Review: Credence by Penelope Douglas

Format: E-Bookcredence
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Kaleb Ver der Berg
Heroine: Tiernan de Haas
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 13, 2020
Started On: January 14, 2020
Finished On: January 19, 2020

Credence by Penelope Douglas was one of the most awaited stories for me by the time 2019 hurtled towards its inevitable end. Released on January 13th, Credence was welcomed with such hope and excitement in my heart, because Penelope is an author who knows how to write a damn good story.

Credence begins at the point where the heroine Tiernan de Haas faces the shocking and untimely death of her parents. Loneliness has always been part of Tiernan’s life, growing up with two people who had loved each other to the point that Tiernan had always been an afterthought. Their death leaves its mark on her, as had life up till that point, until her step-uncle Jake Ver der Berg invites her to live with them.

Deep in the mountains of Colorado lives the Ver der Berg’s, their lives being very much different from what had been the norm for Tiernan. Jake and his two sons Noah and Kaleb take Tiernan under their wing, and from the onset there is a weird dynamics between the three that proved to be a major conflict for me in the way the story unfolded.

I am someone who enjoys authors that push the boundaries and explores taboo tropes in their books. Penelope is an author who does this so brilliantly in most of her books, and that is one reason that I was so excited when I read the blurb of Credence prior to its release. She is also one helluva writer, which is probably the one reason why I stuck it out when so many things just felt wrong for me with Credence.

A lot of readers who felt positively about Credence have been raving about how out of the norm this book is, how it surprises you, and how you should read it without any preconceived notions to guide you. I didn’t have any of those notions when I started reading, because I am someone who usually make up my own mind about books that I read rather than letting the “popular” view dictate mine.

I agree with one thing when it comes to the popular view of Credence; the story was definitely surprising in more ways than one, and definitely not in a good way for me for the most part. I think in Credence, I have found a major turnoff for me when it comes to romance, one that had remained undiscovered up till this point; when the heroine is too loose with her affections when it comes to a father and his biological sons.

It is her step-uncle who is the first in line, and while neither of them professes to anything long-term, the ease with which Tiernan was able to turn herself on and off for the three of them was just jarring for me. Each unto their own of course, but for me, I think I just felt like the Ver der Berg themselves had so many issues to just turn up the testosterone levels on a girl who was barely shy of eighteen, who had not had much love in her life from those who should have loved, sheltered, and protected her.

The psychology of Tiernan was something that bothered me; because it is evident that she has many unresolved issues from the way her parents had neglected her throughout  her life. She had always had whatever riches that money could buy, had had every comfort and luxury the rich can provide, but she never did experience unconditional love, the reason why I felt uncomfortable by the whole vibe of Tiernan being taken advantage of by the three of them. Plus, the way the three of them kept reiterating over and over how she was theirs from that point on was kind of creepy too!

I think one of the biggest reasons why I disliked how Tiernan behaved (apart from my conservative beliefs I suppose), is that her sleeping around added no value to the story. There was no tangible emotional connection to any of the characters that would have made me go crazy over the story, there was no development to her character apart from her losing her virginity and hitting jackpot with three men who could get her off just like that. I couldn’t find anything special that differentiated the guy she ended up with, which was also another bummer in the story. Maybe that is how it is in the modern world. I wouldn’t know.

The way she just fell in love, suddenly, just like that, with the least developed character in the story made zero sense. I am at least thankful for the fact that Jake had enough sense for all of them to step back when he did. I would have preferred had she gotten together with him in reality. Because they actually have conversations with each other that don’t always lead to sex and innuendos being exchanged, and he was mature enough to understand where Tiernan was coming from. Had Jake not stepped back at the point he did, I would probably have turned off my Kindle and banged my head on a wall for the bad porno I was subjecting myself to.

I did enjoy the first half of the book, or should I say the first third of the book where Penelope introduced Tiernan and delivered a gut wrenching beginning to the story. My excitement mounted at that point and plummeted to a quick and painful death thereon after. I just wish that there had been more character development, less getting it off without emotional connections, and more fleshing out of the character who ended up being the “hero” of the story.

That brings me to my other big peeve in the story. The “hero” who not so much as made an emotional connection with Tiernan, much less the readers, ended up being one of the most pivotal characters towards the end. Had there being a back story of how he turned out that way, how his emotions had developed when it came to Tiernan, and what had made him change to a point where he could communicate his feelings with her was an aspect that was deeply missed from the story.

Recommended for those who love anything and everything by Penelope Douglas.

Final Verdict: Credence is one of those books loved & gushed over by many and disappointed the few like myself. I wished for a story that would sweep me off my feet and instead feel bereft of the tangible emotions I wanted to feel from the story.

Favorite Quotes

“Do you feel this?” he growls over my lips as he pushes me into the sink. The thick, hard ridge of his cock nudges my ass, and I groan. “This is what you’re doing to me, Tiernan. It’s not right. Instead of pile-driving the hot tits and ass I came home with, I’m sitting down here, trying to talk myself out of going into your room and giving the teenage piece of ass living in my house a really long kiss goodnight.”
My clit throbs, and I shift on my feet, feeling the slickness between my legs.
“And do I take off my panties for that?” I breathe out.

His taste fills my body, and I slide my hand up, taking the back of his neck and holding him to me. I’m so hungry. So hungry, and I can’t breathe. My blood races under my skin, and it feels so good, but God, I need more.
I need more.
I start to move my mouth and kiss him back, slipping my tongue past his lips little by little, moaning and tasting him until I don’t think I’ll ever get enough.

The nerves under my skin fire, and I feel her heat wrap me up as I push her thighs up higher and drive into her. “Tiernan…”
I kiss her deep, licking her sweat, reveling in the heat inside the cab, and tasting my life all those years ago when I would’ve died happy doing this to someone for the rest of my life.
I look down at Tiernan, her body taking everything I’m giving, and I swear I want to swallow her whole. I’d forgotten what this felt like.
To actually want to make someone happy.

“What do you want?” I ask.
He opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out.
And then he lowers his voice, barely a whisper. “I want you to like this.”
I do.
But before I have a chance to respond, he drops me to my feet, twists me around, and pins me to the wall. I gasp as he spreads my legs and thrusts inside of me again, pushing my body up on my tiptoes as he holds my thigh wide with one hand. With the other, he reaches around and slips his hand inside my panties.
“I want you happy, Tiernan,” he says low and husky in my ear. “I want my sons happy.”
He fucks me up against the wall, thrusting faster and faster as I turn my head to meet his lips.
“And I want you to know that no matter where you go,” he tells me between kisses, “you’ll always be ours. We’re your home.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Her Best Friend’s Baby by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Format: E-Bookherbestfriendsbaby
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Maitland Maternity, #9
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Morgan Tate
Heroine: Mary Jane Potter
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 23, 2001
Started On: October 21, 2019
Finished On: October 26, 2019

Her Best Friend’s Baby by Vicki Lewis Thompson is a novel that explores the concept of surrogacy, friendships, and crossing lines, which makes this for an emotional read. 22 year old Mary Jane Potter is carrying her best friend Arielle’s baby, the woman who had been a big sister, mother substitute, and her closest friend in the entire world.

