ARC Review: Cold Malice by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldmalice.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #8
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Steve McKenzie
Heroine: Theresa Jane Hines
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 12, 2017
Started On: September 07, 2017
Finished On: September 13, 2017

The Cold Justice series is well into its 8th book, with Toni Anderson hitting the mark with each single installment in the series. That is what I call well researched books that keeps the pages turning and the readers coming back for more. And I have definitely been coming back for more.

Cold Malice, just like every other book in this series, takes on a prominent issue in current society. The rise of white supremacist movements in countries like the United States, putting into peril years of painstaking work into building more inclusive societies. Toni’s insight and the way she handles sensitive issues of this nature continues to amaze me in every single one of her books and Cold Malice was no exception.

Theresa Jane (Tess) is the one surviving daughter of the infamous Hines family, notorious for its extremist right wing philosophies that had turned deadly. With her younger brother Cole, Tess had found refuge in the kind woman that had adopted them, and had grown up trying to run from a past that seems to be catching up with her in a way that leaves her cold on the inside.

When Assistant Special Agent in Charge Steve McKenzie (Mac) comes back into Tess’s life, it is as if a ghost from her past has come calling, a ghost that she had clearly thought and believed to be dead in the events that had taken place that fateful night when the lives of the Hines family had met its ultimate deadly conclusion. A string of hate crimes is what brings Mac to the scene, an FBI agent who had slowly risen through the ranks to prove himself capable and beyond the trashy background from which he had emerged. For Mac, his career comes first and foremost, and if Tess still reminds him of that little girl he had failed to protect all those years ago, he would just have to deal with it.

With Mac in charge of the investigating team, it is one harrowing experience after another that pits Tess and Mac together, each having to rely on the other to get through. Trust comes hard for both of them, especially Tess who has always had to isolate herself from the rest of the world lest the truth of her background emerge and harm her prospects for a life of normalcy that she strives so hard for. For Mac, even though he is 99% certain that Tess has not one prejudiced bone in her body, it is that 1% that makes it hard for him to trust her on a level that he should, given the way he reacts to her at every molecular level of his being.

A killer with an agenda that targets the awakening of the slumbering beast, Mac finds himself running a race against time in trying to put everything together. In the midst of it all lies the searing passion that he shares with a woman he may never have forgotten, a woman who stirs his very soul and makes him think of a future other than that of one filled with ambition to further his career.

I loved Cold Malice, just like I have loved reading every other book Toni has written. Toni’s books come bearing interesting tidbits of information about what law enforcement itself is like at its heart, how painstaking it is to go through tons of evidence, especially in light of the world of information exchange that we inhabit today. Furthermore, the concept of “ghost skins” that I came across in this book was one that fascinated me. Extremist movements such as the white supremacists, going through the ranks of government service, embedding themselves deep within the system, until the time comes for them to rise and act on their twisted agendas. It is a concept that makes shivers run up and down my spine, the kind of meticulous and painstaking planning and patience that it would take for a group of people filled with so much hatred for anything that they do not agree with.

The tidbit on child marriages still being allowed in most parts of the US, more so than most people think also gave me a pause. We are all quick to judge when the lesser developed countries have archaic laws that allows these marriages to take place, that violates a girl in so many ways that it does not even bear thinking. Yet, the country that sits at the position of the leader of the free world itself has festering within, the kind of policies and laws that should have been done away with a long time ago, to protect the rights of every child. Perhaps it is a significant fact that even though the US ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995, it failed to implement the terms of CRC at home, owing to contentious politics within.

I loved both Mac and Tess. As a hero, Mac is a specimen worth salivating over. There is a vulnerability to him that he hides, and he hides it well. A failed marriage that has left its mark, a childhood that drives him to be the person he is. Labeled a sex god by Tess, he is very well worthy of the term as he takes the straitlaced Tess and teaches her how fun, and oh so good sex with the right person can be. Tess is a mass of contradictions unto herself. Yearning for the kind of closeness and love that she believes are possible only in Disney fairy tales, she never thinks for a moment that the man from her past that she had fallen in love as a child would be the person who would change it all. I felt every single scar on Tess’s soul deep within. It is amazing how Toni can craft characters that are deep and multifaceted as Tess. I loved her

Cold Malice is a novel done well, delivering a story that would stay with the reader for a long while. The subject matter alone is reason enough.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: There is no running from a past hellbent on playing catch up. Toni delivers an unputdownable read in Cold Malice!

Favorite Quotes

Instead of backing away, he lifted her up until both her legs wrapped around his waist and he positioned himself against her entrance. Then he held both her hands against the door and stared deep into her eyes as he pushed slowly inside. Her head went back as she cried out and her back arched.
She went blind as pleasure rushed through her.
He dropped her hands and grabbed her ass. She gripped his shoulders as he eased farther inside. Sweat beaded on his brow and ran down his temple. She tasted it on her tongue.

After a few seconds, she deliberately clenched her muscles around him again and he growled his approval. He started moving then, pumping in and out of her in long, deep strokes.
Dear Lord. It felt like Heaven. She whimpered at the pleasure that was flooding her senses. Every muscle in her body was trembling with need to race to that sharp edge of completion, but she wanted it to last, too. She wanted to go slow. And fast. And everywhere in-between. Mac changed his stance and she felt him inside her, touching a place that made her insane with want.
“Oh, God.” Her nails raked his shoulders as her body clenched around him. She wanted to be the girl from her fantasies, the one who asked for and got what she wanted. “More.”
“Is this what you wanted?” He drove into her over and over, holding onto her and thrusting deep at the same time.
“Yes.” She gasped. “This is what I want. You inside me. It’s perfect. You’re perfect.”

When her eyes closed he took over, gripping her hips, grinding her against him, gathering a handful of her hair in his fist and rearing up, trying to get even deeper inside. And he was the one in charge, in control, right up to the moment she put a twist into the way she rode him and he was gone. She cried out as his world turned black.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

greatread

 

Review: Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverunbound
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #5
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Vishous
Heroine: Jane Whitcomb
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 25, 2007
Started On: September 13, 2016
Finished On: September 15, 2016

The fifth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series brings to us the story of Vishous, the bisexual vampire hero who is the son of the vicious Bloodletter, a vampire known for his utter brutality, strength, and barbarism. Vishous as a member of the Brotherhood, is highly intelligent, has a penchant for BDSM, and hunting Lessers is the one thing that he lives for. Vishous is also the Brother that is “cursed” with visions of the future.

