Review: In Her Defense by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-booktimeserved
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Time Served, #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Elijah Grant
Heroine: Caitlin Dufresne
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 7, 2015
Started On: May 17, 2016
Finished On: May 19, 2016

One cannot read the first book in the Time Served series and not be intrigued by the “villain” in the novel, aka Caitlin Dufresne, especially when Julianna decided to write Caitlin’s book as the second installment in the series. In Her Defense is an appropriate title for the book, showing Caitlin from various different perspectives, bringing to the readers a side of her we would never have seen or even being bothered to look for otherwise.

Caitlin is riding the high from the recent big win of the famous Fowler case and is focused on reaching the top, where her focus has always been since a very young age. While people see her as the lawyer that would screw over everyone else to get to the top, or even sleep her way to the top, Caitlin is in fact more than that. While her affair with one of the partners of the firm and a married one at that, has left colleagues with a less than stellar impression of her, not to mention the fact that Caitlin’s ambitions does not make her a team player, helps foster and maintain the less than favorable view of her around the firm.

However, Caitlin’s rapid ascent to the top is mired by one fatal mistake – too much work, too little rest and the high of too many Red Bulls consumed, and Caitlin finds herself forced to take leave from work, the very last thing that she wants or needs. Or so she thinks. Which is how Caitlin’s path crosses with that of Elijah Grant, the head of IT at the firm.

Though the first encounter between Caitlin and Eli leaves a lot to be desired, starting from the second coincidental meeting between them, Eli shows Caitlin that when it comes to that particular type of men she usually goes for, with Eli being the antithesis of all those requirements; even then, Eli manages to get her blood humming, her senses singing, with just a well worded command issued from his mouth.

Thus Eli and Caitlin find themselves embarking on an affair that scorches through the sheets, the stairways, the walls and any position they can find. Even though Caitlin’s prior relationships have all being about the physical aspects of more than the emotional, with Eli she finds that he is way too intuitive and in tune with her feelings to be brushed off that easily. However, for both of them to have anything meaningful and long-term between them, both Eli and Caitlin will have to let go of the shackles of their past and own up to what they are to each other, even if it means leaving themselves open and vulnerable to each other in a way they never have before.

Though told only from Caitlin’s perspective in the first person, the one thing that resonated deep within me as I read along was just how hard and fast I fell in love Eli. Before I was even halfway through the story, I realized and accepted the truth that Eli was one hell of a hero and that I would be hard pressed to find anyone else who would live up to the impression he had made on me. The fact that Julianna crafted Eli in a way that she didn’t have to continually talk about his looks, how sexy he was; basically how understated it all was, and yet every time he took the reins in the affair that was ongoing, I was ready to lie down and surrender myself to him spoke volumes. I swear that every time he said “now!” in an authoritative way, I just about lost it. And I thought Dean Barclay was the only man who could wow me in that sense. Dean was intense in a lot of ways, you can’t read his book and not be enslaved. Eli is a whole different sort of intense – you will just have to read it to find it because it is at times a bit hard to describe just how into his character I was from the minute he turned up in the story. 

If ever there is a master at storytelling, it is an author who can make hatred or intense dislike turn into love. Caitlin is a character who invokes a lot of intense feelings of the negative kind in book 1 of the series. All that however changes, the minute you pick this up to read. Trust me on that. At first I was also a bit hesitant to read Caitlin’s story because I guess I truly didn’t understand or believe in the wealth of magic that Julianna holds in her fingertips when it comes to romance writing.

What drew me in when it came to to Caitlin’s character was how Julianna laid out the details of her life; where she comes from, her familial background; all of it putting together the picture of a highly ambitious woman who is not afraid to work hard and play it dirty to get to the very top. Because that’s where she has always told herself that she would be, at the top, even though it might be the loneliest place to be, but nevertheless the top it is for her.

The forced vacation could not have come at a more opportune time however, even though Caitlin might believe otherwise at first. Work had been her life and life had been all about work and nothing else when she had been forced to do so. And in being forced into taking one, she finds it in her to slow down, learn to work as a team member, even if it kills her to do so. Because that’s what Caitlin does. She works at something until she is good at it, until she is the best. 

The changes that Eli brings to her life are quite significant. But that does not mean that she loses the drive that makes her essentially who she is. She is not afraid to follow her dreams, and hold her head up high in doing so, even when her heart is broken into pieces. I was glad that Julianna didn’t try to shove Caitlin’s character down the acceptable feminist mold where one sees everything as a challenge, where life is a constant battlefield where the heroine refuses to change, remains so stubborn because that is what the mold dictates.Some authors try so hard to project this image of the ultimate free spirit who itches at the very thought of settling down, who breaks out into hives at even the mere whisper of a long term relationship. Women like that for me are quite trying and tiring at times. Which is why I am so very glad that Caitlin turned out to be different. Yes, she is independent, feisty, able to hold her own and charter her own course towards the unknown. But she is also vulnerable, able to feel deeply and falls like a ton of bricks for the man who finally sees her. The real her. Even though they both make mistakes, they do come out as the winning team at the end. The angst was no less heavy in this book than the previous one in the series. But it was just as good, and the ending, just as warmth inducing. 

The sex was off the charts hot. There was a Skype session in the story that would never have me look at the camera on a laptop the same way, ever again. Eli’s confidence and playful nature in bed and out of it makes him such a turn on. I soaked up and reveled in every single aspect of Eli there was to indulge in. Goes to show that heroes don’t have to have a degree in dirty talking and call every heroine they come across every term of endearment there is and constantly use phrases like “pussy” or “cunt” in order to be sexy, sound sexy and do it dirty!

The only downside to the story would have to be the fact that the story is told entirely from Caitlin’s point of view. I would have loved to see Eli’s view of things, even be it towards the end. Nevertheless, Julianna has done a stellar job in creating both Caitlin and Eli and giving readers a story they would not forget for a long while.

Final Verdict: Julianna continues to woo, wow and amaze me with her sexy and feel good romances. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“Want to know what I thought about you?”
“You told me already, remember? Coldhearted bitch? She-devil? And I’m sure you saw my picture on the website.”
A smirk. “I saw your picture on the cover of Chicago’s Finest.”
I seldom blush, but I do now. I’d had copies delivered to everyone on staff. “Whatever.”
“And when I saw you ripping into Todd I thought, Holy shit. She’s the hottest, meanest woman I’ve ever seen.”
I snicker, torn between feeling chastised and flattered. “Well,” I offer, “at least I didn’t fuck your friend.”

I can’t look away from the intensity of his stare. I’m not a wallflower; I’ve been with plenty of men. Nowhere near the hundreds my reputation suggests, but plenty. And Eli’s nothing like the practiced, smooth men I’ve been with. The slightly older, more experienced, more predictable men. He’s not wearing a three-piece suit with a car and driver waiting out front; this isn’t a five-star restaurant with a thousand-dollar bottle of wine resting on the table. This is a man in khakis, in the corner booth of some ancient pub, sitting at a table littered with shot glasses and a melting banana split. I know better than to ask questions I don’t know the answer to, but even though I have no idea what Eli will say or do tonight, tomorrow, or next week, all I know is that right here, right now, I want him. And I like it.

I give a startled, slightly pained cry at the pressure, and Eli lowers his mouth to mine, providing a distraction as he slowly stretches me, stroking somewhere deep inside that makes my stomach muscles flutter. And then I forget all about the fingers and the ache as something builds and builds, though every time I get close to coming he stops what he’s doing and does something else. The darkness and the weight of him is like a cocoon, and everything is swirled into one big, pulsing ball of need. He traces the seam of my mouth with his tongue and bites my bottom lip until I open, then he pushes inside and kisses me, wet and dark and dirty, like few have ever dared.

“Best fuck of my life, Caitlin Dufresne,” he says, reaching down to open the back door.
The streetlights here are brighter, and the muted glow from nearby buildings illuminates everything. I study his face for hidden meaning, but though the words might be crude, there’s nothing but sincerity in his gaze. “Me, too,” I tell him.
“That so?”
I slide into the backseat and look up at him, pressing my index finger to my lips, the universal sign for “Don’t tell anyone.”

“What do you need?” he asks, trailing his tongue along my jaw.
“I need you to fuck me. Don’t hold back.”
“Why?”
“Wha—Why?”
“Yeah. Why?”
“I just do.”
He grunts and pushes up over me so he’s sitting back on his knees for leverage, my legs spread over his. He leans in and presses his hands to the mattress on either side of my waist and watches my face carefully as he shoves in deep and hard.
“Yes,” I breathe, as everything inside spasms around him. “Just like that.”

He stops laughing. “Caitlin. I appreciate having my dick sucked. I appreciate seeing your head in my lap. I appreciate feeling your hair in my fingers and your hands on my balls and hearing the little slurping sounds you make when you swallow me. I appreciated the fuck out of that blow job.”
Well. A little thrill skitters through me. Apparently Eli has no problem talking dirty at work.
“Then what’s the problem?”
“The problem is I don’t like things to be one-sided. I like symmetry. If I come, I want you to come.”

“Are you jerking yourself off?” I ask softly. I cross and recross my legs, but it does nothing to relieve the throbbing pressure between my thighs.
“No,” Eli replies. “That’s your job.” His voice is suddenly controlled, and it amps up my arousal a thousand notches. “Are you wearing a skirt?”
I finger the hem, the fabric soft and smooth. “Yes.”
“Good. Take off your panties and meet me in the stairwell in five minutes.”
My breath catches. “Eli, I can’t—”
His rough laugh stops me. “Caitlin. You can and you will.”
Then he hangs up.”

“You told someone—”
He fixes his pants, and comes forward to smooth a strand of wayward hair behind my ear. “I told him to stop anyone from getting within ten feet of the door,” he says.
“Did he ask why?”
“Of course he did.”
“What did you tell him?”
He presses a kiss to my temple. “I told him I didn’t know what I was doing,” he says softly. “Just that I didn’t want to stop.”

“Think you can come?” he asks, uttering the words right against my clit.
“Yes!”
“Aw. Good. Let me feel it.”
“I’m close.”
“Let me hear it.”
“Eli…”
“Let me taste it.”
And then I lose it.

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

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ARC Review: Time Served by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-booktimeserved
Read with: Adobe Reader for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Time Served, #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Dean Barclay
Heroine: Rachel Moser
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 23, 2015
Started On: November 18, 2015
Finished On: November 21, 2015

Time Served by Julianna Keyes is a book that I will treasure among the hordes of books that are published today. All because Julianna dared to write a hero that might not be well received by certain readers because he doesn’t turn into a “girl” the minute the heroine re-enters his life. I mean this in the nicest possible way, but I seriously find it absurd when heroes who are described as formidable, reticent, and especially not to mention if they have a bone of contention with the heroine so to speak, that turns sappy once the heroine turns up; I feel like throwing the book at the wall when that happens. The fact that writers like Julianna Keyes are rare makes me want to treasure this gem some more. Because God knows when I would be able to read a hero like Dean Barclay.

