Falling in love between hero and heroine considered forbidden within society or in the hero or heroine’s perspective.
Eg: During the colonial times, love between an aristocrat and an ex-convict was considered forbidden.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Eason Maxwell Heroine: Bree Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: April 28, 2021 Started On: May 15, 2021 Finished On: May 17, 2021
From the Embers by Aly Martinez is one of my favorite reads from 2021. Discovering Ms. Martinez through her book Release has been a godsend. Stumbling across authors like Ms. Martinez is why I spend countless hours sometimes, looking through title blurbs of authors I have never read before. Books like From the Embers makes all the bad books you come across worthwhile in the long run.
The story begins at the point where the main protagonists, Bree and Eason Maxwell are married to each other’s best friends. Bree a businesswoman prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom of two when their family’s finances had given her the freedom to do so, and Eason, a songwriter whose marriage seems to be on a perilous path all because he was just not doing enough to keep his wife satisfied on all fronts.
All that changes in a heartbeat when an explosion takes the lives of both Bree’s husband and Eason’s wife, leaving them both bereft, hurting, and bewildered in the wake of the heartbreaking loss. Eason might have carried Bree to safety from the explosion, but it is Bree who finally sees him for who he is, as they are both forced to rely on each other to get through the days ahead. However, as these two navigate the circumstances of the new reality that they have been thrust into, dark secrets come to the forefront, threatening to crumble the foundations upon which the bond between Eason and Bree is forged to life.
Bree had never been Eason’s fan – she had always found Eason lacking, all owing to the fact that she had viewed Eason through the lens of her best friend’s viewpoint. All of that changes when Eason becomes her rock in the turbulent times that faces them both, the family they become as they leave the painful night behind them and starts the slow and painful process of moving on.
Both Bree and Eason are wonderful characters; every single character that you come across in the book is special. Kids often have a tendency to annoy me in books – but Ms. Martinez makes it all work, bringing the right mix of cuteness and wholesomeness to the mix. The plot was well done; at first I was a bit skeptical thinking that what comes to the forefront was just too easy – but in the end Ms. Martinez surprised me with the plot twist that brought a different edge to the story as it reached its climax.
Eason was perfect. Bree was perfect. The secondary characters were perfect. This story was nothing short of perfect. Recommended for those who want a story that would sweep them off their feet on a journey that is all consuming!
Final Verdict: Beautiful, surreal, and utterly spellbinding; From the Embers makes for an explosive read in every single sense!
“I don’t hide anything from you.” “Good,” she said. “Let’s keep it that way.” My throat got thick, and as hypocritical as it was, I hoped the sweat breaking across the back of my neck and the tempo of my racing heart were both hidden. Her proximity suddenly felt suffocating, which was almost as confusing as it was intoxicating. Together, we stood there, surrounded by white lights and unspoken emotions. There were gratitude and respect, but most of all, there was love. Maybe not the conventional or romantic variety, but it was there all the same.
“Look, I know this is going to complicate the hell out of things. But being with you is the only thing that feels right in my life. I’m gonna be real honest: I’m mad at them. I’m hurt. I’m embarrassed. And I can’t even begin to imagine the agony that’s going to follow over the next few weeks as we sort this shit out with Luna. But there are two things I know for sure: I want you, Bree, and I’m not waiting one fucking second longer to make my move.” In one swift motion, I rolled over and tucked her beneath me. Smoothing the wisps of hair out of her face, I added, “I can’t wait any longer to kiss you from head to toe, to make you feel good and know for sure it was because of me.”
After unwrapping her like a candy and sampling the sweetness between her legs, her hands balling the sheets beside my shoulders, I nearly lost my mind. Just before I tipped the scales out of my favor, she annihilated them altogether by rolling on top of me. “In my dreams, you said I wasn’t ready. But I’m ready, Eason. I’m so damn ready for you.” She’d had dreams. About me.
Every day, Eason was easygoing and laid-back, but in bed, he was a completely different animal. He was powerful and strong, almost unyielding in the way he ravaged my body with his. He was bold and sure, confident in knowing everything I needed even before I could anticipate it myself. He was demanding and gentle, but above all else, he didn’t hold back. Eason gave. I took. He went harder, faster. I begged for more.
“I swear to God, Bree, your fucking body was made for me.” His hips twisted as he pushed deeper. “I can’t go much lo—” I silenced him with my mouth on his. “Shhh. Then don’t. Give it to me. Give me everything.” Breaking the kiss, he went up onto his arm, looked down at where our bodies were crashing into each other, and then pressed his forehead against my shoulder as the most erotic moan rumbled through his chest. “Fuck.” His heavy weight collapsed on top of me as he pumped and twitched his release. For as ugly and tainted as the world could be, the sight of Eason losing himself in an orgasm would forever be one of the purest and most beautiful things I could experience.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Black Mountain Academy Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Trenton Knox Heroine: Aspen Falcone Sensuality: 3.5 Date of Publication: January 28, 2021 Started On: March 30, 2021 Finished On: April 01, 2021
“He tastes like cinnamon and uninvited desire…wrapped in pure evil.”
Hate Me by Ashely Jade is a novel that would be hard to take in for a lot of readers because it deals with a bullish hero who comes off as the worst of the lot at the initial stages of the story, until Ms. Jade slowly reveals his backstory and allows us to peek into his most formative years and the toll of constant physical and emotional abuse from a very tender age. Growing up with a vicious psychopath has its consequences, and that is what Ms. Jade shows us through this mesmerizing story.
The main protagonists, Trenton Knox (Trent) and Aspen Falcone meet at a very young age. The first meet does not go exactly as one would envision it would, with Aspen walking away crying with a bloodied nose and Trent hating the very essence of the girl who for the very first time sees right through to him and the misery that his life was.
Through the years, there are countless encounters between the two, until fate leaves Aspen fatherless and her mother remarries none other than Trent’s father, bringing everything full circle. That is when the story actually begins, with “Stray” as Trent loves to call Aspen finally landing on his home turf.
For Aspen, whatever notions she had before of Trent starts to change slowly as for the first time, she starts to see what Trent’s life must have been like through the years. However, Trent does not make it easy to understand him as he pushes her away at every turn, even though the sizzling connection between them roars to life with a ferocity that refuses to be denied as the story progresses.
Aspen’s life is no walk in the park either once her father passes on, with a mother who only cares to keep up appearances. With little or no emotional support in her life, Aspen takes on paths that are only attractive to someone who has nowhere else to turn to. It feels at first as if Aspen switches from one path to destruction to another when the attraction between Aspen and Trent reaches its climax, but there are undercurrents at play in the story that needs to reach their conclusion before anything long lasting can come to fruition between the two.
I enjoyed Hate Me for the most part; it was captivating through the bigger chunk of the story and had me anxious to find out what would happen next. Additionally, the way Ms. Ashley spun Trent’s arc was gripping, with the layers to his character exposed as the story delved deeper into the combined lives of both Aspen and Trent. Some of the scenes of abuse or the aftermath of it were difficult to read, but nevertheless it was needed to show the depravity of monsters that live in society, taking up revered positions in the community.
The only thing that I could not wrap my head around was the ultimate conclusion of the arc of Aspen’s mother’s character – without giving way to spoilers, all I have to say is that I did not find what happened to her sitting well with me at the end. The only reason why this book did not get a higher rating was because I could not understand that particular ending.
Ms. Ashley gives us a realistic happily ever after once all is said and done, with both Aspen and Trent doing some needed healing and growing up before coming together once again.
Recommended for those who enjoy stories that brings together difficult to understand heroes and the heroines whose spunk and courage definitely makes them stand out!
Final Verdict: Trent and Aspen are two halves of one jagged soul; each beautifully broken in a way that only those who are survivors can be.
“What is your prob—” I don’t get to finish that sentence because his hand slides to the back of my neck and his mouth crashes against mine. What the hell? Everything freezes…except my heart, which feels like it’s exploding. It’s my first kiss.. The fact Knox is the one doing it is just…weird. I should probably stop him. I hate his guts and he doesn’t deserve to kiss me. But I can’t…because he’s kissing me like he just swallowed poison and I’m the antidote. At first there’s no tongue. Just greedy lips. But then he growls, low and deep, and everything changes. I rest my hands on his shoulders, my knees going weak as the fingers on my neck tighten and he coaxes my mouth open to feed me his tongue. He tastes like cinnamon and uninvited desire…wrapped in pure evil.
“Do you want my jacket?” Leo offers. I shake my head, my nipples puckering as I fight to keep my breathing in check. “No. Thank you.” The woman turns to him again. “What is it you do for a living?” I’m thankful for her nosiness, because Knox curls his fingers and an orgasm tears through me so fast my head spins as I clutch the chair for dear life. That’s when I feel a sharp pull on my panties. I’m in no position to protest, so I don’t as he wrenches my thong off before tucking the silky material into his pocket.
I spread her pussy with my fingers, stretching it as far as it will go before I lower my mouth and thrust my tongue deep inside her, extending it as far as I can. Liquid heat fills my mouth as she squirms below me. “You know why Leo didn’t know I made you come last night?” I flick my tongue ring against her swollen clit and she moans around my cock. “Because he’s never done it before.” I suckle the sensitive bud as she gags on my dick and the sounds of me eating her fill the jeep. “He doesn’t have a clue how you look when you come.”