When 31 year old Morgan Tate, husband to Arielle arrives on her doorstep late one night and gives her the devastating news of her best friend’s passing, that is the night when lines are crossed bringing these two together. Highly emotional and in need of human warmth and touch at such a time of deep grief, Morgan and Mary give into physical desire, complicating their relationship from then on.

While Morgan is adamant that a repeat of what happened that night is not possible, however as Morgan and Mary spends more time together and discover aspects of each other’s character they are both drawn to, the tug of attraction between them strengthens to a point where it is impossible to ignore. However, both of them do try valiantly for strength for as long as they can, until of course they give in.

It is not easy to accept that you have fallen hard for the husband of your best friend, a woman that you had put on a pedestal for the whole of your life. Morgan’s behavior is impeccable, the strength to his character and discipline evident for all to see, when he tries to do the right thing even at the cost of his own happiness.

There were many things that I loved about the book. Primarily Morgan who was such a sweetheart in every single way that counts. Not to mention Mary Jane, who infuses the story with a vitality that tugs at your very heartstrings. Vicki Lewis Thompson’s take on the concept of surrogacy and identifying the toll it could take on the surrogate mother was superbly done. Especially when it comes to someone like Mary Jane who would make a wonderful mother in her own right.

One thing that drew me to Mary Jane was her total and unabashed honesty which helped Morgan to move forward and accept things as they turned out to be. The fact that both Morgan and Mary Jane acted like mature adults rather than going the road of miscommunication with each other and creating needless problems between them as a result was welcome. Morgan being pulled from an otherwise lackluster life was one of the best bits about the story and the sexual tension and delivery on that front was done just right, totally deserving of what was blossoming to life between him and Mary Jane.

At first, I thought that the story line would not work because Mary Jane and Morgan get together too soon in the story. I was proven wrong because that was an elementally human response to the sudden loss of someone whom they had both loved and held dear in their own way. There was no ickiness factor because of what happened, and for that alone, I would say Vicki is a genius in writing about complex human emotions.

Recommended for fans of Silhouette romances and those who love stories that brim with hope in the best way possible.

Final Verdict: A story that brims with love, heart, and all the good stuff in between. Vicki Lewis Thompson definitely knows how to deliver a deeply and emotionally satisfying story.

Favorite Quotes

“I’m not trying to make you feel better, damn it.” He could tell from her expression she didn’t believe him, and that’s when he finally lost it and kissed her.
Oh, God. She tasted like…the richest hot fudge sundae he’d ever had. He sort of went crazy—kissing her, and kissing her, and kissing her some more. He was afraid he also used his tongue quite liberally as he continued to enjoy her full, sexy, incredibly sweet mouth. His hands found their way to her bottom and pulled her in tight, and boy, oh, boy, did she fit.
She filled his arms in a way they’d never been filled before. He’d never held such energy, such excitement, such heat.

There’s nothing logical about the way I’m feeling right now.”
“Exactly.”
With a groan he pulled her into his arms. And heaven help her, she let him do it. Worse, she dug her fingers into his hair and coaxed his head down. She wasn’t going to be able to blame any of this insanity on him.
“I’m wild about caramel, too,” he murmured. Then he settled in to prove it.
During their first kiss in her kitchen she’d felt as if someone had pulled the pin on a grenade. This time it was as if someone had detonated a bomb.

He lifted his head. “We should go into your—”
“Stairs are nice.” She finished with his shirt and started on his belt buckle.
“But you need—”
“You.” She unzipped his jeans.
“A bed.”
“Later.” In an inspired move she slipped her hands inside the waistband of his briefs and slid to a sitting position, pulling his jeans and briefs down as she went. The maneuver gave her perfect placement.
“Mary Jane.”
She wrapped both hands around his solid penis. No wonder he’d felt so wonderful deep inside her that first night. She caressed him lovingly, and then she leaned over to kiss the straining tip.

Suspended halfway between sleep and wakefulness, drifting in a sensual haze, she closed her eyes. Lying on the bed limp and relaxed as a rag doll, she allowed Morgan to do as he would with her. He seemed to know exactly what to do with her, and he apparently required no participation from her to achieve his ends. He might even think she was still asleep and her body was automatically responding to his touch.
What a wild sensation, to be coaxed and kissed awake in every sense of the word. He cupped her belly with both hands, caressing her lightly as he continued his assault right where it counted the most. She was in heaven.

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

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Review: A War like Ours by Saffron A. Kent

Format: E-Bookawarlikeours
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Inc.
Hero: James Alexander Maxwell
Heroine: Madison Smith
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 24, 2017
Started On: August 27, 2019
Finished On: August 30, 2019

A War Like Ours by Saffron A. Kent is one of those novels that does not make for light nor easy reading. It is heavy in a way that makes you think, deep in a way that makes you wish the story would just continue for all eternity, and darkly delicious and sinfully delightful in the way that only Saffron can deliver.

Madison Smith and James Alexander Maxwell’s paths cross each other under the most innocuous of circumstances. Madison who lives with her girlfriend and believes that men aren’t for her, and James who hides from secrets that he harbours, lying to himself and the one person that matters to him the most, day in and day out because he knows he would not be able to handle the aftermath of facing the truth.

What brings these two together is James’ daughter, who brings a lightness to the otherwise at times dark themes explored in the story. There is Madison’s girlfriend who continues to subject her to the kind of toxicity we have been brought up to believe happens only in heterosexual relationships. Madison’s inability to face the truth of the effects of her past which had left a resonating mark deep within her, makes it extremely difficult for her to accept her burgeoning feelings towards James.

James might not like the fact that he is drawn towards Madison, but that does not stop them from exploring the explosive passion that rises forth between them. Madison and James communicates with each other through their coming together, each of them leaving a bit of themselves with the other every single time. Neither of them admits to what is happening between them, that is until things come to an explosive confrontation whereby each lays down the dark and harrowing scars inside them, punching the reader in the gut with the rawness of the emotions that seeps through the story.

While I do not know how I felt about certain aspects of the story, one thing is for certain. I have never read any other book like this where both protagonists are equally flawed and broken to a point where you weep for their pasts and anguish over their future while at the same time, a part of you hopes against hope that everything works out. This is perhaps darker than the other Saffron Ken books I have read thus far, and that is saying something.

James with that visceral guilt of his that had manifested and grown under the abject lack of care from the one person who should have given it to him unconditionally, resulting in the kind of warped psychology that would have broken most completely, was fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. There is a gentleness to James even then, and there is a ferocity to his need and love that speaks to you on so many levels.