Rachel Moser is an upcoming lawyer at one of them prestigious firms that has three names to its title. Rachel works hard, works night and day to make her dreams come true. That dream being one that doesn’t include looking back at the past that she had walked out on, the life she had left behind, including Dean, the man she had loved and who had loved her in return. While Rachel would rather cut off a body part than admit that something is amiss in her life even as she climbs the ladder of ambition one by one, there is that teeny tiny part of her that wants something more.

Dean has done his time and is trying to sort out his life. The only thing he wants when he encounters Rachel after all that time that has passed is to fuck her and this time be the one to walk away from her, no questions asked. But every touch and every kiss that burns hotter and wilder than the one before proves one thing – that Dean isn’t immune to the woman who held his heart, body and soul in her hands before she had walked away without a word or a backward glance and that she still has the power to bring him down to his very knees.

Time Served is written in first person from Rachel’s point of view. There is no part of the story that is written to show Dean’s point of view and that somehow made this book more alluring for me. To gauge Dean’s reactions through Rachel’s eyes, to see him react in ways that might seem ungentlemanly to some, were actually the bits that I loved. The bits that I found brought out honest reactions from a man that had been hurt and hurt bad when the woman he had loved with all his heart had left him. The fact that he was possessive to the extent that made me breathless from wanting, the way he could take a scene from zero to hundred just like that; those were the bits that made me fall, and fall hard for him.

Like I said at the start of the novel, Dean is not the type of hero who becomes apologetic for who he is, or does a 360 degree turn on his character, all because of the heroine. Dean is very much his own man and he proves that every single time he walks into a scene. Dean and Rachel had been born into shitty lives through no fault of their own. Rachel had had ambitions even back then which had made it possible for her to walk away. But neither Rachel nor Dean had ever gotten over each other which is evident once the ball gets rolling.

There are multiple facets to both Rachel and Dean that makes it easy to fall for them both. They have both made mistakes – they are both human. That was the most relatable factor for me as I was reading this book. Not to mention the panty-melting variety of scorching passion that Dean brings to the picture – and man, can he bring it on! The cover on this book doesn’t cheat, let me promise you that – it delivers every ounce of what it promises and then some!

The epilogue proved to be the icing on the cake for me when it came to Time Served. After all that Rachel and Dean go through to come out victorious in the end, the epilogue made my heart smile – because they both deserved the happiness that was so evident when it all came to its ultimate conclusion.

I see that there is a second book in the series out already, and that too the lead being the nemesis of Rachel in Time Served. I am definitely going to take a look because I can’t wait to see how Julianna makes the heroine someone worthy of the reader’s time.

Most highly recommended!

And, Dear Julianna, please never stop writing characters who are true to themselves. You are a rare breed in the world of romance today. Love, me!

Final Verdict: Dark & edgy with a twist of emotion & the bite of scorching heat. Dean Barclay is the man!

Favorite Quotes

“And your life?”
“What about it?”
“You like that too?”
My eyes fly open, struggling to focus on the gleaming blades of grass in front of me. It’s unnerving how he’s managed to ask the one question I’ve been avoiding asking myself these past few months.
“Of course,” I lie.
“What do you do for fun?”
“I don’t have a lot of free time.”
“Humor me.”
I turn the question around. “What do you do for fun?”
I feel him shrug, muscles shifting against my back. “Box. Run. Hang out. Fuck.”

I knock again, just to make the trip worthwhile, and I’ve given up and taken two steps down the hall—one relieved, one disappointed—when the lock turns and the door swings open. I freeze and look over my shoulder, unable to do more than watch as Dean sticks his head out and peers around, first right and then left, spotting me.
His surprise is evident but he doesn’t speak, and I turn awkwardly, suddenly feeling as foolish and stupid as I knew I would if I came here. I open my mouth to apologize—again—or make up an excuse, but already one of those big hands is reaching out the door, gripping my wrist and yanking me inside.

“Nice,” Dean says, nipping my ass cheek briefly as he straightens behind me. “Even better in person.”
I close my eyes at the thought of him picturing me like this, skirt hoisted over my hips, shiny with arousal, anxiously awaiting his next move. He pushes one thick finger back inside, stroking roughly as his other hand kneads my ass, thrusting his cock against my back. I can feel the smooth fabric of his shorts on my heated skin and the sensation makes me moan.
“You like that?” he whispers, biting my earlobe lightly.
“Yes,” I groan.
“How about this?” Without warning, he slips his finger out of my pussy and pushes the drenched digit hard and deep into my ass.

His left hand has been alternately fondling my breasts and fisting in my hair, and now it jerks my head back to expose my throat to his teeth before sliding down my torso to the slippery place where our bodies are joined. He spreads out his fingers to feel himself fucking into me, then positions his palm so he’s rubbing my clit, hard.
I come.
I come with a sound I’ve never heard myself make before, one I cut off by slapping a hand over my mouth. My pussy clamps down on Dean’s hard length, momentarily slowing his thrusts, milking him tight enough that he buries his face in my hair and groans as if he’s in pain.

“Fuck,” he moans. “Fuck. Fuck.”
I stroke his back, his sweat-damp hair, the side of his face. He feels so different from how I remember. Not just bigger, but harder too. The planes of his face are sharper, his jaw more defined, lips made more sensual because of it. And then, without planning to, I kiss him.
Dean jerks as though I’ve shot him in the heart, yanking his head back and staring at me through wide, stunned eyes. And for once he’s not hot and cold, he’s not angry and intimidating, he’s the old Dean, the one who laid himself bare for me and lost his heart in the process.
“Fuck,” he mutters again. “No.” But he’s not talking to me, he’s talking to himself, and obviously losing the argument. His fingers tangle in my hair, holding me in place as he slants his lips over mine and dominates my mouth, forcing his tongue between my lips and teeth, tasting every inch of me.

“Dean,” I moan when I can’t take any more. I try to swat his hand away from my too-sensitive clit but he pins it down at my side and hunches over, sweat dripping from his temples onto my breasts. He hammers into me, leg still pressed over his shoulder, my body as wide open as he could possibly need.
I reach up a weak arm and wrap it around his neck, spreading my fingers over his skull like I used to do when he had long hair. Now I feel the coarse rasp of his buzz cut on my palm and look up just in time to catch the second he starts to come, eyes locked on mine, unguarded. It only lasts a moment, a split second of weakness in his impenetrable coat of armor, then he drops his head and groans, pounding into me with his vicious release.

“You wet?”
“No.”
“Come over here so I can fix that.”
Without so much as looking at me, Dean reaches over and snags my upper arm, pulling me toward him. At the same time he moves so one of his legs rests along the back of the couch, the other still on the floor, which results in my back being pressed flush to his strong chest. And his erection digging into my ass.
“Don’t play hard to get,” he whispers, biting my earlobe. “I don’t have time for games.” One of his hands strums absently along the top of the couch while the other cups my breast through the T-shirt. “I’m going to get you wet, then if you don’t mind, you’re going to turn around and sit on my cock and fuck me while I watch the movie.”
“When’d you get to be so romantic?”
He twists my nipple, hard. “In prison.”

I catch the server’s eye and signal for the check.
“Let me get this,” I say when he reaches for his wallet.
“Fuck no.” The words are flat and unyielding, cold enough to make me pause.
“Dean, it’s just dinner.”
“Don’t push on this, Rachel. I know you’re an evolved feminist and all that now—”
“What?”
“But I’m old-fashioned. I fuck you, I buy you dinner, I teach you how to beat up the coworkers who give you trouble.” I fold my arms in front of me, unimpressed but also amused.
“What do I do?”
Dean sets down a few bills and stands, looming over the table to kiss me in clear view of anyone who might bother to look. “Just show up.”

“Dean!” I cry, the word sounding hollow in my ringing ears. My pussy clamps down on his cock like a vise, holding him inside and wringing out his orgasm. He swears furiously as he spills into me, slapping a hand onto the window over my head as he jerks against my hips, my body demanding the last of his release with its final clenching pulls.
Dean collapses over me, breathing hard in my ear, one arm clasped around my stomach, squeezing us together. Sweat fuses my back to his chest and I feel his heart thunder against my spine, and even when the room grows cool and the position uncomfortable, neither one of us moves.

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

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ARC Review: In the Waning Light by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-bookinthewaninglight
Read with: Adobe Reader for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Blake Sutton
Heroine: Meggie Brogan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 3, 2015
Started On: November 6, 2015
Finished On: November 10, 2015

Meggie Brogan returns to her hometown of Shelter Bay because she wants to prove that she has indeed left her past behind. The past that involves the brutal murder of her sister Sherry, a murder that had rocked and torn asunder the idyllic town where she had grown up in. The murder that had splintered her family, having now left her all alone in this world, except for the man who wants to make her his, if only she would let him.

A true crime writer, Meggie has never broken the cardinal rule of not picking an unsolved case, which is sort of what Sherry’s case is. Although the killer had been identified and things had gone horribly wrong in between, Meggie can’t help but believe that a part of her subconscious keeps holding back fragments of the memories associated with the day Sherry had been killed. Returning to her hometown raises more skeletons from her closet, ones like the sexy Blake Sutton, the man she had left behind when she had fled her home all those years ago.

Blake has got his hands full with being a single father to his son Noah and trying to restore his family’s place of business to its former glory. And then in walks the woman that had gotten away, the woman whom he has never forgotten, though so many things had happened in his life since then. Meggie’s quest to write a book on her sister’s murder brings a fresh source of worry for Blake even amidst the haze of desire for her that almost obliterates everything else. The town of Shelter Bay is about to be rocked to its very core once again as Meggie’s quest for the truth takes her deeper into a web of secrets, lies and half-truths, secrets so deadly that she might not live to tell the tale she came home to write.

Loreth Anne White writes a mean story with in In the Waning Light, throwing the reader into the chaos that she has so beautifully crafted. I was in shock, in awe and everything in between as I kept turning the pages, trying to piece together what had happened that fateful day when Sherry had died such a brutal death. Meggie and Blake’s connection that rekindles was another factor that kept me glued to the pages. Though Loreth doesn’t spend all that time discussing their past, the bits and pieces tossed in between makes for wholesome reading, showing a passion that had refused to die even with all that distance and time that had come and gone since then.