His lids lower, and his hand grazes my bare knee. “Why are you down here, Stray?” Ever so slowly, his calloused palm moves up my inner thigh. “What is it you really want?” An electrifying tremble breaks free and I suck in a sharp breath when he cups me between my legs. I hate how his touch feels like both damnation and deliverance. Right and wrong. Bad meets evil. His free hand trails down his sculpted stomach until it disappears under his sweatpants. My heart speeds up, pumping hard against my ribs when he pushes them down his hips and his weighty cock bobs out, slapping against his abdomen. “Is this what you want?”
Rising on my knees, I slowly lower myself onto him. He’s so big, so thick, it aches as I stretch around him. My eyes flutter closed when I sink down and he fills me to the hilt, my skin tingling and my nipples puckering as I relish the sensation. Slowly, I start to ride him. I suck in a breath when his grip on my hip tightens, and he bites his lower lip and groans. He looks so sexy…so hungry. Like he wants this even more than I do.
I gasp when the sharp tip of the knife pierces the top of my breast. “Knox—” In one fluid movement, he wraps an arm around my lower back and shifts us into a sitting position. Groaning, he inclines his head and licks the blood from the small cut he made. “Every part of you tastes good.” Squeezing my tits in his big hands, he sucks a nipple into his hot, wet mouth. “So fucking good.” I tilt my head, arching my back and closing my eyes…getting lost in the feel of his warm lips on my skin and his cock pumping deep inside me. I hold on to him for dear life as his thrusts pick up speed. Oh, God.
“Stop.” But he doesn’t. Instead, he grabs the back of my neck, turning my face up to meet his before he kisses me like I’m the air he needs to breathe in order to survive. He explores every inch of my mouth, leaving no stone unturned. I feel the armor I’ve built around me begin to crumble like cheap plywood with every hungry stroke of his tongue.
I hiss when he spreads my ass cheeks and holds them open—exposing all of me—before I feel the head of his cock nudge my entrance. “Tell me you don’t want this.” “I don’t want to want this,” I whisper, the last of my willpower shattering like glass. Because everything was so much easier when I hated him. His gruff voice cuts through the air. “That makes two of us.” With that, he pushes forward until he’s buried deep inside me. “Fuck.” His thrusts are fast and brutal—punishing—yet rewarding at the same time. I scratch at the seat, tearing the upholstery as he gives it to me exactly the way I need it.
His nose skims the length of me and he inhales deeply, his long fingers tightening around my hips. “I don’t give a fuck.” He proves his point by licking and kissing my pussy the same ravenous way he does my mouth. The vulgar sounds of him eating me fill the kitchen, causing my skin to tingle and my head to spin as he continues drawing incredible sensations from my body. I place my hand on his head, keeping him right where I need him as he stabs his tongue between my legs. He makes tiny circles, causing the metal from the barbell to graze my inner muscles. I whimper as pleasure coils my insides, and he shoves two fingers inside me before attacking my clit with his mouth. “Oh, fuck.”
I trail my palm down his chest. “Because you wanted it to be my mouth around your dick?” His lids grow heavy as his eyes track my every movement. “What are you doing?” Moving my hand lower, I undo his belt buckle, release his fly, and slip my hand inside, grazing his length through his boxers. “Giving you what you want.” He raises an eyebrow in challenge. “What makes you sure I want this?” Tugging on the waistband of his boxers, I reach inside. He’s warm and hard for me. “It feels like you do.”
He playfully tugs my t-shirt. Or rather, his t-shirt. “Take this off.” I fold my arms around his neck, not quite ready to put an end to his kiss. “Why?” “Because I want to watch you shower.” Reaching down, he grabs a handful of my ass and squeezes. “I want you to pretend you’re all alone while I watch you play with yourself.” His fiery mouth slides down my neck. “But you’re not allowed to come.” He sucks the sensitive skin above my throat. “Not until my cock is inside you.”
“Knox.” She utters my name like a warning and a plea. Standing up, I work my cock inside her pussy while I finger her tight little asshole. “How does it feel?” “Full.” Her teeth saw along her lip as she closes her eyes. “I can feel you everywhere.” Good. Pumping my finger, I thrust deeper. The walls of her pretty cunt squeeze around me, milking my dick as I give it to her harder. But it’s not enough.
He drops me on the bed and kneels in front of me, his rough hands immediately going to the zipper on my jeans. I raise my hips as he tugs them off. My shirt, bra, and panties follow shortly after. I reach for the hem of his shirt and bring it over his head. I need to feel his skin on mine. I need to feel him inside me…owning me, claiming me, fucking me. Making everything make sense again.
His thrusts deepen as he kisses my cheeks, my chin, my lips. Our skin sticks with sweat as we rock into each other and he presses his forehead against mine. Oh, God. This is so different…so intimate. He holds my gaze as we exchange the same breath. “Aspen.” There’s so much stark emotion contained when he says my name—hate, love, want, desire, obsession—all of it tangled into one. Just like us.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: All Torn Up, #1 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Toren Grace Heroine: Kenzi Allyster Valentine Sensuality: 4 Date of Publication: November 12, 2018 Started On: March 17, 2021 Finished On: March 19, 2021
“My love, Walk in the rain with me. Kiss me in the misty fog. Let me hold you all night under the hush of the wind. I’m waiting for you. Throwing pennies…making wishes. I’m wishing only for you. Always for you. Come back to me. I’ll fight for you. I’ll fight for us. Wish for me, too…and I’ll make it come true.” ~ Toren Grace
Having experienced the beauty of the written word from Carian Cole, I decided to take the plunge and read some of the books from her backlist which appealed to me. Of course it certainly helped that a pivotal character from this series ended up being featured in Don’t Kiss the Bride, which helped propel me in this direction.
Featuring the May-December trope once again, Ms. Cole pushes things a bit further in Torn by putting in an additional layer which makes the romance between the main protagonists further taboo – the hero being the best friend of the heroine’s father around whom the heroine grows up. With a 15 year age gap between 37 year old Toren Grace (Tor) and 17 year old Kenzi Allyster Valentine when the story begins, Toren is just 16 years old when Kenzi is born.
From the moment Kenzi enters the lives of Tor and his best friends (parents of Kenzi), a monumental bond is formed between Kenzi and Tor. Taking the reader back and forth through the formative years of Kenzi’s life to present day when the romance between Tor and Kenzi buds to life, Ms. Cole certainly does a swell job in terms of building Tor’s character as he materialized in the story.
Tor is rough around the edges, ruggedly handsome, and tired of all the meaningless relationships that has ruled his life up till that point. He had played second fiddle to the woman who holds his affections for far too long. Wanting to settle down and live a simple life is what Tor dreams of, however elusive that dream maybe for him. The one constant in his life throughout has been Kenzi, and at the cusp of womanhood, Kenzi scares him with the at times stray thoughts of illicit nature that enters his subconscious where she is concerned.
Tor is a major part of Kenzi’s life as she grows up. Having parents who became famous musicians a year after she was born had meant that Kenzi too had spent her toddler years on the road on tour with them. When tragedy strikes and Tor is called back home, Kenzi too is left with Tor for the most part when her parents go about their lives, wanting to give Kenzi a more wholesome and grounded experience while growing up. And when tragedy strikes the lives of Kenzi’s parents, it is Tor who picks up the pieces and becomes the grounding force in her life, while her father puts his sole focus on dealing with the aftermath.
When things start changing between Tor and Kenzi, it is mostly to do with Kenzi pushing Tor beyond his limits. Tor resists at first, and puts up walls to keep her at bay. After all, no man in his right mind would say yes to what Kenzi wants, no matter how much Tor too may want the same thing. The conversations between Tor and Kenzi brings to light just how beautiful their bond is. Tor is Kenzi’s confidante, the person she feels safest with.
Resistance by Tor however is futile as Kenzi chips away at the walls and embraces the man who has loved her in every single way throughout her life, showing him that the kind of life that Tor has always wanted for himself could be a reality with her. Tor is love in its purest of forms, there are no two ways about it. He is a contrasting mix of gentle and rough which is so appealing. His love for Kenzi shines through in every single sentence of this book that deals with the couple and I have no words to describe just how perfect it all was.
Kenzi obviously being young does not care overly much about what people may think. But Tor of course does. Kenzi is the one who pushes Tor to give in, promising that they would weather whatever storm that may come, together. This is where my problems with this story began; at first I loved Kenzi for promising Tor that she would be by his side, no matter what. In the end, her words rang hollow as she leaves for an extended period of time given the situation that unfolds as Kenzi’s father finally finds out about Tor and her relationship.
That is where my confusion as to how to rate this book too arose. On the one hand, I loved everything to do with Tor, the relationship between Kenzi and him from years back which had developed into love of the kind that is fulfilling in every single aspect. While I understood why Kenzi takes the advice given by her closest friend to put distance between herself, Tor and her father for things to cool down, the extent of the time she stays away made me feel sad for Tor on many levels.