It truly broke my heart when James did the bravest and the hardest thing any parent might have to do in his life. While I know deep in my heart that it was for the best, there was always that tiny part of me that wanted a different resolution in terms of what had happened on that front. But I also know the courage it took for James to do that. So for that and more, I love him, forever more.

In the deepest corners of my heart, I see James and Maddie married with 2.5 kids and nothing but happiness plaguing them. Because they have had more than their fair share of suffering and abject misery to last them for multiple lifetimes.

Maddie’s spunk and protectiveness of James was endearing even in the destructiveness that was the theme of their non-relationship, which I believe was the reason why I fell for Maddie and rooted for her through and through.

Recommended for fans of dark romances which explores aspects of mental health that proves to be insightful. Every single time I pick up a Saffron Kent novel, I am amazed by how her words speak to my mental health issues. For that and more, I would always continue to come back for her stories, whenever they maybe published.

Final Verdict: A story of destructive forces, emotional turmoil, psychological aftereffects of childhood neglect and trauma, and the healing power of love – none of what James and Maddie goes through makes for easy reading, but these are characters who would claim your heart and leave you better for having known them.

Favorite Quotes

I didn’t know who made the first move. But suddenly his hot lips were on mine and I was kissing him, sucking them into my mouth.
He shuddered, and I was right there with him. That first contact felt life-changing, breath-stealing, colorful behind my closed eyes. His taste was just as it should be, masculine, minty with a touch of tart apple juice and metallic blood. I fisted his shirt to bring him even closer. Hard planes of his chest cut into the soft curves of mine.
His arms wrapped around my waist and squeezed tightly, to the point where I filled his mouth with the last of my breath, moaning. It felt like I was dying, and my skin came alive, buzzing and humming.

All while feeding on my lips, he encircled my neck with one hand and tugged my hair with the other. The rough texture of his fingers drove me crazy, making me scratch his shirt-covered back as I locked my thighs around his waist. I pushed my core into his. It was wet, starving for him. Growling, he dug his torso into mine, making me feel his cock through his pants, big and hard.
I’d forgotten how good it could be with a man, how rough and unpolished. It’d been four years since I’d experienced something so dynamic and feral.

“Hurt me. You know you want to.” Her words, dampened by her breath, misted over my lips, and I forgot everything else.
Madison’s fingers tangled in my hair, and she jerked my face down, smashing her lips against mine. My hand slipped from her neck and wrapped around her waist. There was no stopping us—stopping me—after that. I bit into her again, as if she were my forbidden fruit, drinking her moans and lapping my tongue inside her mouth.

I pulled her hair in a sudden grip and yanked her head back, making her moan. I dragged my lips down to the tender part of her neck and sucked her skin into my mouth, gnawing at it. I felt the vibration of her moans in her throat, against my cheeks.
My cock was so hard, the hardest it had ever been, so extremely painful that it was pure pleasure. I dug my teeth sharply into her neck, and she whimpered and shivered, rubbing herself against me. Her skin was so hot, hotter than the summer outside. She loved this just as much as me.

My cock leaked pre-cum, and I wrapped my arms around her waist, locking her in place. We both stared at each other, barely breathing as I pulled her forward to me and, at the same time, shoved my cock inside her. Her head fell back as she gasped, exposing her bruised neck. I groaned, losing the battle to be silent as her tight heat gripped me. It spasmed around me. I squeezed her waist to control myself, or I would come right that second.
I stared down at the juncture where my cock was shoved up inside her liquid core, unmoving. The thick base smeared with her wetness, her core stretching over it, the smell of sex—it hypnotized me. My mind filled with a blank, ethereal space, like everything I knew was wiped from existence. Rationality, beliefs, my very name.

My body hummed with excitement. I bent down and took her nipple in my mouth, sucking on it. I opened my mouth wider, took in as much of her breast as possible.
She was rocking, pulling my hair, begging me to move by lifting and rubbing her hips on mine. I did not move, remaining still inside her. I barely rubbed her clit. I simply sucked on her nipple and played with the other one. I knew she could come like that. She was extremely responsive. I dug my teeth around her nipples and bit down.
Madison screamed and came. She throbbed against my cock and convulsed in my arms. I leaned away and watched her. Her neck craned back as her breasts jiggled with her orgasm. Just like that.

I flicked my finger over her wet curls, looking for her clit. She moaned low as I found it. I kept flicking. She had opened my shirt halfway down and scratched my chest. Without warning, she seized against my cock again, and her eyes fell closed as she came, moaning, writhing, like she was fighting to stay alive. She jerked up the counter, once, twice, thrice as her core drooled and gushed.
A ball of heat originated in my stomach, spread over to my spine, and slid to my cock. I came then, spurting my cum deep inside her.

I coiled my arms around his neck, gripping his hair, and kissed him hard, coating his mouth with my tart juices. He turned hungry, devouring my taste. I took advantage of his distraction and pushed him on the floor. Still kissing him, I unbuttoned his pants and pushed them down. I took his raging cock in my hands, long, thick—it felt longer and thicker though when it was inside me. My pussy contracted, and I slammed down and jammed his cock inside.
His head dug on the floor as he arched his back, his fingers tearing at the flesh of my hips. We grunted in unison, high and out of control. I felt what he felt. A simultaneous burst of pleasure or something equally cheesy that you never understood until it happened to you.

Without taking his eyes off me, his lips searched and found the bruise I’d showed him earlier. He bit down at the puckered skin and I barely suppressed a howl, my mouth falling open, my body convulsing as if electrocuted. My eyes watered. I scrambled to get away from him, from the pain as a kneejerk reaction. But he wouldn’t let me and then my core rippled in a roaring orgasm. My back bowed and shivered under him.
He nibbled on the bruise as he slid in and out, gently. He lapped my blood up and I came again, losing my breath as pleasure tore through my body.

His eyes had turned intense, making my breath shudder. Slowly, he made his way over to me until his body was warming up mine. “I don’t need homework to be able to have exceptional skills, Madison.”
“Are you saying you’re a natural?”
Without answering, he advanced on me and I backed up until my back hit the wall. “I don’t have to…” he whispered, putting his arms around me. “Your screams say plenty.”

He rested his forehead against mine and licked my trembling lips. “Tell me, Madison, do you ever imagine how dying must feel? Knowing that, no matter what you do, it’s not going to be enough?”
I shook my head. No, I didn’t imagine dying. Who would? But now I wanted to. For him. In any case, with his cock hard against my pussy, his fingers around my neck, I couldn’t think much of anything. Then he moved away, only to push my shorts and his pants down our legs so he could thrust inside me in one smooth motion.

He heaved me up by the waist and all but pushed me down to the ground. He tore at my clothes, shoved his cock inside me, fucking me into oblivion.
Those were the times when we truly realized what this was all about. The conversations, the accidental intimacy that had come between us these past days clouded the real purpose of it all. It was simple, really. We were two people who couldn’t not fuck each other.
These small manipulations, these tiny wars kept everything in perspective. They gave us hope that we wouldn’t lose ourselves in each other.