There is so much tragedy and loss in the story that I at times felt like I was totally going to lose it. The secrets as they came forth like a dam that had broken, kept me on my toes, afraid of what just might be around the corner. I think it was because of all the factors above that In the Waning Light turned out to be a story that really got to me. I kept telling my husband about this great book I was reading; I was like a child with a beautiful sleek new toy that was all mine and I wanted to savor it in small doses but wanted to just take all of it as well. I actually managed to convince my husband to read this book, my husband who rarely reads, if ever. This book consumed him just like it did me, he barely even made the time to watch any of his favorite TV shows, just holed himself in the room and kept reading, cursing me all the while for giving him a book that refused to let go.

There is such beauty to the way the settings are described in this story that I absolutely fell in love with it. There are authors who try too hard to describe the scenes they are writing and end up failing miserably, making the reader flip through the pages just to get to the story that is at its core. Believe me, cos I have read my fair share of those books. But In the Waning Light tossed all that out of the window and made me sigh and yearn at the magic that Loreth was weaving right in front of my eyes. It is almost as if you are engulfed in the fog described, being tossed around in the roiling sea while the wailing wind tries to snatch you from the scene before it engulfs you as a whole. That was how I felt through every single scene in the book. It was all encompassing. It was that gripping, and I loved the sensation of being thoroughly swept away!

The suspense itself was topnotch. The clues lead the reader on a wild goose chase and then some. But at a certain point, you start getting a feel for who the murderer could be, that is if you are the type who questions every character that you come across in the story.

A small town brimming with secrets everyone is keeping from the other person, even their loved ones, those secrets that can rip families apart and toss a town inside out; those are the type of secrets that Loreth was dealing with In the Waning Light. A heroine suffering from a memory block, the same memory block that perhaps had saved her life long ago, the very block that prevents her from committing to anything or anyone in her life except for her passion of writing true crime.

If there ever was a romantic suspense that I would recommend the hell out of this year, it would be this.

Final Verdict: Blew me away. Completely. Cannot recommend it just enough!

Favorite Quotes

She leaned in toward him, her lids lowering, and desire gushed hot through his gut, kicking every residual thought clean out of his head and sending his blood south with a sweet, pulsing delirium as his lips met hers. Her mouth was cool, soft, firm, and she opened to him.
He slid his fingers up into the dense, soft waves at the nape of her neck. A moan slipped from her throat, and her hand touched his arm, moving up his biceps, along his shoulder, encircling his neck as she pulled him closer, and opened her mouth wider, moving suddenly faster, hungry, her tongue, slick, warm, mating, warring with his.

He reached for her hands, and drew her to him, slowly, inexorably, giving her time to stop him, the question implicit in his pacing, in the darkening pools of his eyes. And when she didn’t resist, he yanked her firmly against his solid frame, his other hand sliding down her hips and cupping her buttocks. He pulled her pelvis up against his groin as he forced his mouth down hard on hers. She felt his erection pressed between them.
Heat exploded logic from Meg’s mind. She came up onto her toes, arching into him, opening her mouth under the crushing aggression of his hunger, her tongue tangling, fighting with his.

Sex with Blake was elemental and it was rough. It was slammed up against the wall, her legs wrapped around him, and it was back down on his bed with her on top of him rocking against his pelvis, milking him, panting, a trembling tension building in every fiber of her body as she clamped his wrists down above his head, and he bucked under her, up into her. He flipped her onto her back, and she tasted blood as his teeth raked and bit her lips, and she responded with equal ferocity. He kneed her thighs open wide, and thrust up into her, impaling her, forcing her to gasp and burn with each push to the hilt of his thick cock. She felt the wet heat of his mouth down her belly, at her groin, his tongue inside her. And she shattered like bridge cables that had held too taut for too many years, suddenly exploding in an almighty crash as rolling contractions seized her body and her mind.

She eyed him. “If I didn’t know better, Mr. Sutton, I’d say you were jealous.”
His features tensed, and his eyes grew dark. She swallowed. He stepped forward, grabbed her shoulders, and kissed her hard, backing her up against the wall. “Maybe I am, Meggie Brogan,” he murmured over her mouth, his hand sliding down her back, and cupping her buttocks. Heat arrowed instantly into her groin. She was turned on by his rough and sudden intensity. “Shall we christen these nice clean carpets?” he whispered, his mouth moving down her neck, down to the vee in her shirt. Her nipples contracted.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

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Review: The One in My Heart by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-booktheoneinmyheart
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Bennett Oliver Stuart Somerset
Heroine: Evangeline Canterbury
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 20, 2015
Started On: August 22, 2015
Finished On: August 28, 2015

“Praise the Lord,” he murmured, slipping off my undies, “for a woman who can bring me to my knees.”

The One in My Heart is Sherry Thomas’ first foray into the world of contemporary romance. Written in the first person, The One in My Heart is a novel that firmly entrenches itself in the reader’s heart as you go deeper into the story. If you have read any of my reviews on Ms. Thomas’ historical romances, you’d know that I always praise her for her ability to write stories in such poetic prose – there is no other way to describe what her words does to you. They just flow through you, become one with you, as if you have been waiting your whole life for those words to come to you.

The One in My Heart starts on a dark stormy night, when Evangeline Canterbury, while walking home, altogether too depressed for words, runs into the enigmatic, charming and handsome Dr. Bennett Oliver Stuart Somerset. What happens in the next couple of hours is a connection of the instantaneous variety, the kind that sears through the walls of reserved indifference on the part of Evangeline.

Months later, Evangeline encounters the good doctor again, only to be persuaded to help him in a scheme to get back into the good graces of his family, a family he had walked away from in the pursuit of the only woman who had owned his heart. Evangeline knows that when it comes to Bennett, that her heart is in serious jeopardy of falling, and falling hard. The one thing Evangeline has always evaded is getting too close to anyone who could hurt her because life had taught her that in abundance.

What follows is as delicious as it is heartbreaking and reaffirming. Ms. Thomas takes you on a journey of the type that is not easy to forget, that just consumes you as a whole. I couldn’t get enough of Evangeline and Bennett once I got into the story, nor would my stomach settle down from the nervous anticipation of the ultimate destruction of their non-relationship relationship when it happened. A good romance is one where all your emotions are involved and there is no holding back. And Ms. Thomas delivered just that with The One in My Heart.

The One in My Heart has a bit of a slow start to it. But 2-3 chapters in, and bam, you are hooked, line & sinker & there’s no turning back. The infamous Sherry Thomas magic was present in spades in this one. Being her first & only contemporary romance to-date, I’d say Ms. Thomas definitely has had zero issues in transitioning from the historical genre to the contemporary. A job well done, I must heartily admit.

One thing that surprised me though, was the first person take of the story. None of her historical romances are told in the first person, & yet Ms. Thomas made this work too. Though I truly wanted to get inside the mind of the charmingly sexy Bennett, Ms. Thomas did an excellent job of making the reader not feel too cheated out on in that aspect.When Bennett laid out his side of the story, when everything clicked so well in that a-ha! moment, that was when I truly felt my heart quake inside my chest.

Bennett totally invaded my heart & soul, ravaged my mind & left it all muddled with all the effortless charm and sexy he brought to the story. If there’s anything that makes a girl salivate over a romance is a hero presented well, a hero that can turn your half-hearted “no” to a complete “Oh my God yes!” in a heartbeat. When Bennett pushed Evangeline against the wall and had his way with her, this just mere hours after their first encounter, well, that was my “you had me at hello” moment when it came to him. With his penchant for older women & tendency to fall in love at first sight, well, lets just say that Bennett can turn up on my doorstep any day with just his trench coat on & nothing else. Well, a girl can always dream, can’t she? A hero who is so beautifully portrayed as you sink deeper into the story, that you can’t help but sigh endlessly over his character. Yes ladies, Bennett is that salivation worthy!

Evangeline was the tough cookie in this novel. But she was just as endearing, especially with her high wall of reinforced steel guarding her vulnerabilities & emotions, adept at playing dodge with the messier aspects of relationships. Evangeline actually prefers her existence the way it is, but then Bennett had to enter into it, entice her into saying yes to being his fake girlfriend and before she knew it, she’d fallen head over heels for the man. The fact that Bennett loved Evangeline too much to not let her hide behind barriers, to shake her out of the contentment she seeks in never showing her true self to anyone, made me love him just more. Evangeline’s attempts to thwart all efforts by Bennett to let him in was heartbreaking to watch, but I think that was exactly the jolt she needed to really face her past, exorcise the ghosts and move on.

Loved the secondary characters, the little tidbits about them that made the story that much better & enticing. I could’ve kept on reading and reading about Bennett & Evangeline, but like everything else that is good and beautiful, the end did come. A beautifully fitting end to an otherwise golf-sized-lumps-in-your throat variety of story. Icing on the cake was the fact that this story is very loosely tied to one of the most emotional historical romances from Ms. Thomas that I’ve read & reviewed to date; Private Arrangements. I continually find myself amazed at Ms. Thomas’ ability to make the unworkable work. Private Arrangements has such a storyline. The One in My Heart has the other woman done to a T, but yet, it doesn’t leave you feeling like the heroine got second helpings when it came to the hero, nor did it paint his first love as a villainous harlot that you absolutely had to hate. Absolute genius is Sherry Thomas!

Ms. Thomas definitely proved to be a quick study when it came to her first contemporary romance. Nothing short of splendid! Absolutely worth your time. Highly recommended.

Final Verdict: Beautiful in its prose & darkly emotional; The One in My Heart will completely & utterly ruin you!

Favorite Quotes

I panted, the sound primal. Animal.
He pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it aside, revealing a runner’s build: strong shoulders, slim waist, beautifully cut abdomen.
I closed my eyes for a moment, overcome by lust. When I opened them again, it was to the sight of my hand on his upper arm. And then I did something that surprised me: I leaned in and nipped his shoulder.
He grunted. I found myself pressed hard against the wall, his hand between my thighs. For a moment I thought he’d be rough, but he touched me lightly, delicious little caresses at just the right places.
“Yes,” I whimpered. “Yes.”

“You see this?” he asked as he laid me down on the chaise. “When I come back from thirty hours in the hospital, I don’t even bother going up to the bedroom. I just sleep right here. But before I go to sleep I masturbate, and I think about you—under me, over me, and maybe bent over the armrest. Every time, without fail.”
I was unbelievably turned on.
He yanked off my boots. Reaching under my skirt, he peeled away my tights and my underwear. Now he undressed, smoothed on a condom, and pushed my skirt up around my waist. Then, in one motion, he was all the way inside me.