When a series of events brings the Scribe Virgin to him bearing news of the most shocking variety demanding that he give himself up to be the Primale of the Chosen, Vishous reels from the bombshell that she drops on him. Being the Primale means that he become mated to one of Scribe Virgin’s choosing, his daughters who would grow up to become members of the Chosen themselves serving members of the Brotherhood, the sons who will go onto become members of the Brotherhood themselves.

That Vishous does not take the news well would be an understatement, and this is how Vishous ends up getting injuries of the life threatening variety and up on the operating table of Dr. Jane Whitcomb at the St. Francis Medical Center. What happens when Vishous wakes up with that streak of possessiveness for his mate running through his veins is what sets the ball rolling when it comes to Jane and Vishous.

Vishous has a past that is dark, as dark as that of Zsadist’s. Vishous is a hero that was adorable, someone who is sinfully sexy, commanding, and with a deep streak of vulnerability at his very core that even he is not fully aware of. His deep and complex feelings for his fellow Brother Butch and his wife Marissa aside, facing his past is something easier said than done, as years of abuse at the hands of his father has left its deep seated mark on him.

Though almost everyone who has read through the series had remarked upon the ending of the story, I was still taken aback by how it all ended. Perhaps Ward’s foresight into where she wanted to take the series was one of the key reasons behind Jane’s character ending up as she did. Having read stories further down the series since then and before writing this review has left me with that impression more than anything else, and it actually does make sense to me now as to why Ward gave that sort of an ending to the story. Jane’s character was just as lovable as that of Vishous, and I don’t think anyone could have asked for a more perfect fit for someone like Vishous than her.

As with all the books in the series, Lover Unbound is also not just the story of how Vishous and Jane get together. Rather, so many things happen in the continuing threads of stories within the main one. The fight with the Lessers that takes on different and more dangerous turns, the lives of the Brotherhood themselves changing within the context of what is happening around them, how the old ways are slowly becoming replaced with the new, and delicious tidbits about characters whose stories are to follow.

J.R. Ward is an amazing writer. Every single story I have read from the series attests to this fact.  I can’t wait to experience what she has in store for her readers further down the line in the series.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: With surprising twists and turns, it is Ward’s unpredictability that serves to be the strength of the series.

Favorite Quotes

With no warning at all she was tackled from behind, pushed face-first into the wall and held in place by a rock-hard body twice the size of her own. Her gasp was first one of shock, then one of sex as she felt V grind into her ass.
“I tried to tell you no,” he growled as his hand buried itself in her hair and locked on, pulling her head back. As she cried out she ran wet between her legs. “Tried to be nice.”
“Oh… God—”
“Praying’s not going to help. Too late for that, Jane.” There was regret in his voice—as well as erotic inevitability. “I gave you a chance to have it on your terms. Now we’ll do this on mine.”
She wanted this, She wanted him. “Please—”
“Shh.” He cranked her head to the side with a twist of his wrist, exposing her throat. “When I want you to beg, I’ll tell you.”

“Ask me what’s next, Jane.” He licked up her throat again, then clamped what she knew was a fang onto her earlobe. There was a delicious lick of pain, followed by another rush of heat between her legs.
“What’s… next?” she breathed.
“I’m going to get on my knees.” His head went down and he nipped her collarbone. “Say to me now, ‘And then what, V.'”
She nearly sobbed, so aroused her legs started to fail her. “And then what?”
He tugged on her hair. “You forgot the last part.”
What was the last part—what was the last… “V.”
“No, you start over. From the beginning.” He pushed his arousal into her, a hard ridge that clearly wanted in her now. “Start over, and do it right this time.”
From out of nowhere an orgasm came bearing down on her, the momentum carried forward by the rasp of his voice in her—
“Oh, no, you don’t.” He backed off from her body. “You don’t come now. When I say you can, you will. Not before.”

There was no prelude, no easing into what he did to her. It was his mouth. Her core. Two sets of lips meeting. His fingers dug into her cheeks and kept her in place as he went to work, and she totally lost track of what was his tongue or his goateed chin or his mouth. She could feel herself being penetrated between lapping drags, hear the sounds of flesh on flesh, knew the mastery he had over her.
“Come for me,” he demanded against her core. “Right now.”
The orgasm arrived in a devastating blast that had her bucking against the sink until one of her hands slipped off. She was saved from falling only because V’s arm shot out and gave her something to grab onto.

It was like nothing she’d ever known. It was sex to the millionth power.
And then she felt his gloved palm grip her shoulder. As he pulled her upright, he kept riding her hard, in and out, in and out. His hand moved up her throat, locked onto her chin, and tilted her head back.
“Mine,” he growled, pounding into her.
And then he bit her.

“You’re hard.”
“I am.”
She arched on the bed, the undulation riding up her torso from her hips to her breasts. “You going to do anything about it?”
He bared his fangs and hissed. “If you’ll let me.”
She moved one of her legs to the side, and his corneas nearly started bleeding. She was glistening at her core, and not from the shower.
“Does this look like a no to you?” she said.
He ripped off his bottoms and was on her in a heartbeat, kissing her deep and long, lifting his hips, positioning himself, sinking in. She was so much better like this, in reality, not a dream state. As she came for him once, twice… more… his heart broke.

“Watch me take you,” she said, running one of her hands up to her neck. When her fingers coasted over the remnants of his bite mark, V’s lips pulled back from the ball gag and his fangs elongated, digging into the red latex as he growled.
She kept touching herself where he’d bitten her while she rose on her knees and stood up his arousal. She sat on him good and hard, and he orgasmed as soon as he entered her, kicking deep inside, flooding her. He was still fully erect afterward, even as he stopped twitching.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Great Read!(1)

 

ARC Review: Wildfire by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookwildfire
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Fire, #3
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Malcolm Gunnison
Heroine: Sophie Jordan MacDonald
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 14, 2017
Started On: January 28, 2017
Finished On: February 09, 2017

Wildfire is the 3rd book in the explosive Fire series, a spin-off from the delectable Ice series by Anne Stuart. Readable as a standalone, Wildfire tells the story of the Committee operative Sophie Jordan MacDonald who had made the blunder of falling for the charm that her target had exuded in spades, and marrying the monster with whom she had suffered for the past 3 years. Knowing that no one from her former life as an operative would be coming to rescue her as she had bungled up the mission in a major way, Sophie is counting the days until she can escape, that is until Malcolm Gunnison walks into her life and throws everything into a spin.