Then he stopped and studied my torso. I imagined it streaked with red. He thumbed my cheek and whispered, “You’re beautiful like this. Crying and bleeding.”
He bent down and lapped my wounds with his tongue. I almost came right then.
We had sex out in the open for anyone to see. And I didn’t care. He moved inside me, sometimes fiercely, sometimes tenderly. We never looked away from each other.
And when I came around his hard cock, a tiny whisper tore out of my soul. “James…”
He came a second after me. He tucked his face in the crook of my neck and sighed against my skin, “Madison…”
We had finally shed our limits, like sloughing off useless skin. Tears that had stopped streamed freely now from the sides of my eyes, down to my hair.

“I’m hungry,” I murmured distractedly, wondering if she’d taste like citrus—tart and sharp.
“Are you asking me to cook you something?” She frowned. “I’ll have you know I cook for no man. I wasn’t built that way.”
“I think you were.”
“Well, I beg to differ. I won’t cook for you even if you pay me.” She cocked her hips and scoffed.
“I don’t think I’ll have to pay you.”
“Is that right?”
“Mmm-hmm. I think you’ll do it for free.” She opened her mouth to say something, but I gripped the back of her neck and pulled her to me, smashing my lips over hers, almost melding them together. She held on to my shoulders and kissed me back.
Breaking the kiss, I whispered, “You’re it.”
“What?”
“The thing I want to eat.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo

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Review: Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent

Format: E-Bookdreamsof18.jpeg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Graham Edwards
Hero: Quentin Savage
Heroine: Violet May Moore
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 10, 2019
Started On: October 10, 2019
Finished On: October 13, 2019

Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent is her latest novel, published on October of this year. This was a much awaited novel on my part, like every other fan of Saffron I believe, because that is just how it is when it comes to books by an author who literally and figuratively takes your breath away. What Saffron does with her characters is priceless, the boundaries she pushes in the genre makes her books stand out, and the wealth of emotions her books carry are second to none.

Dreams of 18 brings to readers 18 year old Violet May Moore and 36 year old Graham Edwards, whose story begins when Graham moves next door to Violet’s home in Cherryville, Connecticut. Violet had been just 16 years old then, and Graham’s son Brian had quickly become a close friend. But from the moment Violet had laid eyes on Graham from the very first day they had moved in, there had been no other man for her, even though she knows that nothing would ever come to fruition from her harmless crush on her someone who would never give her the time of day.

However, the night she turns 18 is the night all hell breaks loose. One kiss, and everything unravels, Graham leaves town and Violet is left to pick up the pieces. The story continues ten months later, when Violet seeks Graham, largely to ask his forgiveness and to right the wrong she had done by initiating a kiss that had destroyed Graham’s life and forced him to leave.

The Graham she finds is one who unravels her even more than before, and the more time Graham and Violet forcibly spends together, increasingly she comes to the realization that Graham is not as unaffected by Violet as he pretends and would like to be. The battle of wills between the two heightens until of course there is nothing left but to give in, and give in they do, oh so gloriously!

I loved Graham and Violet, because its hard not to fall in love with two characters who are as lost and lonely as they are. But I have to admit that I loved the first half of the book more than the latter. Graham, having grown up with an absentee mother, and a father who had mourned the fact every single day to the point where Graham had never known love or affection. Violet’s childhood had been just as bad. Her mother who had never really wanted her had left its mark, and Violet had learnt to keep herself occupied so that the loneliness would be kept at bay. The very first time Graham wishes Violet a happy birthday was a scene so full of gut punching emotions that it nearly undid me.

The yearning that hits Violet at such a deeply intrinsic level is one that is echoed in Graham, even though he berates himself every single day for the way he feels about someone so young. There is just something about heroes who are larger than life and heroines who are dainty and beautiful, and the way these heroines basically have the hero wrapped around their little finger.

Graham who tenderly cares for his roses, and Violet who sees through to what it actually represents. Graham who sees and understands the wealth of accumulated hurt in Violet, and eases them with every kiss he lays on her with carnal intention or otherwise. Violet, who understands the grouchiness that is at times Graham, but loves him for it regardless because the more grouchy and possessive he is, the harder she loves him all the more. Graham who would have walked away in a heartbeat if it would have ensured her Violet’s happiness at the risk of damning his own soul. That is in essence what Graham and Violet are about, and the beauty that Saffron delivers to readers.

The other thing that struck me the most is the premise upon which the plot of the story is based. Saffron is famous for writing on taboo tropes, undoubtedly. In Dreams of 18, she navigates perhaps one of the trickiest topics of present times, especially when discussions such as #MeToo, pedophilia, and child grooming are hotly debated. The ingenuity in Dreams of 18 lies in the way Saffron skates the very edge and somehow makes it all work and entices the reader to fall in love.

Dreams of 18 may perhaps not be for everyone. And that is fine. But for readers like myself who loves authors who push the conventional norms when it comes to romance, Saffron Kent is like hitting jackpot! I just wish there were more authors like her out there, and that Saffron had an extensive back-list of books I could gorge on until the date of her next publication.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Dreams of 18 is an overload of emotions and sensations tied up in a neat bow presented to readers. Let the unraveling begin!

Favorite Quotes

“What do you think she wanted me to do to her?” he asks.
With every question that he asks me, the answers become more and more difficult. I should really put a stop to it.
Mostly because it’s none of my business. But also because I don’t wanna talk about her. I don’t wanna talk about what that woman wanted from him and what he wanted from her.
And yet, I can’t help it when my lips part and my answer slips out. “Keep kissing her and never stop.”

“What if I bring my hand forward, slide it down her stomach? Would she like that?”
My eyes go down to his hands. They’re clenched into fists by his sides, mimicking my own.
His stance is wide, and his body sprung tight, completely in conflict with his low, lazy, almost sleepy voice. And I realize that maybe this is how he looks when he’s aroused.
Oh Jesus, is he aroused? Did she get him going that much?
It makes me wanna sob.
Instead, I whisper, “Yeah. Yeah, she’d like that. Very much.”

But before I go, before I become a puddle on his couch, I ask, “Are you saying that I’m… visible?”
“No, Violet, I’m not saying that you’re visible. I’m saying that you’re the only thing that a man sees. I’m saying that you’re a thing that drives a man to distraction. You make him forget what’s right and what’s wrong. You’re a thing so terrible and beautiful and fucking breathtaking that he can’t escape you. He can’t think of anything else, not about his job, his responsibilities, his promises, his family, nothing but you. You undo him. You make him helpless. You turn him into an animal who wants to rut. You’re a girl who makes a man go bad.”