While I appreciated the fact that she does find firmer footing of her own path in life during the time spent apart, I still felt that Tor was cheated out on some level; how would we readers have reacted had Tor promised the same and ran with his tail between his legs quoting the same reason, and then tries to see whether he could move on or rather tests the waters to see whether what he had with Kenzi was in fact real? I think we would not have been very happy with Tor either, if that were to be the case.
I also felt that at times Kenzi was just a hidden shadow in the story for the most part. While her love for Tor was a tangible thing, I felt that her parents were just too focused on each other and furthering their career as musicians to care overly much for Kenzi; they left the parenting to Tor for the most part. If Kenzi had been more fleshed out in other ways perhaps, I guess her character would have been more wholesome.
Recommended for fans of Ms. Cole and fans of taboo romances featuring a significant age gap between the main protagonists. Ms. Cole definitely does the subject matter justice when she delivers her stories.
Final Verdict: Tor is the definition of love in its purest form, a beautiful manifestation of what most women want their significant other to be. Sign me up for the next Tor please!
“You’re bleeding.” My voice cracks as I choke back new tears and dab at his hand with the sleeve of my sweatshirt. His hand closes over mine, on top of the big furry dog’s back, and his gaze drifts from our joined hands, up to my face. For the first time I don’t recognize the deep, dark eyes staring back into mine, but I fall right into them willingly as our lips meet. My eyes flutter closed as I tumble further into him, but he quickly jerks away, and we simultaneously suck in a startled breath, staring at each other with wide-eyed shock. Dropping my hand, he grabs the back of my neck, yanking my mouth back to his hungrily, and I clutch his arm to keep from falling backward onto my ass. His lips are warm and demanding, his tongue pushing past my teeth, coaxing my mouth open. My heartbeats turn into soaring butterflies. Nothing has ever felt like this.
Holding her gaze, I yank off my worn T-shirt and toss it to the floor, watching how her eyes take in my bare chest and then drift hungrily to my abs. I want her to run. I want her to stay. “Well, here I am. Show me.” I know every single one of Kenzi’s expressions for every feeling she has ever felt. But I’ve never seen this look of sheer smoldering desire on her face before. Her eyes stay on mine as she steps towards me with zero hesitation, zero doubt. She completely owns her determination to do exactly what I asked – show me. The space between us disappears quickly, and she backs me up against the adjacent wall, her hands coming up to hold my face as she goes up on her toes to kiss my lips. “You,” she says softly. “You are what I’ve always wanted. And yes – way before I even knew what that meant. But I know what it means now.” She lowers her head and kisses my bare chest, right above the tattoo of her words, her lips soft, wet, and warm. “I want all of you,” she continues as her lips move across my flesh. “Your love, your body. Your past, your present, your future. Everything.”
“Make me stop, Kenz. Please…” I beg, knowing I’ll never let her go if she doesn’t stop this. She’s got me too far gone to turn back and her new level of sensual confidence is throwing up way too many green lights. “No,” she says simply, wrapping her arms around me, kissing me just as hungrily as I’m kissing her. “Push me away.” “Never,” she whispers, pulling me even closer. “What’s gotten into you today?” I demand, moving my lips down to suck her neck. “I don’t know…” she breathes, tilting her head back, letting me suck the delicate flesh of her throat. “Being so close to you all day…touching you…I don’t want to stop.”
Reaching up, she pulls the hair tie out of the back of my hair and smiles when my hair falls down into her face. “You like that?” I ask softly, stroking her cheek with the back of my hand. “I’ve dreamed about you on top of me like this, with your hair in my face.” I suck in a quick breath. “You never told me you dreamt about me.” Her hands skim up my chest, over my shoulders, and clasp behind my neck as she stares up at me. “I was afraid it would make you pull further away from me.” “I don’t think I can pull away anymore. It’s a battle I just can’t win.”
Her body is engulfed by mine as I climb back on top of her, and I can feel her trembling beneath me now, either from fear or excitement or probably a mashup of both. My mouth is hard and demanding on hers as I move my body over her, the feeling of flesh on flesh making my cock like a rock between us, pressing against her, seeking her heat. Reaching down between us, I slide my hand between her thighs to gently stroke her pink lips and she’s so fucking wet already that it obliterates any ideas of patience and gentleness I may have had. I want in, and I want it now.
“Are you still on the pill?” I ask against her lips, my fingers expertly strumming over her clit. She nods and moves her hands down to my ass, trying to pull me between her legs. “Yes…” she says breathlessly. “For you.” “Good,” I growl, moving between her thighs. She doesn’t waver at all when I grab my cock and rub the head up and down between her wet lips and over her clit, coaxing her into that crazy place of wanting nothing but sweet release. Of wanting nothing but me.
Time stands still as we rock against each other, our bodies slippery with sweat, her lips pressed against my chest, kissing that spot over my heart that’s forever marked with her words. And now, her kiss. Her touch. Her love. After today, I can never deny the truth again. She completely owns me.
Spreading my folds with his fingers, he gently pushes me down until I’m flush against him with his cock wedged between my lips. “Keep your legs spread and slide yourself back and forth over me,” he coaxes, grabbing my hips and moving me so my sex glides from the base of him all the way up to the head, and then back again. And he’s right, even though he’s not inside me, rubbing along his hard length feels incredible. Leaning back against the pillows, his gaze drifts up my body, not stopping until he reaches my eyes. “That feels so good…” he groans softly, cupping my breasts in his hands again. “Don’t stop, just let yourself go and get off on me. I want to watch you come.”
Grabbing the back of my neck, he gently pulls my head down and kisses my lips. “You’re perfect, Kenzi. Every single inch of you, inside and out. You’re turning me on like fuckin’ crazy.” He kisses me again, always knowing exactly what I need to hear and feel, and I continue to ride along his shaft, arching my back to press my clit against him. “There ya go,” he whispers, his fingers grazing over my nipple, sending more sparks throughout my body and down into my core. “Feel how hard I am for you? For months I’ve been hiding that from you but now I want you to feel every inch of what you do to me.”
He growls against my lips when I let the tip of his cock press against my wet entrance and I get my first taste of real sensual power. He wants me. Maybe even needs me. Angling my hips just the right way, I lower myself down onto him and he inhales sharply, pulling me down hard on him, his cock plunging deep. A small cry sounds in my throat but again, the sensation of pain and want is intoxicating for me, intensifying when he whispers my name and shudders, losing himself in me completely just as I am with him.
I wait at the front door for him with a pounding heart, holding myself back from running to him just in case a neighbor might see me. His long jean-clad legs carry him up the walkway quickly and he shuts the door behind him, his eyes locking onto mine with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on him as he immediately reaches for me, cupping his hand on the side of my throat and bending down to cover my mouth with his, slow and deep. Possessive. I wind my arms around his neck and hang on to him as my legs turn to jelly, threatening to let me melt into a puddle at his feet. This is the best hello of my life.
“Do you want me?” His teeth graze the back of my neck as his finger slowly pushes into me, a small moan escapes my lips. “Always.” “Tell me.” His lips curve against my neck in response and he pushes his palm up against my sex, his middle finger pressing perfectly against my sweet spot. “I want to hear your sweet voice say something dirty.” Without hesitating, I say exactly what I’m thinking. “I want to feel every inch of your cock rammed in me right now.”
“Tor…” Orgasmic delirium has me liquifying under his touch, as if my bones are melting. Dropping the showerhead, he spins me around and grabs my ass, lifting me up and pushing me back against the tile, his stiff cock finding home again as I wrap my legs around his waist. He kisses me with wild hunger, pumping into me while the dangling showerhead spins around, spraying water everywhere. He moans against my mouth and stills, buried deep inside me, his kisses halting to slow, deep, and soft, and I feel him surge and pulse as he comes. I move my pelvis in slow circles against him, milking and caressing him with my tightening walls. Exhaling deeply, he stares into my eyes and loosens his grip on me. “Damn…I love you,” he says, his voice filled with raw emotion. “I love you back,” I say breathlessly, raining kisses over his face and smoothing his wet hair back.
Rolling over onto my back, I pull her on top of me and she’s already a step ahead of me, knowing exactly what I want and need. Her body moves tantalizingly slow on top of me, like she’s savoring every inch, every breath, every touch. She takes my cock into her with a long, smooth descent, then lifts herself up even slower ’til she reaches my tip before lowering down onto me again, repeating this over and over. There’s no rush, no crazy bouncing up and down, no slamming of bodies. Her body dances effortlessly with mine, like we were made to be one since the beginning of time. There’s no rush to reach an end because there is no end. Her eyes fall closed, her pouty lips parting with the ecstasy of my body filling hers as she makes love to me like we have forever. And she made me believe that we did have forever.
He sucks in a breath and watches with dark lust-filled eyes as I slowly slide myself down the wall until I’m kneeling in front of him, holding his gaze as I slowly unzip his jeans and pull them down along with his boxers. His hard cock thrusts out, and I eagerly wrap my lips around the head and slide my mouth down his shaft, filling my mouth and throat with him. He leans one arm on the wall above me and his other hand cups the back of my neck, his thumb slowly rubbing over my cheek as I move my lips up and down the hot length of him. “I love when you suck me.” The deep, breathiness of his voice sends tingles up and down my spine as he thrusts his salty crown against the back of my throat.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Jude Lucketti Heroine: Skylar Sensuality: 4 Date of Publication: January 31, 2021 Started On: March 15, 2021 Finished On: March 17, 2021
Carian Cole is a new to me author that I found through my Kindle Unlimited recommendations. Being the huge fan of May-December romance tropes that I am, Don’t Kiss the Bride seemed to be right up my alley, with a marriage of convenience theme in the mix.