Malcolm’s mission is one that is straightforward. But the minute Malcolm crosses paths with his target’s wife, the whole operation changes its focus. Malcolm who is not given to feelings of the tender kind finds himself strangely fascinated by a woman he knows he should be able to walk away from. The fact that Sophie’s husband outlines his plans when it comes to her does not help matters. In fact, it pushes Malcolm and Sophie together in a way that makes the sparks literally fly.

Though Wildfire would not be my favorite book in the series thus far, it still carries the trademark Anne Stuart style in delivering a story that heats up and delivers from the onset. The one thing that irked me was the continued references towards how Sophie had been a rookie who should not have been sent into the mission that had changed her life so drastically. The repetitiveness of that particular statement almost throughout the book was a bit off putting to say the least.

Nevertheless, with Malcolm, Anne Stuart once again presents her readers with a hero as ruthless and delicious as they come. There is no turning away from the mastery he wields in the bedroom – well the bedroom comes later, but hey, you get what I mean. If you have ever read an Anne Stuart book, it is how she delivers bad boys of the kind that makes you want that keeps you coming back for more. That and the wit and charm she puts so effortlessly into her books. And she does not disappoint when it comes to Wildfire.

I loved Sophie as well. Her vulnerability and her strength was a combination that made me fall and root for her. The ending when it came was classic Anne Stuart as well. I couldn’t have asked for more!

Final Verdict: Wild is the fire that rages between two operatives who have no intention of falling in love. Deliciously sensuous in the way that only Anne Stuart does it!

Favorite Quotes

“Touch me and I’ll kill you.”
“You and what army?” Before she knew what was happening, he’d crossed that last bit of space, slid his arm around her back, and yanked her against his hard body. “Don’t be a hypocrite. We both want it, and it helps the mission. Man up, Jordan.”
It was a shock, hearing her maiden name for the first time in years. She could feel him, his hard cock unmistakable beneath his jeans, pressing against her stomach. “I don’t think that’s exactly what you’re expecting me to do.”

He was right. She’d wanted this from the moment she first saw him, whether she wanted to admit it or not, and his tongue in her mouth was the first claim—her response, the first acceptance.
His body pressed hers against the wall, and she felt him reach between them, unfastening his jeans, and she panicked for a moment, lashing out at him. He caught her wrists, holding them tightly together, and began to pull up her skirt. She wanted to shove him away, she wanted . . . she wanted . . .

He shoved into her, and she gasped, shocked at the unexpected size of him, the thick cock deep inside her, so good . . . so good . . . and she tightened her arms and legs around him as spasms of pleasure washed over her. She couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe, she just wanted to feel. She needed this to last forever, and she rode him, his hands on her hips, sliding her up and down on his cock. She threw her head back, wanting to scream, and he sank his head against her neck, his teeth against her shoulder, the sting of his bite sending her over the edge.

Another wave hit her, and this time she did cry out, a wordless sound of rich pleasure, and he pulled away from the wall, turning around, still holding her as he moved, in and out, his thickness a wicked torment, harder, deeper, until he was suddenly rigid in her arms, in her body, his breath rasping as he poured himself into her, punctuated by each jerk of his hips, and she let go, let go of everything, drowning in sensation, in him, in Mal.

“Move back,” he said hoarsely. “Please.” Her face was very still. She hadn’t touched him yet, but he could feel her long, cool fingers so close to him that he wanted to groan. “Why?”
“I want to suck your breasts.”
“It doesn’t turn me on,” she said in her cold little voice.
“Maybe you haven’t had the right person do it.”

He took her other breast in his strong hand, squeezing her just to the point of pain but no further, and she bucked again, letting out a tiny moan.
He lifted his head. “In case you ever find yourself in a position to make love to a woman,” he murmured, “you need to remember that breasts are different with everyone. A lot of women need gentle coaxing, almost worshipful attention. But more women than you’d imagine need a little roughness.” He pinched her breast, and he saw the reaction in her face, the dazed expression in her brown eyes. They’d been soft before, except when she was staring at him in rage, but now they were positively unfocused in reaction to what he was doing. “You’re one of the ones who need a little roughness.”

“Come in my mouth,” she whispered.
He no longer had a choice. His body bucked, and she held onto his hips, taking him in, everything, her fingernails digging into his skin, and as he exploded he thought he felt an answering orgasm ripple through her body as she straddled him.
She drew back, away from him, sprawling on the floor in what should have been graceless exhaustion but instead looked like pure sexual abandon. He’d climaxed, come hard in her mouth, but he wanted more from her, he wanted her every way he could have her, and this time it was for nobody’s pleasure but theirs.

She began to shiver, and he thought that if she dared to make any sound, she would have told him she couldn’t take any more, but he knew she could. That ripple of reaction was hardly strong enough to take her over the edge, give her the release she needed, and he kept up his steady pace, into her, deep, so deep, and he heard an almost imperceptible sound from the back of her throat. It made his cock swell even more inside her, and he slid his hand under them, finding her slick clitoris, circling it. She was shaking so hard he felt the need to hold her together, keep her safe, pushing, pushing, until she froze, a low, keening sound coming so quietly from within her, a sound more powerful than a full-throated scream, and he went over the edge with her.

She was beginning to stir, getting restless, and he knew she was going to pull away, and he wouldn’t be able to stop her, not without drawing attention to them. With strong but gentle hands he turned her in her arms, pushing her hair back off her face, and put his mouth on hers, kissing her with extraordinary sweetness. He swallowed her strangled sob, and she kissed him back, sliding her arms around him and pulling him close, so close, their sweat-slick bodies growing chill in the night air, and he wanted to say something, tell her something, but he couldn’t imagine what. So he simply kissed her, until she pulled away from him, disappearing silently into the darkness.

She wrapped her legs around his slim hips, her fingers tight on his shoulders as he moved inside her, steady, deep, and she wanted more, needed more. This was like nothing she’d ever felt before, it was sex, it was fucking, it was making love. Her heart seemed to flow through her body, into his, a total joining that beckoned her, frightened her, almost destroyed her. He was so big it hurt, a sweet pleasure-pain that simply moved her deeper into this dark, magic, scary place where there was no Sophie, no Mal, just them, sliding together in the murky light, and she felt another orgasm building inside her, deep and powerful, and she knew if she climaxed her heart would explode, and she didn’t care, didn’t care at all.

