Review: When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Levi Joseph Paige
Heroine: Parker Joy Cruse
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 03, 2017
Started On: July 17, 2021
Finished On: July 23, 2021

When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann, published in 2017, is going to be tough book to review. Not because the book was bad, but because it was exceptionally good and held me spellbound from start to finish. This is going to be a book tough to read if you are the judgmental sort, but if you believe in the fragility of human emotions, if you believe that we are all bound to make mistakes or even find love through those mistakes, then this book is for you.

26 year old Parker Joy Cruse needs independence from her family, even if it means moving a short distance from her parents place – freedom meant freedom. But Parker’s new neighbours turn out to be more than she bargained for, especially when she starts developing feelings for the very married husband of the household.

Parker is the person who basically chairs the “I Hate Cheaters” club, having been on the receiving end of the heartache and pain that she nurses in her heart. Her fractured relationship with her identical twin sister is testament enough to this fact. Parker who sees the world in black and white suddenly finds herself confronting the shades of grey in the midst, having to contend with her burgeoning feelings towards the one man she should not want.

But then tragedy strikes, leaving not just Parker wounded in the wake. However, life happens, and in comes 33 year old Levi Joseph Paige who dominates Parker’s world once again. Unable to grieve openly and publicly over the loss, and when Levi offers her the chance to break free from the circus that is her hometown and well-meaning parents, Parker decides to take Levi up on his offer and travel to Arizona with him.

Thus begins the journey on which Parker comes to terms with the love that she found and lost in such a brief moment in time, and once again confronts the feelings that comes to life with the merest touch from Levi. In Levi, Parker finds the love that she has been waiting for, for the past 26 years of her life. However, Levi is a complex man who harbours his own scars, the blame he shoulders over what took place in the past keeping him in an emotional cage of life’s making. At the same time, Parker’s secret is one that could destroy the fragility of the relationship between them, unless both of them are willing to look beyond and have the courage to face the consequences, bitterness, and the beauty that life is in its glorious complexity.

Needless to say, I loved this story to pieces. Jewel E. Ann is an author who knows how to draw out the intricate emotions of readers; you can love or hate what she makes you feel – I choose love because I read for the pleasure that stories bring, especially how they engage all my emotions and leaves me wanting more. When Life Happened is that kind of book, and I would not have it any other way.

The title of this book aptly describes what the story would deliver – but don’t be fooled into thinking you would be able to predict what would happen. I for one have never come across an author who dared to do what she did with this story, and boy, did she deliver it well. I was sucker-punched and left to gasp in the wake of the immensity of the feelings that were coursing through me. I was expecting a miracle to happen at any moment, but then again, that is not what life is about, is it?

I kept asking the what-if questions, even towards the latter end of the book, but I guess that is also in reality what life is like. Some people prefer to live in the what-ifs, and let life pass them by, while those that prefer to be grounded in reality move on and make peace with their lot in life.

When Levi stepped into the pages, I was once again shaken up by just how quickly he laid claim to my heart. Parker who lost her self worth at one point in time, finds not one, but two men in a short span of time, both who recognizes the value of Parker and wants to lay down the entire world at her feet.

The angst and heartbreak towards the end broke my heart, but I believe it was pretty much needed to bring the collective emotions of Parker and Levi full-circle. They both needed to accept, heal, and move on individually to be able to love each other and sustain their love through life’s curve-balls that would come in time.

Recommended for those who want to read a romance that would sweep you off your feet and engage all your emotions. This one delivers in spades!

Final Verdict: When Life Happened teaches us of life’s unpredictability, about the shades of grey in the midst, and about the endless possibilities that is life! Loved this in a way that is indescribable!

Favorite Quotes

“Out of control hormones are no excuse.” She rinsed the plates and set them beside the sink.
“Desire is very powerful.”
Parker reached for the handle to the fridge. “I don’t buy it.”
Before she could make sense of what was happening, Gus whipped her around and pinned her to the refrigerator door with his body, chest to chest. He pressed his hands flat to the door on either side of her head as she flattened hers to it just below her hips.
She tried to speak as his eyes stripped every ounce of her confidence. His warm breath touched her lips as he licked his, hovering an inch above hers. When her mouth opened to protest or scream, nothing came out.
“Parker,” he whispered in a deep, throaty voice.

“You’re what?” His hand moved up her shirt, stopping at the edge of her bra as his knee moved a fraction.
So. Fucking. Wrong.
“Confused,” she whispered.
“And?” His fingers caressed her abdomen.
Her muscles clenched. “Gus …”
She looked up at him and blinked, sending tears running down her cheeks.
He pressed his knee into her until her hips involuntarily bucked against it. She grimaced and more tears filled her eyes as her body betrayed her again.
“Tell. Me.” He gritted his teeth and stroked her again with his leg, and again her pelvis rocked into it.
As she squeezed her eyes shut, her hands gripped his shirt, warring between the need to push him away and something else too terrifying to admit.

“But, Parker?”
As she turned toward his voice, he grabbed her arm, yanked her into the garage, and pinned her against the wall.
“If you’re going to tell Sabrina about our kiss, it sure as fuck isn’t going to be the lame, drunken kiss at the bar.”
“Wha—”
He silenced her by smashing his mouth into hers, delivering a kiss that obliterated every thought in her head. When his tongue probed into her mouth, sliding against hers, she tried to push him away. He cradled her face to deepen the kiss even more and when he moaned, she did the unthinkable—the unforgivable: she laced her fingers through his hair and kissed him back.
Gray. A terrible color. The murky water where sinners thrived. Parker Cruse was a hypocrite. A cheater. And in need of another change of underwear.

“Parker …” He kissed her hard again. She released her breasts and threaded her hands through his hair. His hands began to unfasten his navy cargo shorts, exposing the hard bulge barely contained by his briefs.
“N-no …” She broke their kiss. “Not sex.”
Gus’s hands gripped the counter on either side of her as his forehead rested against hers. “Jesus, Parker … o-okay.” His ragged breaths washed over her face. He nodded against her. “No sex.”
“No sex.” Her voice quivered as her hands clawed at his back.

Her arms and legs pulled him closer as her heels dug into his backside—every move greedy and mindless. Gus released the back of her head and slipped his hand under her bottom so he could thrust harder against her, each vying for more friction.
“I’m going to … stop …” She dropped her head to his shoulder and her teeth dug into his firm flesh.
He growled as she bit harder, returning the favor as he sucked the sensitive skin along her neck, rocking their bodies together over and over.

Parker saw Levi, but she felt Gus. Pieces of him lingered everywhere. She could close her eyes and taste him on her lips, smell the hint of leather and spice cologne in the crook of his neck, feel every muscle of his back beneath her fingertips, and hear his “I love you” echoing over and over.
He was the wind. The moon sketching shadows. The shiver along her skin at night when she shut off the lights and whispered his name. He promised her everything and left her with nothing. How could nothing—a deep, hollow hole—feel like something so tangible, like her pain had its own pulse.

He jabbed her entrance with the head of his cock.
“Jesus…” she gasped “ …Christ …”
He pressed his hand to her back, pushing her forward until her hands rested on his legs.
“Flub up?” He chuckled. “I’m not that drunk. Hold on, this could be a rough ride.”
He lifted her up a couple inches and jerked her back down onto him.
“Fuck!” Her chin dropped to her chest and the second his right hand slid between her legs, she saw the stars.

Levi toed off his sneakers while he removed his shirt dropping it to the ground next to her bra. Parker’s breath caught when he feathered his fingers down her arms.
“How do you do that?” she whispered.
“Do what?” He clasped her hands slowly bringing them above her head and then back behind his.
“Make me feel like you’re the first man to ever touch me?” She fisted his hair and arched her back as he ghosted his hands back down, under her arms, around to her belly, teasing them just below the waist of her panties before inching up to her breasts. She moaned when he cupped them, and then she pushed them even more into his hands.
“Because…” he dipped his head and pressed his lips to her shoulder “…my touch is the only one that will ever matter.”

Levi crawled between her spread legs, kissing his way up her body. She played with his hair again like her fingers couldn’t get enough as he tasted his way up her abdomen. Her lips parted, eyes locked on his. He hooked his arm under her knee as his mouth covered her breast. Watching her eyes the whole time, he pushed inside of her.
She sucked in a sharp breath, eyes heavy but still focused on him, as her hands curled into his hair.
Pulling back slowly, he plunged into her harder.
“Levi …”
The bed jerked beneath them.
He kissed his way along her neck up to her mouth. “I think it’s pretty clear,” he whispered.

“How I feel about you, it hurts in here.”
The slightest flinch flashed across his face. Then he pressed his lips to her hand. “I’m going to take the pain away … you’ll see.”
He plunged into her the rest of the way.
“Levi …”
“How does it feel?” He kissed her neck.
“Levi …”
Gripping her hips, he set the pace.
“Like a drug,” she whispered just before her mouth crashed to his, catching the ultimate wave of addiction.