“Do you know why I think of you?” He spoke directly into my ear. “You make me come instantly. I put my hand on myself, picture you naked, and I come like a fourteen-year-old.”
The pleasure of his body was volcanic. The pleasure of his words was a conflagration. I was already on the verge when he said, “I come so fast that sometimes I have to masturbate one more time. And when I do that, I imagine fucking you all night long.”
My orgasm was a bullet to the head, a shocking starburst. His was similarly thorough and ferocious. But he didn’t stop. He kept going, kissing my face, my throat, my breasts, until I was trembling again.
Until together we fell over the edge again.

He pulled the sweater over my head and did the same for the camisole I wore underneath, exposing my bra. And then he pushed down my skirt and tights to reveal a pair of matching underpants. They were both basic black—I hadn’t wanted to look as if I’d planned to be disrobed.
“Praise the Lord,” he murmured, slipping off my undies, “for a woman who can bring me to my knees.”

“Do you know you have the perfect face for a nun—as if you have only prayers on your mind? And then there are those times when it all changes, and you look pornographically turned on.”
He pried open my legs and caressed the places I’d tried to conceal from him. Pleasure flooded me.
“Do I look like that now?” I heard myself ask, my voice raspy.
It was his turn to sound unsteady. “Yes.”
He went down on me. And it felt so good, I had to bite down on my lower lip to not sound as aroused as I felt. But by the time he brought me to my third orgasm, I had given up any and all attempt to be quiet and contained.
Then he was inside me, huge and hard. And just like that, I was again pornographically turned on.

“You. I masturbate to you.”
At this he resumed that wonderful cadence that gave me so much pleasure. “Keep talking.”
“I imagine…” I panted. “I imagine running into you unexpectedly, somewhere out of town.”
“Somewhere like Munich?”
I quaked inside. “Maybe.”
“And then?”
“And then you pull me into your hotel room, lock the door, and fuck me.”
[..]
“Do I fuck you all night?” His voice was rough, demanding.
I closed my eyes even tighter. “Yes.”
He rammed into me. “But you never called. And you never texted.”
And I came like an asteroid striking ground.

“You know what I want?” His voice turned raspy. “I want to fuck you before I go to work. And I want to fuck you right after I come back home.”
I might have ripped apart his vest. I definitely heard shirt studs pinging into the headboard. Keep talking. Keep telling me how much you want me.
And don’t ever stop.
“I want to see you naked against a wall again. I want to see the way you look at me. You have such hungry eyes.”

He bit my earlobe. “Do you know what I really want?”
“What?” I gasped.
“I want to fuck you bareback. Every inch of me, feeling every inch of you.”
Damn him. Those words made me peak again—violently. At least he joined me this time, his orgasm equally untrammeled.

He gripped the back of the chaise, his teeth gritted. “God, Eva.”
I braced my hands on his shoulders. “This is what you want, isn’t it? To fuck me bareback?”
For a minute only the sounds of our heavy, ungovernable breaths filled the air as my hips lifted and lowered, merging with him again and again.
Then he wrapped his arms around me and brought me close to him. “Yes, this is what I’ve always wanted, to make love to you with nothing between us.”
And I was lost.
We were both lost.

Unhurriedly he kissed me everywhere. Without any haste he entered me. We kissed, our bodies joined, and went on kissing, until slow-simmering pleasures again more turned needy and frantic.
“I love the taste of your lips,” he whispered in my ear. “I love the texture of your skin. I love the sound of your breaths. “
And then: “I love everything about…about this moment.”
The orgasm that ensued was the most intense one yet.

“In Henry V, King Henry says to Kate, ‘You have witchcraft in your lips,’”
Bennett murmured sleepily. “Do you know where you have witchcraft, Eva?”
“Do tell,” I answered archly, expecting him to heap praise on my private parts.
He pressed a kiss into my shoulder. “In your eyes.”

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

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Review: Friction by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookfriction
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Crawford Hunt
Heroine: Holly Spencer
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 18, 2015
Started On: August 19, 2015
Finished On: August 22, 2015

“You don’t have a claim.”
His eyes narrowed. “I kinda do.” He started walking toward her, and for each step forward he took, she took one back until she came up against her desk. “That unreasonable, unrefined fuck on your sofa gave me a claim.”

Sandra Brown is one of those authors that I always look forward to reading. Since Ms. Brown publishes just one novel a year of late, her stories have become that much more coveted. Because in a genre that is overburdened with stories that don’t really make the cut, Ms. Brown still manages to deliver highly readable ones, worth every penny they cost you.

Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt is pursuing the battle of his life, i.e. the battle for custody of his daughter Georgia. On the day of the verdict, like a nightmare that you can’t wake up from, a lone gunman bursts into the courtroom, firing his weapon, not giving much of a consideration at who might be hit. Acting on instinct, Crawford saves Judge Holly Spencer’s life, the woman who actually stands between him and the custody of his daughter.

Unwillingly, Crawford is drawn to the investigation surrounding the lone gunman, a hero to the public owing to his fearlessness, a person of interest to the lead investigators on the case, all because of a personal grudge with Crawford. To make matters more complex, Crawford and Holly’s reaction to one another definitely goes beyond a matter of “conflict of interest”, made that much more vexing by Holly’s campaign for renewal of judgeship.

With a multifaceted cast of secondary characters that gives the story an added richness, Ms. Brown throws all your senses haywire, the mystery behind the shooting turning taking more puzzling turns as the clock ticks. I had my theories about where the story was headed. Whether Holly was the target as initially thought to be or not. It’s always a delight when an author juggles multiple characters with fascinating aspects to them that gives a story that ultimate grandeur making it unputdownable. I like a book that makes my brain whirl around, trying to put the pieces together and Friction did that for me. 

Holly and Crawford’s reaction to one another was the coup de grâce for me. All of it was nothing short of hot and all consuming! From the very first time these two get together; and I was ready to throw iPad at the wall thinking Ms. Brown had cheated out on us by just referring to the brazenly hot quickie, I was a goner. Holly the judge whose job makes her see things in black and white and the big bad Texas ranger who always colors in between the black and white and operates with his own set of rules. Both are characters you fall in love with from the very start and that’s how you convince readers of the fact that they belong together, even though they seemingly have nothing in common and have insurmountable odds stacked against them. Ms. Brown is a wizard at delivering just the right touch, where its needed.

Crawford deserves a few lines of his own if you ask me. So effing hot. No two ways about it. Just the kind of hero that Ms. Brown is famous for delivering, in almost all her stories. Tall, grey eyed, commanding, handsome and the list goes on; Ms. Brown creates heroes of the kind that you fantasize over, over & over again. Crawford’s brand of seduction works – works so well that I definitely craved for more! Georgia’s character too deserves a mention. Adorable is the word I would use to describe her and I believe no reader would be left untouched by the charm her character delivers to the story.

Fear not if you think that Friction might have the sort of ending the story Lethal did. Friction delivers a well rounded ending to a tale that had my gut churning from all the nervous anticipation, not to mention the moments of fear upon facing the sheer evil that drove Crawford to the lengths he had to go to. In other words Ms. Brown, splendid, as always.

Definitely recommended. For fans of suspense with that bite of romance, commanding heroes & long lasting love that defies everything!

Final Verdict: With Friction, Sandra reasserts her mastery in a genre that she continues to dominate!

Favorite Quotes

“No problem. Better now?”
She nodded and when she did, her forehead brushed against his chest and then rested there. His hands stilled on her shoulders, then moved to encircle her neck, his fingertips gently kneading the back of it. She set her hands at his waist and leaned into him. A deep inhale caused her whole body to shudder.
“Shh.” He hugged her closer and sent his fingers up into her hair until he was cupping the back of her head in his hand. His other slid down her back and began stroking her spine. On one downward trip, it slid past the small of her back and settled on the curve of her hip. And stayed there.
Suddenly neither of them was breathing.
After what seemed an endless time of absolute stillness, she tilted her head up.
Crawford looked down into her brimming green eyes and thought, Oh fuck.

“I’m as much to blame for that as you.”
“That’s not what you said earlier tonight. You suggested I’d had an ulterior motive.”
“That was wrong of me. I know you didn’t plan it. I know you regret what we did.”
“Hell I do,” he growled. “I only regret what we didn’t.” Keeping his hands on the wall, he pressed into her softness with unmistakable implication, bending his head, and claiming her mouth with his.
For crissake, we didn’t even kiss, he’d said.
He rectified that now, fiercely and possessively, and she let him.

She smiled. “You made rather obvious your aversion to him.”
“What gave me away?”
“You stormed off without a word to anyone.”
He looked angry, then chagrined, then angry again. “He sailed in and acted like he owned you.”
“He hugged me.”
“He held you.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Where he put his hands.”
“He and I were together for a long time. We’re familiar.”
“He’s familiar, reasonable, and refined. But I’ve got a caveman mentality. When he put his hands on you, I wanted to rip out his throat. Mine are the only hands I want touching you.”
“You don’t have a claim.”
His eyes narrowed. “I kinda do.” He started walking toward her, and for each step forward he took, she took one back until she came up against her desk. “That unreasonable, unrefined fuck on your sofa gave me a claim.”

“This plan to ‘cancel it,’” he said, “how’s that working for you?”
“Not very well.”
He placed the heels of his hands on her hip bones and curved his fingers around her bottom. “For me either.”
In a hushed voice, she said, “I wish I still had it to look forward to.”
His eyes searched hers. “Do you remember it the way I do?”
“How do you remember it?”
“To tell you, I’d have to get really graphic.”
“Blushing terms?”
“Gutter terms.” He leaned in closer and whispered, “Wanna hear how tight you were?”
She closed her eyes momentarily. “Crawford.”

In a shockingly short time, she was gathering fistfuls of his shirt, then her hands moved up to his shoulders, where they held on, her fingers digging into the firm muscles. Her back arched and held in a silent plea for one more stroke…one more glide…one more… And she came.
The instant he felt her helpless clenching, he surrendered to his own climax. The intensity of it caused his arms to collapse. He settled heavily on top of her, pulsing inside her, his breath hot and damp against her neck as he groaned, “Christ, christ.”

“Crawford…”
The moaned admonishment was so halfhearted, he continued, kissing his way past her collarbone to her breast. He nuzzled the tip through the damp cloth of her t-shirt.
She exhaled a sharp breath. “I woke up this morning dreaming about it.”
He gently cupped her other breast. “Good dream?”
“Sinfully good.”
“Holly Spencer, bad girl.”
“I think you must be right. The dream was exactly as it happened. I was eager, and you were very…decisive.”
The smile he felt in his heart never quite reached his lips because they were lowering to hers. “I had to be inside you. Just had to be.”