He reached down, caught her hand, and pulled it away from him, shoving her onto her back. He was going to leave her there, wet and wanting, he was going to turn his back on her and walk away . . .
The hell he was. He shoved her legs apart, moving between them, and thrust his cock into her so hard she cried out, not in pain but in fierce satisfaction. She was everything he wanted—she was nothing but trouble.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Great Read!(1)

Review: The Senator’s Wife by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookthesenatorswife
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Thomas S. Quinlan
Heroine: Veronica Honneker
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 12, 1998
Started On: August 23, 2016
Finished On: August 24, 2016

Karen Robards is an author I have good memories of even though I don’t read her as often now as I used to. Some of her books like Wild Orchids has been in my favorite shelf since forever, books that I continue to revisit every now and then because of the sheer pleasure they bring to me. The Senator’s Wife is a novel that might not be very well received by readers of the genre. Looking at the ratings on Goodreads, it is fair to say that it is pretty much true. Published in 1998, Karen Robards puts together a heroine who is married, a hero who would rather not mix business with pleasure and gives a combustible story that contains elements of suspense to it that I absolutely reveled in.

Veronica Honneker (Ronnie) grew up dreaming of a better life. A life where she would not have to worry about money and putting food on the table. She had basically modeled her life to reach that goal. And in becoming a senator’s wife, she basically clinched the deal and shouldn’t have been feeling like an empty shell wondering whether the price she had paid to get where she was had become too high. Someone who has to put up a strong wall of pretense just to get through every single day on the campaign trail to get her husband re-elected is not the life she had in fact envisioned for herself.

Then comes Thomas S. Quinlan to polish up her image, to help get the Senator re-elected. With Tom’s reputation on the line, he can hardly believe it when he starts seeing Ronnie in a light that others seldom see. The way she tempts him to take a walk on the wild side, everything else be damned, is a feeling he certainly does not like or particularly want. But fate has a way of bringing these two together time and yet again, and though Tom might despise himself for lusting after the wife of another man, it is a losing battle that he wages with his inner caveman when it comes to Ronnie.

At first, Ronnie for me was a difficult character to love. She came off as vain, selfish and more interested in materialistic benefits that are to be had in the world. But then, as the story progressed, she started to change, subtly and then more visibly, until I grew to love her as much as I did Tom right from the very start. Tom is a hero who is earthily sexy in a way that few heroes of recent times tend to be. Men depicted as they should be perhaps, what I miss dearly in most romances of today. 

Most readers would definitely not like this story because of the aspects of adultery involved in the novel. But then, I believe that that is life for you. Sometimes your happily ever after starts and evolves from a messy tangle that you think would never sort itself out. It is a hard and treacherous road that one takes. But sometimes, it does give one the happily ever after they would never have had otherwise. Of course, circumstances has to be right for readers to be able to muster up sympathy for the character. I believe that Karen Robards did justice to Ronnie’s character by not painting her in such a light – I liked the story better this way.

Definitely recommended for those that love unconventional stories!

Final Verdict: Unconventional in the emotions it elicits, The Senator’s Wife makes for a compulsive page-turner!

Favorite Quotes

For a moment he just stood there, unmoving, while her hand slid behind his neck and her mouth coaxed his. She watched his reaction from beneath lowered lids. His eyes were open and fixed on her face. When her tongue slid between his closed lips, he stiffened. She could sense resistance in every hard line of his body; she worked her fingers down inside his shirt collar at the back of his neck, caressing his warm skin. At the same time, she drew his lower lip into her mouth and bit down.
Dark color suffused his face. He made an inarticulate sound. Then his lids shut, his mouth opened, and the hand that held hers prisoner between their bodies released its grip to slide around her waist. He took control of the kiss with a thoroughness that dazzled her.

“God, I’ve wanted this,” he said in a low, hoarse voice. Then he was yanking her panties down her legs and rolling on top of her and kissing her with quick, savage movements that told her that he, too, had reached the limits of his control. She wrapped her legs around his waist as he slid between her thighs, so ready for him that she thought she would die if she had to wait another second.
He thrust inside her, huge and hot and hard, driving deep and fast over and over again until she was mindless, crying out at the wonder of it, gouging his back with her nails until at last she came with an intensity that she had never dreamed she was capable of, her preconceived notions of herself and the world shattering into a million pieces as she cried out his name.

Without another word he picked her up and carried her to the bed.
His lovemaking was hard and furious, nothing like the previous times. He demanded and she gave, entering her almost immediately, almost forcing her to a response that was shattering in its intensity. He set the pace, taking what he wanted, manipulating her expertly until she could do nothing but writhe and cling and cry out his name.
The end, when it came, was explosive.
Then he started up again.

She didn’t stop, couldn’t stop. Her hands were urgent, tugging at his snap, pulling down his zipper, reaching inside his boxers until his member was free. He was huge and hot and pulsing and alive, and she took him in her mouth, cupping the vulnerable softness beneath with tender care. She kissed and suckled and nibbled and bit until every breath he took sounded like a groan.
Then his hands clenched in her hair. He pulled her mouth off him, yanked off his jeans, and dropped down on his knees in front of her. He pushed her onto her back in a glowing patch of moonlight, pulling her nightgown up and off as he did so. Lying on top of her, pulling her legs around his waist, he came into her hard.

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

Great Read!(1)

Review: To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booktotastetemptation
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers, #1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Samuel Hartley
Heroine: Emeline Gordon
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 1, 2008
Started On: July 23, 2016
Finished On: August 15, 2016

Though the cover on this book leaves much to be desired, the first book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers is one that delivers on all fronts. After a failed attempt at picking up a historical romance from another author, I just couldn’t wait to erase that memory from my mind, which had me returning to Hoyt, an author that has never failed me up till this point. A tall order, I know. She might even have replaced classical favorites like Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood themselves, all because of the way Hoyt crafts her stories that leaves me begging for more.

Legend of the Four Soldiers is centered around four soldiers who returns from war and a terrible incident that marks them forever. Battling with PTSD and worse, these are the stories of the happily ever afters these four soldiers find for themselves. In the midst of each story, true to Hoyt’s trademark, there is an element of mystery happening which makes the book that much more of a page-turner. Each soldier chooses a different path to travel to their ultimate destinations, and in doing so Hoyt once again finds a common theme between the enchanting fairy tale that she begins each chapter with and the actual story that unfolds. That is just one more reason why Hoyt has carved a notch for herself in a genre that is redundantly often overdone with stories that are taxing to read. 

Mr. Samuel Hartley the hero is not from London society, rather he is a businessman from Boston, one of the soldiers that comes seeking Lady Emeline Gordon on the pretense of hiring her services for his sister. But Samuel in reality is seeking the truth of what happened in Spinner’s Falls, to find out who it is that had betrayed their regiment in such an abominable manner. Emeline meanwhile comes off as snobbish and standoffish from the first moment Samuel seeks her out. Perhaps the reason being that Samuel triggers feelings inside of her that she had forcibly buried, never to resurrect, ever since the death of her husband. The scars that have been leftover from the death runs deep, something readers only come to know as the story progresses towards its pivotal moments.