“Tell me, Mister World Traveler, what is your greatest memory, the one you’ll never forget?”
He squatted down in front of her, resting his hands on her legs. “That’s easy. Overcast sky. Barren field. Blue pick-up truck. Pizza. Twelve-pack of beer. And the woman who owns my world.”
“Liar,” she whispered as her heart nearly exploded.
He laid a sound kiss on her lips then grinned. “No Lie Levi.” Standing, he walked to the door. “I love you. Don’t you ever fucking forget it.”

“Don’t tease me again, Levi.” Parker blinked open her eyes. The games were over. She saw nothing but love in his eyes. “Make love to me, Levi, but do it like—”
“Like you’re the last woman I’ll ever want for the rest of my life.”
Parker couldn’t breathe from the impact of his words. She was going to say “like we usually do,” but he had to step in and remind her one last time that after twenty-six years, her heart had found its rightful owner.

As soon as her dress fell below her breasts, he gripped them, kneading them until she arched her back, breaking their kiss. “Levi …”
She released him from his briefs and stroked him. He hissed in a breath, leaving one hand on her breast. His other hand grabbed the crotch to her panties and pulled it to the side as she guided his erection to that very spot.
“Stop.” He pulled back a fraction. His hand on her breast moved to the back of her neck, and he rested his forehead on hers. “I love you back,” he whispered through ragged breaths. “I love you back so fucking much I’m certain it’s the only thing I have ever done in my life that’s one hundred percent selfless. But this isn’t us. I don’t want to have pissed-off-at-the-world sex with you.”
“Levi …” She panted, holding tight to his cock. “I kinda need this to happen.”
He nodded, still leaning into her forehead with his. “Agreed.” He laughed a little. “But it’s I-love-you sex. I-need-you sex. My-whole-fucking-world-revolves-around-you sex.”

“Levi …” she whispered breathlessly as her heart pounded in anticipation.
“Shhh …” He eased off her panties, ghosting his lips along the back of her legs and over the curve of her ass.
“Fuck!” Her muscles clenched. “Did you just bite my ass again?”
He chuckled while his tongue glided over the spot. As he stood, he lifted her right leg and plunged into her. Bending over her back, he whispered in her ear, “My whole … fucking … world.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: From the Embers by Aly Martinez

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Eason Maxwell
Heroine: Bree
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 28, 2021
Started On: May 15, 2021
Finished On: May 17, 2021

From the Embers by Aly Martinez is one of my favorite reads from 2021. Discovering Ms. Martinez through her book Release has been a godsend. Stumbling across authors like Ms. Martinez is why I spend countless hours sometimes, looking through title blurbs of authors I have never read before. Books like From the Embers makes all the bad books you come across worthwhile in the long run.

The story begins at the point where the main protagonists, Bree and Eason Maxwell are married to each other’s best friends. Bree a businesswoman prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom of two when their family’s finances had given her the freedom to do so, and Eason, a songwriter whose marriage seems to be on a perilous path all because he was just not doing enough to keep his wife satisfied on all fronts.

All that changes in a heartbeat when an explosion takes the lives of both Bree’s husband and Eason’s wife, leaving them both bereft, hurting, and bewildered in the wake of the heartbreaking loss. Eason might have carried Bree to safety from the explosion, but it is Bree who finally sees him for who he is, as they are both forced to rely on each other to get through the days ahead. However, as these two navigate the circumstances of the new reality that they have been thrust into, dark secrets come to the forefront, threatening to crumble the foundations upon which the bond between Eason and Bree is forged to life.

Bree had never been Eason’s fan – she had always found Eason lacking, all owing to the fact that she had viewed Eason through the lens of her best friend’s viewpoint. All of that changes when Eason becomes her rock in the turbulent times that faces them both, the family they become as they leave the painful night behind them and starts the slow and painful process of moving on.

Both Bree and Eason are wonderful characters; every single character that you come across in the book is special. Kids often have a tendency to annoy me in books – but Ms. Martinez makes it all work, bringing the right mix of cuteness and wholesomeness to the mix. The plot was well done; at first I was a bit skeptical thinking that what comes to the forefront was just too easy – but in the end Ms. Martinez surprised me with the plot twist that brought a different edge to the story as it reached its climax.

Eason was perfect. Bree was perfect. The secondary characters were perfect. This story was nothing short of perfect. Recommended for those who want a story that would sweep them off their feet on a journey that is all consuming!

Final Verdict: Beautiful, surreal, and utterly spellbinding, From the Embers makes for an explosive read in every single sense!

Favorite Quotes

“I don’t hide anything from you.”
“Good,” she said. “Let’s keep it that way.”
My throat got thick, and as hypocritical as it was, I hoped the sweat breaking across the back of my neck and the tempo of my racing heart were both hidden. Her proximity suddenly felt suffocating, which was almost as confusing as it was intoxicating.
Together, we stood there, surrounded by white lights and unspoken emotions. There were gratitude and respect, but most of all, there was love. Maybe not the conventional or romantic variety, but it was there all the same.

“Look, I know this is going to complicate the hell out of things. But being with you is the only thing that feels right in my life. I’m gonna be real honest: I’m mad at them. I’m hurt. I’m embarrassed. And I can’t even begin to imagine the agony that’s going to follow over the next few weeks as we sort this shit out with Luna. But there are two things I know for sure: I want you, Bree, and I’m not waiting one fucking second longer to make my move.”
In one swift motion, I rolled over and tucked her beneath me. Smoothing the wisps of hair out of her face, I added, “I can’t wait any longer to kiss you from head to toe, to make you feel good and know for sure it was because of me.”

After unwrapping her like a candy and sampling the sweetness between her legs, her hands balling the sheets beside my shoulders, I nearly lost my mind.
Just before I tipped the scales out of my favor, she annihilated them altogether by rolling on top of me. “In my dreams, you said I wasn’t ready. But I’m ready, Eason. I’m so damn ready for you.”
She’d had dreams.
About me.

Every day, Eason was easygoing and laid-back, but in bed, he was a completely different animal. He was powerful and strong, almost unyielding in the way he ravaged my body with his. He was bold and sure, confident in knowing everything I needed even before I could anticipate it myself. He was demanding and gentle, but above all else, he didn’t hold back.
Eason gave. I took.
He went harder, faster. I begged for more.

“I swear to God, Bree, your fucking body was made for me.” His hips twisted as he pushed deeper. “I can’t go much lo—”
I silenced him with my mouth on his. “Shhh. Then don’t. Give it to me. Give me everything.”
Breaking the kiss, he went up onto his arm, looked down at where our bodies were crashing into each other, and then pressed his forehead against my shoulder as the most erotic moan rumbled through his chest. “Fuck.”
His heavy weight collapsed on top of me as he pumped and twitched his release. For as ugly and tainted as the world could be, the sight of Eason losing himself in an orgasm would forever be one of the purest and most beautiful things I could experience.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo

Review: Don’t Kiss the Bride by Carian Cole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo

Review: Sweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Lachlan Matthew Taylor
Heroine: Dandelion Meadows
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 25, 2020
Started On: August 14, 2020
Finished On: August 19, 2020

Sweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer is from a new to me author, whose books that I would definitely be checking out from here onwards.

Following the aftermath and recovery from a school shooting that renders the heroine Dandelion Meadows unable to cope, it is the requirement tat she takes counseling sessions at school that puts her in the path of the 29 year old school counselor, Lachlan Matthew Taylor.

Dandelion has been trying to move on from what happened for the past nine months, having lost her so much at the school shooting incident. The trauma is raw and alive within her, and though Dandelion is skeptical of the efficacy of the sessions she is required to take, meeting Lachlan is an experience in itself.

From the start, Lachlan is conscientious of her needs. He does not push her into going in directions which is extremely difficult for her, but at the same time, Dandelion finds herself drawn to, and at peace with her thoughts when it comes to the her sessions with Lachlan.

When things start to change between them, even though both Dandelion and Lachlan try their darnedest to not let it happen, somehow, somethings in life are inevitable. It is pretty difficult for Lachlan to reconcile his burgeoning feelings for Dandelion with that of his role as her school counselor and as a result he struggles more than Dandelion does when it comes to the consequences of their coming together. The fact that he is also a lot older than Dandelion is one reason, and even though both Lachlan and Dandelion are lonely in a way that they both alone identify with, there is a whole host of challenges that they both need to overcome, if their love is to survive.

There is a sweet poignancy to the story as it unfolds, and Lachlan, my God Lachlan!, is definitely one for the book boyfriends list. He is sweet, dreamy, kind, has a soul that yearns for love and deep abiding connection with the other half of his soul, loves fiercely and gently at the same time, and is demanding and intense in bed, setting the pages afire. I loved Lachlan from the very first moment he came into the picture, and in a way, he reminded me of Professor Lukas Halstrom, but Lachlan is definitely one of the most unique heroes I have come across and I fell for him hard and fast.

Dandelion has her own growing up to do, even though she has an old soul that yearns for Lachlan in every single way. Even with everyone in her life dead set against the thought of Lachlan and her together, Dandelion knows that she would choose to be with him in a heartbeat, if he were willing to take the risk. But then true love is sometimes never as easy to conquer as we would like to think, and there is a lot that Dandelion goes through before she is ready to take that step and understand where Lachlan was coming from all along.

