after that followed was a foregone conclusion.

Favorite Quotes

Olivia let the rush of fire in her blood consume the last vestige of reason. Her mouth opened helplessly under his and he consolidated his victory, roughly staking his claim inside her as one big, calloused hand splayed across the base of her spine, lifting her forward into the broad saddle of his hips. He stepped back and turned, backing her against the smooth wall, widening his stance so that he could fit her between his powerful thighs, holding her there until she was vividly aware of his heavy arousal.

His restraint became unbearably erotic as he moved rhythmically and persistently against her until she began to arch and blindly move in an echoing rhythm. He shuddered and moaned his thick approval against her swollen mouth, his rigid body suddenly quivering with a new and dangerous tension. Dazedly Olivia realised what was happening. He was making love to her through her clothes. He wasn’t just teasing now, and he wasn’t going to stop. Though they were both fully dressed, he was driving them relentlessly towards sexual fulfillment.

He straddled her completely, supporting his weight on his braced arms so that he didn’t crush her, grinding his hips softly into hers, enticing her with his erotic actions and whispered words of reckless invitation. He ravished her body with his hot, slow kisses as he ravished her mind with his wicked encouragement.
‘Come on, baby, that’s right, let go…’ he murmured as he felt her go under, dragged out of her depth by the swift cross-currents of desire, floundering briefly until she finally stopped fighting and began to flow with the inevitable tide. ‘Touch me… feel me… let me see all that passion you keep hidden inside…’

He said other things, graphically erotic things that made her blush in the dark as he stripped off the only impediments to their merging flesh, calling her ‘baby’ in a thick, harsh, voice that was almost a snarl. She didn’t care if he was using the appellation because he couldn’t remember who she was-she hardly recognised herself, and he made her feel anything but babyish. She had never realised a man could be so violently aroused that he trembled, pleaded, surrendered to a woman as if she were the stronger sex. She discovered she liked him savage and greedy and a little out of control.

Purchase Links: AbeBooks

Review: Sweet Agony Charlotte Stein

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Mischief
Hero: Cyrian Harcroft
Heroine: Molly Parker
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 1992
Started On: April 11, 2020
Finished On: April 15, 2020

My deep abiding desire to read something different, something that would sweep me off my feet (because these days it is really, really, really hard to find a book that does this to you), is the reason I ended up reading my very first book by Charlotte Stein. Reading Sweet Agony made me wonder why I had not come across a book by Ms. Stein prior to this. Maybe I have and never thought much of it or thought it wasn’t for me (which seems highly unlikely). Either way, I am glad I came across this delectable, delicious, and angst ridden (in the best way possible) read that I would forever hold close to my heart.

Sweet Agony begins when 22 year old Molly Parker answers an advert seeking a housekeeper and finds herself hired after the most invigorating job interview that I have ever come across in a book, and all that without Molly even laying eyes on the man who hires her, aka 34 year old Cyrian Harcroft.

Cyrian is the quintessential definition of a loner, preferring to hole himself up in a house that is as forbidding and closed off to the world as he is. However, from the onset, there is something about Molly that sets a fire blazing inside him as he does in her, and there is no stopping the tidal wave of lust, love, tenderness, and other emotions that comes gushing forth between the two.

With every word that Cyrian speaks or writes to Molly, to her it is as if someone is reading out the verses of a book of poetry written specifically for her. And even though Molly knows that it is the height of impropriety to lust after her boss, she does just that, even when she knows that Cyrian is not for the likes of her.

One thing leads to another and Ms. Stein delivers so spectacularly on the build up of the sexual tension that wraps around you so tight. It is almost as if you cannot breath through certain parts of the book; yes, Ms. Stein’s play with the words is nothing short of mesmerizing.

In Cyrian’s words towards the end, they are soulmates, no question about it. Both having undergone difficult childhoods in their own ways, it is only Molly who is able to bring Cyrian out of his inward shell, the one in which he believes himself to be unworthy of love.

The best thing about Sweet Agony for me were the main protagonists, specifically Cyrian. He is a hero to die for, the demanding and tender side to his character unbound layer by layer to reveal his true self as seen through Molly’s eyes. He is sexy in a way that is indescribable, a hero worth swooning over in the years to come.