Samuel comes off as someone rather average at first, a harmless soul if ever there was one. Hoyt created a mesmerizing character out of Samuel by revealing his true self as a man who is driven by desire of the kind he cannot control, an alpha man to boot, not willing to take no from the woman who holds his desires captive. Emeline would give just about anything to turn away from Samuel, but she finds herself in a vicious cycle of need that refuses to be denied, a need that sees her getting into one clandestine position after another with Samuel. 

Though the story was a tad slow at the beginning, once things started heating up, I could barely breathe from the anticipation that was coursing through me. I always love the fact that Hoyt never shortchanges readers on the scenes of passion that she so artfully crafts into her novels. They are gems to be treasured. Every single one of them. The way the passion between Samuel and Emeline exploded onto the pages was just as beautifully done. It was dirty, raw, explicit, momentous and beautifully wondrous at the same time. Every scene brings forth the tightly reined in passions of two people who are so well suited for each other, but one or the other is too blind to see it, or refuses to in this case. The number of quotes included in this review attests to what I am talking about.

Samuel’s stubbornly unyielding attempts at winning Emeline over mesmerized me just as much as the scenes of passion did, knowing that to win the heart of someone such as Emeline so well entrenched within the customs of the elite of society would find it hard to break out of the safe existence she had carved out for herself.

Absolutely breathtaking, the fairy tale as well as the story of the love that unfurls between Emeline and Samuel! No two ways about it. Recommended!

Final Verdict: A feast for all your senses; heart, mind, body & soul!

Favorite Quotes

She inhaled deeply and sat back, her face entirely hidden by shadows now. “What difference does it make to you if I do find your affairs to be of interest, Mr. Hartley?”
He smiled wryly. “Touché, my lady. I’m sure a sophisticated gentleman of your society would deny it to his death if he was moved by your interest, but I am made of simpler stuff.”
“Are you?” The words were whispered in the dark.
He nodded slowly. “So I tell you: I am moved by your interest. I am moved by you.”
“You are frank.”
“Can you admit the same?”

“Yes, that’s what I want. A civilized man. An Englishman who knows the rules of society, an aristocrat to help me with my son and my lands. We are perfectly suited, Jasper and I. We are as alike as two peas in a pod.”
She saw the hurt in his eyes. It was very subtle, few other people, perhaps no other person, would understand it, but she saw and comprehended. She was hurting him.
So she drove the knife home. “We will be married soon, and I will be very, very happy—”
“Goddamn you,” he growled, and then he kissed her.

She was panting, almost crying, her mouth working under his, their teeth scraping against each other inelegantly. There was no finesse, no pretty caress in their kiss. This was a display of lust and anger.
She could smell his skin. He wore no powder or pomades or perfume, it was purely him, and she was driven mad by his scent. She wanted to tear the coat from his shoulders, rip off his shirt and neckcloth and bury her nose in his naked neck.

“Samuel,” she moaned.
“Hush,” he muttered.
He was urging her legs apart, and one part of her mind was thinking that his position relative to hers did not put her in the most attractive angle. Then she forgot any doubts, for he was running his thumb along her crease.
“You’re wet,” he said, his voice deep and dark with male satisfaction.
She lifted her head from the wall and almost pulled away at that. How dare he take her for granted?
But he tilted her hips and then…
Oh, God! And then he licked her.

He swore suddenly, and then he caught her against himself, her bare back pressed to his waistcoat as his cock buried itself in her and began to spurt. It was an odd angle—and erotic—her feet on tiptoe, her legs wide apart, her breasts and belly bare and displayed, impaled on his cock. She heard him groan and reveled in his loss of control. He worked insistently at her bud, splaying his hand possessively over her cunny as he came inside her.
And then she did scream. Waves of almost painful pleasure coursed through her as she convulsed on his cock. He placed his hand over her mouth to muffle the sound, and she bit him, relishing the taste of his skin on her tongue.
Behind her, he caught his breath. “Little cat.”

“I may not be fully aware of all the niceties of your society, but I think that you won’t want that.”
Her mouth had fallen open during this arrogant speech, but now as he turned away, she found her voice. “How dare you presume—”
He caught her by the shoulders, making her indignant sentence end on a squeak. He bent his head and spoke fiercely into her ear. “I dare because you welcomed me into your body not a quarter of an hour ago. Your body rained your pleasure all over my cock, and I want that again.”
He covered her mouth. But this time his kiss wasn’t gentle or soft. It spoke of a man’s desire. He thrust his tongue into her mouth and angled his head so that his lips all but enveloped hers, and her silly body arched into him. She wanted this. She craved this. Intellect and reason fled her brain.

He lifted his head, but his gaze remained on her breasts. “I’ve been thinking of this all day—your nipples, bare to me and what I would do with them. I could hardly walk for the cockstand in my breeches.” His eyes flicked to hers, and she saw that his expression was almost angry. “That’s what you do to me—turn me into a mindless, hungering cock.”
She squirmed at the words, so crude and explicit.
His nostrils flared at her movement and she froze. “Hold them for me. Offer your breasts to me so I can suck them until you come.”

“Will this do?” he grunted.
She didn’t answer, lost in a sea of bliss.
He slammed into her and held still. “Will this do, my lady?”
Her eyes flew open and she glared at him. “Yes!” She clutched at his buttocks, trying to get him to move again. “Yes! Yes! Yes! Just move, damn you!”
And he complied, either chuckling or growling low in his throat; it was impossible to tell, because her eyes had fallen closed again.

She sobbed, helpless and angry, and more angry that she let her innermost feelings show. “Stop.”
He shook his head slowly, pressing into her again, his hard body causing hers to flower open, vulnerable to all the sensations he was making her feel. His eyelids dropped for a second as if he, too, were overwhelmed by what he did. Then he raised them and looked into her eyes. “No.”

He withdrew a fraction of his length, but she felt the friction as his cock pulled against her oversensitive flesh. Then he was bearing down again, grinding, grinding, grinding against her exposed clitoris, and she couldn’t stand it anymore.
She came apart, all the secrets, doubts, worries, and hopes that she had kept tightly bound to herself flying outward, free and unharnessed, exposed to the chill morning air and to him.
To him.
And she looked up in time to see him grit his teeth and tremble, undone as much as she, as he released his seed within her.

