Review: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

Format: E-Bookwitheringhope
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Tristan Bress
Heroine: Aimee Myller
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 18, 2015
Started On: June 10, 2019
Finished On: June 11, 2019

Aimee Myller is on the way to get married, traveling to her fiance’s vacation home in Brazil. It is just Aimee and the pilot Tristan Bress alone in the flight, a route that both Aimee and Tristan as Chris’s personal pilot has traversed many a time. However, things go awry and the flight crash lands, leaving both Aimee and Tristan stranded in the middle of the Amazon jungle, with no sign that help is imminent.

Tristan is better equipped to handle survival in the wilderness than Aimee is, but that does not stop her from giving it all that she has and hoping enough for the both of them even when it is futile. Tristan with his experience in the military, carries with him the psychological scars that prevents him from interacting much with Aimee at first. But being forced to spend so much time together, especially with someone like Aimee slowly works its magic on Tristan.

As the days fade into each other, the dangers surrounding the two become all too real. As friendship blossoms and turns into heated desire, it is a conflicted Aimee who decides to bid farewell to the man she had been engaged to, the person who had been her best friend all through her life. For when it comes to Tristan, it is a desire that scorches and a love that refuses to be denied.

The conversations that these two engage in, the fears they share, the myriad of words unspoken; all of that and more invokes feelings that is indescribable as you read along. It is as if they are wrapped in a cocoon that nurtures and cradles the fragility of their love in the wilderness. It is as if at any moment, danger could smash through the walls and take away what both of them holds most precious.

Towards the end, it was sheer agony to turn the pages (you are both hopeful and fearing the worst simultaneously); there was pain, sorrow, and tears. But for a love that had persevered through so much, there is nothing but hope that they would endure to live on.

When the epilogue came, I did not know whether I wanted to bawl my eyes out or smile through my tears. In short, I was a mess. For the very first time in my life as a romance reader, I did not know how I could be so happy and so devastated at the same time.

One reads about the concept of soulmates all the time, especially if you are into romance. But in Tristan and Aimee, I believe that the concept came alive for me, for the very first time. They are literally soulmates in every sense. The ending brought to mind a real life story that my father related to us one day; how two people who had been married for most part of their adult life had passed away, just a couple of hours from each other. There are people who literally die of broken hearts, and that teaches the living that true love in its purest form can exist, even amidst all the cruelties that this world has got to offer.

There is so much that goes on in this story that it is hard to put into words the harrowing journey that these two go through to come out safely on the other side. There is love that surpasses everything else in life and that is the kind that Tristan and Aimee found in each other in the dangerous wilderness of the Amazon.

Though Aimee “cheats” on her fiance, at that point, there is nothing I would have done differently, had I being in her shoes. Because it was as natural as breathing to stay alive at that point, the connection that was forged in the midst of fighting for their lives and nearly losing each other towards the end.

This is a story that should be read with a box of tissues ready. You will not be the same having gone through Aimee and Tristan’s journey towards their happily ever after. Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Layla Hagen’s impressive and evocative writing had me on the edge in more ways than one. There is a beauty to Withering Hope that stays with you long after you are done.

Favorite Quotes

The touch of his lips on mine electrifies me, shimmer after shimmer coursing through my nerve endings. His tongue takes mine in a primal claim. Icy shivers splinter my skin, and at the same time, fire awakens deep within me. I’ve never been kissed like this. Ferociously, with absolute, desperate need. I try to temper the heated emotions building inside me. I try to remember it’s wrong. But that fleeting thought is drowned by the heat igniting his lips and hands, and I surrender. Tristan deepens the kiss until I’m out of breath.

I cradle his head with my arms, forcing him to kiss me even deeper. I’m rewarded with a groan. With one swift move, he pulls me underneath him. His expansive chest pushes against my breasts, and a deep throb pulses low in my body. Desire takes a life of its own when he slams his hips against mine, and I feel his need for me—his hard length strained by the fabric of his pants. In a haze, he frees me of the straps on my shoulders and pushes my dress down to my hips, revealing my breasts. His lips dart to my neck, suckling their way to my collarbone and then to my breasts, leaving a trail of fire in their wake that burns away any ounce of control I still have.

“You’re so beautiful,” he says in a breathy voice. In the moonlight, I see his heavy-lidded eyes raking over my naked body. I’m shaking with consuming need. His eyes meet mine, and my need is mirrored in his dark gaze. He cups my backside greedily with one hand and sinks into my core with abandon.
“Aimeeeeeeeeeee,” he grits in the curve of my neck, the feral sound spearing through me.
His hands are everywhere. Grazing the skin on my thighs, cupping my breasts. His passion pushes me to the edge, until I’m brazen enough to let out without restraint the proof of my own passion.

When I can’t tolerate the ache anymore, I pull him to me, kissing him, and rocking my hips against his. He plunges inside me, filling me, ripping whimper after whimper out of me. His mouth dusts my arms, calling my name in deep, guttural sounds that unhinge me. He increases the pace of his moves, thrusting so deep my thighs wobble. Eagerness swirls up inside me as wave after wave of pleasure engulf me, my body surging forward when my release shatters me.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Review: Outfox by Sandra Brown

Format: E-Bookoutfox
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Drex Easton
Heroine: Talia Shafer
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 06, 2019
Started On: August 09, 2019
Finished On: August 13, 2019

Outfox by Sandra Brown tells the story of Drex Easton, an FBI agent who is determined to find a killer who has eluded the authorities for years. Drex’s hunt is a personal one, which makes him relentless, willing to bend the rules if they fit the purpose, all to hunt down a serial predator who has bested the system for far too long.