My breaths are louder. Louder than his hand jerking off his cock.
God, he’s jacking off and I don’t know what to do.
How to simply stand here and not go to him.
I’m salivating for it. My mouth is full of saliva and I’m biting my lip and licking it.
I’m gasping and probably rolling my hips in the air and that’s how he knows I’m here.
He catches me perving over him while I’m making noises.
Yikes.
As soon as his eyes hit me, his face goes from flushed to furious in a split second and he whips around, his shaft hard and pointing toward me. “What… What the… What the fuck?”

He goes for my panties.

He hooks his fingers in my waistband and yanks them down. He keeps yanking until they are off and somewhere on the floor where he throws them before coming back to me.
Before coming back and lying down on his stomach, as sprawled as I am on the bed.
My legs are all open now, almost in a split and his shoulders are jammed between them. His face is at my open, bare core that he’s breathing over, fanning my steamy folds with the air within his lungs.
He stares at it, burning my most intimate flesh with his eyes, as his thumbs run in circles at the juncture where my thighs meet my hips.
He stares at it and stares at it, getting lost for a second like he did when he looked at my breasts, and I have to call his name again. “Graham?”
He looks up, then.
“What’s my special kiss?”
Finally, he growls, “This.”
With that, he licks me.

“Graham,” I whimper, my hands going to his chest, my fingers burying in his chest hair.
He lets go of my nipple and moves further up. He kisses my pulse and I bend my neck to the side to give him more access. Then, he’s at my lips. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes up and up and finds my forehead.
Closing my sleepy eyes, I nuzzle my nose at his stubbled throat as I feel him kiss me there, at my sweaty forehead, and whisper, “Happy birthday, baby.”

“You gonna grip me hard, Violet? You’re gonna keep me here, huh?”
To emphasize here, he massages my entire core again and I can feel that I’ve practically drenched my pajamas. I can feel the wetness on my thighs. I can feel him rubbing that wetness back into my pussy and I’m almost there. Almost.
And then, he edges me over with these erotic, filthy words that he rasps just below my ear while he licks me there, rubs his jaw and beard over my soft skin.
“Your mommy should’ve tied you to the bed, Jailbait. Barred your windows. Hidden you from the world. It was only a matter of time before you ended up on the wrong side of a bad man’s cock.”

I dig my nails in his biceps, making him groan and making myself whimper.
But more than that, I make myself move and rock and twist against his length. I’m sliding back and forth on his cock, humping against it when suddenly, my eyes pop wide open.
Because holy shit, he’s inside of me.
Just like that.
He’s just pushed himself in on a groan and a grimace, his eyes still on me but so much foggier now. So much brighter and covered in a sheen that wasn’t there before. Not when I closed my eyes a few seconds ago.
Just that look of his, all panting and drugged, makes me come.

“Do you think I’m bleeding?”
He jerks slightly, his fingers digging into my flesh. Not a lot but enough that I feel the movement ricocheting in my swollen cunt.
“Jesus Christ, virgins,” he mutters to himself like he forgot about the bleeding part, panic laced in those words. To me, he grits out, his eyes concerned, “I hope to fuck that you’re not.”
I wind my arms around his neck and shake my head. “No, no. Don’t hope that.”
“What?”
“I like that. I wanna bleed.” He shudders over me; I feel the muscles of his shoulders quaking. “Because I’m… I’m a woman now. You made me one. I’m all grown up.”
His cock lurches inside me as he curses, and comes down on his elbows, as if he doesn’t wanna be away from me. As if he wants our skin to touch and slip against each other.

A second later, he pops the candy out of my mouth and throws it away before kissing the fuck out of me.
Before fusing our bodies together and slamming his cock into me. Pounding and ramming and beating up my horny channel as he fucks me. Plows into me like a beast.
It’s even more intense than last night. The way he’s riding my pussy.
His strokes are harder and more powerful. More possessive. Like his need for me only increased after he had one taste of me.
Like he wants me even more now. Like he needs me more.

I clench around his cock and his drives become rough and haphazard.
He jerks and twitches, his body slipping over mine with the sweat, the friction we’ve created. And then, he comes too.
He does it still looking at me.
He doesn’t close his eyes. He doesn’t get lost in his climax alone.
He gets lost in it with me.
The girl he can’t love but looks like he does.
The girl who’s thinking, I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.
I can’t lose that look. I can’t tell him. I can’t tell him the truth.
I love him.

While his truck is shaking and rocking with us and the windows fog up.
But more than anything, I wanna do this all day and for the rest of my life because I want to make all my secrets with him. Secrets like this one. So dirty and sacred at the same time.
It’s us: him and me. The new us that we’ve created together.
I told him that night when I wore the red dress for him, that I want us to be us, just him and me.
This is us.
Wild and savage and filthy and beautiful. Beauty and The Beast.

“When I saw you, Violet, it felt like someone stabbed me in the chest,” he rasps.
My eyes go wide. “What?”
He chuckles; it’s brittle and thin. “Or at least, it felt like it. I saw you up on the roof, with your thick, gorgeous hair and your arms open wide, something got lodged inside my chest, just under my heart and for the longest time, it felt like a knife of some sort. Something that made me… different. It wasn’t that, though.”
“W-what was it?”
“My soul,” he whispers. “It was my soul waking up. The thing that keeps a man alive, came alive in me when I saw you. You woke up my soul, Violet.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: Guys My Age by Saffron A. Kent

Format: E-Bookguysmyage.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novella
Genre: New Adult
Series: Mixtape: A Love Song Anthology
Publisher: Shady Creek Publishing
Hero: Fallon
Heroine: Dean
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 07, 2019
Started On: August 02, 2019
Finished On: August 05, 2019

I was born with love for Dean and now that I have him in my arms, I’ll never let him go.

Following on the heels of Medicine Man, Saffron Kent has chosen to bring to her reader-base the story of Fallon and Dean, two people who are on the very fringes of the story, but make a huge impact as you read along. The fact that it is a novella made me a bit sadder than I should have been, because Saffron is an author who delivers such good angst and emotions of the feel good variety when it comes to writing on taboo tropes in romance, and I definitely wanted a full length novel to explore all the dangerous possibilities between Fallon and Dean, and I am pretty certain I am not alone in feeling this way.

Nevertheless, being the voracious reader that I am, and having discovered someone like Saffron whose books I identify with on so many levels, wanted to devour as quickly as I could, and at the same wanted that list to be endless,  meant that I of course went ahead and took this on as my next read! Part of an anthology with a bunch of other readers, I dived into the story I wanted to read and did not even skim through the rest.

It had been fifteen years since Fallon had asked Dean to marry her; she had been three and he seventeen. Fallon had not known what the huge age gap meant at that point in time, but what she had known with utter certainty even back then was how Dean could make her feel good about everything, and even make the sad days feel less so.

Saffron’s books always explore aspects of mental health, which was one of the pivotal themes of Medicine Man; the female lead character who suffers from chronic depression. Fallon too has bouts of it, and over the years, Dean had become her best friend, the man she was in love with, the man whose successful career keeps him far too busy for visits.