But he withdrew his hand from her suddenly, catching her about the waist and lifting and shoving so that her rump balanced precariously on a barrel. Then he was between her legs, and she opened her eyes to watch him frantically rip at his breeches.
“God!” It was a groan. He freed himself and thrust into her, huge and hot, in the same movement. “God!”
She sank her nails into the cloth covering his shoulders and hung on for dear life, wrapping her legs high over his hips. He jerked rapidly in her, thrusting again and again and again. Her orgasm had not fully crested and now it began anew on a higher, sweeter, almost painful note.

She tore at his coat, ripping it off his upper arm, and filled her mouth with clean linen and his shoulder. Her eyes closed in bliss as she bit him. She clung to him while his cock took his pleasure of her. He rode her hard, rode her until she wanted to scream, rode her until he grabbed the back of her head and kissed her, his mouth wide and gasping as he came, his great body shaking. She could feel the heat of his seed flooding within her. And she knew, even as she crested the wave herself, she knew.
This must be the last time.

He muttered something and released her nipple, catching her hips. He pumped into her in quick, powerful thrusts, grunting with each plunge, his cock hard and hot and long within her. His movements, his obvious desperation, prolonged her pleasure, and when she felt his warmth flood her, she was still in bliss. She fell against his heaving chest, his hand tangling in her hair, his breath rasping against her damp temple. She heard his whisper in her ear.”
“I love you.”

He wouldn’t forget her, his warm lady, even if he lived for six decades more. He knew that now, sitting by her cold fire. She would be with him all the days of his life. As he walked the streets of Boston, as he conducted his business or chatted with acquaintances, she would be the ghost beside him. She would sit with him as he ate, she would lie beside him as he slept. And he knew that when his time on this earth was at an end, his last thought as he entered the void would be of her.
The scent of lemon balm would haunt him forever.
So he sat a little longer, watching her sleep. All the days of the rest of his life stretched before him, and he needed to store up these few seconds with her.
They would have to last him a lifetime.

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Review: Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdearestrogue
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #8
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Captain James Trevillion
Heroine: Lady Phoebe Batten
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 26, 2015
Started On: July 07, 2016
Finished On: July 07, 2016

Dearest Rogue brings to fans of the series like myself the much awaited story of Lady Phoebe Batten, younger sister of the Duke of Wakefield and Captain James Trevillion, the man who is charged with being her bodyguard, a man who should know better than to want after a woman who he never should.

It is impossible to read the Maiden Lane series without falling, and falling hard for Phoebe. From the book Notorious Pleasures onward, Phoebe has featured prominently as a secondary character, fact that she was slowly going blind and would be completely so in a couple of years the reason behind the Duke, her brother, keeping her under such tight lock and control.

It is the sort of control that stifles the 21 year old Phoebe, who has given up her dreams of leading a life of the kind that ladies of her age and ilk take for granted. In that regard, James coming into her life is just one more notch that tightens the noose around her neck, and 6 months of having him tail after her every time she is to go out and about has meant that Phoebe has gotten more or less resigned to having him around.

James is a man whose life of servitude to the King in his occupation as a soldier is all the life that he knows how to live. Keeping his past under lock and key is how he deals with the memories that he tries to leave undisturbed, and if in innocent Phoebe he finds a respite from it all, that is all on him. In James once again, readers find a character they have come across multiple times in the series, especially when it comes to his pursuit of the Ghost of St. Giles. James is a character who has more than proven his mettle as one who is honest, honorable and someone who takes his duty very, very seriously.

James keeps his burgeoning feelings towards Phoebe close to his heart, and projects an image of stoic indifference because he knows that there is no future to be had with a woman like her when it comes to someone of his ilk and status. But when danger comes calling and Phoebe’s life is thrown into peril, James has to deal with his past as well as confront his feelings when it comes to Phoebe, who turns his heart inside out with want and love.

Dearest Rogue totes one of the prettiest covers in the series for me. I spent quite a while gazing at the beauty of the cover because it demanded to be looked and even caressed a time or two. James being the kind of character who does the silent and reluctant hero to boot was one whose story I had been anticipating for quite sometime, especially when in Darling Beast, his and Phoebe’s role as secondary characters were quite prominent.

Dearest Rogue also brings to the forefront, THE most emotional scene in all the books I have read in the series. There was this moment that takes place in the gardens that Phoebe looks after, where she comes to the realization of the fact that she has gone entirely blind, her valiant efforts at keeping a strong face in spite of everything crumbling at that very moment. My throat locked down and I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and tears sprang into my eyes during that moment. For someone who rarely gets choked up with emotion like that, it is a moment that I would remember for a long time. James turned out to be the perfect shoulder to cry on at that moment and I wouldn’t have had the scene play out any other way!

Phoebe’s discovery of James as a man whom she could be attracted to and fall in love with was an aspect that I adored. Being sheltered in her upbringing, not to mention the fact that her brother had practically caged her since her blindness had started affecting her daily life and moving about, Phoebe had never been exposed to the kind of life that other ladies of the society get to live and lead. In James, Phoebe finds for the first time, a man who stirs her senses in a way that entices her into giving in, and the heady desire that a woman finds in the arms of a strong and virile man who would see to her needs.

Though James fights himself to not give in where Phoebe is concerned, it is a losing battle that he fights with his emotions, needs and desires, and the moment they leave London behind in an attempt to throw off those in pursuit of Phoebe, the feelings that James has been keeping at bay comes to the forefront, refusing to be denied. Phoebe herself makes the denying it all that much more difficult, and I reveled and loved every single minute of it. The facet that I loved most about James was how he let Phoebe be free of the shackles that bound and confined her to her home, making her die a slow death by being denied all that she wanted to do and experience in life. For James to understand that and step aside, even when it means going against his basic instincts of protectiveness, especially when it comes to Phoebe was something I admired in him.

It is a testament to Elizabeth Hoyt’s incredible talent and ability that she has managed to pen stories that continues to woo and move readers, even when it comes to the 8th book in a series. James and Phoebe’s story made for a delightful addition and I recommend it wholeheartedly!

Final Verdict: Delightfully wicked and wanton!

Favorite Quotes

“Did you kill that one?” Lady Phoebe shouted as they swerved around a cart. Her hat had fallen off. Light-brown locks blew across his lips.
He had her. He had her safe and that was all that mattered.
“Yes, my lady,” he murmured into her ear. Flat, almost uncaring, for it would never do to let her hear the emotion that holding her in his arms provoked.
“Oh, good.”
He leaned forward, inhaling the sweet scent of roses in her hair—innocent and forbidden—and kicked the horse into a full gallop through the heart of London.
And as he did so, Lady Phoebe threw back her head and laughed into the wind.