Drex’s hunt finally brings him to a man known as Jasper Ford, married to a Talia Shafer, which in itself is a deviation from the norm. But from the moment Drex meets Jasper, his hunting instincts go full throttle, being finally able to put a face to the man who had killed eight women or perhaps more, if the stealth under which this particular killer operates is anything to judge his kills by.

Drex’s encounter with Jasper is further complicated by the fact that his newly wedded wife, Talia Shafer, gets under his skin from the onset. So much so that his partners and loyal friends caution him against doing something that could derail an already delicately balanced operation. Things reach a climactic point when Jasper once again disappears, driving Drex to take measures into his own hands.

From the beginning, Outfox is a novel that throws the reader off course by a huge margin. One can guess as much as they want to, but apart from a few circumstances, I for one ended up being completely wrong on my hunches (when I am usually right), which made this a stellar read in my opinion.

In short, I loved Outfox and what it delivered. While I will continue to bemoan the fact that Ms. Brown only releases one novel per year now, the fact that what she does release into the market is always stupendous goes a long way towards easing those particular woes.

How Ms. Brown still manages to take my breathe away with every hero and heroine that she brings to life in her books is a factor that continues to confound me, even when I should know better. Her heroes are intriguing to a point where they are sexy without even trying.

There is vibe that her heroes give without even putting much effort into it. Ms. Brown does not have to go on describing each perfectly crafted muscle on the hero’s body to get the reader to sit up and take notice. He just has to walk into the scene and you are a goner. No matter how many books I have continued to read from Ms. Brown, I am still a sucker for her heroes and I would not have it any other way. In true Sandra Brown style, Drex threw every preconceived notion I had of him out of the window, even as the pages dwindled to reach the very last couple of paragraphs in the story.

When it comes to heroines, Ms. Brown creates women of class, seemingly out of thin air. It is in the way they carry themselves, with dignity and beauty to their character which is not just skin deep. There are many factors which makes a heroine stand out, and Ms. Brown does a perfect job of bringing together just the right ingredients to make Drex and Talia inevitable.

The suspense factor was really done well in the story. Outfox is an apt title for the story because somehow, you never quite figure out what is going to happen next. That takes mastery over storytelling that Ms. Brown has damn near perfected over years of publication. And I for one hope that she never stops crafting these gems. Jasper is a villain who was ingenious in the way he works the system, cunning in a way that makes the heart beat just a tad faster. It was not only Talia who felt uneasy during the scenes where Jasper is featured prominently. He is the sort of character who makes your skin crawl, without even trying.

Outfox is a novel recommended for those who love superbly crafted and tightly plotted thrillers. With just the right amount of romance in the mix to appease readers like myself, Ms. Brown seems to have outdone herself, yet again!

Final Verdict: Just when you think you have got everything figured out, Ms. Brown throws you for a loop until the reader is left running around in circles chasing their own tail. Ms. Brown only gets better with time and Outfox is a testament to just that.

Favorite Quotes

“Talia.” He bent his head lower and nuzzled her just below her ear. “This isn’t only doing my job.” He caught the lobe of her ear between his teeth.
She stirred and whimpered his name. He followed the soft expulsion of breath to its source, her parted lips, and covered them with his. Her mouth was hot and wet and receptive when he pressed his tongue inside.
Unlike when he’d kissed her before, this time she didn’t turn her head aside and angle away. Instead she leaned into the kiss, not just with her mouth but with her body.

When he didn’t think he could withstand any more, one hand didn’t slide off at the tip. It stayed. Fingers dripping lather made teasing rotations around the crest, over it, again, as though testing its tautness, and then something wicked was done to the slit.
Through clenched teeth, he strangled out, “When.”

He turned around and hauled her against him. He tried to pause and register all the incredible sensations that holding her wet and naked against him induced, but his brain was functioning on a more primitive tier.
He gathered up a handful of her hair and pulled her head back, tilting her face up to his. He looked into her eyes, then covered her mouth with his. It was a ravenous kiss. He couldn’t get enough of her, and she was as hungry.

He levered himself up and above her—and was shocked to see tears sliding down her temples into her hair. She reached for him, grabbing at him until their mouths were melded and he had pushed into her.
But he went only far enough to secure himself just inside. There he waited, wanting to commit to memory this moment of feeling her around him for the first time. Then he continued pressing into her until he was solidly imbedded.
She hugged him to her tightly, and it was fantastic, but he had to move or he was going to die. He buried his face in her hair. “If I get too rough, slow me, stop me. I want…I want…Oh, God…”
The mating instinct took over. In spite of his best intentions, his strokes became faster and stronger. A slight shift in his position enabled him to reach deeper, and he did. God, did he.

She opened her thighs and guided him in. He hissed swear words as she slowly sank down onto him and began rocking. He grunted with pleasure. “And I thought the first time was good.” He angled himself up in order to reach her breasts. His mouth was hot and avid, and left her nipples wet with loving.
When he lay back, he gripped her hips between his hands and coaxed her, coached her, cajoled her in the raunchiest language. Several minutes later, on short puffs of breath, he said, “Have at it. That’s what I said. But, sweetheart…God a’mighty.”