Needless to say, I loved Sweet Dandelion. It is no mean feat to cast two protagonists whose love would be frowned upon and castigated severely by society (and it is usually for good reason), and make it into something so profoundly beautiful that I am at a loss as to how to properly describe the feelings that coursed through me as I delved deeper into their story. The in-depth characterisation, how comprehensively Ms. Smeltzer explored the range of emotions between the two, not to mention that of the secondary characters in the story; all that and more lent this tale an edge that lasted up till the last page was read and done.

There is nary a word nor character that I would do away with in Sweet Dandelion and I believe this is what extraordinary romance books are all about – taking on difficult tropes and working them out in a way that leaves the reader spellbound from start to finish. The TWO (not one), epilogues tucked at the end made up for a lot that happened as the story reached towards its climax and beyond, and I loved and reveled in all of it!

Definitely recommended for those who love romances that sweep you off your feet. Sweet Dandelion is one for the records and Lachlan, definitely a keeper!

Final Verdict: Sweet Dandelion is story that is nuanced, sumptuous, and phenomenal; Lachlan and Dandelion sweep you off your feet on a journey that is worth every obstacle faced along the way to their HEA!

Favorite Quotes

I lean over, closing the short distance between us. The peppermint on his tongue permeates the air and I lick my bottom lip before I press my lips to his. My mouth tingles from the taste of him. He doesn’t move at first, but then a manly growl echoes in his throat. His long strong fingers tangle in my hair. His hold is tight enough to hurt, but isn’t painful. His tongue finds mine and that minty taste is everywhere.
I’ve never been kissed like this before. It’s a ravaging more than a kiss, like he’s a knight claiming his bounty. His stubble burns my cheeks, but I don’t mind the sting—it’s a welcome reminder that this is real, I’m kissing Lachlan, but more importantly he’s kissing me back.

His eyes close once more, murmuring my name.
In a blink his hands are on my hips.
I squeak as he pulls me onto his lap. My hips sink down onto him, a soft moan parting my lips at the feel of him pressed to my center.
“Dani,” he croons.
His hands fist in my hair.
I roll my hips, eliciting another moan from my throat.
“Dani,” a purr this time.
Finally, blissfully, his lips are on mine.

He kisses me with a desperation I mirror with my movements. I’m eager to get closer to him, to feel every part of him.
Our tongues tangle together with a passion we’ve kept chained for months. This is the kind of kiss I’ve seen in movies and read in the books he’s let me borrow. It’s a kiss that changes things. There’s no coming back from this. It doesn’t in any way compare to our first kiss. That was a hesitant, fragile thing, while this is a claiming.

“Lachlan,” I gasp, and he bites my bottom lip, tugging it into his mouth.
His blue eyes meet mine in the dark as he releases my lip. “Let go, Dani, I’ve got you.”
I don’t want to let go, because once I do, I’m afraid this moment between us will be over too. There’s no controlling it once I fall off the ledge into an abyss of pleasure. His hold tightens on my hips, his own rocking against mine.
He pants, letting out a low groan. “Fuck.”
We fall together.
Spinning.
Twirling.
Stars.
Pleasure.

“Why does it have to be you?” he whispers gruffly, moving his lips over my face.
“Kiss me,” I beg, not even caring if I sound wanton.
He does, our dance long forgotten but a whole new one beginning to play out.
His hands move down my body, creating a trail that sends fire spreading through my body. “Touch me,” I beg. “Please.” My voice is achy with need.
“Dani—”
“Please.”
His uttered, “Fuck,” is a deep rumble.

His long legs round the couch, carrying me down the hall. He taps the door to his bedroom with his foot and in a blink my back hits his mattress.
His big body is a blanket over mine. With his grip on my neck, our lips are only separated by millimeters. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”
“Show me.”
His eyes flash in the darkened bedroom, only illuminated by the lights emanating from the outside. “Dani—”
“Show me,” I beg, kissing his chin. “Show me.” His jaw. “Show me.” His cheek. “Show me.”
His eyes stare deep into mine.
Looking.
Searching.
Finding.

“I love you,” I murmur, pressing a tender kiss to his lips.
His hands flex against my sides, his jaw working back and forth as his eyes fill with turmoil. I fear he’s going to shove me away, that common sense is going to overtake our feelings, but he doesn’t do that. “I love you, too.” The words are barely above a whisper, but they’re every-fucking-thing and I feel them all the way down to my toes. Saying them once must make him bolder, because he says them again, this time louder. “I love you.” Louder. “I love you.” He begins to punctuate each word with a kiss. “I love you. I love you. I love you Dandelion Meadows. Despite it all, despite myself, I love you.”
Our kisses deepen, fueled by a love that defies the odds.

“Dani,” he growls my name into my ear, turning into a feral sound. “Fuck, you’re killing me baby.”
He applies a little more pressure to my clit, increasing his speed. My orgasm hits like a rocket shooting into the sky. My whole body shakes and when my hands fall from the glass, my body unable to stay upright, he’s there to catch me.
He gathers me into his arms, holding me close, gently now.
He rubs my back as the tremors fade. “That was—”
He silences me with a kiss. Rubbing his thumb over my cheek he stares into my eyes. “Amazing,” he finishes for me.

“Lachlan—”
In a blink he’s upon me, his mouth taking mine prisoner. He’s rough, demanding. His hold on my cheeks is tight and I find my back pressed against the wall.
He claws at me like a wild animal, bunching the tulle of my skirt in his hands, trying to yank it up.
I kiss him back with fervor, a spark igniting into an entire fire inside me from one touch of his lips. I match his desperation, pulling at his shirt, trying to get it over his head.
He tosses the shirt off like he can’t get it far enough away from him.
His eyes are twin sapphires blazing when he looks down at me. His whole body is a taut live wire waiting to go off.
“If you don’t tell me how to get you out of this dress, I’ll rip it off of you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Unconditional by Q.B. Tyler

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Cal Michael Grayson
Heroine: Madeline Elizabeth
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 14, 2019
Started On: August 06, 2020
Finished On: August 14, 2020

Unconditional by Q.B. Tyler is my first ever book by the author, and definitely would not be my last. With an age difference of 16 years between the hero and heroine, not to mention the fact that hero is the guardian of the heroine from a tender age, this story is filled with all kinds of forbidden deliciousness that it is hard to put down once you get started. That is if you are a reader like myself who loves tropes of the nature.

The story begins ten years prior to present day, when 23 year old Cal Michael Grayson, a newly minted cop finds himself in a setting of domestic violence that reeks of horrors untold. Soon after, seven year old Madeline Elizabeth comes under his care, the years following which is fulfilling in a way that Cal would never have thought possible.

However, change comes calling when 13 year old Madeline starts to see Cal in a whole different light, chastising herself all the while for the way she feels. There is nothing happening between her and Cal at this point, except for her own sexual awakening, which had been purely due to her own intuitiveness and curiosity playing its role, and Cal had starred prominently as the lead in each and every single one of her fantasies. Things hit a point of no return when Madeline is 17 years old, with just a couple of weeks away from hitting 18.

While Cal would not admit to his changing feelings towards Madeline even at gun point, as always, he is in a fix when it comes to denying Madeline what she wants. Cal is a mass of confusion, want, and self derision when it comes to his feelings towards Madeline and it is not easy to walk away when desire and love for her tugs at his very soul.

Of course there are those in Cal and Madeline’s lives that frown upon the connection between them. After all, it is hard for those observing what is unfolding to understand the true nature of feelings two people have for each other. Obviously the hero being 16 years older, and the fact that he is her legal guardian for that matter makes things doubly difficult. But there was a sensitivity with which Ms. Tyler handled it all which makes for swell reading and I reveled in every single feeling that coursed through me as I read along.

Cal makes it really easy to fall in love with him. After all he is kind, gentle, and wants what is best for Madeline, even if it means cutting his own heart open and letting himself bleed. He would lay down his very life for Madeline and there is no easy way to reconcile with his burgeoning feelings of the amorous variety when it comes to her, his Madeline. But of course, Madeline does not make it easy for him to walk away just like that, and it is she that makes sure that Cal sees her feelings for what they are – feelings of the till death do us part kind which has no beginning and no end.

I found Unconditional to be just purrfect. I believe in the fact that love often finds us at the most inopportune moments, that we have no power over whom we love (though we do have power over what we decide to do with that love), and society would always judge us no matter what – there is just no pleasing everyone. Ms. Tyler does an amazing job of bringing out the emotions, characterization, and the oh dear Lord, hot as sin sex scenes that just fired up the pages.

Loved the epilogue, which was sheer perfection, much needed after all that was said and done. Recommended for fans of taboo themed romances. This one is pretty much it when considering the circumstances.

Final Verdict: Unconditional by Q. B. Tyler conceptualizes the word in every sense as the story is told; the love that unfolds between Madeline and Cal is as beautiful because it is unconditional.