“I’m a dozen years older than you, my lady,” he said, sounding ponderous even to himself. “The same age as your brother, in fact.”
The thought made him unaccountably grim.
“And yet you seem much older.” She wrinkled her nose. “Maximus is very stern, but at least he laughs. Well, now and again. Once or twice a year, anyway. Now you, Captain, you never laugh and I doubt very much that you smile. I thought you at least fifty—”
He scowled. “My lady—”
“—or even five and fifty—”
“Phoebe.”
He stopped, shocked by his use of her given name.
She’d made him lose control.
She smiled very slowly, a little cat licking the cream from her chin, and he felt himself tighten.

“You intend to put it on me now?”
Her lips twitched. She would’ve sworn that was alarm she heard in Captain James Trevillion’s voice—and she’d never heard it there before. Not even when armed men had come after her.
“Yes,” she said, placing her fingertips at the bottle’s opening and tipping it so that the perfume wet her skin. She reached up, sandalwood and roses filling her senses, and touched him.
Touched the bare skin of his face.
Her breath stuttered.

Her fingertips met his cravat, a maddening barrier, and she stroked along it, dipping her fingertip just a little beneath the cloth.
She realized suddenly that she’d quite passed the bounds of propriety.
Shaking, she drew her hand away and stoppered the little bottle. “Well. That’s done.”
He didn’t reply and she wished very much that he would.
She held out the bottle, waiting for a long second for him to take it.
His warm, big hand closed around hers and she felt it suddenly, his moist breath across her lips. He was close, so very close, and she could smell bergamot and sandalwood and roses and wine, everything mingling together to make a heady elixir.
She froze, waiting, wanting.

She lunged forward, her nose hitting his cravat, pulling her hands desperately out of his hold, grabbing his coat, his ear, anything that was him. She knew how clumsy and awkward and blind she must be, but she didn’t care right now. Somehow her mouth found his jaw and she inhaled sandalwood.
“Phe—”
She smashed her mouth to his, cutting off her name. It wasn’t a sweet kiss by any means—she’d never kissed a man. But it was strange and wonderful anyway. She felt a bloom within her chest, a wild, pounding well of hope and joy, feeling his lips against hers. Breathing in sandalwood and bergamot, gunpowder and James.
James. James. James.

“Spread your legs,” he whispered into her mouth and it sounded unbearably erotic.
She gasped even as she did as he instructed, unable to catch her breath.
He settled there on her, his… his penis hard and on her mound, quite clear even through his breeches and her chemise. She tried to arch up against him, but his weight prevented her and she whimpered as she slumped back on the bed.
“Sh-sh,” he whispered. “Don’t fret. I’ll make it better.”
He touched her chin, tilting her face up. He kissed her again, slowly, his mouth wide over hers, and he was right. It was better.
So much better.

“I can see your nipples, did you know that?” he asked, and his voice sounded almost angry.
She knew what he felt wasn’t anger.
“Yes,” she said, bold as any Covent Garden soiled dove. “I know.”
He grunted what might’ve been a laugh. “They’re a deep pink, so sweet, so round, and every time I saw them, they were pointed, as if they wanted my attention. Wanted my mouth. As they are now.”
She swallowed a moan.
He slowly cupped her breast, his palm cradling her without touching her nipple. “Is that what you want? My mouth on your nipple, Phoebe, sucking until you scream?”
Oh God.
“Y-yes,” she said, and though the word came out more a squeak than anything else, she simply couldn’t care because he did just that.

“Please,” she said, sounding less ladylike and more demanding. “James!”
“Yes, my lady?” he asked, innocent, nearly disinterested. “What would you like?”
“You know.”
He trailed teasing fingers around the sides of her breasts, not quite touching her nipples. “This?”
“N-no,” she stuttered. “My…”
“Yes?” he whispered in her ear, his hot breath making her shiver. “Tell me, Phoebe. Tell me what you want me to do to you.”
“Oh, please,” she moaned. “Oh, please touch me.”
“How?” The one word was stern. Commanding.
“With your mouth,” she whispered. “Suck my nipple.”

“Use me,” he repeated. “Ride me until you come.”
Well, when put so bluntly… she lifted her bottom, feeling him slide a little out, then sat back down. She shifted a little, finding her balance, feeling him move within her, tightened her thighs…
And began galloping.
Oh, it was a wonderful feeling! His hard flesh in her, thrusting back and forth as she rode him. His panting breath—though he did no work—the sensation of being in control, of being able to make this man shatter beneath her.
She felt whole. She felt invincible.

He stroked through her open folds to circle her entrance. “You’re wet.”
His hands left her and she waited, breathless, open and wanting, the night air cooling her flesh.
There was a rustle of clothing and then he was over her, around her.
Thrusting into her.
She gasped at the sudden intrusion. He thrust once, twice, seating himself fully in her.
And then he stopped.
“I thought about this all day in that damned carriage,” he whispered in her ear.

She was still gasping, still trembling and shaking, when he rose and mounted her, driving his flesh into her softness, grasping her legs and urging her to wrap them high over his waist.
“Phoebe,” he growled into her ear as he thrust hard. “Phoebe. You haunt me. You drive me. You possess me. I cannot—”
He arched, his penis deep within her, his big body shuddering on hers.
She gripped his shoulders, pulling him down to her, opening her mouth and swallowing his moan as he spilled inside her, pumping and thrusting against her.

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Review: Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookscandalousdesires
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #3
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: “Charming” Mickey O’Connor
Heroine: Silence Hollingbrook
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 18, 2011
Started On: June 04, 2016
Finished On: June 15, 2016

Scandalous Desires, the 3rd installment in the Maiden Lane series brings to readers the much awaited story of Silence Hollingbrook and her nemesis “Charming” Mickey O’Connor, a man whose life is surrounded by material richness garnered through a life of pirating. It is at the hands of Mickey that the life of marital bliss that Silence had envisioned for herself gets utterly and completely destroyed, not to mention that of her reputation as well. For all those reasons and more, I was pretty excited to discover how exactly Hoyt would redeem Mickey in Silence’s heart, for him to become a hero worthy of the love that Silence can give.