18 year old Skylar who is going through her last year of high school, is someone who has it tougher than most in life. Skylar makes ends meet by working after school and suffers from an eating disorder brought on by neglect. Her father having left Skylar and her mother to their own devices, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to even taking care of her own health, both physical and mental.
As luck would have it, Skylar’s run in with 34 year old Jude “Lucky” Lucketti brings her the fortune of a lifetime. Jude, a sexy, broody construction worker, from the first time he meets Skylar, there is something about her that tugs at his heartstrings and makes him want to protect her. When Jude becomes privy to the extent of Skylar’s plight at home, he offers the seemingly perfect solution: to enter into a marriage on paper only, so that Skylar would be under his care which would get her the help that she needs. They would just be roommates or rather housemates, nothing more, nothing less.
Jude himself comes from a broken family, his father having left their home when he was seventeen. Jude blames himself for the black hole into which he had sunk at that point, running around with the wrong sort of crowd and losing his way. He blames himself for how his sister went missing and it is perhaps one of the reasons why he is so driven to help Skylar by moving her into a better environment where she could recover in peace.
What Jude does not factor into the equation is how he is drawn to Skylar on a level that would be frowned upon by many and shunned by society at large. The fact that Skylar seems to be drawn to him just as much only makes him more determined to stay firm and true to his original plans when they initially said their I do’s. But fate has a way of bringing two halves of one soul together and there is no fighting the tide when the need is as ferocious as the waves that break ashore during the violence of a summer’s storm.
I loved this story for so many reasons. Carian Cole’s writing is beautiful and draws the reader in like an old friend whom you have come to call on after years. Within the pages you find the comfort of the words spoken by that friend, which both ravages and soothes your inner being.
I loved Jude in all his glory. He is charming, sexy, broody, and kindness itself when it comes right down to it. Haunted by his sister’s memories, Jude is someone who is torn between being the platonic husband on paper only to being Skylar’s husband in its truest form. The struggle is only too real when the desire between them pushes all his buttons. Once they give in, there is no stopping where it takes them in their relationship, as fragile as the bond maybe when they start out. When Jude’s past comes calling, it is then and only then the reader is exposed to the darker elements of Jude’s soul which I absolutely loved!
I loved Skylar; who wouldn’t? She is a survivor amidst everything else. She is strong, beautiful on the inside and out, and an old soul at that. She finds affinity with Jude on many levels, desires to be his above everything else, and is willing to understand that the lifeline he offers is the only way she can get herself onto the road of recovery. When Skylar embraced the darkness within Jude, that was when I knew that they would be able to weather any storm that may come their way.
I admired the fact that Ms. Cole did not make light of the recovery of the mental health aspects explored in the story. Skylar’s mother was beyond help – her husband had tried and so had Skylar. There is a point at which those around you can no longer offer you the help you need; when you refuse to acknowledge the need for that help. That is a message that we all need to understand as the world increasingly battles with rising numbers of mental health patients.
Getting over mental health issues is a tough and lonesome journey for the one that suffers from it – no matter how much those who love you may surround you, there would always be aspects of it that you would have to suffer through on your own. Which is why I found Ms. Cole’s take on Skylar’s journey to recovery something I could relate to – there was no magic pill nor therapy session which was the hallelujah moment – but rather it was a process as it should rightfully be. There were triggers which made it difficult for Skylar to push past her fears and those were the moments Jude’s understanding mattered the most, and I loved Jude for being sensitive a soul enough to know when those moments presented themselves.
Society would judge the relationship between Skylar and Jude to be an uneven one; after all, Jude is the one who has the financial independence that allows him to look after Skylar. He is also the mature adult in society’s modern definition, and it was with sensitivity that Ms. Cole handled those aspects of the novel as the story progressed. I found the relationship between Skylar and Jude evening out as Skylar came to her own self when she started to make progress in her recovery. The fact that she is as fiercely protective of him as he is of her made my heart full in ways I cannot express.
During one of Skylar’s inner monologues regarding Jude, she thinks along the following lines, “I’m captivated by the hard and soft sides of him—rough in just the right moments, but so incredibly gentle in the perfect moments, too. Jude may not talk much, but his touch speaks a thousand words.” I was right there with Skylar and found myself nodding along with her sentiments of who Jude is. I don’t think I can sum up his character better even if I tried.
Highly recommended for fans of Carian Cole, those who love age gap romances, marriages of convenience, and heroes whose contrasting sides makes you melt on the inside.
Final Verdict: Don’t Kiss the Bride carries such a surprising mix of sweet tenderness with darkness of the kind that speaks to your heart!
I put my hands on his chest and slide them up to his shoulders. As he bends toward me, I close my eyes and lift one of my feet up into that flirty flamingo pose we see in movies. Our lips touch softly, until he tilts his mouth over mine, capturing my lips with his. A barely audible gasp escapes me and he inhales it with a slow, sensual suck of breath. His hand squeezes my cheek, and then he pulls away, slowly dragging his thumb across my jawline before he turns to Carol and walks off to speak to her.
Neither one of us makes an effort to move. We stay there, quietly breathing together. Our entwined fingers slowly dance against each other. Hers long, soft and thin. Mine thick and calloused. Resistance crumbles, and I turn toward her face, just inches from mine. I don’t know who kissed who. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was her. Doesn’t matter, because my mouth is on hers when it shouldn’t be. But fuck, her lips are soft and sweet, and I can’t resist one more taste of her.
“Is that what you want?” His lips touch my nose, then wait, hovering just a breath away. I nod as we breathe against each other. “Yes.” My answer is a subtle invitation. If he chooses to accept it, then any touching or kissing from this point forward won’t be an oops or an accident. It’ll be a conscious choice. A decision we made together right here on my bed. Fisting my hair, he gently pulls my head back, angling my neck up toward him. My eyes fall closed as he presses his lips to my throat and holds them there, warm and soft, before lightly sucking. My breath catches when he slowly drags his mouth up to briefly touch mine—whisper soft and gentle—before lifting up and bringing his lips back down to the base of my throat. Open-mouthed, teeth grazing.
When I reach for his pants, he nudges my hand away. “No,” he whispers with his mouth against my ear and his fingers buried inside me. “Tonight, I just want to fuckin’ devour you.” In a blink, he disappears under the blanket and quickly lowers my sweatpants. His mouth joins his hand between my thighs. His tongue laps at my throbbing clit, his lips cover me, so warm and wet. I turn into a quivering, wet, orgasmic, lovesick mess. Closing my eyes, I let go of everything, cling to him, and let myself get lost in us.
“Kiss me,” she whispers, pulling on the chain of my necklace. I can’t resist anymore. Grabbing her waist with my free hand, I pull her hard against my body and crush my lips down on hers. Her gasp of surprise fuels the fire she’s already stoked with her inviting touches and perfect words. I move my hand over the curve of her ass and down to the back of her bare thigh, lifting her until she hops up and wraps her legs around my waist. Kissing wildly, I kick the bedroom door shut with my foot, then push her back up against it. Breathless, she snakes her arms around my neck.
Effortlessly, he lifts me up and lays me down on top of his puffy charcoal comforter. I lie back and watch him as he removes my shoes, then stands between my legs as he unzips my shorts and tugs them down, along with my panties. “I think I just want to stand here and look at you all night,” he says, inching his hand languidly up my thigh like he’s got all the time in the world. His eyes sweep over me and he gives his head a little shake. “You’re so fucking beautiful.” I peek at him through my lashes. “I could say the same about you.”
“Touch me,” he says, his voice hoarse with desire. I stroke him slowly, gripping him in my palm and caressing the hot, damp tip. His head bows down, his hair falls over his face, his eyes close. My heart swells with adoration and lust for him. Leaning forward, I put my lips against his flat stomach. His ab muscles flutter deliciously as I rain a slow trail of kisses from hip to hip. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning, getting an amazing gift in the form of sexy tats and an incredible body all wrapped up with a big red bow of sweetness on top. He groans and grabs my shoulders, pulling me up to meet his lips, kissing me with such hunger I can’t breathe.
“I want you,” I whisper with my lips against his ear. “You’ve got me,” he whispers back. The tear of the foil packet permeates the silence of the dim room, and a few seconds later his hands are on my outer thighs, his fingers digging roughly into my flesh. He pulls me closer and thrusts into me balls deep, stretching me to take his full length. I let out a gasp that’s half-pain and half-pleasure. I don’t even care that it hurts a little, because watching him lose himself inside me is like watching art come to life. The way his tattoos, shiny with sweat, flex with his muscles. The way his long hair flies around his head with every thrust. The rivulets of sweat dripping down the center of his chest. The bite of his teeth into his lower lip as he drives into me. Pure. Hotness.