Favorite Quotes

“You should get up,” he tells me, and despite the foot and a half and eighty pounds of muscle he has on me, he doesn’t move me from his lap.
Push him, Maddie.
I press my hands to his chest gently and shake my head back and forth. “But…that’s not what you want.”
“Madeline, up,” he growls and I curl my fingers into his shirt and dig into his chest as I move back slightly so that my sex is right against his dick.
I try to ignore the racing in my heart as my pulsing clit has totally taken control, and before I can stop myself, I’ve rubbed against his cock.
“Maddie, please…” His voice is pained and I was fully planning to stop—maybe, but when I open my eyes, Cal’s are closed and I can tell he’s gritting his teeth.
“Just…do this for me. Please.” I beg as the fire between my legs becomes greater with each stroke.

“Open them.” I assume he means my eyes and when I do, his gaze locks with mine instantly. His hands move to my hips, gripping them as I move back and forth.
“Fuck. That feels good.”
“Does…it?” He chokes out, and I nod.
“I’m going to come.”
He clears his throat, and when I meet his eyes, they’re filled with lust. “Tell me when.”
I nod and his hands move up my hips and rest under the t-shirt I’m wearing. He strokes the skin just above my belly button as my hips begin moving more erratically as I chase the orgasm that was just out of reach. “I’m going to come, oh fuck!” He wraps his hands around my waist again, moving my body faster against his cock. “I want to wait for you.” I whimper as my toes begin to curl.
“No. Come, Madeline. Come for me, right now.”

“Stop fighting it, Cal. Let go.” I grab him by the back of the neck and pull him closer to me and lean up slightly, letting him know what I plan to do and then our lips touch.
Not in an awkward way like most first kisses are. Not in a slow passionate way like when you kiss your lover after not kissing them in so long. But in a rushed, frenzied way that is aggressive and hard and rough. He bites and I bite back. His tongue sweeps between my lips, and I meet him with rabid urgency. I’m so desperate for his taste on my tongue, I explore every inch of his mouth. It’s sloppy and wet and loud and, quite frankly, the hottest fucking kiss of my life.
He presses my arms above my head, holding them there, and laces our fingers together as his tongue penetrates my mouth in a way I wish his cock was doing to my pussy. He bucks against me with wild reckless abandon, fighting for the orgasm he’s spent God knows how long fighting and then he does. Long and hard.

“Cal,” I moan as his lips find my neck, sucking at the skin and I relish at the idea of having a hickey. My usually flawless skin purple and blue with indents of his teeth in the flesh.
“I won’t mark you here.” His voice is low in his throat and it makes my whole body tingle. “Maybe somewhere less visible.”
“Like…between my legs?” I can feel my cheeks heating with embarrassment or maybe arousal?
“Shit, like exactly there.”
I take deep breaths, trying to slow my breathing as I think about him leaving a hickey. On my fucking pussy. I’ve died and gone to heaven…
Or maybe hell.

“Touch your pussy,” he demands, his eyes are dark and feral, like he’s preparing to rip me apart with his teeth.
“What?”
“Slip your fingers under your leggings. Don’t take them off and don’t show me your pussy. But just finger yourself for me…and I’ll taste you from your fingers.”
My eyes widen and my heart skips a beat in my chest before it returns to the steady thrumming between my legs. “You’re serious?”
He nods and moves to sit against the headboard. “Come here.”
I do as I’m told and he pulls me so that my back is flush against his chest, my ass pressed right up against his cock. His legs are spread and I’m settled between them feeling his cock jump every few minutes. His lips find my ear before he bites down gently. “Pretend it’s me.”
“I always pretend it’s you.”

“You rubbing against my dick until we come is pretty high up on the list of things we shouldn’t be fucking doing.” I can hear the hesitation in his voice but I also hear the lust.
The want.
I can see the war behind his eyes over what to do, so I push him just a little harder.
“Shhh.” I begin to rub against him and I can feel the juices from my orgasm getting all over the inside of my leggings. The seam of the fabric grazes my clit with every swipe and I wonder if I’m going to come again. “You’re so hard. God, Cal. Is it all for me?” I wrap my arms around his neck as I begin to move faster against him. His hands find my hips and begin to control the speed, pushing and pulling me harder on him.
“Yes.” He hisses. “It’s for you.”

“Say my name again.” My voice is so gruff, I don’t even recognize it but the shiver that moves through Maddie alerts me that she does.
“Cal,” she yelps as I bite down on her flesh. I run my tongue over the skin, doing my best to soothe the sting of my teeth. Her hands find the back of my head and she pulls at the hair as she cocks her head more allowing me further access. I love how she opens herself up to me; whatever I want from her she gives me so blindly. She feeds the beast, and if I was a better man, I’d tell her to stop. Tell her to run. But I won’t. Because the beast in me is only responding to the one in her.
The one that’s been unleashed already and doesn’t seem to want to let me go without a fight.

She’s a blank canvas I want to paint with my cum. I want to rain my seed all over her perfect tits, her smooth ass, her gorgeous face. I want to worship her…but I also want to defile her.
I want to use her body, fuck every single one of her holes until she’s so full of my cum it drips out of her. I want to fuck her like she’s a slut. Bend her over every surface in our house and take her so brutally she won’t be able to sit down for a week. I want to hate fuck her for making me feel this way. For turning me into this sick bastard that’s having these thoughts about the girl I raised. And then, when all of that’s done, when I’m done fucking the life out of her, I want to bring her back. Run my lips over every inch of her marked skin, whispering my love and devotion to her in between each kiss as I rock gently into her. Make love to her, teach her the love language that our bodies already know by heart.

“I had plans to lay you out and make love to your pussy with my fingers and my tongue and make you come over and over until you were loose and languid and drunk on me and then I’d take your virginity slowly, making love to you until your body couldn’t take it. But now…” I stare down to where we’re connected, where my dick is an inch inside of her. “I want to take you like a fucking animal. Rut into you like a beast and rip your precious body apart and put you back together a new fucking woman.” I push slightly harder and I watch as the wind leaves her in a gush. “My. Fucking. Woman.”
The word leaves her lips like a prayer and my dick is the holy word. “Yes.”
And then in the shower, her legs and arms wrapped around me like ivy, I press my cock fully into Madeline Shaw, the most important person in my world for the past ten years, just as a scream so sexual and passionate leaves her lips that I almost shoot my seed inside of her.

“Come on my cock, baby. Touch your pretty clit until your cunt creams all over me.”
“Oh, God keep talking.” She moans and I feel her hand moving between us.
“You know what’s going to happen the second we get out of this shower? I’m going to bend you over and lick you from your pussy to your asshole and then back. Settling on your sweet folds until you come so hard you black out.”
“Oh my God!”

She is still riding the high of her last orgasm, with a sensitive clit, so I know it won’t take her long to come again.
“Me too.” She speaks, though it’s muffled as her mouth is full of my cock. I press my lips to her again, my tongue taking a new speed as it rapidly fucks her while I rub her clit in clockwise motions. “Oh God, wait wait wait!” She stops and I smile knowing she’s close.
“I’m there, put your mouth on my dick, Madeline.” I see that she visibly shivers above me when she hears me use her full name.
“Yes, Daddy.” Oh, for the love of fuck.
She puts me back in her mouth and I thrust upwards, exploding down her throat instantly, that one word pushing me over the edge.

“We’ll see each other, baby.” His hand touches my face and traces his fingers from my forehead to my chin. “I won’t be able to stay away from you but for so long.”
I lean down and rub my nose against his. “I’m holding you to that.” I plant a kiss on his lips. “Do you have time to fuck me before you go to work?”
A growl rumbles in his chest and then I’m on my back with my legs wrapped around his waist. I’m wearing one of his t-shirts and a pair of panties that he rips from me instantly. “You call me.” He grits out. “Day or night.” He grips my face and stares down at me, his eyes boring into mine. “You need me, you call me. I’ll come.” He narrows his eyes to emphasize his point. His gaze is hard and demanding, almost daring me to disobey him.
I mean it, Madeline.

I bite my lip at his words and pull him closer, his lips hovering just over mine. “Please,” I whimper and then our lips crash in a dizzying kiss. His tongue rubs against mine and his hands spread my legs so he can stand between them before he lifts me up and I wrap my legs around his waist. “Cal,” I whimper.
“Fuck…” He opens my coat and steps between them, finding the seam of my leggings between my legs making me grateful that I changed out of my leotard before I left. He digs one finger into the seam, pressing against my sex and I moan, only to let out a yelp when he rips them at the center, making a hole in my crotch.
“Cal!”
“Hold on, baby.” He growls as he lowers his sweatpants. He opens the hole wider and moves my panties to the side and before I can protest, he’s inside of me.
Outside.
On the dark road of route fifty-eight.