It wasn’t until she groaned his name that he obliged her, but tantalizingly, applying his tongue so softly, so exquisitely that her breaths evolved into moans, and her body drew up tight. Attuned to her, he centered the caresses, concentrated them into ever-shrinking spirals, until the sensations painted onto her coalesced into a burst of pleasure so intense, she couldn’t contain it.
He levered himself up and, with one strong thrust, he was inside her, appeasing her craving to be stretched, filled. He trapped her orgasmic cries inside a kiss and then let her drift down and rest while he sipped at her earlobes, her eyelids, her lips.

He was stingy with the pressure of his thumb on the outside, drawing out the pleasure, holding off until she released a low keening, and then he curled his fingers forward inside her, creating a gentle squeeze between the two pressure points.
She clamped her lower lip between her teeth. Her back arched as she raised her hips and ground against his hand. Into her ear, he poured a litany of love words, sexy words, dirty words. Finally she coasted down, and her lazy eyes fluttered open.
He laid a soft, tender kiss on her lips. “Beautiful.”
“You are.” She reached up and pushed her fingers into his hair. “And much sweeter than you let on.”
“Me, sweet?”
“Hmm. With your daughter. With me.” She outlined the shape of his lips with her fingertip. “You’re not so tough.”
“Say things like that, you’ll ruin my reputation.”

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

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ARC Review: Montana Actually by Fiona Lowe

Format: E-bookmontanaactually.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Medicine River, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Josh Stanton
Heroine: Katrina McCade
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Started On: May 19, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Dr. Josh Stanton’s move to Medicine River County, to a town called Bear Paw comes from the need to quickly pay off his student loans. The move from Chicago hadn’t come easy for Josh. The relationship that he has just gotten out of, after being burnt from the brunt of it all doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Josh comes from a family of prestigious surgeons. The fact that he had chosen to specialize in ER medicine and lands in a town which requires he divide his time between the clinic and the ER isn’t an irony lost on him.

Katrina McCade returns to her hometown after eight years of living it up outside of it. What brings her home back to her family is too shameful for her to reveal. The fact that she had been duped by the man she had been in love with, ready to share her life with is something that is proving quite difficult for Katrina to get over from. The last thing she needs is for the entirely too irresistible Dr. Josh to be her new tenant, a man who makes her stir crazy from desire one minute and makes a side of her she is not too comfortable with to rear up the next.

While the attraction between Katrina and Josh is inevitable from the start, what makes the story juicier is that neither of them wants to be in a relationship and thinks of their non-relationship as a sort of “people who can barely stand each other – benefits” sort of agreement. What neither of them bets on is finding things that they both like, respect and eventually come to love about each other. But the scars left behind from previous relationships prove to be not that easy to get rid of. However, it does deliver the sort of deliciousness that proved Montana Actually to be a book that was hard to put down.

Fiona Lowe makes it so easy to fall in love with every single aspect of this book. From the reluctant and very sexy Dr. Josh to Katrina to the whole bunch of secondary characters that brings the whole story alive; there is nothing I would change in any of it. The entire setting, how Josh who would like nothing better than for the nightmare he has been saddled with to be over, finds himself slowly settling into the pace of life at Bear Paw and finding it in his heart to accept and be accepted into a tightly knit community was a wondrous thing to watch unfold.

Every single character that appeared in the story was endearing and unique in their own way. The secondary romance included in the story was just the icing on the cake if you ask me. Fiona’s insight and sensitivity in handling a character such as Beau with his speech difficulties reminded me of Ellen O’Connell’s story Without Words. There is an emotional impact when characters such as Beau are delivered in the right manner that just makes a story that much more worth savoring.

The sparks between Josh and Katrina that emerge from the very beginning was a sight to behold and enjoy as well. Josh with his reluctant fascination towards a woman who makes him want to grit his teeth at times and then makes every primal instinct within him come alive at the very next second shakes him up unlike anything else. The pain that Josh holds in his heart from the life and relationship that he’d left behind is very real one, one that nearly broke my heart. But the delicious fun that Josh indulges in with Katrina, all in the name of just sex alone of course, was too fun to watch to dwell on the pain and heartache. And before I knew it, I was in love with Dr. Josh myself.Oh well, who am I kidding. I was in love with him the minute he stepped into the shower – with all his clothes on!

Katrina herself has got a past that rivals Josh’s. The fact that she had come back to her hometown after so long speaks volumes. Her heart had broken into pieces when her last relationship had ended with disillusionment of the kind she never thought possible hurting her soul. Katrina swears off men, especially doctors and the last thing she needs is to have lascivious thoughts about the town’s new physician. But that’s exactly what she ends up doing and more and it was sheer joy to see these two make their way towards their happily ever after.

While the story might seem all light, fluff and laughter, it was hardly that. There is enough emotion in it to practically sucker punch you over and over again. It takes a rare kind of book for me to shed actual tears and Montana Actually turned out to be one of those unique books with the ability to make me bawl my eyes out. Perhaps it was because I was in a pensive mood myself or because Fiona Lowe is that good; I’m going to go with the latter, I had to stop reading at a certain point and take a break because the emotional impact of it all was too overwhelming to continue. I don’t mean to scare any of you into not picking this up; let me reassure you that you would want to continue because there is definitely love and laughter at the end and of course the delicious sneak peak into the second book in the series to contend with!

It is tough to pull off a book with multiple characters and even plot in a secondary romance and make ALL of it work to give such a deliciously beautiful book. I for one am kicking myself for having waited this long to read this. Oh well. Life happens and my reading ambitions definitely have a way veering off track during those times. Last but not the least dear Ms. Lowe, keep em’ coming. For there is nothing more that reaffirms my belief that romance books are what keeps the world turning than a good book that engages all my emotions.

Final Verdict: Fiona Lowe effortlessly charms her way into your heart with Montana Actually. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Josh strode quickly through the door, filling the diner with his height, his breadth and his restless energy.
Light gray eyes—eyes that no longer looked like a red trail map—met hers. A flare of surprise burned in them along with something that made her shiver in a very good way. As fast as it had glowed brightly, it faded away leav- ing her wondering. In its place was the more familiar and slightly detached gaze.
She swallowed hard, determined to sound cool, calm and collected. “Doctor Stanton.”
“Nurse McCade.” He eyed the coffeepot in her hand suspiciously. “I hope you’re more in control of hot coffee than paint.”

One minute there was a safe and healthy distance between them, and then the old sofa cushions caved inward, rolling her sideways. Her shoulders bumped into his arm and then she fell across him. Suddenly, she found herself sprawled half on his lap.
“Sorry,” she spluttered as her body squealed in delight. “This sofa is a disaster.” She tried to move but the sucking cushions pinned her against him—a solid wall of muscle radiating heat. Heat that wove through her, taunting her with delicious quivers that danced and swirled before rushing straight to the apex of her thighs.

He groaned and, tantalizingly slowly, traced the outline of her top lip with the tip of his finger. Like a match to paper, she went up in flames as heat and joyful anticipation rocked her. She opened her mouth under his touch, her tongue licking the tip of his finger before her lips sucked it inside her mouth.
The black pupils of his eyes bled into the silvery gray. “Dear God, you’re killing me.” As he withdrew his finger, his other hand curved around the back of her neck and he kissed her.

The kiss was deliciously restrained and divinely decadent. Honor and lust—a kiss of the ages. A kiss any woman would envy.
A kiss that was driving her wild. She wanted to shake the control and unleash the passion.
Tingling from head to toe and desperate to really taste him, she opened her mouth under his, flicked out her tongue and invited him in. He didn’t hesitate. He branded her with his heat and his need for her, both giving and taking, and her knees buckled. She grabbed onto his shirt and he staggered backward, bringing her with him.

He waited for her to say or do something to tell him exactly what she wanted, but she stayed silent, so he lowered his mouth to hers.
He tasted salt, beer and restraint. He lightly nipped her lower lip.
She moaned, rose on her toes and opened her mouth under his, taking him in.
Thank you.

“If I didn’t think it would give you a swelled head, I’d tell you that the reality of you naked, even fuzzily out of focus, far outshines the fantasy.”
He grinned at her with dimples dancing. “I aim to please.”
“So do I.” She closed her hand around him, loving the hot and silken feel of him in her palm.
“Jesus, Katrina,” he moaned as his hands reached for her. “Too much of that and I won’t be pleasing you for another twenty minutes.”
“Where’s your self-control?” she teased.
“I lost it the moment I met you.”

She wasn’t sure if she crawled up him or if he lifted her or if it was a bit of both, but suddenly her arms and her legs were wrapped tightly around him and her back was pressed up against the tiles.
All of her quivered with unmet need and her body screamed for him. “Fill me up.”
Snowstorm gray eyes gazed into hers, filled with match- ing need. “Now?”
“Yes, please, right now.”
He pushed up. She pressed down and beseeching muscles gripped him tight, so tight it was as if they were scared he might change his mind.

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

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Review: Raziel by Kristina Douglas

Format: E-bookraziel
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Fallen, #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Raziel
Heroine: Allegra Watson
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 25, 2011
Started On: December 1, 2014
Finished On: December 10, 2014

Kristina Douglas is Anne Stuart writing paranormal fantasy genre. And whichever genre that Anne Stuart chooses to write, and if there is romance in it, its definitely a reason to pick it up. I’ve been meaning to give this series a go and finally managed to do so and ended up getting wowed beyond my wildest imaginations.

The Fallen series is focused on the concept of the fallen angels that is believed by Jews and Christians. Though I found reading about fallen angels which is not something we believe in Islam a bit unsettling at the beginning, I just set aside my misgivings and gave up to the heady ride Kristina Douglas delivered with Raziel, the debut book in the series.

Allegra Watson (Allie), a biblical murder mystery writer finds herself meeting her death, escorted by the most beautiful male specimen that she has laid her eyes on to her intended destination. Raziel and the other fallen angels lead a seemingly endless life, a life includes ferrying souls to either Hell or Paradise at the behest of Uriel, the archangel. Though Raziel has never had any problems with any of the people that he has transported for centuries, he finds that when the time of reckoning comes, he is unable to send Allegra on her way.

Allie finds herself in the most bizarre of circumstances with Raziel, a man who infuriates her, astounds her and electrifies her with the need that pulses through her every time he is around. Bound to each other by something that neither of them wants to acknowledge, Allie’s arrival to Sheol, the hidden world in which the fallen reside is not a welcome one for many. With danger looming closer than ever, Allie finds herself entirely captivated by Raziel and what he does to  her heart, mind, body and soul. With surprising twists to the story, Ms. Douglas manages to deliver a story that is unputdownable at best!