When Fallon suggests that they take a five day drive back to New York for Christmas, even though Dean is reluctant, he agrees to her plans, crucial for Fallon’s plans of coming clean with Dean about her feelings for him to be successful. Fallon knows deep in her heart just how special it is between them, and if it is going to take a five day road trip of close proximity with her for Dean to get it through his thick head, so be it.

In a short number of pages, Saffron takes readers through the tumultuous emotions that comes from love between two people that society at large would most likely frown upon. Dean’s sense of responsibility and the way he cares about Fallon and her well-being speaks volumes, while at the same time, he his reluctance to cross a line that he could never walk away from speaks of his discipline.

Fallon, in all her wisdom, knows that there is no other for her than Dean. But to convince that to the man of her undying love and affection, it is going to be a bumpy ride, all worth it towards the end. The huge age gap, lusting after someone who was that young, meant Dean had been hard on himself because it should never be. But who is he to deny the woman he loves when she puts forth such a convincing case?

In Guys My Age, true to Saffron’s style that I have come to adore and fall hopelessly in love with, she manages to take the reader on a ride that they would never forget, be it the story is 70 pages or 300 plus pages. I loved Dean to bits. What’s not there to love when it comes to a man who is sexy, collected, authoritative, knows his heart, and is terrified of losing the woman he loves, but at the same berates himself for loving her so much?

I loved Fallon too! She reminds me in a huge way of her mother, a character I fell in love with from the get-go. I just wish that there had been more in-depth exploration of both Dean and Fallon to go around, before the story had ended. Which is where my wish for Fallon and Dean’s story to have been a full length romance gains strength once again.

I believe it would have been emotionally more satisfying to go through the different phases of their lives together, to see Dean’s struggles owing to his feelings for Fallon and vice versa. The full punch of angst did not emerge because a quick resolution is required in a novella. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their short journey towards happily ever after.

Recommended for fans of Saffron A. Kent. If you are not one and a romance reader, do avail yourself to the nearest book by hers you can get your hands on!

Final Verdict: The conviction with which the young love is often infallible. Some are born knowing who their soul belongs with. That is in essence what Saffron explores with Fallon and Dean’s story. Beautifully told, as always.

Favorite Quotes

His grip in my hair, my breasts flattened against his wildly breathing chest. His mouth slamming into mine as he groans like he’s dying. His hot skin, soft hair and rough mouth.
When we break apart for air, my hands are tugging at the shirt at his shoulder and one of my legs is wrapped around his hips.
“I—I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time,” I admit to his glistening lips.
“Not as long as I have,” he says.

Pinning me with his eyes once again, he growls, “Stop tempting me, Tiny.”
“I will, if you agree.”
“I’ll burn in hell for this.”
I cock my head to the side and smirk, “I thought you were already burning. Exploding.”
“Fallon,” he warns.
His reluctance is weak, weaker than his desire to claim me; I can see it in his eyes. And it makes me bolder, shameless. “I’m burning too, Dean. I swear. It hurts, you know. I’ve been hurting ever since you went away and every night, I dream of you coming back and kissing me. Touching me where I hurt. In my—” I lower my voice and whisper the word I’ve only thought about in the dead of night “—p-pussy.”
I don’t even have time to catch my breath after that. Dean hauls me up, causing both my thighs to clench around his hips and he claims my mouth in a kiss.

“Y—you’re taking care of me,” I whisper, rubbing my cheek in his hair, feeling his thumb on my clit, his teeth on my neck.
Dean looks up, his eyes intense and full of what I feel for him in every corner of my heart. Love. “Always.”
“I love you, Dean.”
“I love you too, Fallon.”
He kisses me then, and I lose all my words. I lose myself. In him, in his mouth, in his body that’s moving in a slow, smooth rhythm inside me. I don’t feel pressure or pain when he thrusts deep, taking away my virginity in one stroke.
All I feel is my love for him. My lust and hunger and this urge to make him mine forever and ever.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Bad Boy Blues by Saffron A. Kent

Format: E-Bookbadboyblues.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Zachariah Benjamin Prince
Heroine: Cleopatra Marie Paige
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 11, 2019
Started On: July 22, 2019
Finished On: July 25, 2019

Mine.
My prize.
She is my prize.
She. Is. My prize.

Bad Boy Blues is another rip-your-panties-off kinda novel from the uber fabulous Saffron A. Kent. An enemies-to-lovers story that delivered all the feels right up till the very end, I am convinced that Saffron is an author who could literally do no wrong when it comes to writing romances that speaks to this wicked heart of mine.

Nineteen year old Cleopatra Marie Paige (Cleo) was born and raised in the “wrong” side of town. The side where folks worked hard and did not have much to show for it. Where everyone had to rely on the other side of town, the one owned by the Princes, for their means of living and employment, that is if you did not leave for greener pastures as soon as you were able to.

Months into her job at the mansion of the Princes, comes back the proverbial son home, Zachariah Benjamin Prince (Zach), the boy who had tormented her all through grade school into high school, until he had abruptly left town. Cleo believes herself to hate Zach with every fiber of her very existence, but at the same time, she cannot help but be drawn towards the man Zach is, the broody mess that is sheer perfection, searing with that sheer heated gaze of his whenever his mocking eyes rest upon her.

Zach tries to keep his distance from the one person he had made it his life’s mission to torment. That had been the only way Zach had known how to deal with all the misery in his own life, with parents who had put their mark on him through emotional abuse and neglect. Uncovering Zach’s life as it had been with his parents was an awakening experience in its entirety, because you never know what drives someone to lash out (not that it excuses their behavior). But for a child who was struggling with his own issues of acceptance and existence from the very two people who should have loved him unconditionally, that right there is the reason my heart wept for the boy Zach had been.

Drawn towards each other despite their misgivings and lack of trust on Zach’s part when it comes to love and being loved, it is the gamble of Cleo’s life when she embarks upon an affair that scorches the very pages of the book, leaving the reader breathless and wanting more. Saffron is an author who has that remarkable way with the words which takes the reader from zero to hundred in a millisecond, and that is one reason why reading her books are like walking a tight rope, all in a good way.

I loved both Cleo and Zach, and rooted for them both all the way through. Cleo had her own issues to deal with, leftover symptoms of losing her family in a way that is bound to leave a mark on anyone. Zach’s issues are more deeply interwoven into his psyche, which means that it is difficult for him to see beyond the surface, fear of rejection being the norm when he had been a child starving for affection and love. Complex is his psyche in every way, which made him a fascinating character. If any woman could do bring Zach out of his inner warring with himself, it would be Cleo, because she had been his, from the very first day they he had laid eyes upon her, and he hers.

Recommended for fans of Saffron A. Kent and readers who love a romance that takes you to that razor’s edge of sharp anticipation; Saffron definitely delivers!