I will never get over how he just sat down and started reading dirty passages from the book he was supposedly writing, and not even by the mereest flicker of an expression did he show how it affected him. That was in part one of the most glorious aspects of this book and I fell completely and head over heels in love with Cyrian without even trying.

Molly was just as wonderful, having that right touch and balance to her character which helped her gain insight into what Cyrian was about and what he needed. The fact that Cyrian thinks he is unworthy, when he already is what Molly needs and more, was the icing on the cake as the novel reached its ultimate conclusion.

The only reason that Sweet Agony did not get the five stars that the story truly deserves was because of the lack of an epilogue which was sorely felt. Having gone through that roller-coaster of a ride with Cyrian and Molly, readers deserve an epilogue, maybe something five or ten years down the line, just to show us how they were faring. In my mind, Cyrian is still that forbidding man he is to everyone else except for Molly, for whom his face lights up with the merest gaze.

I would also have loved to know more about Cyrian and Molly’s pasts – even though I know the story had enough tidbits to serve as such, just enough to make that emotional connection needed for readers to thoroughly enjoy the story.

Highly recommended, especially for those who love an erotic tale that is akin to poetry written for your soul.

Final Verdict: Sweet Agony by Charlotte Stein is beautifully crafted poetic eroticism done right. Definitely recommended!

Favorite Quotes

I know as soon as he sits down that I am in trouble. He crosses one leg over the other, in a way I would describe as louche if I could stand to. At the very least I have to admit it shows off how long his limbs are, and how much more muscular than they had initially seemed. At first glance, he always appears rail-thin.
But then you see something flex and tighten in his thigh, and all is lost.
There is no going back, after this. Whatever pretence I made of not fancying him dissolves, the moment he sits there and just looks at me. Then, just when I think it can’t get any more intense, he reaches inside his dressing gown.
And draws out a bloody book.

And then he strikes me, and I lose my mind.
It’s nothing like what I expected. Some part of me thought it would just be painful, and that people were lying when they talked about how exciting it is. But I see now that I am an idiot. The cane paints a searing stripe across my flesh, and when it does I try to climb up the nearest wall. The breath I was about to take sticks in my throat. Everything stops.
Swiftly followed by a sensation so intense I can hardly stand it. It seems to flood my body, filling me to the brim. I feel incapable of containing it, and even when I manage to cram it in there is more, hot on its heels. He doesn’t wait for me to take it in. He just does it again, this time so sharply it brings tears to my eyes. I come very close to sobbing, but, good God, I know why I hold it in.
If I let it out he may stop.

Then I feel a great wave of pleasure. I don’t even know why. His scorn should be the last thing I should want, yet somehow it only seems to take things higher. I think I hear him hiss in anger and I almost fall to my knees. I’m so bad, I think, so wicked, so completely lost to my own insatiable lust.
And that’s when it happens.
My cunt tightens around my still working fingers, so hard it almost brings everything to a standstill. So hard I have to say it out loud, no matter what the consequences. He might hate me for making it all so overt, but I don’t care. I’m coming I’m coming oh God you make me come so good, I tell him, as pleasure shudders through me. Glorious, golden pleasure, of the kind I could never regret.
Until it’s over.

‘God, you greedy little slut,’ he says, those words alone enough to get me. However, it’s the admiration in his voice that really finishes the job. I hear it and I just respond without even thinking about it.
‘Oh, fuck, yes, say that again,’ I tell him.
But I’m glad I do. He apparently feels the same way too.
‘I should get you by the hair,’ he says.
‘Yes, yes, yes, you should, yes, please.’

As he eases his fingers beneath the material – so skin-to-skin it scorches me – and slides one elegant finger through my soaking slit. All these rude things, I think, all these rude things and with someone right there. Though that makes no difference. In fact, if anything it gets worse when the man suddenly leaves, because that’s when Cyrian decides to murmur the worst thing in the world to me.
‘Do you think he is leaving so he can come with the thought of you being fingered still fresh in his mind?’ he asks, as though he’s suddenly become a completely different person. Gone is that sense of defeat I saw all over his face. He seems barely bothered by our closeness. His lips are so close to my cheek he could be kissing me.