“Don’t mess with me, Skylar. You’re not gonna like it if I put my hands on you like this.” I reach up and touch his cheek, running my finger over the dark stubble. He stares at me through half-closed, dark eyes. “Try me,” I whisper. Without wavering, I hold his gaze. Whatever he needs right now—I’ll do it. I’ll be it. He’s been my rock since the day we met—never wanting or expecting a thing in return. He’s not drowning his feelings in the bottom of a bottle on my watch. Suddenly, his hand flies up and grabs the back of my neck, pulling me hard to meet his lips. He kisses me ferociously, his tongue carrying the bite of whiskey. He palms my breast, twisting, pinching, and tugging my nipple between his fingers until I cry out.
“I don’t want you looking at me.” The anguish and self-hatred in his voice and in his eyes rip my heart in two. Turning on my side, I reach for him, wanting to kiss all the hurt away. “Lucky—” “Do it or get the fuck out.” With a quiet nod, I flip back over onto my stomach, and he grabs my hips, pulling me up onto all fours and yanking me back to meet him at the edge of the bed. His hands grip my waist and he drives into me hard, fast, and unforgiving. Moaning his name, I clutch the comforter in my hands, head down, as he slams into me, his balls slapping against my wet pussy with each pounding descent. I’ve never had sex from behind, and it’s painfully primal but so intensely erotic. I don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud of myself for enjoying the raw, animalistic sensuality of it. And him.
When I arch my back, pushing to meet his thrusts, my walls clench around him again and again as wave after wave of orgasm rolls through me. As I’m reeling from the last of the lingering shudders, I cry out when he suddenly pulls his cock out and pushes me flat down, covering my entire body with his. The length of his stiff shaft wedges between my ass cheeks and spurts hot cum onto my lower back. He bows his head down into my neck and kisses my shoulder blade, biting my flesh and panting heavily, whispering words like wet and tight and so fuckin’ perfect. A shiver of ecstasy cascades down my spine. He stays there for a long time, with his sweaty chest pressed against my back, and I revel in being entirely enveloped by him, trapped in his powerful embrace.
My head falls back against his shoulder and I turn to kiss his neck, nipping at him with my teeth. Water splashes as his hand dives between my thighs like a shark. Two thick fingers zero in on my G-spot, curving upward with precision and rubbing rhythmically. Whimpering, I grip the sides of the tub to steady myself as I rock back and forth, thrusting up into his hand, then back against the ridge of his cock. He grasps the side of my face and turns me to him. Our lips clash, breathless and needy. He crosses his legs over mine, pinning me down. My body is buzzing, my hips rolling up and down, back and forth. The tip of his thick cock pushes between my ass cheeks, nudging my pulsing entry.
He untangles his legs from mine, grabs me beneath my knees, and bends each of my legs up over the edge of the tub, spreading me wide over him. I grasp the slippery sides of the porcelain as he lifts me by my hips, positions me over his cock, then lowers me down onto him. “Holy shit,” I gasp as he spears my pussy hard and deep. Cupping my ass with one hand, he guides me up and down his shaft while his other hand reaches between my thighs, circling and lightly slapping my clit. I feel his lips on my wet back, kissing a trail up my spine to the curve of my neck. His breath is ragged, matching mine, as we move faster and harder, splashing hot water around us in waves as my body plunges deliciously down onto his.
Grabbing her throat, I pull her up to me and kiss her deep, delving my tongue into her mouth until I own her every breath. She pants against my mouth with her small hands splayed across my hips. I pull out almost completely, and she gasps in frustration. Resting the tip of my cock against her entry, I cup her face in my hands and kiss her lips softly, then pull away, hovering just millimeters from her mouth. Slowly, I push into her just a fraction. Her wet lips envelope me, deliciously tight and hot. “Give it to me,” she begs. “Look at me,” I whisper. She opens her eyes and stares into mine, and I watch her eyelids flutter half-closed when I feed my cock into her inch by inch. She looks so fucking beautiful and sensual, it takes all my self-control not to cum instantly.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Callum Moore Heroine: Cadence Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: September 26, 2020 Started On: February 12, 2021 Finished On: February 13, 2021
Our love is not a sin; it’s salvation.
Loosely tied to the novel Beautiful Monster, Beautiful Sinner by Sara Cate is an absolute gem of a romance of the forbidden variety. 44 year old Callum Moore is a priest in an Irish town, who is left blindsided by his encounter with the 24 year old Cadence, a young American who happens to come to stay at the Ennis Bed & Breakfast that is owned by Callum’s sister.
Cadence comes to the B&B with a group of youngsters touring Europe, the guy she is with whom she considers to be her boyfriend when he is anything but. Waking up the next morning to find that they had all left her behind, and that her “boyfriend” had taken her passport, credit cards, and any valuables she might have had along with him, needless to say Cadence feels like the worst screw up ever.
Having to wait two weeks for everything to be resolved, it is Cadence’s sister that tells her that this could be a good thing, that being alone is perhaps what is right for Cadence to sort out her priorities and just enjoy her ownself. But the mere thought of being alone sends Cadence into a state of panic, especially when she finds herself attracted to none other than the priest of the town, the man who looks upon her so disapprovingly from afar.
Callum is a man who found his calling towards his late twenties, firm in his belief standing true to it all. Cadence presents the first real temptation to ever cross his path since he took his vow of celibacy and that presents problems of the kind that he never thought he would have to deal with. It certainly does not help matters when Cadence proves herself to be made of stronger and sterner stuff than he gives her credit for.
It is only logical that two opposites such as Callum and Cadence, the former being a stickler for what is right and the latter being someone who is free with her affections in a way that does not create a favorable impression of her, would totally clash. And clash they do at first, until they both come to see more in each other and that perhaps in each other lies their future, rocky as the road maybe in the journey towards their ultimate destination.
There is an interesting psychology to Cadence, which Ms. Cate reveals layer by layer. The picture that emerges is of a child who never had a mother figure, who held the roles and responsibilities of acting like the adult in the family even when she was merely a child herself, and later on lost her way somewhere in the middle. Her fear of being left alone makes sense when all of that is put together, the resulting effect being someone who is too free with her love and affection when it comes to those unworthy of it. It takes a whole lot of soul searching and pain for Cadence to understand the same and it was a rewarding journey for the reader as well when she finally achieved the insurmountable.
I find that Ms. Cate has a unique way of writing hugely flawed characters that gives reader deeper insight into what they are, which makes for really intriguing reading. It is easier to judge a character at the surface level; Callum being the priest and the person who gave up his whole life to serve God as the righteous one and see Cadence as just the opposite. Almost always, there are reasons behind why we act the way we do. No one is born a sinner, nor are we saints. We are human, and how we are brought up, the psychology of those around us, the values we are instilled with, all of that and more charts the course of our lives for the most part. Deviating from all of that takes courage, and that is what I found in Cadence as her character grew out of what was holding her back in a big way.
Callum is a super sexy hero – no two ways about it. There is of course, the forbidden lure to him, but at the same time it is the way Ms. Cate has created him, giving him that rough edge with an inner core that is gentle at the same time. Callum is a man who chose his path because he believed it was his calling, but when Cadence comes and puts it all into disarray, he is flummoxed and resistant at first, but there is no stopping the heart from wanting what it wants, especially the forbidden fruit.
Callum also has a take charge attitude in bed that leaves the reader wanting more, and I loved every sizzling second of it. When Callum gives in, he does so spectacularly, and I am pretty certain that no reader would have been left unmoved by what he represents at that point.
The epilogue three years down the line clinched the deal for me with this book, to witness Callum and Cadence living their happily ever after, having reached their destination after all that heartache and angst. Callum teaches Cadence that she is worth everything, and Cadence in return understands that their love is worth it. Nothing puts a bigger smile on the reader’s face than that!
Recommended for fans of forbidden romances featuring two protagonists who are the direct opposite of each other. Ms. Cate has outdone herself with this number!
Final Verdict: Beautiful Sinner is one of those books that as a reader you can never get enough of. Callum makes you yearn for your own forbidden romance and Cadence leaves you with the understanding that your deepest flaws could well become your biggest strength!
With my fingers still at the base of her spine, I lean down until my mouth hovers just above her shoulder. Her hands wrap around my body now, and I know she wants more. I can feel her desire radiating off her skin, and I feel terrible that I won’t be able to give her what she wants. But I’m taking this anyway, this one kiss. With my lips parted, I press my mouth against the crook of her neck. She lets out a sweet little gasp, and I pull her body closer. Maybe I want her to feel what she’s doing to me or maybe I just want the friction against my aching hard-on, but either way, I know what I’m doing is fucked-up.
“So you’ll let those assholes fuck you instead? Is that what you want to be, Cadence?” “Unlike you, Callum, I make my own decisions. I say what I do with my body.” “Not anymore,” he snaps as he crashes his mouth against mine. “You can’t,” I manage to gasp out before his tongue is in my mouth, and I become water, dripping through his fingers. I catch a glimpse of the white square at the collar of his neck just before I open myself to him, and my fighting hands turn into passionate grabs for his shirt and skin.