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

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Review: Too Hard by Alexa Riley

Format: E-Booktoohard
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Butch Barton
Heroine: Harlow Harrison
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 04, 2019
Started On: May 17, 2019
Finished On: May 18, 2019

Too Hard by Alexa Riley features heroine Harlow Harrison and hero Butch Barton, Butch being much older than Harlow. Harlow with her fascination for technology and Butch with his own construction company are two people whose lives would never have crossed each other’s had it not being for an emergency plumbing situation that arises at Harlow’s place.

From the moment both of them lay eyes on each other (as it always does happen in Alex Riley novels), these two develop the hots for each other. While Butch does resist at first owing to the huge age gap, Harlow has no such problems as she is a woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get what she wants.

An Alexa Riley is good when you need a smutty novella that would not require much from the reader. While there is the usual dose of sensually charged scenes in the novel, the scenes sort of lose their appeal because of my inability to connect with the characters on a more emotional level. It wasn’t the age factor that put me off, but it felt as if I was just on the fringes, observing two people who had the hots for each other going at it. I wanted more, and sadly that did not materialize in this story.

Recommended for fans of Alexa Riley.

Final Verdict: Too Hard delivers smut well and good, just not enough emotional depth to give the story the wholesome edge it deserves.

Favorite Quotes

I drop the screwdriver from my hand and brace myself with both my palms on his chest. I know this orgasm is going to rock my whole world and I dig my fingers into his shirt as I feel it get closer. My eyes lock with his as I search for something. I’m so close but I need more and I don’t know why I’m not cumming. At first I thought I was going to go over instantly, but now I’m teetering on this edge and can’t go over it.
“Good girl.” His words are my undoing and the unknown thing I was looking for was his approval. That’s all I needed for him to push me over the edge and send me into pure pleasure. I cry out his name and my whole body shakes as warmth swallows me. I close my eyes. I fall into it and let it take me over as a peace I’ve never felt blankets me.

“You’ve got a body made for me.” Her pussy grips my fingers and I groan at the sensation. “I can’t stop now that I’ve had a taste.”
I take my fingers out of her and turn her around so I can lick her pussy. I push back into her warmth and she cries out while I rub on her G-spot and suck on her pussy lips.
“Butch, I’m so close,” she whines, and it makes me feel like a god.

“More,” she whispers, wiggling her lower half, and I know she’s probably soaking wet for it.
“I’ve got plenty where that came from.” I wrap an arm around her waist and lift her up as her legs go around me. I tear off her thong and thrust all the way inside of her wet pussy while still standing up.
She cries out and clings to me, and I hold her steady as I keep moving. “Shhh, just breathe. It will stop hurting in just a second.” I grip her hips and move her up and down, planting my feet on the floor. “Your little pussy is brand new to this, but it knows what to do.”

Purchase Links: NA

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Review: Secret Desires of a Gentleman by Laura Lee Guhrke

Format: E-Booksecretdesiresofagentleman
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Girl Bachelors, #3
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Phillip Hawthorne
Heroine: Maria Martingale
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 06, 2009
Started On: May 16, 2019
Finished On: May 17, 2019

29 year old Maria Martingale is looking for the right place to set up her very own patisserie, when she runs smack-dab into none other than Phillip Hawthorne, the Marquess of Kayne, the man who takes her back on the memory lane from 12 years back.

Maria had been at Phillip’s mercy when he had interfered with the relationship that had blossomed between her and Phillip’s younger brother. Phillip who had always been the proper one, nary a button nor hair out of place, the man who had always taken his responsibilities seriously, a man who in Maria’s eyes would probably have ice running through his veins instead of blood.

An arrangement is struck between Maria and Phillip which puts both of them in close proximity with one another. And thus tumbles forth a story that was beautifully moving in a way that I have almost forgotten that romances could be. Because it has been that long since a book moved me as much as this one did.

Phillip’s ironclad restraint is sorely tested by Maria, who is the very opposite of what he is, bringing forth memories he had thought were no longer his to revisit and enjoy. Upon the death of his father and the debts under which his family was reeling at the time, Phillip had been forced to grow up and assume responsibility way ahead of his time. Perhaps that is the reason why he is such an excellent match for someone like Maria, who is all fire and warmth – a combination that I enjoyed so very much.

There is a poignancy to this story that stemmed from the fact that the main protagonists had a shared past. The memories of it from Phillip’s viewpoint were what moved me the most. It is usually the heroine’s emotions and musings that wreaks havoc on the reader’s emotions and provides a well spun romance with that angst factor that I love so much.

However in the Secret Desires of a Gentleman, it was the hero’s thoughts, desires, and memories that sucker-punched me with a ferocity that shook me to my core. The deep wealth of passion and desire Phillip has held in check for so long which tumbles forth, giving readers tantalizing glimpses of a man who would hold his own when it comes to a woman like Maria; beautiful, vivacious, and full of life was the best aspect of this book.

The groveling towards the end by Phillip was well done. Or I must say, the proposal. I read from a book recently that love is when you are ready to make a fool out of yourself for the one you love and don’t even realize it. That was in essence what Phillips was at the end. The epitome of gentlemanly behaviour, laying himself bare for the world to see, his love unmistakable, his desire for Maria everything she had ever wanted it to be.

I believe that this would be my favorite from the series thus far. Perhaps my favorite book from Laura Lee Gurhke herself. There is nothing more that I love than a hero that unravels so beautifully, given the right woman. Enjoyed this delightful tale in so many ways. I’ve missed books such as this, wildly evocative and emotional in depth, that one cannot help but want more.

Definitely recommended. For the emotional angst, for Phillip himself. Darling Phillip, oh how I love thee!