I forget about giving him space, about being restrained.
I just buck and rub myself against his hand until I come, and come, and come. And I’m glad I do, too. I would have felt a hundred times more stupid if I’d carried on pretending I could be a celibate nun with no feelings, when he says what he does in the aftermath. He turns back to his paper as I sit there slumped and panting, pink-faced and unable to speak. And then, just as regret starts to rise in me, just as I wonder if I somehow forced him into that or caused him intense agony by responding at all, he says this:
‘You might not mind never doing anything sexual again. But I bloody well do.’

He is mere centimetres from me. It would take almost no effort to stick out my tongue and get a taste. And it would feel good to him, too, God knows it would. He’s never had someone lick him there, which seems like a crying shame to me in this moment.
But I want to resist. Despite the heat and the hand in my hair near dragging me closer, despite the sense that he would like me to, I want to resist. I want to show him that he can trust me always to respect his boundaries, and be as patient as he needs, and am I glad I do.
If I had licked he might have pulled back, instead of doing what he does:
He groans my name like some sinful prayer as he fills my open mouth.

And then he speaks, and I wonder why I ever did.
‘I have no boundaries now. You burned them all. I have no walls around myself; you have reduced each one to rubble. You have undone me in every conceivable way and yet still you hesitate, and I adore you for it. Sometimes I wish I did not; God knows it would be easier for me. But if an easy life must be paid for with the absence of you then I find the price too steep to so much as contemplate. I am your creature now, wholly and completely – so do with me what you will. I shall not turn you away,’ he says, so low and calm you could almost imagine it meant nothing.

I hear him gasp that he’s going to come and feel the flood of it in my mouth, and then my whole body simply seizes up. It lights a spark that was already on the verge of burning, and I go up like a bonfire. I groan and buck just as he’s doing, nearly choking on the liquid ribbons spilling over my tongue but loving every second of it.
Loving every second of him giving in. Giving it all up to me, in one great glorious burst that leaves us both gasping and flailing and only really understanding in the aftermath. I come around from an orgasm so intense it almost knocks me out, to find myself sprawled halfway over him. My body is all over his body, but he doesn’t seem to mind.
In fact, when I start to sit up he stops me.
And his arm goes over mine.

And then his eyes drift closed.
Ahhhh, yes, the way his eyes drift closed. It reminds me of everything I’ve been able to feel since he first took that cane to my backside, so simple I took it for granted. I found it easy, but I see in this one look how hard it has been for him. I understand in a way I never fully did before, always assuming that he not only couldn’t but didn’t really want to. Not completely, not wholly – maybe not even on the train or in his bed.
But I get it now.
All this time, and he was just longing for this. Everything was theory, nothing was lived. None of it known the way he clearly knows it now, so blissful that his face fills with warm contentment.

He fills me so completely I can spark sensation through my belly just by tightening around him – and apparently it’s the same for him.
I do it and he jerks as though slapped.
‘Stop, no,’ he says, and oh, it’s the best to hear him do it. It’s the best because he doesn’t mean it in the bad way. He means it in the good way, the I’m-going-to-come way and the second I register that, I just can’t help clenching again. It almost happens on its own, like an involuntary spasm.
And it has the greatest effect. He punches the hay by the side of my head, his gasp so loud and heated it sends me insane. I buck as soon as I hear it, and after that things just snowball. He grabs my arse and takes me hard, pounding relentlessly until I can hardly stand it.

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Review: Devil to Pay by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Devlin Connell
Heroine: Cressida Kerr Cross
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1992
Started On: April 10, 2020
Finished On: April 11, 2020

Devil to Pay by Susan Napier is one of those books that stands the test of time. First published in 1992, reading this book 28 years later is an experience that is worth your time if you love romances that are interwoven with humor, characters that make you fall in love, and delivers sexual tension and love of the kind that makes your heart hum with pleasure.

Cressida Kerr Cross (Cressy) is a photojournalist who is on her way to Whitianga, a nature reserve in New Zealand, in pursuit of a certain breed of insects, the subject matter being one that fascinates her to no end. However, her plans are derailed when she falls sick and finds herself at the residence of 39 year old Devlin Connell (Devil) of whom Cressy is equal doses wary of and drawn towards.