Silence is the youngest female sibling of the Makepeace family, having taken over the reins of handling the home for abandoned children in St. Giles from her sister Temperance. Of all the children under her keep, the one named Mary Darling is the closest to her heart because Mary had been found on her own doorstep, thus making Mary to Silence a child like that of her very own, until Mary’s father takes her away, who happens to be none other than the dreaded Mickey O’Connor.

Mickey bargains with Silence and pushes her just enough so that Silence has no choice but to stay on at Mickey’s home, if she is to be there for Mary Darling. Even though Silence knows that her family would have issues with her staying with the man who practically destroyed her, Silence realizes rather pragmatically that where she is concerned, there is no further loss of reputation to be had. As Silence and Mickey navigate the precarious affairs of their heart and emotions where each other are concerned, Silence discovers a side of Mickey that he hides behind that veneer of cockiness and the power that he commands among his brethren.

For Mickey, worldly richness is all that he craves for, what he believes is important, understandable given the life of poverty and hardships that he had lived through. The fact that he had witnessed his own mother commit acts out of love for her husband, acts that had turned off Mickey’s ability to love and be loved is one aspect of his life that he keeps hidden, especially when it comes to dealing with Ms. Hollingbrook, who is the very definition of innocence itself.

But Mickey plays a dangerous game with his heart, by denying himself from facing the truth of his burgeoning feelings for Silence, who in spite of herself becomes intrigued by Mickey and the various contrasting facets of his character, enough for her to leave everything that she considers right and as should be, to pursue her desire and love for a man who refuses to believe in it.

While Mickey did not exactly live up to my image of him as a villainous hero, he did prove to be an irresistible one who pretty much commanded every scene he strolled into. There is a perceived laziness to his character that is at odds with his quick wit and intelligence that Silence comes to witness as she spends time with him. There is a core of goodness in his heart that he hides from at all costs, even at the cost of losing Silence, who becomes everything to him in a short span of time.

There are two very contrasting sides to Mickey’s character, the pillaging pirate that Silence could never have loved and the man behind that facade, the man who loves butterflies, the one who sings to Mary Darling with that beautiful voice of his that turns Silence’s emotions inside out. But would Mickey ever be able to give up one for the other, become worthy of the love that Silence holds in her heart for him? That is the question that drives the story to its ultimate conclusion and I loved every single minute of the journey that took me to its final destination.

This is a story though that could be read as a standalone would cause a reader to miss out on pieces of Mickey and Silence’s story that forms the background for some aspects of the delectable tale that takes place in this novel. Towards the end of Scandalous Desires, Hoyt makes a startling revelation of the hero who would be gracing the next novel, i.e. the much revered Ghost of St. Giles.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: With every word, Hoyt creates decadence of a kind that is irresistible to the heart!

Favorite Quotes

His wickedly sensuous upper lip pulled back in a sneer. “What is love?”
She leaned close to him. “Something you will never have. Something you’re incapable of feeling. I pity you, Mickey O’Connor, for I may have lost my true love, but at least I had him for a time. You’ll never feel love.”
His sneer had grown and his voice was low and terrible. “I may not feel love, but I do feel this.”
He grabbed her hand and thrust it beneath the bathwater.
She struggled so violently that the water splashed over her bodice and the rug, but he was stronger than she. He forced her palm down against his male part, hard and thick, and held it there as he grasped her hair with his other hand. He yanked, pulling her hair, arching her neck, and suddenly his mouth was on hers, cruel and merciless.

He closed his eyes and she saw that his big body was trembling. He gripped the coverlet in both fists. “Ye must tell me if anythin’ I do frightens ye. I don’t want to hurt ye. I—”
She placed her fingertips against his lips and he froze. His black eyes snapped open and he watched her, wild and dangerous.
But not to her.
Never to her. She didn’t know how she knew this, but somehow, deep in her bones, she knew now that Michael O’Connor would never hurt her physically. He might hurt her emotionally, but even that wouldn’t be on purpose. One couldn’t blame the animal for the instincts he was born with.

Perhaps she was doing it wrong. Perhaps he really was in pain. She leaned down and brushed a soft, nearly chaste kiss over his lips.
It was as if she’d put spur to him. His tongue was in her mouth, his hips arching off the bed and his hands holding her down as he drove his length into her again and again. His passion was intense, nearly overwhelming and she hung on, determined to ride him out. Determined to bring him as much pleasure as he’d brought her.
Suddenly he pulled from her kiss, his teeth gritted, his head arched back, and he shouted. At the same time she felt the scald of his semen rushing into her.

“Turn yer head to me, love.”
She did and he devoured her mouth, licking salt tears from her lips, thrusting his tongue deep within, a pirate demanding tithe.
She arched and he could no longer hold himself back. He flexed his hips and drove deep within her, holding her cunny in the palm of his hand. He speared within her clenching valley, plundering all that was sweet in her. She opened her mouth wide in a silent scream and his release caught him, hard and fast as he kissed her openmouthed. He tore his mouth from hers and shouted his triumph. She was his, now and forevermore, until the end of time, until the seas ran dry and man no longer roamed the earth, amen.
His and only his.

“Put me where ye need me, sweetheart,” he whispered.
She reached between them and grasped him, conscious of his muttered curse as she did so. She couldn’t help a quick stroke up and down. He was so hard, so beautiful.
“Silence…,” he warned.
She couldn’t wait any longer. She put him at her entrance, biting her lip at his heavy heat. It felt so good—so right. For a moment she stilled. Would she ever be able to recover from this height if he walked away from her someday? She felt as if she were giving a part of herself. Something that could never be taken back again.
He twisted and shoved and began to breach her and she looked up as he did.
Michael—her Michael—was watching her, his nostrils flared, his lips drawn back from his teeth.

Oh, God, he was so powerful! She watched him. A bead of sweat dripped down the side of his face, his lips curled back with his exertion. She wanted to kiss him, to embrace him and tell him he was everything to her, but all she could do was hold on and try not to fall apart when the explosion came.
For it was fierce—as fierce as he. A burning, ripping tide of pleasure nearly as violent as it was wonderful. She felt as if her world was tossed up in the air and came down completely re-pieced. This was earth-shattering.
This was love.

 She closed her eyes, drowning in his lovemaking, pushing everything else aside.
“Silence,” he said. “Is it enough?”
She opened her eyes with an enormous effort and smiled up at him. “I love you.”
His eyes widened at her words and he roared, still pistoning in and out of her. The feel of his loss of control, the rush of emotion made her come as well, sudden and hard. A warm bubble expanded inside her, reaching her belly, her chest, her limbs and her fingers, until she shook with love and fulfillment.
Until she thought she might die of ecstasy and sorrow.

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