The power that Anne Stuart holds over her readers is legendary. With contemporary romances and romantic suspense, she continues to push the comfort zone of many a reader and publisher too if her writing history is anything to judge that fact by and under the pseudonym of Kristina Douglas, Anne Stuart practically eviscerates every preconceived notion of how the fantasy genre ought to be written. She smashes through the walls and leaves utter destruction of the kind you love to indulge in and I as a reader couldn’t have asked for more!

Allie whose name Allegra Watson made me snicker a bit to myself (Allegra = an antihistamine + Watson = a personal care store in Malaysia), fits the mold of heroines that Anne Stuart is famous for writing. Definitely not of the doormat variety, Allie continues to push at Raziel’s carefully laid out world of black and white, splashing it with beautiful, bold and vivid colors while Raziel continues to fool himself into thinking he is man enough to resist her charms. Snarky with a heart of gold, Allie was a heroine I definitely fell in love with and rooted for in the biggest way possible.

Raziel is one of the oldest of the fallen angels and pretty set in his ways. Raziel had sworn off women and the concept of finding a mate to share his life with because of the pain it brings to the heart to lose the one you love. While the fallen are subjected to live their life for eternity, their mates aren’t magically given the same “gift” and thus Raziel’s conviction that he is better off with just relying on his hand for company. But with the arrival of Allie into his life, Raziel knows in his heart that his days as a loner are numbered and that before she is through, she would end up blowing his heart into smithereens if he is not careful.

Raziel as a hero is beyond sexy, the kind of man that Anne Stuart so boldly brings to life time and yet again. Given the fact that this is fantasy, Anne’s creation goes a step further and delivers a mouthwatering version of the alpha male, Raziel is practically good enough to eat! His wings, oh man, those are a sight to behold and yes, you have to read the book to understand the full impact of Raziel.

This book is written in first person, from both Raziel and Allie’s points of view. The fact that I forgot to even complain about it when I initially wrote the review explains the fact that Ms. Douglas found a way to make the first person PoV work. By providing the points of view of both the hero and heroine. I actually never felt any of the frustrations that I usually feel with books written in first person and perhaps that is why I forgot to write it down when I first drafted the review.

I loved the ending provided, a look into their lives 5 years on, and a torturous peek towards what’s coming. There’s a sadness to the story, an inevitability to their shared lives and yet the happiness that radiates from it outshines it all. And that my friends is what superb storytelling is all about. Combining witty banter, heady sexual tension with highly erotic and sensuous delivery and enough fantasy and gore to feed the appetite, Raziel is a book that is a definite must read! I went a bit crazy with the quotes, forgive me. Not! Haha!

Final Verdict: Bold & unapologetic, sweeps you off your feet, big time!

Favorite Quotes

Kicking him in the shin and running like hell seemed an excellent plan, but I was barefoot and my body wasn’t feeling cooperative. As angry and desperate as I was, I still seemed to want him to touch me, even when I knew he had nothing good in mind. Angels didn’t have sex, did they? They didn’t even have sexual organs, according to the movie Dogma. I found myself glancing at his crotch, then quickly pulled my gaze away. What the hell was I doing checking out an angel’s package when I was about to die?

Her smile was faint, lovely, one of the most erotic things about her. “Now,” she whispered.
He didn’t hesitate. His fangs slid down and sank into her neck, finding the sweet spot he knew so well. The blood was thick, rich in his mouth, and he felt the spasms begin to take over, felt her own helpless response as his wings unfurled. He rolled onto his side, taking her with him, his teeth never leaving the gently throbbing vein, his cock deep inside her as his wings clamped around them both, locking them together as he gave himself over to the only kind of death he’d ever know.

“Were you sent here to torment me?” he whispered, sliding his arm around my waist, pulling me against him. “Did he know exactly what I needed, what I couldn’t fight?”
He? Who? But before I could ask the question, he kissed me again, and I was lost, needing to get closer to him, needing his skin beneath my fingers. His tongue was in my mouth, and I welcomed it, reaching between us and pulling his shirt apart so I could touch his skin, his hot, smooth skin. His heart was racing, and I wanted to put my mouth against it, wanted to taste his flat nipples, wanted my mouth all over him.

He started to pull out, and I clutched at him, suddenly terrified he would leave me.
But he was already pushing back into me, deeper than the first thrust, slick and sure, deeper, thicker, harder, and when he pulled back I let out a cry, desperate.
This time he slammed into me, all the way in, pushing me hard up against the wall, and my body suddenly shattered. I let out a muffled scream, burying it against his shoulder, against the smell of clean cotton and warm skin, and another wave hit me, and then another, until I was sure I couldn’t take any more.

I lay perfectly still beneath as he took care of me, my eyes closed, just wishing he’d go away and leave me. He was going to, sooner or later, and he might as well get it over with.
“I’m not going away,” he said.
“Stop reading my mind!” I cried, my voice catching on a sob. I didn’t tend to become emotional after sex, but this was an anomaly on every front.
He cursed under his breath. And then he simply moved over me, between my legs, and before I realized what he was doing he’d pushed inside me again, fully hard, and I let out a little yelp of shock as I shifted to accommodate him.

He lifted his head to look down at me, and I stared up into his strange eyes, mesmerized. I no longer wanted to hide, to look away. He was invading my soul again, just as he had earlier, only this time he was invading my body at the same time, and I wanted more.
“There’s a limit to what you can take, Allie,” he whispered in my ear, reading me again. “I don’t want to hurt you.” And he began to move, a slow, sweet slide, and I found I could make noise after all, a deep, longing moan, as I slid my arms around his back and held him close, feeling his muscles bunch and release against my hands, wanting the feel of him, the taste of him, all around me.

He reached behind him and took my arms, slamming them down on the mattress as he rose up, pumping into me. The second climax hit me, and then I couldn’t stop. I needed nothing more than the steady movement of him inside me to bring me to a place I hadn’t believed existed, and I threw myself out into the stars as his hands pressed down on mine and the iridescent darkness closed around us once more.
I could feel him inside me, coming, and I arched back, wanting his mouth on me, wanting his teeth on me. Please, I thought, and I felt his mouth against my neck and the first sharp bite of his teeth.
And I was complete.

“I can’t,” I said in sudden fear. “I really can’t.” And I tried to get off the bed.
He caught me at the edge, pulling me back underneath him so that I was facedown on the bed, my mouth against the linen sheets that smelled of lavender and spice and something even more elemental. “Yes you can,” he said with simple truth, and he slid his arm under my stomach, pulling me up to my hands and knees.

He pounded into me, a heavy dark rhythm that was like drumbeats from the heart of Africa. The drums of the gods. And I couldn’t stop the shudders rushing through me, mini-climaxes that were building, and his hand went between my legs, his fingers touching me, and I screamed, putting my head down, my face into the sheets as I gave in to the wildness and power, the animal need washing through me. I gave myself to him with complete trust, no longer thinking, no longer doubting. He would keep me safe, he would stop when I had more than I could handle, he would know.

His cock inside me seemed to swell, and I cradled his head against me, running my fingers through his thick, curling hair, whispering to him, soft words, love words.
And then he pulled away, rising up, and I could see my blood on his mouth, see the glitter in his eyes. He stared down at me, not moving, and I felt his climax deep inside me, giving me back what he had taken from me, and I joined him, flinging myself into the darkness with only him to guide me.

“Are you always going to be able to read my thoughts?” I asked with a trace of asperity.
“I can try not to. When you’re feeling strong emotion, it will come to me, and it will go both ways. In day-to-day life, I can shield you.”
“And in bed? I’m assuming we’re going to do this again?” I held my breath, waiting for the answer. Was he still fighting it? Should I still fight it?
It was a long moment before he spoke, an endless one. “As often as possible,” he said.
I knew his thoughts, knew what he wanted. Now. Again. “Yes,” I said. “Yes.”

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

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Requested ARC Review: The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera

Format: E-bookthedeepestocean
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden, #2
Publisher: Samhain Publishers
Hero: Darok Juell
Heroine: Yerena Fin Caller
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Started On: May 19, 2014
Finished On: July 2, 2014

The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera is the second book in her Eden series, and what a book this turned out to be. For someone like myself who doesn’t read much of fantasy novels, to be drawn into the world that Marian creates tells a story in itself. I am quite selective in the authors that I read when it comes to fantasy romances, perhaps because my imagination falls short of what the author is actually trying to convey with the worlds they create. But with Marian’s illustrious words, lets just say that there was a moment or two where I questioned myself on why I do not read more of the genre.

Darok Juell is the captain of the warship Daystrider who is instructed by the Commander of the Guardian Fleet of Denalay to take on board a woman whose identity remains a secret even to him until Yerena Fin Caller turns up at his ship right before it is supposed to depart. Darok finds himself fascinated by the Seawatch operative who informs him that her only duty is to guide and guard the ship in its journey. The tattoo that completely surrounds Yerena’s left eye tells a story in itself, a direct contrast to her otherwise nondescript nature and appearance.

Yerena is considered a weapon of Denalay, one of the countless men and women trained to serve the Unity the whole of their lives. Reared from a very tender age to become the weapon she is, Yerena commands a great white shark that is the closest to anything the she considers as hers. Her “unconventional” bond to the shark had gotten her many a thrashing, the result of which is the cold, aloof and controlled operative that is presented to the rest of the world.

The mission ahead is a perilous one, the impulsive and at times brash Darok paired with a Seawatch operative that is the furthest thing from brainish. Darok enlists Yerena’s help in crossing the Strait of Mists into the Iron Ocean in order to outrun the Turean pirate ships whose one sole mission is to destroy the Daystrider before it reaches shore. Yerena hides one aspect of her mission from Darok even though he makes Yerena question all the rules by which she has lived her entire life. Darok entices Yerena into giving herself into his caresses, kisses and  touches powerful enough to move her into giving him everything she has to give. And in the midst of it all rages a battle of megaly proportions that seems to challenge the combined experience and talent of Yerena and Darok, delivering a tale that stays with you long after you are done.

Having read Marian’s first book, I was surprised and delighted with the thread of sensuality that is interwoven into the fabric of the story. Yerena being seduced by Darok and the tables being turned added that sensual edge to the story which truly made The Deepest Ocean stand out when compared to Before the Storm, the first book in the series. With a few surprises up her sleeve, Marian definitely keeps the reader guessing, the pages turning and most of all the action almost going on nonstop in this tale that totally blew me away! Definitely and most highly recommended for lovers of the fantasy genre.

Final Verdict: Epic storytelling from start to finish. Marian is a voice not to be missed in this genre!