When Devlin finds an almost naked Cressy inside his home, he is more suspicious than anything else. Wanting a quiet life, Devlin is someone who does not like fanfare and has a deep rooted distrust, especially when it comes to reporters. One thing leads to another and before long, both Devlin and Cressy finds that their wariness towards each other cannot hide the fact that they are drawn to one another on an intrinsic level that is undeniable.

I loved both Devlin and Cressy; Devlin never having taken the tumble towards love and Cressy with an innate need to love and be loved, a hunger that has remained unappeased for far too long. When her life intersects with that of Devlin’s there is no turning back for either of them and I reveled in the heady emotions that coursed through me as I indulged in this mesmerizing romance.

Through a mix of angst-ridden and often hilarious situations bringing to light the side of Susan Napier as an author that I love and adore, Devil to Pay offers readers a delightful journey towards the happily ever after that is waiting for Devlin and Cressy. I absolutely adored this scrumptious read and would recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone who loves a romance of the good old variety.

Final Verdict: Devil to Pay is Susan Napier at her funniest and best. Loved the clumsiness, sexiness, emotional depth, and everything else in between!

Favorite Quotes

You’re as red as the sheets,’ he said, lowering his head slowly, holding her captive with his eyes as he asked roughly, ‘If I said it in English would you burst into flames for me…?’
‘Devlin…’ She should stop him, she should want to stop him! She should push him away, not spread her hands caressingly against his shirt front… What was the matter with her?
‘This room is perfect for you. A room of clashing colour and outrageous passion,’ he whispered, a breath away from her mouth.

‘Devil!’
‘That’s what they call me,’ he said, swallowing her sigh. He bit her mouth open with raw tenderness. It was even sweeter inside than he remembered, and sinfully evocative of a deeper intimacy. He thrust into her, sheathing his tongue again and again in the hot wet silk, taking shameless advantage of her submission, all his former fine resolve overridden by far more primitive instincts—that of the hunter astride his weaker prey, the miner greedily staking his claim, the male animal exploring his territorial limits.

‘Look in the mirror, Cressy,’ he invited roughly, and she lifted lustrous brown eyes and was transfixed by the shocking sight of their naked abandon, the pale feminine body with its soft curves dominating the hard, brown muscularity of the blatantly masculine one sprawled across the crimson bed.
‘See how lovely you are,’ Devlin praised her, his words caressing her as his hands lifted to push her tangled ginger mane back over her shoulders, fully exposing her body to her own view. He couldn’t see their reflection but he could see her response to it and he found it intensely arousing.

‘We look so right together, don’t we? We fit so well.’ He undulated his hips so that she felt him, thick with desire, press against the open heart of her. ‘I want you to make love to me like this one day…mistress of all you survey, proudly astride your kingdom. Never feel afraid or ashamed of the sexuality between us, Cressy, because it’s a rare and beautiful thing…’

Review: Prisoner by Annika Martin, Skye Warren

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Criminals & Captives, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Grayson Kane
Heroine: Abigail Winslow
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 22, 2014
Started On: April 09, 2020
Finished On: April 10, 2020

Even in chains, he seems vibrant, wild and free, a force of nature—it makes me feel like I’m the one in prison.

Prisoner is the debut book in the Criminals & Captives series by two very talented authors Annika Martin and Skye Warren. While I have never read a novel by Skye Warren prior to this, I have enjoyed the work of Ms. Martin who also writes as Carolyn Crane. Behind the Mask is one of my favorite books by Ms. Crane and I have on occasion “pestered” her about continuing the series. I seriously hope that she does, because she has left the series at a point where die-hard fans like ourselves need the next book in the series.

Prisoner begins with the heroine Abigail Winslow being assigned a project to work at the The Kingman Correctional Facility and comes across Grayson Kane, who changes her life in more ways than one. Grayson who is in for a crime he did not commit, executes the perfect getaway plan which finds Abigail being taken hostage and held against her will.

Grayson is the kind of hero that commands all your attention and nothing less. When Grayson first walks into the story, or rather strolls into it, you can practically feel the energy that rolls off him, the take charge vibe that would make the story unforgettable in its way. It is powerful how just the mere introduction of a character makes you shiver in all the right ways, telling you that he is going to wreak havoc on your emotions before he is done.