Final Verdict: Unraveling Phillip is a journey I would gladly go through all over again. There is just something about a buttoned up hero letting loose that speaks to this wanton heart of mine.

Favorite Quotes

Phillip tensed in his chair as she slid her fingertips beneath her braid and began to rub the nape of her neck. She was clearly unaware of his presence, and he knew that in such a situation, offering a slight cough was the appropriate thing for a gentleman to do.
He did not do it.
Instead, he remained perfectly still as she tilted her head to one side and began massaging the muscles of her shoulder and the side of her neck.
She groaned, and with that tiny sound, lust washed over him, an inexorable wave of heat and hunger that was so powerful, he could not move.

His fingers curled around the nape of her neck and his thumb pressed the underside of her jaw, lifting her face. His free arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her hard against him. She sucked in a startled breath, but she had no time to react before he bent his head and captured her lips with his.
The kiss was not tender. It was hard and hot, bruising her mouth, and yet, she felt a thrill like nothing she’d ever felt in her life before.

“What’s wrong, Phillip? Don’t you trust me?”
“I don’t—” He stopped and cleared his throat. He tilted his chin down and met her gaze in the dim light. “I don’t trust myself.”
“I do,” she whispered, and before she even realized what she was doing, she turned in his arms and pressed her lips to his.
“Then you’re a fool,” he muttered against her mouth. His hands gripped her arms as if to push her away, but then, with a groan, he pulled her hard against him.

Kneeling on the floor, he hovered above her. He was breathing hard, but he did not move.
She opened her eyes. His face above hers bore a harsh expression, almost as if he were in pain; a frown creased his forehead, drawing his dark brows together, and his glittering gaze pinned her to the seat. “Maria.”
It was a hoarse whisper. It was a question. It might have been a plea. Whatever it was, she had no time to respond before his body came over hers, the weight of his much larger frame driving the air from her lungs.

When he slid his hand inside her shirtwaist and his fingertips touched her bare skin, she jerked in sharp reaction, for just that light caress sent shards of tingling sensation through her body. When he spread his palm over her breast, shaping it through the layers of her clothing, she arched upward into his hand. “Phillip,” she moaned, “Phillip, oh, yes, oh, please, yes.”
She was pleading for more. More of what, though, she did not know. She could not even guess.
“Damn,” he swore, his lips brushing her skin, his hot breath making her shiver. “Damn, damn, damn.”

“Maria,” he ground out through clenched teeth. “For the love of God…”
He slipped his fingers inside the opening of her drawers. And then he touched her in her most intimate place, and she cried out at the sharp, piercing pleasure of it.
He began to caress her with the tip of one finger in light circles that seemed like torture. She moaned in protest of this exquisite teasing, and pressed her hips up toward his hand.
“Maria, you are so soft, the softest thing I’ve ever felt,” he murmured against her ear. “I knew you would be. I’ve always known.”

He tried one last time to warn her. “I won’t be answerable for my actions.”
“I know.”
He cupped her face, his thumbs touched her soft, soft mouth. “I’ll take your virtue.”
“That’s all right,” she whispered, her lips brushing his thumbs, sending that lust spreading throughout his body. “I won’t tell on you.”
With those words, his reason dissolved. His honor crumbled. Like a dam breaking, the hungry need for her that he’d held back for so long broke through his resolve and poured through his body like a powerful, raging flood.

Shirt and cufflinks hit the floor as she flattened her palms against his chest, and the warm touch of her hands sent his control slipping down another notch. He fought to regain it, but he couldn’t stop the groan that escaped him as she began to caress his bare skin. “Yes,” he said, his voice a harsh rasp in his throat.
“Touch me, Maria. God, yes.”
He tilted his head back, letting her explore him, savoring her curiosity even as he struggled to keep his arousal in check.

“Take off your chemise for me,” he said. “I want to watch you take it off.”
Mesmerized by the heat of his gaze and the intensity of his command, she obeyed. Reaching for the hem of her chemise, she pulled the garment up her body and over her head, then tossed it over one shoulder and shook back her hair. When she looked at him again, she sucked in a sharp breath, startled. Though his expression was grave, as always, she saw something else in his face, something she had never seen there before. Tenderness.
“Oh, God,” he whispered hoarsely. “God, Maria, you’re so lovely. Even more lovely than I imagined.”

She stared at him, appreciating that he had done this very thing to her countless times in his imagination—undressed her, kissed her, made love to her. All these years, he’d had that ribbon, and he’d thought of this, imagined this. That knowledge sent a feeling through her like nothing she’d ever felt before, a feeling beyond physical sensation, a joy so powerful it was like pain, yet so sweet that it was pleasure, and she knew Prudence had been right. She was in love with this man.

“Maria, I want to take you. I want to be inside you. Do you understand what that means?”
“Yes,” she gasped, but when she felt the tip of his shaft pushing between the feminine folds he had stroked with his tongue, she felt a wave of something different. Panic.
“Phillip?” He heard the apprehension in her questioning voice, and he paused, lifting his body above hers. “It’s time, love,” he murmured, nuzzling her throat, kissing her ear. “I’ve waited so long. I can’t wait any longer to have you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Review: Preacher Man by Jessa Kane

Format: E-Bookpreacherman
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novella
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Joseph Stark
Heroine: Mila
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 23, 2019
Started On: April 10, 2019
Finished On: April 10, 2019

I’ve done it.
I’ve made her my wife.
I’ve satisfied her.
I’ve claimed her, made her mine.