Favorite Quotes

For a moment she said nothing, but then her lips twitched. “No one’s compared me to a crab before.”
Darok grinned. “If it helps, I think you’re a lot prettier than most crabs.”
She laughed, and Darok drew his breath in. He hadn’t known until then how the warmth and lightness of laughter could change her face. The reflections of fire danced in her eyes, and the relaxation of her usual control made her mouth so different, lovely and sensually shaped. He only realized he had stepped forward when her lips parted in surprise, and he only knew he was holding her when he felt the softness of clean linen and the taut muscles of her arm beneath his hand. But he knew exactly what he was doing when he bent his head and covered her half-opened mouth with his own.

Darok’s senses were swimming when he lifted his head with an effort and looked down at her face. Her lips were full and moist, still open as she caught her breath, and he hardened at the sight. Wrapping an arm around her waist, he pulled her against him and bent to kiss the pulse pounding in her throat.
“Darok—” The word was a gasp, and he wanted to hear it again, wanted to hear it as he drove into her. He bit her throat just hard enough to wring a moan from her, then gently licked the mark he had made and blew on it. Yerena’s body swayed, her knees buckling, and Darok pushed her up against the wall as he lifted his head to kiss her again.

“Yerena.”
His voice was low and deep, turning the consonants of her name into a purr, and it was the only warning she had before his arm went around her waist, pulling her against him. His fingers were splayed against her hip, but his other hand cupped her face, lifting it. Yerena felt the warmth of his breath on her lips and held on to him for support as her eyes closed involuntarily.

She licked the pad of her thumb and rubbed his nipple. His eyes opened at once, and her smile was no longer secret as she reached down. She wrapped her hand around the throbbing length of his shaft, and he groaned.
“This is how much I want you,” she said, and rose up on her knees just enough to guide him into her.
The first touch of iron heat against the wet folds of her sex made her jolt as if the ship had struck a sandbank, but she recovered and began to impale herself slowly. She wanted him in her, wanted them joined so deeply that nothing would be able to tear them apart…at least for that night.

Darok released her and reached for her braid, which had fallen over her shoulder. The ribbon tying the end came off, and he drew his fingers through the mass of her hair, letting it fan over her shoulders and fall across her breasts.
“You’re beautiful, Yerena.” His voice was hoarse. “And wet.” He claimed her other breast, fondling it with his palm before his thumb rubbed the nipple. “I’ll make you wetter.”
That time she didn’t gasp when he pulled her forward, when he sucked on her. She groaned instead, and Darok made a rougher, lower sound that vibrated up from his throat into her skin.

“Darok!” Her voice was a raw whisper, shaking. “Now, please, now—”
He entered her with his tongue that time, as deep as he could, and her flesh tightened around him. She made no sound other than a wrenching sob that was nowhere near enough for him. He pulled away and rose as the hazel eyes were opening in disbelief, and when her legs closed around him to pull him back, he went with her and sank hilt-deep into hot convulsing flesh.

He bent his head and covered her mouth with his in a kiss so thirsty and possessive that it made her sway against him, trembling with need as her body caught fire from his. Her free hand clenched in his shirt. His tongue slid over hers, and she softly sucked on it until he moaned, low in his throat.
He tasted of rum and limes, strong and bitter and intoxicating at once.

She lay with her eyes closed, still breathing hard. The light sheen of wetness across one breast felt cool, but Darok’s upper arm lay across her other breast, warm and heavy. Aftershocks pulsed through her flesh, and she knew he felt those just as intensely although he lay quiet and sated beside her, motionless except for his breathing. They were joined in an intimacy that went far beyond the physical, and she acknowledged it with a cold despair settling over her heart.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Samhain | ARe

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Review: Reckless by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookReckless
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The House of Rohan, #2
Publisher: Mira
Hero: Adrian Alistair de Giverney Rohan
Heroine: Charlotte Spenser
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 1, 2010
Started On: February 26, 2014
Finished On: March 2, 2014

Reckless by Anne Stuart is book number two in the delectable House of Rohan series. Just like the ICE series that grabbed me hook, line and sinker, the House of Rohan series too has wormed its way into my heart and its characters practically embedded themselves deep into my soul. There is no escaping the mastery that Anne Stuart weaves with every single story she writes, and even her lackluster ones continue to enthrall me in a way few authors have the power to.

Reckless tells the story of the son of Francis and Elinor from the first book Ruthless. While Viscount Rohan i.e. Adrian is known for his indulging ways and debauchery, I would say he is not in the league of the likes of his father when all is said and done. Adrian is a rebel, one who refuses to do what is required of him and settle down like his mother wants him to. Adrian hardly believes that the sort of love that his father and mother share could be found for the likes of him. However, that doesn’t stop him from pursuing the delight Miss Charlotte Spenser, the 30 year old spinster presents to his senses, even when it makes him act in ways that is totally foreign to someone like him.

Charlotte knows what little she has to offer to any man, much less a man of Adrian’s caliber and pedigree. But that doesn’t stop her from wanting him, wanting his kisses on her mouth, his hands on her body and his reckless abandonment to match hers whenever they are together. Charlotte keeps telling herself that a man like Viscount Rohan could never find a plain thing like her interesting on any level, but his relentless pursuit of her to seek a pleasure too powerful to deny sends all her senses reeling and turns her safe and staid world upside down.

I would say Reckless features a story that could actually be interpreted as quite sweet compared to the rest of the novels in the series. More than the darkness that prevails the soul of Adrian, it is the evil that surrounds him that puts the edge of your seat factor to this novel, the fact that one of those closest to Adrian is actually the one who wants to take away his life and destroy the very things that he holds dear to his heart.

Accompanying the story of the fiery and sensual love affair that develops between the highly experienced Adrian and the virginal Charlotte, is the secondary romance of Evangelina, dowager countess of Whitmore, and the fascination that she develops for a Reverend Simon Pagett. Elinor’s character is one that proved to be completely riveting. Her ‘role’ in pushing Charlotte into Adrian’s arms when she had wanted just the exact opposite to happen, her past that mires her disdain towards the opposite sex and how hard she tries to prove to people otherwise, and the oh so delicious temptation to her heart, body and soul that Simon presents was an edge to Reckless that made it all that much more powerful to me. I was equally enamored by the two stories that unfolded, both entwining along the way, lending a deliciousness and depth to Reckless that makes it my favorite novel from the series up till now.

Reckless is a story that flows smoothly, the banter between both characters in the leading and secondary romances highlighting just how much the sarcastic wit that is included into Anne Stuart novels speaks to my heart. And in fact it does, sarcasm when rightly done, it speaks to my soul like poetry and at times reveals a lot more than the character thinks themselves to be revealing. And I couldn’t have asked for more in that regard in this novel. The only thing that disappointed me, just a teeny bit, was the culmination of Elinor and Simon’s love story; I would have loved to see just a tad more of their attainment of happily ever after towards the end.

I would say Reckless is a romance for everyone who loves historical romances. Even if you haven’t read book 1, there is no need to worry. This one would read like a charm as a standalone. But, the tidbits about Adrian’s parents that are intermingled into the story along the way certainly put a smile on my face and is one you would miss out on if you weren’t to read book 1. And yes, prepare yourselves for a deluge of quotes with this one. I just couldn’t help myself.

Delightfully recommended.

Final Verdict: Reckless and decadent abandonment guaranteed with at the turn of each page!

Favorite Quotes

He lifted his head again. “Open your mouth for me.”
Her eyes flew open again. “Why?”
It was the first word she’d spoken in quite a while, but her voice was husky and raw as if she’d been screaming.
“Because I want to kiss you that way.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You need to let me—”
He covered her mouth again before she could say the fateful words, and he pushed his tongue into her mouth so he could taste her fully.

And he wanted more. He’d told himself that acceptance was enough, but he’d been wrong. He wanted, needed participation.
“Kiss me back,” he whispered, his own voice hoarse.
She started to shake her head, but he caught her chin in one strong hand, holding her still. “Kiss me back,” he repeated in a rough voice.
Her eyes were huge. In the darkness her rich red hair looked black, and she looked up at him beseechingly. Don’t ask me to let you go, he thought.
“I don’t…know how.”

He stretched, slowly, luxuriantly, like a sleepy cat. A tall, beautiful, elegant, sleepy cat. “You really have no idea what you’re turning down. I’m accounted to be one of the most accomplished lovers in society. No woman has ever left my bed unsatisfied, no woman has ever refused to return for more.”
“Then why don’t you get one of them in here?”
“Because I want you.”
That silenced her. The four simple words were devastating, both to body and soul.

No, she didn’t love him. She didn’t even know him, and his reputation was disreputable. But for some reason, sane, sensible, practical Charlotte Spenser had dreamed about the lost and beautiful viscount and his elegant hands, his bewitching mouth. And he was offering her all that beauty, and the lost soul that hid behind it.
Even in the darkness she could see his smile widen, the glitter of satisfaction in his bright, brilliant eyes. “Come to bed, Charlotte Spenser,” he said softly, his voice a soft, impossible invitation.
And she did.

Sanity was overrated, his cousin had said. She had to agree, because this was madness, and she wanted it. For a brief moment in time Adrian Rohan belonged to her, and nothing could ever take that away from her.
“Open your eyes, Charlotte.” His voice was rough, and she did so, expecting to see smug satisfaction on his face.
Instead he looked dark, tortured, his blue eyes black in the shadows.

“What are you doing?” she gasped as she clutched his shoulders, the white linen loose in her fingers.
“You want the pretty words, or the truth?” he whispered, leaning forward to brush his mouth against hers. “You’re being tupped, shagged, screwed—made love to.” Each phrase was punctuated with a thrust, and he was as breathless as she was. “In fact, Charlotte, you’re being fucked. It’s about this—” he thrust hard “—and this.” Another thrust and she could feel her nipples harden in the warm night air, feel the strange heat in the pit of her stomach begin to build and burn.

He reached down, caught his erect penis in his hand and guided it to her, then thrust, a little too hard, a little too fast, but she took it with only a faint cry. She was wet and sleek and welcoming, and he moved his head, dropping it down on her shoulder as he tried to control his breathing, his fierce need. He wanted to slam into her until he spewed, he was famished, greedy, ready to explode.

She was lost, defeated. Everything ached. Not that he’d been too rough. They’d made love gently, fiercely, with tenderness and with anger. She was bruised from his hard grip, he was raked by her nails, but the only thing he’d been brutal with was her heart.