Her head hangs back, her lips open and her eyes clenched shut. Her cheeks are tinged pink, and my God, the sounds she’s making. I could record them and listen to them every second for the rest of my life. It’s exquisite. Too fucking beautiful to feel bad about. “Don’t stop,” she moans, and I pick up speed. I feel like an animal, overcome with lust and greed. The filthy fucking thoughts in my head are anything but righteous.
Slamming my fingers inside her one last time, I grip her tightly and feel her body explode with her orgasm. Every muscle tightens, and her thighs close on my hand, squeezing them in a vice grip as she stops breathing altogether. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful in all my life.
In just a few long strides, he’s standing right in front of me, and I barely have a moment to register anything before his lips are on mine. The kiss is ravenous and desperate. It’s vindication. It’s everything we’ve been hiding and torturing ourselves with for so long. His lips devour me, trailing down to my neck, my shoulder. His moans are hungry and soon they turn into words. “I’m sorry,” he mutters over and over as he worships my body with his mouth.
I feel the head of him against my core, and I hold my breath, my eyes not leaving his. He enters me with a force that makes me gasp and want to scream. Once he’s buried inside of me, we melt together. My legs wrap around him and his spine curls around me, his head buried in my neck. For a moment we stay still, enjoying this first bonding our bodies, like it’s some ancient ritual. He groans into my skin, and I know the Callum that holds back and plays it safe is gone. The Callum I know, the one who takes and commands and doesn’t apologize is about to take over, and my body pulses in anticipation.
He does it again and again, keeping his eyes on me the whole time. I don’t bother keeping it quiet anymore. When he pulls my leg over his shoulder, I almost fall apart. My moans of pleasure vibrate across the walls of this church set to the perfect rhythm of his heavy grunts. His hands grab my hips as he rockets his body against me, building speed and momentum. My back slides against the floor, and he yanks me back, slamming himself even deeper.
My hands grip the bed sheets as I wait for him to take over. I’ve already memorized his rhythm. With a tight hold of my hips, he fucks me hard until I’m practically lifted off the bed and coming with the force. Just as my climax hits, he lifts my body so I’m flush against him and he pinches my clit until I’m splintered in two, undone with ecstasy.
“Come all over my hand,” I whisper in her ear, and her jaw hangs open like she’s fighting for breath. I’m striking hard now, slipping in a second digit as she writhes. My heavy dick grinds against her just as the conversation outside stops. Any moment, someone will round that corner and see me finger banging my young American employee. The secret will be out, and we won’t have to hide anymore. But then again, I know it’s this filthy thing we’re doing that makes her seize up in my hands, biting back her cries as she soaks my hand. I love the way her thighs clench together as she comes, a vice grip on my wrist like she never wants me to pull it away. We’re both high on the forbiddenness of it.
As I stand up, I stare down at her, and I unbutton my pants, dropping them to the floor. With my hands under her legs, I yank her body to the edge of the bed and enter her in one fluid motion. She barely has the chance to come down from her last climax before she’s writhing again. Watching her beautiful body on the bed, her legs wrapped around me, my chest aches. I love her so fucking much it hurts.
Grabbing her hand, I pull her up, and without pulling out, I lift her body in my arms. She has a drunk, ecstasy-laced smile as I carry her to the bathroom counter. With the large mirror behind her, I see myself as I fuck her. For the first time in a long time, the reflection doesn’t repulse me. It feels right.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Paranormal Romance Series: Phenomenal Fate, #2 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Elias Heroine: Roksana Sensuality: 4 Date of Publication: June 22, 2020 Started On: January 22, 2021 Finished On: January 22, 2021
This Time Tomorrow, book 2 in the Phenomenal Fate series by Tessa Bailey brings to readers the story of heiress to vampire slayer throne, Roksana and Elias, the vampire who gives her performance anxiety when it comes to the line of work she was born into. Elias and Roksana’s paths cross a couple years prior to the main events that unfold in the story, changing the course of both their lives forever.
Roksana carries with her the responsibility of killing Elias, and has been hesitating for the past couple of years, each time she comes across Elias telling herself that next time would be it and that he would not escape her need for vengeance. It also does not help that the attraction that surged to life between them that fateful night in Vegas continues to haunt and taunt them both, each left with only shattered dreams of what could have been.
Little does Roksana know the role she unwittingly played in forcing Elias’s allegiance to the life he leads now, and as things escalate and reach a point of no return, Roksana is forced to face the truth about where she comes from and what it means for her life in going forward.
Tessa Bailey, with her penchant for writing broody and silent heroes who have PhD’s in dirty talking, has once again created a hero of the same ilk in Elias and I could not have asked for more where he is concerned. He is roughness and tenderness combined, forceful behind his need for all that is Roksana, and determined till the very end to protect her at any cost.
Roksana’s life is one riddled with pain left unacknowledged. Growing up with a mother who wanted nothing more from her than to walk in her footsteps, Roksana never had the chance to grow out on her own and forge her own path. Tenderness, warmth, and love are foreign concepts for her, and the last place she seeks to find what has been missing in her life is in the arms of Elias, whose very thought makes her go weak at the knees.
I loved both Roksana and Elias – the way they come together, the attraction between them that is so strong that it almost feels like the bond between them is tugging at you as well; all of that and more made me fall like a ton of bricks for them. While I did enjoy the first installment in the series more, This Time Tomorrow does not make for a shabby read at all.
Recommended for those who are eager to read Elias and Roksana’s story soon after Reborn Yesterday. Tessa Bailey does not disappoint.
Final Verdict: In This Time Tomorrow, Ms. Bailey delivers enough heat, heart, and hostilities stirring amidst, which make for great storytelling!
He expected her to stop in front of him, to pass on her phone number, but even after their short acquaintance, he should have known better than predict this girl’s behavior. Because she simply kept coming closer, closer until he realized she wouldn’t be slowing down. Fuck yes. Come to me, baby. Elias caught her up against his body, plastered her tight to his frame several inches above the ground, breathing against her mouth for a bracing moment, before diving into a kiss that rocked the very foundation of his existence. Jesus. Jesus. She tasted like chocolate, like sin, like salvation. There was a lack of experience that made him protective and triumphant at the same time. Mine. The tongue pressing to his and stroking it hesitantly, then with more confidence, belonged to him. The arms twining around his neck, the tremble skittering through her, the hair in his fists—his, his, his. This was insane. It was fucking insane.
Attraction. That was the one area she knew they connected. Not that he ever came close to acting on it. Nor would she let him! No, they hadn’t so much as held hands since that kiss in Vegas. A kiss which he didn’t remember but would be branded on her memory forever. “Keep the credit card, Roksana,” he rasped. “I don’t need—” He moved in a fit of speed, reversing their positions and flattening her back against the stairwell door, rattling the hinges. Stunned by the unexpected, electric contact—contact she’d been craving for years—she could only swallow a sob as Elias gripped her knee and jerked it up, his breath pelting her mouth as he slid the credit card back into her garter. “Keep. It.”
Their mouths were dangerously close. Hers panting, his hard. Predatory. Roksana’s loins pulled taut, tickling a part deep inside of her. So deep and intimate, her thighs shot up reflexively to anchor the sensation. It didn’t work, though. No, it didn’t, because Elias caught her by the knees, settled her around his waist and pressed his hips into the cradle of hers. One forward pressing step forced a gasp out of her mouth, right against his lips. Elias is hard for me. He’s really, really hard. For me. She was in nothing but a drenched T-shirt that had ridden up to her belly button, sandwiched between a wall and muscles so tense, she braced for a snap. “The way you fit me…” Elias said hoarsely, “…is obscene.”
“Roksana,” he warned, surging forward to grind her into the wall, his lips peeled back in a pained snarl. “You need to be careful with me.” “Don’t you know by now that warnings only entice me, vampire?” she breathed. Something akin to affection sparked in his eyes, before it was swallowed up once again by lust. Regret. “Remind me what I’ve done. Now.” “Or what?” He laid the flat of his tongue against her pulse and dragged it slowly up to her jaw, grazing her there with his teeth. “Or I’m going to unzip these jeans and finally fuck you.”
The second Elias’s lips opened over hers, pressure bloomed in her throat. There was a part of her that wondered if she’d exaggerated their connection in Vegas. Exaggerated the perfection of their kiss. But when their tongues brushed and they melted into one another like chocolate in a saucepan, the truth became wildly obvious. Her memory hadn’t been doing Elias’s kiss sufficient justice. He was infinitely better. This was not a kiss for the sake of kissing. It was memorization. Seeking. Trying to find what she liked, locating it, giving her so much that she could barely stand the pleasure.
Without warning, he punched his hips forward roughly, baring his teeth against her ear. “Do you know what your little entrance downstairs did to my cock, Roksana? I almost yanked up this fucking dress, pushed you face down over the poker table and hit your pussy from the back.” He kissed her neck sweetly, his manner at odds with his coarse language. “Now pull it up around your waist and get it out of my goddamn way.”
Knowing the moment drew close, Roksana’s sex constricted and she lost her ability to breathe. All she could do was turn her head to one side and beg incoherently for the act she didn’t understand, had no experience with, but somehow was essential. “Need it, need it.” Elias flattened his tongue on her pulse, his body never ceasing in its deliberate invasion of hers, his hips pumping madly as his fangs settled over her neck, pressing tight, but holding back from breaking the skin. “My hunger for you goes so far beyond blood, Roksana. But it flows in the same endless way. You hear me?” Eyes a bright, burnished gold, he kissed her pulse reverently. “Mine.”