Final Verdict: Bad Boy Blues is another winner from Saffron, an author who pushes all your buttons and gives you every bit of angst and emotion you want to be punched in the gut with!

Favorite Quotes

I thought his thumbs were driving me insane but the scratch of his jeans along my thighs turns every breath into something… erotic.
Before I can dwell on that, Zach grabs my face.
His hands are so large that they span my entire cheek, going up to my messy hair. “So, if I shove your panties aside and stick my finger inside you, I won’t find that tiny little piece of flesh that proves you’re untouched?”
I shudder at the graphic picture he’s painted.
Inside me. His finger.

A moment later, I feel him on my neck. He’s nosing the line of my throat.
I grip his biceps. “A-are you smelling me?”
“Yeah,” he groans.
I flinch and my neck bends sideways. I’m nothing in the face of his aggression right now. The way he’s sniffing my neck, like he’s snorting a line of cocaine. I’m nothing in the face of that need.
Need of a junkie.
“Why?”
“Because you smell nice. Like sugar.”
And sugar is his favorite thing in the world. He’s eating up my scent.
God.

My hips jut off the car but Zach keeps me balanced with his body and his mouth that’s still sucking on my clit while lapping up all the juices from my core. His fingers are still buried in my seam, pressing against my dark hole that won’t stop clenching.
“God…”
I moan and claw at his neck and chant out his name over and over. My entire body clenching and releasing until there’s nothing left.

“You fucked up, Blue,” he growls over my mouth.
“What?” I pant.
“Now, you’re fucked, baby.” His scans my face. He looks like he’s memorizing it. He’s committing me to memory.
“Why?”
His eyes, black and threatening and so beautiful, come up to mine. “Do you have any idea how long, how fucking long I’ve wanted to kiss that mouth?”
I shake my head.
“A thousand years.” He studies my parted, blue-painted lips. “Or at least, it feels like it. I’ve wanted to kiss it ever since you first put on your lipstick in eighth grade.”

“You’re gonna pull down your uniform every time I ask, aren’t you?”
I rock against him again because he read my mind. “Yes.”
Groaning, he gives a long, tight suck before letting go of my breast. “Fuck yeah, you will. You’ll bare your tits for me. Every day. Multiple times a day. Whenever I’m hard up for it. You’ll come to my room and make my bed. And then, I’ll throw you down on it, tear your clothes off, get out your tits and suck on them. You’ll writhe for me, won’t you?”
I nod, almost whimpering.
“You will. I’ll keep sucking on it and sucking on it and you’ll make a mess on the bed. You’ll cream my sheets. You’ll leave a wet spot, yeah?”
“Yes. For you.”

Still panting and sweaty, he lowers me on the bed, half-dressed and indecent. From this angle, the sun glares down at me but Zach blocks it with his big body.
He wraps his hand around my neck and growls, “Who are you?”
Even though I have very little energy left, I still arch my back. As if his voice is a call from my master.
“Your prize.”
His fingers flex around my throat in possession and he bends down to smack a hard kiss on my lips. “As long as I’m here.”

I spasm around his fingers and that makes his shaft jerk inside my mouth. I let his head go and peek out my tongue so he can come on it like I’m coming on his fingers.
The tightness and convulsions of his body match mine. And so do our noises. Probably our heartbeats match too, in this moment.
I drink him down all the while he’s milking me. His taste is just as I imagined it to be. Musky and spicy and him.
So fucking him.
So fucking Zach.

His spine arches, throwing the ridges of his torso into stark relief, as he moans out my name to the ceiling and comes inside of me.
I feel it in my slowly dying heart, that moan, that jerk of his dick.
I sit up and wind my arms around him, bringing us both down on the bed. Groaning, he falls over me.
I’m soothing his back, tracing it with my hands up and down as my channel absorbs his orgasm.
And finally, my body goes limp, listening to his heartbeats.
He’s mine.

I turn my face and tell him, “You can’t torture me like this, you know. You promised.”
“Promised what?”
“That you’ll fuck me like I’m your slut.”
Zach grabs my tits in both hands and squeezes them so hard that the moan that comes out of me is the loudest yet. “Yeah? You want everyone else to think you’re my slut too? Because if I fuck you like that, Blue, you’ll be screaming the roofs down. Your Mrs. S won’t be the only person to know what you do for me. How you serve me.”
Why does that arouse me so much?
Why do I want him to make me scream when I know the consequences?

I scratch his shoulders, his back, his biceps, whatever I can get to as I rock against him, fucking him with all these emotions in my heart.
I realize what I feel for him is too intense, too passionate, too heartbreaking and sad to be called love.
Maybe it’s a tragedy.
Or maybe it’s the blues.
I’ve got the blues and that’s why I can’t stop crying.

Zach sweeps his gaze all over my face before shaking his head once and entering my wet channel.
It’s a slow, sweaty fuck.
Actually, it’s not a fuck at all. It’s love.
We’re making love.
Slowly, gently, thoroughly.
He’s rocking into me like a soft wave and with every stroke, I’m drowning.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

Format: E-Bookthehighlander.PNG
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Victorian Rebels, #3
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Hero: Lt. Col. William Grant Ruaridh Mackenzie
Heroine: Philomena St. Vincent
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 02, 2016
Started On: August 17, 2019
Finished On: August 20, 2019

The Highlander, the 3rd book in the Victorian Rebels series turned out to be my first sampling of Kerrigan Byrne’s stories. Discovering a new author that speaks to you on so many levels is rare and so very treasured, and I intend to go through the back-list of her books in its entirety to sample each and every one of her published works over time.

The hero, 40 year old William Grant Ruaridh Mackenzie (Liam), comes from a place of violence. The fact that his childhood had been a difficult one would be an understatement. With an abusive father who had cared naught for the physical and emotional well-being of his children, legal and otherwise, Liam had been the big brother who had taken most of the physical brunt to protect his younger siblings. But that had not been enough to prevent them from witnessing the horrors of a childhood better left in the darker fringes of one’s memories.

The main story begins 20 years later, with the opening chapter focusing on the heroine, Lady Philomena St. Vincent (Mena), Viscountess Benchley, who has been institutionalized by none other than her husband and his family. Mena who grew up with a father who thought the world of his daughter and brought her up to be an intellectual, kind and generous soul, the horrors of her marriage that are revealed in stages to the reader is something that is as old as time itself.

The mental asylum, which was a norm in the past for husbands to commit their wives to just to get rid of them, is the mother load of horrors. Tortured in ways that really leaves a mark on the reader, some may find those particular scenes to be too disturbing for them to continue with the story. However, that particular aspect of the book does not set the tone for the rest of the book as the author brings to readers the stunning and vivid portrayal of a love that was so worth delving into.