Preacher Man is a classic example of a properly done novella that delivers nothing but a healthy dose of smut. My first Jessa Kane turned out to be delightful in many ways, and perhaps delightful is too tame a word to convey the kind of scenes that she delivers in this short story.

Preacher Man is told in the first person, in both the hero (Joseph Stark) and the heroine (Mila)’s point of view. Mila is drawn to Joseph like a moth to a burning flame, as if the glow from the fire has been growing brighter by the day, beckoning the “evil” within her, or so she thinks. Little does she know that the town’s new preacher, who turned up just a year back, is just as drawn to her as she is to him.

Joseph is a man who is the furthest thing from a preacher. Having led a questionable life in the past, Joseph is a man with enemies who could do anyone he brings close to him a lot of harm. However, even that does not stop his possessive self from claiming innocent Mila as his own and ensure that she is his, forever.

I loved the short story this delivered, perhaps the perfect antidote from the lackluster reads that had disappointed the romance reader in me from the couple of books I had finished just prior to this. At least with a novella, you understand that there would not be much character building that would happen, but in Preacher Man, Kane did just enough to satisfy the need in me to make an emotional connection with the readers. I would have been disappointed had it been otherwise.

While there was an aspect to the story that I could have done without (I have never understood this need to call your partner daddy and I don’t think I ever will), I enjoyed the rest of the book with the sheer abandon that comes only from having a great book in your hands.

The epilogue tucked at the end made my day. I so love myself a hopelessly smitten couple, and a dangerous hero (otherwise), who is nothing but a possessive sweetheart when it comes to the woman he loves, above all else.

Recommended if you love a good smutty novella.

Final Verdict: Smut of the feel good variety! Kane delivers steam that accelerates not just your pulse but sets into overdrive your imagination in ways you never thought possible!

Favorite Quotes

“You wore this scrap of nothing to tease me, didn’t you?” I growl, ripping my mouth away so I can see her face when I thrust my cock into the notch of her thighs. Watching Mila’s eyes roll into the back of her head, feeling her legs begin to shake, I do it again and press my mouth to her ear. “You knew you’d break me.”
“I hoped so,” she hiccupped, her knees digging into my ribs. “I’ve been hurting so bad.”
“Shhh. I’m going to make it all better.” I lick my way through the hollow of her throat, using my hold on her bottom to ride her up and down my cock. “I’m going to fuck the ache away every day for the rest of your life.”

More moisture coats my thighs under Joseph’s watchful blue eyes and he groans, falling to his knees on the floor, lunging forward on his elbows to lick me straight up the center. A scream catches in my throat, my vision wavering. H-he licked me. There. A sensation I’ve never known gathers in my middle, a storm full of thunderheads preparing to break. And that’s before Joseph finds that secret nub at the very top of my flesh—I never thought to look that high—batting it with his tongue, before lightly sucking. Then he’s alternating between the gentle suction and rolling the flat of his tongue over me, side to side, teasing it with quick, little flickers.
“Oh my God,” I scream, my head thrashing side to side on the pillow, wrists yanking at the bonds. “My God, my God, my God.”

I can’t wait any longer,” I growl, coming to a kneel and unbuttoning my shirt as fast as I can, ripping it off and throwing it aside. Until I’m shirtless, I forget my tattoos have been hidden from view since coming to town.
But I remember when Mila’s eyes go as wide as silver dollars.
“Daddy,” she breathes, raking me with her gaze. “You are a bad man.”
With my teeth bared, I take hold of the neckline of her dress and rip it down the center, leaving her completely naked. My personal virgin sacrifice—and she’s even more incredible than I could have ever envisioned with her dusky nipples, rounded hips and open thighs. I take my cock and smack it against her pussy, spend dribbling from my tip to slip into her folds. “I’m your bad man now, little girl.”

I grind down one more time on his ample girth and let myself fly. Coming. I’m coming. Freefalling through a star studded night sky, my eyes rolling back in my head and everything below my waist squeezing hard, pulsating, pulsating and then I can do nothing but shake while relief courses through me, adrenaline still whipping in my blood stream. And love. My heart won’t let me forget about that.
I watch through half-mast eyes as the man who embodies love to me groans through the throes of his own peak, his hips jackknifing up and lifting me out of the water, his hands yanking me up and back, up and back on his lap, forcing me to ride him straight through to the end, the warmth of his spend jetting inside me.

“Brace your hands on the tree,” I rasp, unbuckling the belt of my dress pants. “I’m in need.”
“Me too,” she hiccups, doing as she’s told.
The act of lifting her hands has raised the hem of her white dress and I lift it higher now, overcome by the sight of her thighs, her supple butt cheeks. An emerald green strap of silk is tucked down the center—one of the new thongs I bought her—and I pull those panties down now, letting them fall at her ankles. I reach around the front of her body to slide a finger through the folds of her pussy, ensuring she’s warm, wet and ready, before I grip my cock and cram it up inside her, grunting into her smooth neck, growing louder with every inch she accepts. “Tilt your hips back,” I growl.