Abigail finds herself in uncharted waters when it comes to the effect Grayson has on her. Even though she tries her hardest to get away from Grayson and escape captivity, what holds her to him is far stronger than anything either of them can deny. While life would be much easier for both if their deeper feelings were not to be involved, neither Grayson nor Abigail can find it in themselves to walk away before they are thoroughly immersed in each other’s psyche, heart, and soul.

If I were to sum up what Prisoner was like in one word, I would choose “unconventional”. Prisoner is a book that stands out in many ways because I went searching for something that would push the boundaries of the norm we are all used to as romance readers and that is exactly what I got. I loved Grayson to bits, because he is unapologetically ruthless in a way that is all him. I wouldn’t have loved his character half as much if he had turned putty the minute he found Abigail and fell for her.

I also loved Abigail equally and as much. Her spirit and fire burns in a different way, but it is equally strong when it comes to the clash of wills between Grayson and her, which I am happy to report that both of them win, and so fabulously too. I loved how Abigail could make Grayson feel all those things that he never thought was possible and that in Grayson Abigail found what she had been searching for all her life.

Like I mentioned earlier, as soon as you meet Grayson, you know that he is going to shake you up. He might be a captive, but he is a man who makes his own rules within the four walls of the prison he is in. The minute he mouthed Ms. Winslow and left Abigail flustered in his wake, I knew that Grayson would be a character that would be devastating to my heart and senses. And I was so glad to be proven right in this regard.

There is violence in this story, so be warned. There are also elements that may not be well received by certain readers. But this is Grayson and Abigail’s story and I for one am so glad that the authors stayed true to their voice, both individual and collective, and let their love unfold in the truest way possible for them.

Definitely and absolutely recommended for those who love a ruthless hero, a heroine who ignites that fire within, and a story that leaves you breathless from want.

Final Verdict: There is nothing that anyone can say otherwise when it comes to Prisoner that would change my mind about its absolute remarkableness: a story steeped in darkness sucking in the light, designed to turn the pages!

Favorite Quotes

“We’re going to meet my friend in a secluded area.”
She gives me that look again. The flare of surprise—and a little bit of something else too.
“Why, Ms. Winslow, please. Mind out of the gutter.” I smile and sit back. The smile is there to put her at ease. Stone’ll want her dead. It’s going to be a problem.
Another pair of cop cars heads over the hill. “You just drive nice, okay?”
“Nicely,” she snaps.
“What?”
“Drive nicely, that’s how you say it. Not drive nice.”
Oh God. Nicely. Correcting my grammar even at gunpoint. I’m so fucking hot for her, I think I might burst into flames.

I bite the finger of the hand over my mouth. He swears and shifts his hand, squeezing my jaw shut. I grab at his hair, pulling, but the feeling between my legs is building; my mind is melting.
He won’t stop stroking me, won’t take his hand off my mouth, and before I know it, I’m holding on to his hair instead of pulling it.

He continues his circling motion as I writhe under him, pushing into his hand. He tightens his seal over my mouth, stroking slowly. I can’t stop arching into him, pulling his head into my breast by his hair, wanting, needing.
And suddenly I shatter with feeling. Sharp, bright, intense. It goes all through me in waves, this beauty, this wildness. I’m breathing hard and he is, too, and nothing matters except that feeling, pulsing on and on. His fingers stop as the intensity fades, leaving me boneless, because it was wonderful. Too wonderful. Too wild. An orgasm. I’m aware that I’m crying. I feel bewildered.
He shouldn’t have done it. I shouldn’t have liked it.

He parts my lips and slips inside. There’s a moment of hesitation. Do I let him? A rough sound of impatience vibrates from his lips to mine. His hand tightens on the back of my neck. He’s not asking; he’s taking. He takes my air and breathes it back into me. He takes control of me, and I can finally give in.
I can finally let go.
He rubs his tongue against mine, raising goose bumps along my arms. I never want him to stop, and as if he hears my deepest desires, he tightens his hold on me. One hand fisted in my hair. The other on my hip, pulling me closer.

Her hands tighten, and I shudder with pain and pleasure and a sudden reluctance. I want to jackhammer inside her and I want to draw a line in the sand that will keep me from her.
I want to hurt her and I want to protect her. Break her and shield her.
Determination fills her eyes, and my dick gets that much harder. “Why do you want me to slow down?” she taunts. “A little desperate from all that time in prison? A little dry?”
“Fuck,” I say, teeth clenched tight because her hands are moving even faster. “Yeah.” She’s racing me to the finish line, and she’s winning.