When Mena is rescued and her well meaning and newfound friends sends her away to Scotland to evade the clutches of her husband, it is to the keep of Liam she is sent, where the very first moment she lays eyes on the strong, deeply masculine, and beautiful man that he is, something long forgotten stirs to life inside of her. Liam too is shaken by the very physical and visceral reaction he has towards Mena from the onset, but even though both of them might think to avoid each other hoping that the yearning for the other is a fluke on their part, things of course do not work out that way.

Liam’s haunted eyes that bespeaks of horrors and regrets of his life draws Mena to him like a moth to flame. Mena’s gentle strength and wit that had remained unbroken by the violence she had experienced in her adult life speaks to Liam on a level that he cannot comprehend. However, old enemies stirring in the darkness, tempting and beseeching to turn on Liam might prove to be the undoing of what blossoms to life between him and Mena, if her husband’s search for her does not bear fruit first.

I enjoyed my very first novel by the Kerrigan Byrne. Mena was glorious. Beautiful, kind, and soft, with just the right touch of authority to her which made her appealing on so many levels. I rooted for her with every fiber of my being, wanted the best for her because she deserved nothing less.

Liam’s soul is a broken one, even though he does not let it on. Betrayed and widowed, there is a wealth of unspoken pain in his heart. His inability to get through to his own children is a source of continued frustration for him, that is until Mena comes into his life and shows him what that entails. Drawn to each other by the kind of tangible connection that leaves the reader breathless, Byrne does a marvelous job of crafting both characters and bringing them to life.

The sexual tension that is interwoven into the very fabric of the story was just as enticing, and Byrne definitely delivers without leaving the reader hanging. Absolutely loved this gem of a novel and would recommend it for readers who love historical romances with characters that speaks to you. These are two very broken characters who meet and find their way to a happily ever after. Don’t let the barbarity depicted in the first couple of chapters deter you from reading. I believe we have to take the bad with the good to achieve a balanced nuance in order to deliver a story worth sinking into.

The epilogue was super cute and healing in so many ways. Perhaps, Byrne may write a novella depicting two secondary characters who definitely deserve their story to be told somewhere down the line. A reader could always hope!

Final Verdict: There is a rawness to Byrne’s story that speaks to me. A ruthlessness to her heroes that does things to this wanton heart of mine. The Highlander is marvelous in every sense.

Favorite Quotes

Then she saw him.
Her mouth became dry as the desert, and a tremor that had nothing to do with the cold rippled through her.
Though he wore a soiled kilt and loose linen shirt beneath his drenched cloak, he sat astride a black Shire steed with the bearing of a king. Dark waves of hair hung long and heavy with moisture down his back, and menace rolled off the mountains of his shoulders in palpable waves.
Whoever he was, he was their undeniable leader. She saw it in the way they looked to him, in the deference they used when speaking. If not by birth, then by physical laws of nature, surely. As the largest, the strongest, and the most fearsome of them all, he towered above the brawny men as he scowled through the window at her.

“Och, lass.” Liam beat her to it. “These roses are a jealous flower.” Cupping her hand with his, he pressed a thumb into her palm to secure it before plucking the thorn out quickly, to cause her the least amount of distress.
A tiny drop of blood welled from her fingertip.
Liam had no other handkerchief to offer her, and didn’t want to use the one on the ground, so he did the only other thing he could think of, and slid her finger into his mouth. Closing his lips around the insignificant wound, he watched her reaction with rare pleasure.
She froze, her eyes growing round as two glowing moons.
His body’s reaction was just as astonishing, and just as instantaneous.

Liam sprang toward her, grasping her wrists and pulling her back down to him. He sank his fingers into her luxurious hair, loosening the intricate coiffure there, and pinned her head between his two strong palms as he took her wicked mouth with his own.
It was in the joining of their lips that Liam found what he’d come to the chapel seeking. He kissed Mena with a reverence he’d never felt in the entirety of his life. Driven by a hunger that welled from the darkest, most heretical depths of his soul, he knew he’d finally found something worthy of his worship.

He swallowed her shocked gasp and plundered her with his tongue as though she were a lifelong conquest. Digging his fingers into her ribs to keep from taking what she did not offer him, he deepened the kiss, using his tongue to convey what he could not find the words to say.
She wasn’t the only one who was afraid. Liam was terrified.
Of losing her.
Of loving her.
And at this moment, he was in mortal danger of both.

“Kiss me, Mena,” he moaned against her mouth, his hot, sweet breath fanning over the moisture on her lips. “Touch me. Teach me to keep the demon at bay.”
She could only see the whites of his eyes in the dim light, circling the obsidian of his pupil and iris in such a way that truly seemed demonic.
With trembling fingers, she reached up to softly test the shape of his masculine jaw. Bristle scraped against her fingertips as they explored the raw, hard features that she’d always wanted to study, but didn’t even allow herself to look at for too long, lest she be lost.

Then his hand was there, clever fingers slipping into the wet cleft and touching a place no one had ever before paid attention to. He somehow ignited frenzy into her blood with infuriatingly slow strokes. A curious heat unfolded in her core and quickly caught into a blaze of sensation.
Mena writhed helplessly against him, riding his strong thigh as more heat created more friction, which in turn built the flames even higher. What sort of pagan magic was this? How could hands so rough and raw create such smooth, silken sensations against her most tender skin?

“I can’t,” she cried, feeling her knees melt.
His lips left her with a wet, wicked sound. “Ye will,” he breathed against her most intimate flesh.
“I’m going to fall,” she warned weakly, her hips undulating toward his mouth with mortifying wantonness.
“Fall apart in my arms, lass,” he soothed, his hands caressing around to fill his palms with the flesh of her backside, making a cradle of her hips. “I’ll not let ye go.”

“Can ye take more of me?” he panted.
Mena’s eyes flew open. How could there possibly be more? He withdrew yet again, gazing down at her with dilated eyes as he surged forward. He touched a place inside her she’d not known existed, and Mena tossed her head from one side to the other, letting out a high cry of ecstasy.
“Yes,” he whispered fervently. “I knew ye would take all of me, Mena.” He drove forward again. And again.

When another climax blinded her with pure bliss, she locked her legs around his pistoning hips, pulling him impossibly deeper. Shivering pleasure assaulted her in wave after unrelenting wave.
He roared her name to the sky as her pulsing body gripped and stroked at the swelling length of him. Hot spurts of his release spilled inside her. His great body locked with spasms as he crushed her to him and joined her in that place where right and wrong no longer mattered.

Then they said nothing at all when he pulled her above him and split her legs over his lean, sinuous hips. They’d communicated only in gasps and sighs as she’d ridden him with sensual rolls of her body. He’d palmed her breasts in his warm hands and said wicked things in his people’s native tongue while she pleasured herself upon his sleek and magnificent body. Then, when he could stand it no more, he’d dug his strong fingers into the flesh of her hips and driven upward until he’d bowed with such shocking pleasure, Mena had thought his back would break.

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