I reach under my dress and tug down my panties, goose bumps flying up my skin at Joseph’s starved expression, the way he groans when my panties hit the sand, that huge part of him bulging behind his fly. Wide eyed, I bite my lip and hitch my legs up around his waist. “Is it playtime, Daddy?”
Joseph fumbles with his zipper and finds my entrance with his erection, bouncing me five, six, seven times until I’m fully impaled and we’re both moaning. “It’s always playtime when we’re alone, little girl.”
And with the sea roaring behind us, we play fiercely, we love obsessively.
We begin our forever.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Format: E-Bookahungerlikenoother_kresleycole
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Immortals After Dark, #2
Publisher: Pocket Star
Hero: Lachlain MacRieve
Heroine: Emmaline Troy
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 28, 2006
Started On: January 25, 2019
Finished On: April 10, 2019

A Hunger Like No Other is the second book in the Immortals After Dark (IAD) series by Kresley Cole. Having read the first book in the series, I remained somewhat confused by the characters that seemed to come and go, and the concepts that Cole explores in these books. Or maybe I am just dumber than the average reader, most of whom have nothing but wonderful things to say about the series.

A Hunger Like No Other is a novel that has been listed as one of the best romances published throughout the years. This book is one reason why I have been wanting to give the IAD series a go. Though I remain confused even after I was done with the story, and currently have no intentions of going through the rest of the books (though this might change if I get bored enough and want to read something different), I did enjoy bits and pieces of the story as it unfolded.

The second book in the IAD series tells the story of Emmaline Troy, aka Emma the Timid, half vampire, half Valkyrie and Lachlain MacRieve, King of the Lykae. Lachlain has been a captive for thousands of years until he scents his mate above the catacombs of Paris in which he has been held prisoner. There is very little Lachlain would not do to claim his mate and that is how the story begins, with Lachlain making his escape and going in pursuit of Emma.

Emma’s character was harder to place for me; she grew up in the care of her foster mother and “aunts” who knew their place in life unlike Emma. Her need to seek answers about her parents had been the reason behind her visit to Paris, and in the course of the events that takes place after meeting Lachlain, she finds that the truth can be often harder to digest than going through life not knowing what that entails.

Lachlain’s struggles with the nightmares left behind from his captivity prove to be why his character came off more authentic than that of Emma. Through all of it, there was no doubt when it comes to his true devotion to Emma and her pleasure, even at the cost of hurting his own self. From Emma, that did not materialize until towards the latter half of the novel, until the point at which she redeemed herself.

I just wish that the multitude of characters in the novel were related in a manner that is more coherent than it is now, so that the dumber than average reader (like myself) can make sense out of it all, without feeling totally lost as if in the midst of an untraversed jungle.

Recommended for fans of the series, fans of urban fantasy novels with a healthy dose of romance, and fans of Kresley Cole.

Final Verdict: Lachlain’s devotion to his mate for life, Emma, is reason enough to dig through the story to get to the good stuff. Loved all that was Lachlain.

Favorite Quotes

He flicked his claw down her blouse and sliced it and the flimsy bra beneath open, then slowly brushed the halves past her breasts. She struggled, but it was useless against his strength. He studied her with a greedy gaze as rain splattered down, stinging her naked breasts. She was shivering uncontrollably.
His pain was so sharp it nauseated her. He could take her or he could tear open her unprotected belly and kill her….
Instead he ripped open his own shirt, then placed his huge palms against her back to draw her to his chest. He groaned when their skin touched, and electricity seemed to flash through her. Lightning split the sky.

He bent down to wash her legs front and back, and scrubbed the grass and mud from her knees. When he rubbed toward her upper thighs, she shoved her legs together. He gave a frustrated growl, then stood to draw her back against his chest, until she could feel him prodding her. He started the same leisurely exploration of her front, one arm bent by her side, his hand clasping her shoulder.
Suddenly his callused palm cupped her breast. She would fight, or scream—
“Your skin’s so damn soft,” he murmured in her ear. “Soft as the silk you wore.”
She shivered. One compliment, and Emma—who’d never suspected she was easy—relaxed somewhat.

“But you said,” she whispered, devastated that she’d believed him. She hated being lied to, especially since she could never lie back. “You said….”
He stilled. With a deep growl, he released her leg and hit the wall again. Her eyes widened when he grabbed her and turned her around. Right when she was about to scratch him, bite him, he pulled her into his arms again, her back against his chest. He shoved her hand to his erection, inhaling sharply at the first touch. His voice gone guttural, he said, “Stroke me.”

She resisted for longer than he would’ve if he’d been starved. Finally she dabbed the tip of her tongue at her lip, then licked there. Her eyes turned silver. To his shock, he went instantly hard.
Her small fangs shot longer. She had sunk them into his arm before he could blink.
With the first draw, her eyelids fluttered closed and she moaned; he went dizzy with sexual pleasure, feeling on the verge of coming.

He placed his hand on her thigh, rubbing upward, but she withdrew her fangs and flung herself away, rolling to her side. He sat on his haunches in shock, trying to compose himself, baffled by his reaction.
“Emmaline,” he said in a broken voice as he took her shoulder and turned her to her back. His eyes widened as her wee fangs grew smaller. Her eyes turned blue once more, and she rolled them with apparent ecstasy, falling back, her pale arms over her head. As she stretched and writhed, her nipples puckered tighter. Then she gazed up at him with her full, red lips curling. The lass had a smile such as he’d never known—

Unable to stop herself, she eased forward, took his shirt with her fists, and sank her fangs into his skin. Rich warmth and pleasure exploded within her, and she moaned against him. She felt his groan reverberating beneath her lips. When she almost toppled over from the rush of sensation, he bit out, “Straddle…me.”

“Release me from my vow, Emmaline.”
She didn’t respond, wouldn’t release him, and damn it, it had begun to matter to him if he broke his word to her. Her only answer was spreading her knees wider over him, then slowly, sensuously rubbing his length between her legs, with only his trews and her silk between them. “Ah, God, yes, Emma,” he grated, shuddering with need, disbelieving that she was doing this to him.