“Cal!” I throw my head back as he fucks me deeper, harder and faster.
“You’re so perfect, Jesus Christ, Madeline.”
My full name sets my body on fire. My eyes snap open and I quirk an eyebrow at him. He must sense where I’m going because he lets his head fall back and a growl leaves his lips. “Say it, baby.” He grabs the back of my head and presses our foreheads together. “Say it.”
“Daddy,” I breathe out.
“Fuck.”
“Daddy, please.”
“Please what, baby. Tell me what you need and Daddy will take care of it. Whatever it is.”
“I need you to come, Daddy…” I press my lips to his neck before flicking my tongue out and running it along his pulse point. I nibble on his ear. “Come inside me.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Becoming His Mistress by A. E. Murphy

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Ezra Conti
Heroine: Rose Sinclair
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 11, 2019
Started On: July 19, 2020
Finished On: July 25, 2020

Becoming His Mistress by A. E. Murphy is one of those books that hits every single spot when it comes to my craving for a wholesome romance reading experience. Ms. Murphy takes on a trope that few authors dare write because it would not be well received in the romance community. Most of us would like to ignore the romances featuring cheating and/or adultery themes – some go as far as to say that books which take on this would be a definite no for them. However, I am someone who loves it when authors push those boundaries and give us books that are realistic and provide for an immersive experience in the process. Becoming His Mistress was definitely all that and more.

When 23 year old Rose Sinclair chooses to work for 37 year old Ezra Conti, it is because she believes that she can make a difference. That she brings that quality which makes her the perfect personal assistant. Ezra who is happily married and has a daughter is known as someone who has eyes only for his wife. Even as women attempt to get him to notice them, he is a man who is promised to his one and only and that is how he lives his life. Rose knows that she would have no such problems when it comes to Ezra because he is not her type, and married men would never be her thing.

Ezra is unconvinced that Rose would be the best fit for him, until she convinces him to give her a chance. Six months later, their arrangement is one that works in every single sense. While Rose starts to see Ezra in a whole new light she knows that nothing would come of it and she has no intention of following whatever nonsensical feelings that she has for him every now and then. Furthermore, Ezra has never behaved in an untoward fashion and she is content to be part of his life as things stand, that is until with one searing kiss from Ezra one night, everything changes and leaves them both at an impasse on how to go from there.

While Rose maybe strong enough to walk away from the first kiss, she is not strong enough to withstand the continued onslaught on her senses from the man that Ezra is. Against her best intentions, she gives in, and thus begins the headiest couple of weeks of her life, until the consequences of their actions comes calling. There are no easy answers to the problems that Ezra and Rosie face, and while Rosie loves Ezra wholeheartedly, she loves herself enough to understand that she should not come second to anyone, not even for the love of her life. There is a lot of heartache and pain that these two go through before the ultimate happily ever after.

I am so glad that I stumbled across this book because this was unlike anythingI have read in recent times. Love is not always found in the most convenient of places. Those who have fallen for and given their hearts to people who were not in a place to return that love or maybe act on it would understand this more than those who have never faced such temptation in life. Love is often found where you least look for it and expect it to be found. That is I guess ultimately the best and worst thing about life. The unexpectedness of love, how your feelings can suddenly change towards someone you may have never considered as a potential lover or life partner; all of these factor in when it comes to Becoming His Mistress.

Falling in love with a married man is not something any woman would want to for themselves. And I believe this would be the same the other way around. No woman (except for polyamorous couples I suppose), likes being the third wheel in a relationship; being the other woman. But it happens, a lot more often than we would like to admit. There are many reasons behind it as well, but this is not the time and place to explore the whys and hows. While cheating may never be condoned, it still speaks of the vulnerability of us as humans. The fragility of our emotions. That inherent need in us to feel, belong, and be desired. None of those have easy explanations. That is partly why perhaps this book spoke to me on so many levels as it did with many readers.

I believe that I enjoyed this novel so much because Ms. Murphy did not try to provide miraculous solutions to the challenges that came Ezra and Rosie’s way. The story was realistic even towards the very end, with frank discussions and even fights that stemmed from emotions that could not be smothered just because one may want to cease feeling a certain way. Ezra’s guilt which arose from having fallen in love with another woman plays a huge role in the story, perhaps one reason why the love between Ezra and Rosie did not feel cheap and frivolous in the end. The fact that Ms. Murphy pulled this off without vilifying anyone, that in itself I think is amazing!

Recommended for open minded readers who love sexy, tender, and endearing romances. Thank you Ms. Murphy, for being bold enough to write this.

Final Verdict: Becoming His Mistress is a one of a kind read; there are no words that can adequately describe the feelings that Ms. Murphy manages to invoke with this phenomenal story as it unfolds.

Favorite Quotes

His gray eyes linger on mine and I jump when he pushes a strand of my black hair behind my ear, a tender touch, so sweet and soft. It leaves a burning trail across my skin. “You could never look stupid.”
“I can see every fleck of color in your eyes,” I breathe, leaning closer and trying to count the shards of darker gray that cut through the ring of lighter gray.
He holds his breath and nibbles slightly on his lower lip as I stare into his eyes like a weirdo.
“What are you doing?” he asks, and I put my finger to his soft lips. He pulls it away and absentmindedly kisses the palm. “Wait… are you counting?”
I inhale sharply and immediately stop. “No. Not at all. I don’t count. Who does that?”
“You were counting.”
“Was not.”
“Was too.”
“I wasn’t.” I so was.

“I’m sorry I didn’t kiss you back,” I say quietly, and he pushes my hair back.
“I’m sorry I kissed you at all,” he replies just as quietly, and I know in my heart he means because of how he upset me and not because he didn’t want to kiss me. The look in his eyes is showing me that he still does. I wonder if the look in mine is begging him to kiss me again. I might not say no this time. “Try to sleep.”
I press my forehead to his cheek and close my eyes on his command. He tickles my arm and shoulder as I concentrate on the beating of his heart.
It lulls me to sleep, my forbidden lullaby.

“Please don’t, there are only so many times I can say no,” I whisper.
“Before what?” His own voice is intensely quiet, his eyes on my mouth. “Before what, Rose?”
My breath catches in my throat. “Before I say yes.”
He pulls my face to his, meeting me in the middle and our bodies and lips collide.
I squeak through my closed mouth, startled by the sudden assault, but he pushes me against the door and devours my mouth. His tongue tastes my own when I gasp, and I can’t pull away. My brain is a mass of the desire he projected on me and my body is pulsing with it.

His hands drag across my curves, scraping around my back and hips, grasping at my flesh and holding me tight so I can’t escape.
I’m wet. So damn wet.
He groans again, pressing his erection into my navel while still kissing me, claiming me like I never have been before.
I’ve never felt so out of control before.
When he clicks the lock on the handle of the door all bets are off and I lose all sense of myself. I lose all sense of time and what I came here to say to begin with.
I forget his life and mine. I forget my morals and his. All I can think about is having him in a way I’ve been telling myself I don’t want him for far too long.

He looks up at me again, and while kissing me softly and tenderly, he reaches for my hair, unwinding the knot so it spills down my back in a thick wave. I groan when he teases it free and starts to remove my shirt until it’s on the floor by his.
I lean back on my hands, feeling thoroughly worshipped when he dives and kisses my ribs, hands looking for the zip of my skirt but losing that battle because of how scrunched it is.
I stand and find it at the back, undoing it and letting it fall to my ankles.
There’s no going back now.
I’ve never wanted anything more than I want this.
I stand in front of him in lacy white underwear and stockings attached to a garter belt.
“Fuck,” he breathes, looking down at me, taking time to explore my flesh with his hands. I’ve never felt sexier and more beautiful than I do right now, seeing it mirrored in his eyes. “Keep your heels on.”

Pulling me to the edge of the desk, he lines himself up with me perfectly as my fingers find my clit and start to roll it in fast circles.
“No,” he whispers, pulling my hand away and replacing it with his thumb. “You touch yourself when you’re alone and thinking of me. When you’re with me, it’s my job to touch you and get you off.”
Oh my God.
He starts to sink inside and groans. I ache from his width, but it feels so good.
His thumb rolls my clit, using my own juices to make it slick.
He watches himself vanish into my body. I’ve never felt more connected to somebody than I do now.

“Kiss me,” I beg, my voice hoarse and wanting.
He obliges, fucking my mouth with his tongue as I battle to stay in control of my body.
“Not yet,” I breathe, feeling that familiar burning… except this feels more like a tsunami of crackling lava in my womb. My body feels weightless as he hammers into me, holding my body tight to him now. His thumb is no longer teasing my clit, yet I feel the tingles still, building and spiraling. There’s just something about close sex, having a body against yours as he fills you up perfectly.
I throw my head back with a moan so loud he yanks me back to his mouth and kisses me until it passes. It takes forever and my body shudders with each powerful wave of my orgasm.

“We’re not doing anything,” he replies, his tone hushed too. The way his breath fans across my sensitive flesh has me gripping the counter for support. “Nothing at all.”
His solid length presses against my ass, trapped by the fabric of his boxers. He tugs them down and I feel his skin against mine.
“Nothing,” he grits as I close my legs around it, squeezing it between the apex of my thighs.
He starts thrusting, finding grip between my pussy lips. My wetness makes him slide back and forth with ease, so he removes his hand and massages my breasts instead. He hits my clit every time and I almost scream with the ecstasy of it.
Why does sex feel this good with him? Why do we connect like this?