His hardness prodded her, right at the precipice of where she needed him, but stopped short of thrusting home. “I was rough last time,” he said, voice deep and dark, his chest coming to rest on her back, his lips moving against her ear. “Did you like that?” “Yes,” she panted, rubbing her bottom brazenly in his lap. “Yes, I loved it.” He dragged the head of his sex up and down, teasing her clit with it until she gave a closed-mouth scream. “If that’s how I took your virginity, Roksana…” His teeth grazed her neck. “How hard do you think I’m going to hit it the second time?” “Hard,” she whimpered. A vibration passed through his strong body. “I can’t help it, baby.”
“Yes, like that.” He pushed his face hard into her neck, fangs bared. “What you said to me before…God, Roksana, I’m trying to keep myself in check—” “Don’t. Don’t.” She squeezed her intimate muscles rhythmically, tempting him, desperate to make him lose control and show her his true nature. “I want it. I can take it. I hate that there’s anything I don’t know about you. Break me with it.” The visceral snap of his tether made her almost giddy. Relief and excitement and hunger gave her everything she needed to weather the sudden storm of Elias. This was him, nothing held back, stripped down to his basest form and she soaked in every nuance.
“I don’t want to go anywhere with you,” she hissed. “I want to be alone.” “Maybe that’s what you want.” Elias walked them into the farthest stall, drawing her forward off his shoulder, pinning her hard to the wall. “But you need my cock.” He rammed his hips up between her thighs and it felt so good, she slapped him across the face. The hard contact from her palm only put a savage smile on his face. “More?” Lust blanketing her senses and robbing her of reason, she slung her legs around him, squeezing his hips with her knees. “More.”
And when Elias buried his fangs in her neck, his hunger propelled her higher. She threw herself into the eye of the storm and let it batter her. Elias followed, undergoing his own perfect torment, his desire forming a hot pool inside her body, his hips moving in a broken pattern, his gratified male moans filling her ears. When she became aware of their surroundings again, she was boneless between Elias and the wall, her lungs struggling to fill themselves while he kissed her temple. “My love is solid. It doesn’t bend,” he said fervently. “Don’t forget again.”
He trailed his open mouth along her bare shoulder. “I’ll chance it.” “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she hummed, twining her fingers in the hair at his nape, tiptoeing forward to lock her curves to his front. They both looked down as her tits plumped against his pecs, their moans joining together like an erotic refrain, Elias’s hands finding her ass, yanking her up and forward to secure them tightly together. “Move your body with mine,” she whispered, her eyelids fluttering. “Slow and easy.” Elias rolled his hips, using his grip on her ass to work their lower bodies together and was rewarded by Roksana’s eyes going blank, her head falling back. He did it again, again, again, never speeding up or slowing down, his erection protruding from the V of his unzipped fly to grind against the mound between her thighs. “It’s a damn good thing we kept this wedding reception private.”
His mate was shaking as she impaled herself down to the root of his cock, her hands slapping down on his chest, fingers snaring in his chest hair. “Oh my God. It feels so good it hurts. It hurts.” Eyes glassy, she put her tongue out, showing him the traces of red, bucking her hips once—hard—and the flames in the fireplace doubled in size, the lamps in the cabin blazing bright and fizzling to uselessness. “Elias,” she sobbed, her hips racing up and back, her sweet tits driving him insane with delicious little bounces. “Elias, you’re everything. Everything.” “Just to you.” His thumbs stoked her clit in turn, using her wetness to lubricate the sensitive bud, and the faster he rubbed, the quicker those hips pistoned. “Always to you. My mate. My woman. My only.”
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Blake Hamel Heroine: Bay Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: February 14, 2020 Started On: January 19, 2021 Finished On: January 19, 202121
HIM by L. L. Ash is a recommendation I came across in my quest to read romances that feature huge age gaps and follows tropes similar to that of Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas & some of my other favorite reads that I have read along those lines.
The story starts with the heroine Bay moving into her best friend Georgia’s home, who lives with her 35 year old father Blake Hamel. Blake agrees to the deal because he has missed out on a lot when it comes to Georgia’s life, with the nasty split between him and his ex having driven a wedge where he wanted none when it comes to his daughter.
Even though Bay does not want to be a burden to anyone and does more than her fair share of everything around the house, she cannot help but feel like she is not wanted, especially with the way Blake tries to avoid her at first. Blake for his part, is in sheer agony from wanting something he shouldn’t, from having illicit thoughts featuring him with none other than his daughter’s best friend.
But once Georgia moves out in a stint to exert her independence and walk the path as approved by her mother, that serves to be the tipping point in the relationship which comes to light between Bay and Blake. Even though Blake tries to resist, he is no match for the more tender variety of emotions that Bay invokes in him, and before they both know it, both of them are too emotionally vested in each other for it to be easy to walk away from.
I loved both Bay and Blake and the story that unfolded, even though there existed much potential which could have been explored to deepen the impact on readers. I liked the fact that Ms. Ash knew how to maneuver around the subject with sensitivity that did not leave the reader with a sour aftertaste when all was said and done.
Recommended for fans of romances featuring protagonists with huge age gaps and taboo tropes.
Final Verdict: Ms. Ash does a splendid job in bringing to life the love between Bay and Blake, with just enough characterization & sensitivity in the mix to do the trope justice.
My hand reached down and fingers folded around his length as he hissed in pleasure. “I need you,” I whispered into his ear again just as I met my slit with his cock, dropping onto him as we both groaned at the meeting. “Fucking hell,” he moaned as I hit bottom, balls to my ass as we got used to the thickness and tightness of him inside me. His eyes lifted again, meeting mine with a fire burning hot like blue flames.
His cock was at my entrance in moments, and with his tongue still in my mouth, I pulled his hips until he was inside me, filling me almost to bursting. “Fuck me,” I breathed between kisses. So he did. He hiked up one of my knees in his hands, planted his on either side of my hips, and thrust into me so hard the entire bed jostled, hitting the wall with a bang and a squeak. It was pure heaven.
“I need you to go faster, babe,” he said breathlessly. I sat back instead, pressing my hands onto his thighs behind me as I arched my back to give my body a little more support as I increased in speed. His hand grazed up my belly and clutched a breast, squeezing and pulling on the nipple as pangs of sharp pleasure spiked through me with each movement of our hips. “You’re so fucking beautiful,” he breathed just before he groaned and lifted his hips even more until my knees left the bed and I fell forward onto his chest.
My eyes closed again as I moved so slowly, grinding more than rocking. Evidently it wasn’t enough for him. He sat up, legs crossed as I sat back onto his thighs. Our lips met in consuming heat as his hands pulled me closer onto him, then up and down at the pace he wanted as my legs wrapped around his waist. I was happy with the help since my body was limp already with my first release, but I could feel a second orgasm burning through me like a shooting star. He snarled and bucked just as my mind exited my body again in waves of bliss, but they crashed back together as my back hit the ground, warm cum landing flat on my chest as he reached his release above me.
“This is mine,” I told him in a whisper. “This is my choice.” His eyes met mine just as I sank down on him, skin to skin. Blake’s face tightened in a mixture of tortured pleasure, a hummed moan breathing over my lips as his eyes squeezed shut. “You don’t know what it’s like, Bay,” he breathed as I rode him. Coherent mind was long gone by that point. All I wanted was harder, faster, hotter. “If you got pregnant and you had to be with me because of it…” I pressed my hand over his lips, grinding hard before giving him my simple finality. “I wouldn’t marry you just because I got pregnant, Blake,” I whispered. “And it’s too late anyway. Whether you want it or not, I’m going to marry you. Do you understand that? You’re mine. Every single part of you, you’re mine.”
His fingers bit into my flesh as he growled, finishing inside me just as I reached my tipping point, heat suffusing through my belly and breasts, I came. He was cursing again, his head digging into the pillow as my nails made little angry crescents in his shoulders until the intensity passed, settling me into weightless afterglow. I sat there, still on him as he was still in me, us both panting and sweating and holding tightly onto each other. Then his eyes met mine, and I could immediately see that something had changed; shifted. Determination stared back at me instead of confused uncertainty. Yes, he was mine.
“You know,” he whispered, his fingers brushing across my lower back until he had a handful of my butt in each hand. “Ever since I got this thing, I’ve wanted to take the woman I loved on this ride.” “But you didn’t know me,” I whispered back, my breath hitching as his lips teased mine, just brushing faintly against me but not giving up any kisses. “No, but I was preparing for you. I just didn’t know it was you yet.”
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Amazon Digital Services Hero: Alexander Caldwell Heroine: Sunny Thorn Sensuality: 3.5 Date of Publication: June 09, 2020 Started On: October 26, 2020 Finished On: October 31 , 2020
Love cannot be replaced. The love someone denies you cannot be filled by someone else.
Beautiful Monster by Sara Cate tells a story that surprised me in many ways. Drawn to pick this up because of the huge age gap factor, I found more than enough to keep the pages turning which set my senses humming.