“What are you doing here?”
“What does it look like?”
“I’ve had hours to tell everything I know—what your friend looks like. The license plate.”
“Did you?”
“They didn’t question me yet, but—”
“Didn’t think so.”
“But you didn’t know that!”
He gives me this look, calm and sure. It’s as if I’ve been out there buffeted by wild ocean waves, and he’s a strong, solid rock outcrop. He’s sharp in places too—maybe touching him will rip me open. I don’t know how to feel.
“Why?” I whisper.
He kneels, putting himself at my level, and something like concern flickers in his eyes. “Because I had to get you out of here.” He closes his hand around my upper arm and pulls me up. “I’ll always come for you. You’re mine.”

Her lips part. Her lids lower. She’s going to drop right out of awareness, asleep and pulsing around my dick. I tighten my grip on her hips, and I slam into her hard enough to wake her up again. Her eyes open wide as she whimpers. Her eyes roll back, but it’s not the drug this time.
It’s pleasure.
I’ve found the place inside her that makes her body jerk and her thighs quake. She can’t even help it. I plunge my dick inside her, again and again, finding that spot, battering it.
There, there, there. Her mouth opens around a choked cry. I don’t think she could form words if she wanted to. She can’t ask me to stop, and that’s just as well, because I’m not going to.

He doesn’t ask why I changed my mind. Maybe he doesn’t care. He just pulls a condom from the drawer and slips it on. He flips me over, drags my hips up, and pushes a pillow underneath.
That’s the only warning I have before the hot, blunt head of his cock breaches me from behind.
My body opens to him, wet and soft and willing. My mind understands him, why he is the way he is. But it’s my heart that aches for him, wanting whatever shards of love he can give me, jagged, even knowing I’ll get cut in the process.

I put down the binder and back her up against the wall. Her eyes widen.
She knows what’s coming.
She wasn’t expecting this, and her shock just feeds my lust. My dick is pressing against my jeans. My dick has a lot of ego. It thinks it can burst through denim and shove up into her skirt and thrust right into her slick, warm cunt. It has the right idea.
I run my finger along her cheek. “I like it when you talk classification,” I murmur.

She licks her lips, and I realize she’s not going to answer at all. Instead her hands go to my jeans, unzipping and pulling me out. I shudder at the feel of her soft, small hands. God, those hands. I could come just like this. A few solid strokes.
She leans forward, and I hold my breath. Her lips press together. She kisses the tip of my cock. Kisses it. Like she’s fucking courting it or something. I almost come.

“Security council,” she says on an exhale, and I thrust inside her at the same time, forcing the words out. And I don’t let up. I don’t give her any time to adjust. All I have for her are bruising thrusts as I ride her from behind. I hold on to her hips, those lovely hips, and force my dick through her swollen flesh.
Her muscles clench around me. She cries out. God, yes, she’s coming in a wet, messy gush. I want her to make a mess all over the library, all over the pages and pages. I want her to smear the ink.
“Again,” I demand, fucking her harder, faster.

“What do you need, baby?”
She makes a sound like a tortured animal. I nip at her clit with the front edge of my teeth. She had to know this was coming, but she still cries out in surprise.
She likes me to nip her, to bite her, to hurt her a little—to make her feel. Her mom ignored and neglected her, but I’m the opposite; I can never get enough of her, and she knows it. Her cries echo through the room, through the open window, through the neighborhood of wrecked, unruly buildings.

My balls draw up. I’m seconds away from coming. I won’t be able to hold back, so I make the most of it. I grasp her hips and she wraps her legs around me. Then I lift and rock her hips in both my hands, jacking myself off with her cunt in the coldest, rudest way possible.
She’s spasming around me. Her cunt is milking my dick. Her arms are clawing me, holding me tight. Even her mouth has latched on to the skin at my neck, sucking me—and I’m not even sure she knows it. She’s a feral thing in my arms, drawing me into her pleasure, drowning me in it. I shout as my cock releases into her, mixing with her wetness. I grasp her ass even tighter and use her body to wring the last drops of come and pleasure from my body.

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