“Look at me.”
My eyes open slowly and find his in the mirror. His large hands massage my swaying breasts and pinch my nipples.
“What are we doing?” he asks me breathlessly, his eyes dangerous, his lips terse.
“Nothing,” I reply, crying out when a wave of pleasure hits me. I want to come so hard.
He cups my throat and pulls me back against his body. It’s a good thing my balance isn’t terrible, though to be honest he’s doing most of the work, including holding me steady.
“Exactly. Nothing.”

“Tits,” he croaks, getting closer to the edge every second. “I want to come on your gorgeous fucking tits.”
“You sure? I was totally gonna let you come in my mouth.”
His eyes fly down to mine, wide and full of longing. I don’t get a chance to take a breath before he’s pushing past my lips again and coming on my tongue with an animalistic growl. I take him all, every ounce of him, salty, sweet, different. But that’s just him, he’s different.

I kiss him deep and slow as I raise my hips and guide his cock to my entrance.
“To oblivion, hmm?” he asks, smiling until I slowly sink onto him, taking as much of him as I can. His smile vanishes at this point only to be replaced with such an intense look of complete wonder and awe. “Nobody has ever felt like you.”
I rock my hips, kissing his neck and biting his ear as his hands explore and rub every inch of my body that he can reach.
I don’t take my time because we don’t have time. I fuck him faster than I ever have, feeling it build in my womb.
We come, me first and then him, as always. He always waits until I’m done before he lets himself get there. One of the many things I adore about him.

He turns suddenly, sending water crashing over the bath and onto the tiles. His damp lips from the steam of the hot water touch mine and I almost slip under when he hooks a hand around my back and lifts me to give him easier access to my sex.
I gasp when he thrusts inside. My hands grip whatever is available to keep me out of the water. He pulls out just as suddenly so I can turn over and I rest my arms on the sloped back of the bath as he powers into me from behind. Every thrust sends more water out of the bath. He becomes feral, losing control in a way he never has before, driving into me like an animal and not like a man.

“I want you forever. I want to fuck you every single day. I want to taste your sweet lips. I want to fill your womb with my seed and create a life tied to both of us.” He thrusts with each statement, grinding his pelvis against my clit, kissing my neck and whispers the words against my skin. “You’re everything I ever want and need.”
“I love you,” I breathe. “I want to be the only woman you ever need.”
“You are.”
“Then fuck me, prove it, mark me.” I bite into his neck and suck so hard I just know there’s going to be a ring of red there when I lift my head. He cries out and pummels me with his hips, fucking me so furiously the door bangs with each thrust.

I cling to him, claw at him, grip him as I kiss him, devouring him until my lips feel sore but then I just press harder.
There’s a fire between us that flows through us both, burning for each other as we tear at clothes until there’s nothing separating us but our will. Mine is fighting for the winning team, he holds back until I hop up on the table and part my thighs. When he eases into me, all bets are off and he fucks me as hard as he did in his office that first time.
We both moan, groan, hiss, grasp, sigh…
It’s incredible as always.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fostering Love, #1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Shane Anderson
Heroine: Katherine Evans
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 07, 2016
Started On: May 21, 2020
Finished On: May 21, 2020

Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn is the debut book in her Fostering Love series. While Ms. Jacquelyn is a totally new to me author, the blurb which hinted at unrequited love, a widowed hero, and a ton of angst was what sold me and I didn’t look back. I needed a story that was spectacular enough to “wean” me off the continuous high I had experienced while reading one Susan Napier book after the other throughout April and May. Unbreak My Heart turned out to be just perfect for the cause.

Unbreak My Heart brings together the two main protagonists, Shane Anderson and Katherine Evans (Kate), who are both 29 years old. While Kate and Shane had been best of friends from a certain point of their childhood on wards, the minute Shane had set eyes on Kate’s closest friend Rachel, Kate had ceased to exist for him. Ignoring the hurt in Kate’s eyes had been his modus operandi, and it had helped that being enlisted in the military, Shane was hardly ever around afterwards.

Kate’s life had pretty much revolved around that of Rachel’s and her family when Shane was not around. With Shane away for long periods of time, Kate spends most of her time helping Rachel bring up their four kids, up till the point where tragedy comes calling and changes everything. With Rachel gone, a year on, the hurt is still raw for Shane and on the eve of Rachel’s death anniversary, their vulnerability leads to sex of the most spectacular kind, which ends with Kate becoming pregnant.

Shane’s fractious relationship with Kate does not undergo a magical transformation when he receives the unwelcome news of Kate’s pregnancy. If anything, his feelings related to Kate becomes more chaotic than ever, the draw he feels towards her something which he resists at every single turn. There are moments in which Shane gives in, is tender and loving, and yet what is more devastating is what follows soon after; the constant need in Shane to blame Kate and assume the worst when it comes to her.

Through a sequence of events that was heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time, (I seriously do not know how Ms. Jacquelyn managed to do that) she delivers a tale that is nothing short of mesmerizing. I could not put the book down unless it was for the basic necessities, because it had been that long since I had come across a novel that features a hero like Shane – who at best would be deemed irredeemable by many readers. But Shane is the kind of hero that I love the best, perhaps because I am a glutton for punishment.

Needless to say, I loved Unbreak My Heart to bits and then some. I found Kate to be amazing. The love that she feels for Shane is an all encompassing and enduring one at that. There is a profound statement in the story that jumped right at me – that love can overlook many things, and I believe that to be true. When we talk about accepting people for who they are, shortcomings and all, because lets face it, none of us are perfect at the end of the day, love is in reality all about overlooking those bits and pieces and seeing the bigger picture.

Kate might be seen to be a doormat heroine by some, because she puts up with a lot of shit from Shane at first. But given the shared past between them, during which Shane and Kate had seldom spent time together from the point where he had decided to ignore her in the pursuit of Rachel, the trouble starts brewing when they are forced to endure each other’s company. Kate’s feelings had never wavered when it comes to Shane, but for Shane, discovering Kate along those lines and the way he falls so hard for her amidst all that reluctance on his part was something worth all that heartache and pain.

There were times I felt like dousing Shane with a bucket of cold water for good measure, just so that he could see reality for what it was. I also loved the strong cast of secondary characters that lent an extra richness to the developing story and made it more wholesome with their presence, which also ended up being the reason behind Shane finally being able to get his head out of his ass and really see things from a different perspective.

One would wonder how Kate was able to forgive everything when all was said and done. I guess the simple and complicated answer to that would be love, in its purest of forms. Kate is just pure in heart in a way that a lot of us may not be able to understand. No matter what she goes through, there is no malice nor hatred in her heart, which is a rare thing indeed.

When one comes to understand Shane and baggage he carries from his experience through the foster care system, it is easier to see where he is coming from. It is evident that Shane is scared shitless of the way Kate makes him feel which is evident as the story reaches its climax. One can see why it is so, because Kate is not someone who deserves love of the half-assed variety; she deserves it all.

I know that Unbreak My Heart would not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you are anything like me and love irredeemable heroes paired with heroines who make them fall and fall hard, this is for you. If you want a romance that is politically correct, with rainbows and sunshine, with a unicorn or two thrown in for good measure, then it is safe to say that this is not the book for you.

Recommended for those who love emotional and angst-ridden reads that makes you feel all the feels! Unbreak My Heart does that in spades! Thank you Ms. Jacquelyn, for writing Shane’s character as he was.

Final Verdict: Unbreak My Heart delivers the reality of the pain that stems from unrequited love and the courage it takes to love in the truest and purest sense. I wouldn’t change a word in this book for the world!

Favorite Quotes

“When you cry, your lips swell up,” he whispered, making my eyes finally pop open in surprise.
He was so much closer than I’d realized that my breath caught in my throat as he stared at my lips.
Then his mouth was on mine.
“Pushing, always fucking pushing,” he mumbled against my mouth before sucking my bottom lip between his and biting down hard enough to make me whimper.
He tugged at my lip with his teeth, and I felt my body heat in response.
“What are you doing?” I asked as his eyebrows furrowed.
“Fuck if I know.”

“Harder,” he ordered, groaning as he grabbed the back of my head and pressed my mouth to his throat. “Do it hard.”
I followed his instructions, biting and sucking on his neck like it was my job, and his hands shook as one held me against him and the other slid down the side of my throat and ripped the strap of my bra and cami down my shoulder. He tasted salty, and the stubble under his chin rasped across my tongue.
“Jesus,” Shane groaned as he leaned back on his knees and gazed at my breast that had popped free. “Your nipples are pierced.”

“So bare and slick,” Shane whispered darkly, bending over my body until his chest rested against my back. “And what is this?”
His fingers found my hood piercing, and I froze as I waited to see what he’d do. I felt one finger playing softly with the piercing as my breath grew ragged, and I was so focused on that sensation that I didn’t feel him positioning behind me until he was thrusting inside.
I think I may have screamed as he came to a stop halfway inside, but my ears were ringing so loudly that I wasn’t sure. Not that I would have cared either way.