It was astonishing. It was full-mouthed, seething with lust and abandon, and for a moment she froze. She’d been kissed like that before, and she knew all the tricks of a measured response. But those clever tricks evaporated, and she closed her eyes, sinking, sinking. He kissed her with a fierce hunger that shook her to her bones, a deep, carnal kiss that was more sexual than anything she’d done in her entire life.

He lifted his mouth for a brief moment, and in the darkness of the unlit carriage she could see the glitter of his eyes. “Open your mouth for me, Charlotte,” he whispered. “I’ve been waiting hours to kiss you and I’m running out of patience.”
Her shock was enough that she did as he told her, and his kiss was full and deep, a possessive hunger she felt vibrating through her body.

And she’d said yes. He didn’t bother to hide his astonishment. Though he could…ahem…rise to the occasion. “I beg your pardon? Was that agreement I hear? How delightfully refreshing. I thought you decided to regrow your hymen and be the same prissy, starched-up female you were before I put my wicked hands on you.”

“You’re quite surprisingly resilient, Miss Spenser. I would have expected you to go into a languishing decline after my rough treatment of you.”
“Was that rough?” she asked innocently. “It perhaps lacked a bit of finesse, but you managed well enough.”
He wanted to laugh, he wanted to kiss her. “I didn’t really consider you deserved my best effort, since you had absolutely no idea what you were doing.”
“Indeed. I would hope that wasn’t your best effort. I would be sadly disappointed if society considered that to be masterful.”

“Turn around, Charlotte.”
“W-why?”
“Because I want to unlace your dress.”
“Is that strictly necessary?”
He laughed against her throat. “Yes, it’s strictly necessary. I want to see you naked. I want to lick every inch of your body. Turn around.”

He moved forward, took the hem of the chemise and whipped it over her head with one smooth movement. And a second later, the drawstring to her drawers was loosened, and they fell to her feet, and she was wearing nothing at all but her stockings.
“Oh, God,” he said, a curse, a supplication, a prayer. He pushed her up against the door, just behind her, lifted her by her legs and thrust inside her, hard.

It seemed to last forever, his rigid outpouring that seemed to scald her very heart, her shivering, clenching, mindless release, and all she could think was more, more, more, and then suddenly it was enough, and they collapsed together onto the narrow, dusty bed.

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

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ARC Review: The Place I Belong by Inez Kelley

Format: E-booktheplaceibelong
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Country Roads, #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Jonah Alcott
Heroine: Zureyden Castellano
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: February 24, 2014
Started On: February 21, 2014
Finished On: February 22, 2014

The Place I Belong is the wonderful second installment of Inez Kelley’s Country Roads series. While I enjoyed the first book in the series, i.e. Take Me Home, I flat-out loved what the second book in this series had to offer.

Jonah Alcott is the man responsible for the PR at Hawkins Hardwood, a lumbar company in West Virginia. Jonah is charming, persuasive and confident in his abilities and believes in the good that Hawkins Hardwood does in the industry. His latest foe turns out to be as vivacious as she is stubborn, a woman who drives him to distraction in every single way possible.

Zureyden Castellano (Zury) hates seeing the beloved land that she calls home castrated in the name of profits. Her fight to keep the wild beauty of the land intact is a personal one, one borne out of knowing early on in her childhood where exactly in this world she belonged. Butting heads with the altogether too sexy for his own good Jonah was supposed to be just that, proving her point and walking away with the rights of the Black Cherry Canyon taken from Hawkins Hardwood which would guarantee the land wouldn’t be despoiled by those who seem to see nothing but big fat wads of cash in profits that would be reaped from the land.

But as Jonah and Zury spends time together, both of them realize that under all the frustration that they both harbor in making the other see the light, lies a simmering attraction that surpasses anything they have ever felt before. While Jonah prefers his dalliances with the opposite sex commitment free, Zury is the type who would never be completely happy with a casual romp and someone who would always seek more from her relationships. But even with their different outlooks, Zury and Jonah find that turning away from the wild sexual energy and the connection forged between them is something neither is capable of doing.

As these two gravitate more and more towards each other, Hawkins Hardwood falls under the target of an Eco-terrorist group that believes no boundaries exist when it comes to ensuring that nature thrive, at any cost. Whether Jonah would be able to convince Zury of who the real bad guys are in time and salvage the connection that grows between them is the question as the man behind the group, who has got practically nothing to lose, closes in on his intended target, all in the name of saving Zury’s beloved land.

What made The Place I Belong stand out for me were the different threads in the story interwoven cleverly together to give a highly readable tale of undeniable passion, love and the sizzle of danger. Jonah is a hero that I adored from his altogether gorgeous frame, either suited up or in casuals; that one scene during which Zury practically inhales Jonah in all his suited up glory one that is etched on my mind even now. What you see is not what you get when you take in Jonah’s character. The darkness in his past is one that boils to the surface proving to Zury just how wrong she had been in assuming Jonah to be just another pretty face when they had first made acquaintance.

While Jonah deserves endless drooling sessions with his lethal frame reminding me of none other than Gabriel Aubrey, Zury turned out to be a swell heroine who earned my wholehearted love and approval. Zury is the type of woman who is passionate about what she believes in and works actively to protect what she is passionate about. The fact that she was woman enough to admit to her faulty thinking made me love her even more, and Zury standing up in defense of the man she loves was one of those moments that I could have hugged her myself.

The bit that I loved most when it came to Zury and Jonah turns out to be the fact that even with all their differences and the countless arguments that they get into with each other, they never seem to hurt each other with their words. That is admirable to me on so many levels, not many people can pull that off with such vast differences in thinking without ending up bitter about one thing or the other. Cannot wait for Webb’s story to come out later this year!

I would urge readers to take a look at The Place I Belong not because its just a fabulous romance, but because the story is so very much more than that and offers quite the fascinating character in Jonah. Definitely recommended.

Final Verdict:  Inez Kelley whips a tornado through your emotions with The Place I Belong, leaving no part of your heart untouched.

Favorite Quotes

It was over ninety degrees in the sun but his hands were far hotter as they skimmed over her stomach, up her rib cage, over the cups of her bra to palm one aching mound. A nip to her neck caused her to gasp his name, to draw his scent mingled with summer wind into her lungs. He licked under her jaw and dragged his mouth along her skin to her ear. “Tell me you want this.”
She wanted it. She wanted it so badly her heartbeat surged and the juncture between her thighs went hot and soft. It was wrong, complicated and potentially stupid, but she didn’t want him to stop.

All intelligent thought evaporated as his fingers rolled her stiffened nipple through the cup of her bra. “More.”
“Oh, thank fuck.” A shudder worked up his spine and he took her mouth with a frantic strength. Long firm fingers dug into her ass as he rocked her hips into his, into the hardness behind his zipper. Pure feminine power filled her. She traced her short nails down his back, delighting in his low groan. Rolling her hips pressed her center against his growing erection, and his groan turned to a hungry growl. Her body flushed, softening and growing damp.

“Is that all you needed?”
He’d spoken into the phone but his attention was firmly locked on her as she strolled toward him, swinging her hips with a deliberate rhythm. He froze, standing perfectly still as she worked the knot out of his tie. The silk whispered against his shirt as she tugged it free, looping it around her own neck. His chest rose more quickly, his warm breath feathering over her brow as she started slipping open the buttons of his vest. Tongue touching her lip, she raised her chin to look into his eyes. Another button slid free.

The flavor of his skin burst onto her tongue as she licked. The unique scent of him filled her nose and she nuzzled, drawing in more of that heady fragrance. Recognition clicked. Summer wind, he smelled of summer wind racing through the trees. It was so erotic, she let the tip of her nose circle just below his ear. A soft growl rumbled in his chest.

Beneath the broadcloth, she found the real man, the man she’d discovered in the cabin, all rigid muscle and harnessed passion. His chest hair prickled her cheek and nose but she couldn’t stop from nuzzling just above his solar plexus. Strong hands curled around her shoulders, pulling her closer, inviting more touch, more taste. Her nipples hardened and her breasts grew achy. An emptiness pulsed between her legs.

Her hands slid up his arms, clinging to his shoulders. One hand gripped the back of his hair, fisting it and forcing his kiss to deepen. Powerful arms wrapped around her, fitting her to his body. One huge palm skimmed down her back, over her hips, and palmed her ass. It forced her hips tighter to his and she wantonly rocked into him. His soft moan flavored the kiss. The tall grasses bent, cushioning them as he lowered her to the ground.

She wasn’t very busty but his look of pure reverence made her feel beautiful. One long lean finger stroked along the bottom curve then moved higher, circling the budded nipple. He repeated the motion with his tongue, flicking out with just the tip. A noise broke from her lips, hunger surging, and he sealed his sucking mouth around the crest.
White lights popped behind her eyelids as she melted into his caress. The crisp hair on his chest tickled against her belly as he moved to the other breast, kissing, nibbling, sucking, drawing her deeper into a haze of lust.

“That’s it. Open for me. Let me touch you.”
He didn’t know how open she was. More than her body lay exposed beneath him. Her heart and soul were bare and his for the taking. Words whispered from her mouth, every wrenching expression of love, every flowery vow and every hopeful longing spilled out. Just not in a language he understood. But it was enough for now. She had said them, unfettered and without fear.

“Oh God, Zury, you take me so good.”
One rough palm slid down her thigh to grip behind her knee. He raised her leg, bringing it along his hip. The slight change seated him deeper and she went wild. She raked his back and clutched at his shoulders, wanting, needing him closer, deeper. Jonah answered, ramming into her, retreating, returning with as much force. No civility softened his strokes. He was pure and raw and hungry and she loved it.

He moaned her name as his rhythm reached a frenetic tempo. A single chant circled her brain. Te amo. Te amo. Te amo. I love you. I love you. I love you.
An animalistic roar powered from him as he sank deeper than before and let go. He surged inside her, swelling and throbbing, and her body responded, shuddering in release. Together, they hung in the misty middle ground for ages, then drifted down as one.

She basked in a woman’s power to enthrall. “Right now, who do you belong to?”
His wet hair was mussed, framing his eyes with jagged edges. A wild, feral hunger carved his face into sharp lines and his fingertips bit deliciously into her hips. “You. I belong to you.”
She took no mercy, sinking downward in one swift lunge. His mouth fell open, his fingertips digging hard into her skin as his belly clenched.

Prickly chest hairs chafed her back as he brought his mouth to her nape. He tugged her hips up then sank inside, the force driving her into the mattress. “Now, you belong to me. Say my name.”
“Yes. Yours, Jonah. Harder.” She spread her legs and arched her hips, opening her body to him, pushing back into his every thrust. His hips slapped the flesh of her ass with a punishing rhythm. Sliding his hands down her arms, he laced their fingers and rocked.

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