“Tell me one thing about you that I doona know,” he demanded.
When able to force her gaze to his face, she debated, then finally said, “I went to college and got a degree in popular culture.”
He appeared impressed, but of course he hadn’t been around this time long enough to know that most people thought pop culture was a do-you-want-fries-with-that degree. He nodded, turning toward his room, and because he didn’t expect her to, she said, “Tell me one thing.”
When he faced her again, he did appear surprised she’d asked. His voice gravelly, he answered, “I think you’re the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen.”

“Emma.”
His voice was broken.
“Hold out for as long as you can,” she said, stroking his length once. His eyes closed with pleasure.
He felt her breath first, making him shudder. Then her slick lips, then her tongue darting and flicking over his flesh. Ah, she had a wicked little tongue—
Sweet God, her bite.
He gave an anguished groan, falling back on the bed, only to immediately raise his hand to cup her face and his head to watch her mouth on his cock. He was a twisted man…. “I had…no idea. Always like this,” he growled. “Always.”

She perceived him moving, then…felt his mouth on her sex. She cried out with shock and pleasure. He was lying on his back beneath her, her knees spread over his face, his arms wrapped over her back, hugging her down. She couldn’t move if she tried.
He groaned against her, arms tightening if possible. “Dreamed of tasting you again,” he growled. “Almost as much as fucking.”

“Oh, God, yes! Lachlain, please.”
He drew his tongue from her, entering his finger. “Please what?”
She was panting, near mindless. “Please make me for once…please let me have—”
“Come,” he commanded, with a palm coming down on her ass and a thrust of his finger as he resumed sucking and licking. She screamed and her body clenched instantly, shuddering her through her first orgasm, making her accept the explosion of pleasure. His hands were on her, roughly palming her cheeks, shoving her against his mouth, licking relentlessly.

He put one arm solidly around her waist. “Waited so long to be inside you.” He ran his other arm under her, over her breast, and clenched her shoulder from underneath, holding her immobile. “I claim you for my own.” He plunged into her.
She screamed again, this time in pain.
“Ah, God,” he groaned. “So tight,” he bit out with another buck of his hips. She was so clenched around him he could scarcely move.
She gasped, her eyes watering from the searing pain. She’d known they wouldn’t fit.

Licking, biting, suckling her, slaking his lust on his mate. Unable to tamp down yells, growls, his need to taste her wet flesh. Too rough with her. Needed to fuck her harder. Couldn’t stop driving into her.
With the last of his will, he shoved himself away from her.
Her claws rent the ground in frustration, her hips undulating for him. “Why?” she cried.
“Canna hurt you.” His voice was not his own.
“Please…come back inside me.”
“You want this? Like I am?”
“Yes…need you…exactly as you are. Please, Lachlain! I feel it too.”
The moon had claimed her too? At her words, he gave himself over to it.

But they only made it to an empty hall before he pressed her against the wall, cupped her neck, and demanded once again, “You’ll stay with me?”
“Always.” Her hips arched up to him. “You love me?”
“Always, Emmaline,” he grated against her lips. “Always. So damn much you make me mad with it.”
When she moaned softly, he lifted her so she could wrap her legs around his waist. He knew he couldn’t have her here, but the reasons why grew hazy with her breaths in his ear.

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

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Review: The Savior by J.R. Ward

Format: E-Bookthesavior.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, 17
Publisher: Gallery Books
Hero: Murhder
Heroine: Sarah Watkins
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 02, 2019
Started On: April 04, 2019
Finished On: April 09, 2019

At long last, we have come to the story of Murhder, the Brother who was expelled from the Black Dagger Brotherhood for atrocities that were only hinted at, and we as the readers were never totally privy to. The seventeenth book in the series, and I believe we have come to a point where the stories are starting to sound repetitive and cliched – God forbid someone say it though.

Muhrder’s story begins when he decides to end his twenty year self-exile of sorts (since his expulsion from the Brotherhood) and seek an audience with Wrath, the King of the vampire species. Varying degrees of emotions seep through the story when Muhrder makes his first appearance, from disdain and outright hostility on the part of the Brotherhood (very hypocritical of them if you ask me, given the many instances of unforgivable acts committed on their part) to the emotional upheaval that Xhex goes through (I couldn’t believe that she never did tell John about her association with Murhder), and finally the emotions of the vampire himself, that came across as the most genuine of it all.

The heroine Dr. Sarah Watkins comes into the picture when FBI starts to pursue an investigation into the “death” of her fiance which had happened months ago. What Sarah uncovers for herself in the process about her workplace RSK BioMed, is one that puts her life instantly in danger, and brings her into close contact with none other than Murhder.

Circumstances bring both Sarah and Murhder to the Brotherhood compound where the attraction that had simmered under extenuating circumstances upon which Murhder and Sarah had first met, comes to fruition. Contrary to what JR Ward has led readers to believe up till Murhder’s own book, there is zero crazy in him if you ask me. In fact, I found him to be sweeter, kinder, and mellower than the rest of the Brotherhood put together, and that was a bit jarring considering all the buildup to his story.

We have gone through Brothers who had their own issues to varying degrees. For instance, Zsadist (as my favorite Brother), displayed the sort of characteristics that you would expect from someone who had been kept in captivity for so long. His struggles were real. His pain was one we felt. His love for Beth when it came, we as readers understood where he came from. The fact that he struggles even now with his darker side is what makes him one of the most realistic characters in the series.