Her breathing was little off, kind of heavy and shuddery at the same time, and the feel of it on my shoulder was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“Is that all you—” Kate started to ask.
My mouth was on hers before the last word was spoken, and I made an embarrassing desperate noise when her lips parted and she let me inside.
She tasted like ginger, probably from the cookies she had brought with her that morning, and for some reason it ratcheted up my desire until I was practically shaking.

“Shit,” she moaned, bending her knees so she could press down on my fingers inside her. “It’s not enough.”
“It’s enough.”
“No, I’m so close. God. It’s not—”
I bit down on her nipple then, careful of how sensitive she seemed to be, and she came, gasping and shuddering as my hand between her legs became drenched in her.
I pulled my hand from her slowly, running my fingers over everything I could reach, then lifted it and put those two fingers in my mouth.
She tasted different than I remembered. Maybe even better.

“Your body is insane, Kate,” he told me as he rolled over until he was leaning over me. “I look at you, and I don’t see the fucking ratty clothes you wear. I see the way your breasts bounce when I pull on your nipples. I see the way you clench your jaw when you come, and the way your red lips get swollen from sucking my dick.”
My mouth dropped open, and I looked at him in shock.
“You were my wife’s best friend. My dead wife. Do you get that? I look at you and I don’t see Katie who drove me nuts when we were kids, or Katie who was Rachel’s best friend. I see Kate, the woman who can take me hard then fucking begs for more. That’s not okay. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?”

“It’s okay, I’ve got you,” he breathed, lifting both of my legs until they were bent and pressing against his chest and he was hitting my G-spot again. “There you go.”
“Please,” I begged hoarsely.
“Harder?” He pulled back and thrust in desperately as he kissed me hard.
“Yes. Yes. Like that.”
“Jesus Christ, you’re sexy,” he mumbled into my mouth. “You’re almost there, Kate. Take it. Fuck!”
I detonated, and he followed closely behind me with a deep groan.

I cut her words off with my mouth as we reached the back door of Miles’s truck. Thank God the windows were tinted, and I knew that Mike and Miles would studiously avoid looking where we were standing…but it wouldn’t have mattered if they hadn’t.
She whimpered and gripped my head in her hands as I swept my tongue into her mouth, and I couldn’t resist grabbing her ass and hoisting her up until she was braced against the truck with her legs wrapped around me.
I didn’t know what I was doing. Things between us were getting so complicated. Too complicated.
But I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving without the taste of her in my mouth.

“Take it off,” he ordered gruffly, the tendons in his neck growing taught. “All the way, Kate.”
I closed my eyes as I pulled the shirt over my head and only opened them again when I heard him let out a harsh breath.
“Fuck,” he groaned, his eyes dilated until they were almost black. “Do you know what we’d be doing if I was there right now?”
I nodded mutely as I watched him watching me.
“You’re so fucking incredible, Kate. Jesus, those breasts—” I laughed a little as he whimpered, then slid the shirt back over my head, hiding my body from view.

He slid his tongue into my mouth as I began to shake, and I kissed him back until I finally couldn’t concentrate on both his mouth and his hand at the same time.
“Harder,” I ordered, clenching my teeth so hard it was a wonder I didn’t shatter them.
“Goddamn,” he groaned, sucking on my shoulder as I got closer and closer to the edge.
My hands were frantic as I tried to touch all of his torso at once, the nails of one hand digging into the forearm between us as it flexed over and over. His fingers were curled up inside me, and every time he jerked his hand up, his palm rubbed over my swollen clit.
I came hard, my mouth at his throat as I tried not to make any noise.

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

Review: Mists of the Serengeti by Leylah Attar

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Pitch73
Hero: Jack Warden
Heroine: Rodel Harris Emerson
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 31, 2017
Started On: April 20, 2020
Finished On: April 21, 2020

“Have you ever sat across from someone, fully clothed, and felt them slowly unbutton your heart?”

The quote above sums up perfectly what this entire book did for me, my heart, and my soul. Mists of the Serengeti by Leylah Attar is a book unlike any other. From start to finish, this book wraps around you, cocoons you within the folds of its pages, devastates you, makes you smile through the tears that are always on the verge of spilling from your eyes, and by the end, you feel like you have experienced something you possibly never could have by reading a book. Inspired by true events and released in 2017, this is one book that will continue to transcend time and age beautifully.

Leylah Attar is a new to me author, but she has definitely carved a place for herself in my favorite go-to authors list with just this novel, which speaks for itself. Ms. Attar writes with the kind of prose that is gut wrenching, because you can tell that they aren’t just merely words lining up to make up a sentence. There is more to it than that, there is life to those words and they make you feel in a way no book has made me feel in a long, long, long time.

24 year old Rodel Harris Emerson’s life entwines with that of Jack Warden’s through tragedy, a senseless one that takes away Rodel’s sister and Jack’s beautiful daughter. When Rodel turns up in Tanzania a month later, trying to piece together the life her sister had lived across the world from her, Rodel finds out there are things about her sister’s life that she would like to know more about, which is how she ends up seeking the help of the one man who could help her, i.e. Jack.

Jack is a man waiting for death in the wake of the loss that mars his life. Lily had been everything to him, and I do not say that lightly. In Jack’s words, he would die a thousand deaths to save her; over and over and over again. Jack’s mind and heart are riddled with survivor’s guilt, and he is unable to look beyond that in order to emerge from the haze of deep abiding sorrow that cripples his world and narrows it down to just that alone.

Jack’s antagonism towards Rodel is a palpable thing at first, but as Jack’s kinder nature fights its way back through the thick fog that surrounds him, there is a connection between the two that breaks through everything that holds Jack back from rejoining the living. Albeit reluctantly, Jack is drawn into helping Rodel carry out the last of her sister’s mission in assisting those in need; the relocation of albino kids to a safe sanctuary.

As Jack and Rodel’s love explodes amidst the exotic setting of Tanzania which Ms. Attar describes and depicts as vividly as she does their love, there was no part of me that remained disengaged from the story. I cried my way through some of the most poetic and tragic of the scenes, where Jack, who believes his heart is no longer capable of loving, expresses how he feels about Rodel in ways that I think has ruined me for other book boyfriends. I don’t say this lightly either. There is just something about Jack in the way he commands every single scene which he is in, so effortlessly.

There is no way to write this review without it sounding extremely gushy, because if I had to change one thing about the book, there is nothing that I would. This book was sheer perfection from start to finish, and I dare you to not cry your way through some of the scenes in the book.

One of the most fabulous aspects of the book was the epilogue itself; it had me reminiscing about the book long after I was done. To be honest, I still am. I was pretty sure that no other book would live up to what Mists of the Serengeti had taken me through, and my prediction has proved me right thus far this year.

There are books that take a piece of you with them when you are done. Mists of the Serengeti fits that bill because of so many reasons. There is Jack of course, who owned my heart from the first chapter onward. The way he cares for his daughter, the relationship he has with her, the pain that is palpable when it comes to his loss; all of that and more are reasons I loved and loved his character and more.

Jack’s pain is a living being which made me miss Lily dearly throughout the story. And there is the way he resists and yet finds himself spellbound by the connection that forges to life between him and Rodel. The fact that he is honest about what he can offer, and yet finds it excruciating to let go when the time comes; those were the aspects that added the angst factor needed when it came right down to it.

Rodel is an extraordinary heroine and I loved her to bits, just as much as I did Jack. There is a gentleness to her that is hard not to fall in love with and the way she is determined to live her life and get as much as possible out of the time she has with Jack and what he is willing to offer won points with me. The strength of her character lies in the fact that she loves herself enough to walk away when all is said and done, because there is no point in pining for someone who is not ready to move on from what holds them back.

The period of separation between the two, the healing that both characters undergo, each in a different way, Jack more so than Rodel; all of that was so realistically done that I could not have asked for a better ending.

If ever there is a book that romance readers should read (that is if you haven’t already), this is it. Grab a copy and indulge. I guarantee that you would not walk away unchanged from the experience.

Final Verdict: Mists of the Serengeti is that book which casts a magic spell and holds you spellbound throughout. It is that book which you will hug close to your soul and walk away a changed person from the sheer experience of it all.

Favorite Quotes

Kissing Jack was like kissing a slumbering lion. He barely moved, but I could sense the raw power behind his restraint. And deeper still, lurked something wild and dangerous, something that could obliterate me if unleashed. But I wanted it, because it was magnificent, because it swirled over the loss and pain running through his veins, because it was the part of him that was alive. It made me want to thread my fingers through his thick, tawny hair even though I knew it was a bad, bad idea.

Once in Africa, I kissed a king . . .
I got up, smoothed my dress, and walked away, leaving Jack kneeling by the calf.
“Rodel,” he said, just as I was about to step outside.
Rodelle. Another thing I would always remember—the way he said my name, elle-vating it beyond the ordinary.
He was between me and the exit before I could turn around. He swung me into the circle of his arms and kissed me—not softly or tentatively, like I had kissed him, but hungry and demanding, crushing my body to his. His mouth moved wildly over mine, his tongue exploring the recesses of my mouth, as if I had stolen a piece of him, and he wanted it back. I tasted the whole universe in Jack’s kiss—the blue heat of spinning stars, the birth of distant suns, atoms buzzing and colliding and fusing.

He clasped my hand under the blanket and threaded his fingers through mine. He’d held my hand once before, but this felt different, possessive—like he was staking his claim. A curious swooping pulled at my insides. We both knew there was a line we couldn’t cross, but it didn’t stop Jack’s arm from going around me or my head from leaning on his shoulder.
For a few hours that night, Jack and I sat out on the porch, with the scent of wild jasmine in the air, and nothing but the squeaking of the swing, and the buzzing of night insects breaking up the silence.

“Rodel?”
“Yes?”
“If you dig your nails into the mattress any harder, you’re going to rip a hole through it.”
“I . . . I’m not—”
“Let go.” He propped himself up on his elbow and loosened my grip. “What are you so afraid of?” His eyes searched mine. “This?” He swept me into his arms and held me snugly. “See? It’s not so bad,” he said, as his warmth seeped into my body—so male, so bracing.
“They’re just arms.” His fingers trailed slowly up and down my arm. “And legs.” He traced the curve of my thigh. “And this spot right here, that I’ve been dying to taste since I washed your hair.” He kissed a spot under my ear lobe. “I crave you, Rodel. In the most innocent ways. I lie awake in my bed at night, thinking of you down the hallway, wanting nothing more than to hold you. I want to stroke your hair until you fall asleep. I want to give you forehead kisses when you’re down. That’s all I allow myself. I don’t go any further.”

Everything shattered as he took my mouth with savage intensity. One large hand gripped my waist, drawing me to him as if he couldn’t stand the distance anymore. Blood pounded in my brain as his hand glided under my top and fondled my breast, turning its pink tip marble hard. His body was rough and insistent on top of mine, our breaths uneven, limbs entwined.
“Touch me.” He pulled his T-shirt over his head, heat rippling off his skin. My pulse raced to my fingertips, as I traced the corded muscles on his chest, the light mat of hair in the groove between his pecs. When I slipped my hands into his boxers, he reclaimed my mouth, surging into my palms with a groan.
“Tell me you want this.” He slid down my stomach, to the swell of my hips. “Show me.”

“I’m going to make you come, Rodel.” He said that part in my ear, partially covering my body with his because I was shivering. “I want to know what you sound like when you orgasm.”

“Jack . . .” I half-turned to face him.
He knew what I wanted before I said it. He crushed my mouth hungrily, his tongue seeking mine, demanding it. My lips parted on a ragged sigh as he buried his face in the hollow of my neck, intensifying the rhythm of his fingers. Pleasure radiated outward, like jolts of liquid fire. I clutched the tendons in the back of Jack’s neck. He was a biter, grazing my neck with just enough force to command all of my attention, and then letting go, like a lion playing with his prey. I slid my fingers through the thick tufts of his hair, pulling him back, and then we were kissing again, leaving soul sonnets deep inside each other’s mouths. That was when he sent me over the edge, sliding his thigh between my legs, shifting his lean, hard frame over me. It was a simple act, but I shattered into a million glowing stars.

“I want you, Jack.” My body rose instinctively to meet his. The thick, hard length of him on my thigh was both electrifying and intimidating. “But you should know . . . I . . . I haven’t done this before. You’re my first.”
He stilled and sucked in a long, ragged breath. “This . . .” He took in another soul-deep breath. “You haven’t—”
“It’s okay,” I whispered. “Look at me. Look at me, Jack. I want you to be my first.”
And my last. And all the times in between. But I can’t have that. So I’ll take this. What we have right here. Right now.

I thought his touch was the only cure for my crazy, heated senses, but I found myself being pulled beyond the circle of his arms, to a place where souls go to kiss—lipless and formless and free. I knew that whenever I thought of love, it would have a face, a name, a voice. And I would hear its heart beating from inside a tent in the wilds of Africa.

“I was talking about a trip to the crater, not—”
“Not this?” I tossed off my wet top in a passionate challenge.
My invitation pushed him over the edge. Something intense flared through him—instant, electric, as if I had just unleashed him.
Shit. I’m in for it now. My pulse pounded with a dizzy cocktail of desire, rimmed in gritty bits of trepidation. He gazed at me intently, cranking up the anticipation until it was almost unbearable.
“Take it off,” he said, his command thick with longing.
My fingers faltered as I slid off one strap, and then the other. He didn’t wait for me to unclasp my bra. He was done waiting. His tongue flicked my nipple through the wet fabric before he latched on, sucking it into his mouth, rasping the edges with his teeth.

It had been different in the dark, but in the gray, muted daylight, my insecurities kicked in. It wasn’t as if I’d been naked in front of many men before. A hand under my blouse, a feel up my skirt, but never so exposed. And certainly not with someone who looked like Jack. My hands moved instinctively across my breasts and stomach.
“Don’t.” He clamped my wrists above me as his hooded eyes roved over my naked body. My flesh trembled, my toes curled, but when I opened my eyes and caught the expression on his face, everything melted. He was looking at me like I was stardust and light.
“Jesus.” His eyes darkened with stark sensuality. “You are so fucking beautiful.”

Jack was not a quiet lover. He voiced his pleasure with thick, throaty sounds. He threw my leg over his shoulder and nipped my inner thigh before plunging his tongue into me. I held onto his wild, thick hair as involuntary tremors of arousal shot through me. He seemed to sense the awakening flames because his movements intensified, carrying me to the peaks of pleasure.
“Yes.” He lifted my hips off the floor, bringing me in full, carnal contact with his mouth. “Fuck, yes.”

“Kiss me,” he said, smoky and raw.
I touched my lips to his, my focus still on the point where our bodies were melded.
“A real kiss,” he growled, grazing my bottom lip with his teeth. “Like this.” His mouth swooped down to capture mine until my senses were spinning. My breath escaped through softly parted lips. “Give me your tongue.” His words were a spell I had fallen under. I shivered as the velvet warmth of his tongue tangled with mine, losing myself to the mastery of his kiss.
That was when he thrust deep into me—one hard, firm push that made me gasp and break free of his lips. I clutched his shoulders, my nails leaving crescent shaped indents as the pain tore through me.

“Remember this.” He brushed the hair off my neck and breathed a kiss there. “When you’re curled up with your books on a rainy afternoon in England, remember how you painted my world with your colors. Remember your rainbow halo.”
“I will.” A hot ache grew in my throat. He was already saying goodbye. “I’ll remember. For the rest of my life.”

“My date ditched me,” he replied, taking the kiddie stool across from me, and sitting the doll on his lap. He was saying one thing, but his eyes were saying another.
You’re okay.
You made it.
God, let me just look at you.
And so we sat there, staring at each other across an upside-down cardboard box, as the kids milled about around us. He unclasped my fingers from the little teapot I was holding and pretended to fill two miniature cups with it. I picked up mine, he picked up his, and we clinked them in a silent toast.
We pretend-ate and pretend-drank. The air thrummed between us, heavy with words we couldn’t wrap our tongues around.

“Kiss me hard, then let me go,” I said, when the touch of his hand became suddenly unbearable in its tenderness.
I felt the movement of his breath before our lips touched. My heart throbbed at the sweet, savage sensation of his mouth. It was like running without air—breathless and beautiful. I clung to him for a soul-bursting moment, before wrenching myself away and stumbling toward the building. I paused for a beat as the sliding doors opened.
Turn around, Rodel, a part of me screamed.
Don’t look back, the other part countered.
I turned. Because I couldn’t help it. Because Jack honked.

God. The feel of her body opening up to me, molding around me like a warm, wet glove. Her tongue in my mouth. The way her hands clutched me. The way her leg wrapped around my hip. I bit her shoulder as the animal in me rose. And then it was all primal passion, nothing but the sound of her soft moans. My release should have been quick, but I held on, not wanting it to end. Being inside of her was like a drug. Being inside of her was pure euphoria. I captured the gasp that escaped her as her body stiffened. She was coming again.
“Yes,” I growled as she writhed under me. “Fuck, yes.” And then I gave in to the explosion of fiery sensations that overtook me, rocking me to the core.

“You’re so hot when you go all book-nerd on me.” Her nightshirt was riding high on her thighs, her lips were pouty, and she was cradling the book as if it were a hurt child. “Do you know—” I flipped her over so she was on all fours, her nose lodged in the folds of the novel “—I have sex with you a lot. In my head. Just like this.” I squeezed her sweet ass and rubbed my throbbing shaft over her panties. “Read to me, Rodel. Read to me while I ride you.” I pushed the fabric of her panties aside and slipped my finger inside of her. She let out a muffled groan.

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Review: Sweet Agony Charlotte Stein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review: Prisoner by Annika Martin, Skye Warren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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