Then there is Tohr, whose story spanned a couple of books and brought him a measure of peace in his newfound Shellan in his own book. Though at times I feel like hitting Tohr on the head and then some, even his story carries with it elements that makes it believable. Even if I want undying devotion from him on the same level that he feels for his deceased Shellan, I understand where he is coming from when he faces difficult days and goes through an emotional roller-coaster every now and then.

But Murhder? There was none of it. Everything just fell into place with no thought, no drama, no consequence. The Brotherhood books usually packs a punch in the sex scenes they deliver. But this one kinda left me cold on most fronts. Perhaps one reason why Murhder’s story ended up being such a disappointment could the fact that his story is relayed to readers through just one single book instead of the story being carried through several interconnected books in the series. I would have liked to see Murhder in his element, in his zone, being the crazy bastard that he was unrightfully accused of being.

Another thing that really really irked me was Xhex. I have never truly gone gaga over her character for one reason or the other. But over time, I have softened towards her because she makes John happy and she does have her finer points as well. But the “secret” that she had carried when it comes to Murhder and what had actually rendered him unstable was unforgivable in so many ways. She let Murhder carry the burden and guilt for so long for something he probably had no control over at that point in time, given what we have witnessed of the Sympaths and what they are capable of in Lover Avenged.

The only thing that was interesting and a game-changer in my opinion, was the revelation of the new villain that comes to light at the end of the story. I hope that whichever direction that Ward decides to steer the series in, she does this particular arc justice, because it just seems redundant to keep going on and on about the Lessers when things seem to have really died down on that front. I don’t believe that there is anything more to be explored in that sense. But maybe, I could be wrong. Omega could have a ton of tricks up his sleeve that we might not know of.

While John and Xhex was once again a centric part of this story, it makes me go a little crazy with how John’s identity continues to remain a secret even though I partly do get the reason why Ward keeps evading the issue.

One more thing that I keep finding extremely cliched is how Lassiter, upon assuming the role of the Scribe Virgin, has suddenly started giving out eternal life blessings to everyone he comes across. Plus, don’t get me started on the continued tirade against humans as the “lesser” beings who are unworthy in every sense according to vampires. Pick something new to grouch about, that’s all I am asking.

I miss reading about characters such as Rehvenge who potentially have more depth to their characters that remain unexplored, while characters like John, Vishuous, and Rhage have started to bore me. I want fresh insight into the lesser explored characters in the series like Xcor and others who probably have more value to add to the books than the seemingly “favorite” characters of the author.

While I did enjoy bits and pieces of The Savior, as a whole, I don’t think I have a lot of nice things to say about the novel.

Recommended for die-hard fans of the series. Because I am pretty sure I am in the minority when it comes to having being disappointed by the last couple of novels in the series.

Final Verdict: Murhder’s story comes to readers who have anticipated what he would be like for so long. My expectations were unmet in every aspect, and I definitely wished for something different.

Favorite Quotes

When it was over, he closed his eyes and dropped his head into her neck. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You won’t.” Sarah cleared her throat. And then tilted her head to the side. “Do you want to …”
“What?”
“This,” she said as she stroked up her own throat.
As he stared at her in alarm, she said it again. “Do you want this?”
That purr came back, louder, deeper, more urgent. And the sound of it was what put her over the edge again, especially as she imagined those razor-sharp points buried in her vein. Throwing her head back, she moved against his static body, stroking herself on his arousal, riding out the pulses until he started to orgasm along with her.

All things that lived died.
The best that anyone who breathed could do was a skate-by into old age, dodging the slings and arrows of biological failings and accidents, until you could sit back with your aches and pains and mourn the loss of your relevancy, your generation, your place in the population pecking order.

Murhder picked her up and she straddled his hips, his strong arms holding her off the floor. His penetration was a firebrand, nothing slow and gentle this time, his arousal entering her on a one-stroke that went so deep, she nearly orgasmed then and there. Desperate to find a good rhythm, he shuffled them over to a wall, the hard, cool surface hitting her bare back as he braced her against it. Then he pumped into her, his body working hard, churning, dominating.
She held on for dear life.
And only wanted more.

He wanted to track what she was saying and respond appropriately. But she was wriggling around in his hold and that was causing the kind of fiction that males had a hard time focusing through: His cock was hard and ultra-sensitive, her core warm and tight, the slip and slide going right to his head and fritzing out his higher reasoning.
As much as he tried to hold himself back, he started to come, his arousal ejaculating in a series of pumps deep inside of her. He fought it as best he could, gritting his teeth and cursing, and when that got him nowhere, he attempted to pull out—but she squeezed her legs on his hips and arched against him, saying his name in frustration and pleasure.

Kneeling in front of her, he kissed his way down her abdomen, teasing her belly button with his tongue, cupping her breasts as he stared up at her.
“My Sarah …” he groaned as he circled her thigh with his hand. “Give me what I want.”
Lifting her leg, he put it over his shoulder and went in, leading with his tongue, delving into her sex, worshiping her with his mouth. Over the fall of the water, he heard her cry his name and then she fell back into the bench.

Murhder felt Sarah arch as he penetrated her core. He was too rough, he knew he was being too rough … but he couldn’t stop, and she didn’t want him to. She was talking in his ear, begging …
“Harder … do me harder.”
He pulled her leg up, and shifted the angle, going even deeper. And as he pounded into her, the sofa moved across the rug, leaving tracks in the nap. Something fell with a crash. Her hair tangled.
She orgasmed. He did. They did together.

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

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