The almost 20 year old Sunny Thorn lives with her mother and elder sister, both of whom drives her crazy in their own ways. Having tried going to college for one semester and failing to fit in, Sunny had yet to go back, and it is when 40 year old Alexander Caldwell moves in next door and offers her the chance to paint a mural at his home that things start to change for both of them.
Alex is a man who is at a loss as to how to turn his life around. Tired of meaningless sex and the trouble he always gets himself into, Alex makes a vow to himself that the next time he sleeps with someone, it would mean something more than just for the sake of having sex. Sunny however tests that resolve of his time and yet again, and even though Alex feels like beating himself up over the fact that he is lusting over someone so young, neither of them can help themselves as the connection between them becomes too fierce to ignore.
One thing leads to another, and Sunny and Alex gets involved leading to a disastrous conclusion that was inevitable at some point. However, it is up to both of them to forge their individual paths back to one another, if their love is worth all that and more.
This is the first time that a romance book has delved deep into the effects of past relationships and meaningless flings on one’s life. Usually, books tend to skim over those details, but in Alex, Ms. Cate has definitely given us a deeper view into how it can actually affect one’s psyche when one loses sight of the boundaries that one must adhere to even in the pursuit of pleasure and happiness.
Sunny’s character was beautiful in so many ways. She might be young age-wise, but she is mature and wise in a way that was telling, why she turned out to be such a good fit with Alex in the long run. Though the age factor does hinder the progress of their relationship at the beginning, it fades into insignificance given how they both feel about each other. I loved Alex as well. Perfect mix of sexy and battle-scarred in the emotional sense.
Recommended for those who love their steamy sex wrapped up in emotional goodness. My first Sara Cate certainly did not disappoint.
Final Verdict: Multi-layered with complex characterization with that dollop of sexy to keep the pages turning; Beautiful Monster made for splendid reading!
“I didn’t give you your birthday present,” he says, holding me so close to his body that I can hardly breathe. “What is it?” Moving my hair out of my face, he leans down, his face a breath away from mine. “Happy birthday, rain cloud.” Then his lips are on mine. They are so soft and warm, and I nearly melt from this unexpected moment. I feel his hands travel up my back until he’s digging his fingers into my hair and tilting my head. His tongue slips through my lips, and I have no idea how I’m still alive because I swear, I haven’t taken a breath in minutes.
“Lie down,” he commands, and I listen. My mouth feels dry, and the only sound I can hear now is the thrumming in my ears and the shaky intake of our breaths. Alexander leans over my body, placing a hand next to my head while the other travels up my thigh. “Has anyone touched you here, Sunny?” he asks, his voice shaking. “No,” I cry, pleading with him to touch me. “Please,” I beg. “Please what?” he asks, looking into my eyes. “Please touch me,” I gasp, feeling so vulnerable. “I will,” he says, teasing me, drawing circles between my legs. “Know why?” “Why?” My voice is strained. “Because I want you to know how it’s supposed to feel when a man touches you.”
“Don’t stop,” I gasp, reaching up for his kiss again. My fingers claw at his back, feeling the sheen of sweat there as he picks up speed. He calls my name as he buries his face into my neck, his fist still clutching my hair as the other engulfs me in a tight embrace. We are glued to each other, lost in a trail of ecstasy when he finally lets out a guttural roar, slamming into me so hard my body seizes again, the warmth exploding between my legs.
“Harder,” she gasps, clutching onto my neck, and I oblige. “Who do you belong to, baby?” I pull her off the counter, hanging her legs from my hands as I pound her gentle flesh, her moans growing louder and higher. “You, Alex. I’m yours, all yours.” Her voice is so strained I know she’s close. “That’s my girl.” I feel her coming, pulsing around my cock, and it practically milks the cum out of me. Trailing my lips down her face to her mouth, I carry her back to bed, both of us still panting. This time, I don’t have a hard time sleeping.
He pulls into the driveway, and I’m already unbuckling. Just as he puts the car into park, his hands are around my legs. Before I know what’s happening, I’m straddling his hips in the front seat of the car. He crashes his mouth against mine, and I let out a moan when the thickness in his pants rubs against my clit. My panties are so wet already, I’m sure I’m making a mess all over his lap. “Sunny,” he breathes against my lips, thrusting his hips up against me. “Get a rubber out of the glove compartment.” My heart beats even faster when I don’t move for the box, and it almost makes me shake with anticipation when I whisper back. “I’m on the pill, Alexander.” The second half of his name comes out in a whimper as he grinds against me again. He lets out a groan and bites my collarbone gently. His fingers stretch my panties to the side, rubbing the pad of his thumb through the moisture pooling there. I’m so desperate for him to fill me, I could cry.
“How was your run?” she says with a gasp as I turn her around, her back against my chest. “Not as good as this,” I murmur with my lips on her shoulder. Cupping her soft tit in my hand, I drag my tongue along the back of her spine. She lets out a heavy sigh, arching her back and pressing back against me like she’s begging me to enter her. As I slide my dick easily into her folds, I wonder how I went so long without this. When I’m inside of her, it feels so fucking right. And not just because it’s like heaven, but because Sunny and I fit. Every goddamn thing between us is meant to be together.
“Tell me you’re going,” I say with my teeth next to her ear. She moans in response, and I rear my hand back, landing another sharp sting against her ass. “Tell me.” “I’m going,” she cries. “That’s my girl.” My hands run the length of her body, trying to memorize every inch. “I love you so much it hurts, Sunny.” “Show me,” she gasps, and I feel her tears run over my fingers as they graze her lips.
Just as we pass a dark alley, I’m swept away from the sidewalk, and I meet his chest with a crash, stealing the breath from my lungs. I don’t even bother gasping for air. All I care about is his lips, so when he leans down, I wind my arms around his neck and pull his mouth to mine. We kiss each other hungrily, his body grinding against me like it’s the first breath we’ve taken in months. He moans into my mouth as I devour his lips. I will never let him go; I tell myself. Now that he’s back in my arms, there is no way I can let that go.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: New Adult Romance Series: St. Mary’s Rebels, #1 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Arrow Carlisle Heroine: Salem Salinger Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: September 17, 2020 Started On: September 19, 2020 Finished On: September 23, 2020
My Darling Arrow by Saffron A. Kent seems to be a hit with a lot of readers, especially fans of Ms. Kent’s work. I too am a fan of Ms. Kent, since having stumbled upon the greatest love story ever written on the unrequited love theme, i.e.Unrequitedby the author. Since then, I have read her entire backlist of published books (which is not a gigantic number, if you are wondering), and loved almost all of them. Dreams of 18 which was published prior to this was where it all started going downhill; I found the story to be regurgitated version of her earlier works, with just enough tantalizing elements thrown into the mix to make it wholesome. My Darling Arrow, I am sorry to say, is incomparably much worse.
The debut in the St. Mary’s Rebels series, My Darling Arrow brings together 23 year old Arrow Carlisle and 18 year old Salem Salinger, the latter, who for all intents and purposes would not have been at St. Mary’s had it not been for her “rebellious” act of trying to leave home in the middle of the night. Salem and Arrow’s lives had crossed paths when Salem and her sister Sarah had gone to live with Arrow and his mother. Salem had fallen in love with Arrow on first sight at the tender age of ten, while Arrow had gone ahead and fallen in love with Sarah, who is of the same age as he.
Years go by, until St. Mary’s is the setting and testing grounds in which Salem once again comes face to face with the love of her life who would never be hers. That is until she finds out what truly happened to bring Arrow to her turf, tempting her beyond reason to say yes to everything that Arrow proposes. While I wanted to love the story so much, it fell flat on so many levels that it saddens me to even write a review as such.
I found My Darling Arrow to be too saccharine for my tastes. I found the depth of or rather the lack of in-depth characterization for both Arrow and Salem to be problematic. I wanted more than repetitive descriptions of Arrow’s unbelievably hot physique and ramblings of Salem’s mind when it comes to Arrow and how much she wants him. I grew tired of the lack of anything substantial happening up till towards the latter half of the book, which I believe was one of the biggest reasons for my lack of enjoyment in the story.
The fact that I found neither Salem nor Arrow endearing enough rests on the reasoning highlighted above – if you do not know enough about the characters you are reading about, and everything is either about how manly Arrow is and/or how emotionally wrecked both of them are in their different ways; I am guessing it all just ends up being tedious to read about from a certain point onward.
Sexy and sinfully hot sex scenes is something I have always counted on Ms. Kent to deliver, but alas, even that failed to materialize in a large way because there was just too much time spent trying to appease readers who would have had problems with Salem and Arrow getting together with Sarah in the picture and painting this picture of a heroine who ticks all those boxes when it comes to modern reader tastes.
I wonder whatever happened to the Ms. Kent whose books I fell head over heels in love, books that I keep recommending to other like-minded readers and receiving rave and glowing reviews of afterwards. There was such heart and force behind her previous books which slayed all my emotions and then some, the author who did not care about the conventional norms in romance writing and was not afraid of pushing the boundaries, staying true to the course of her characters.
Recommended for die-hard fans of Ms. Kent. I for one, am sorely disappointed.
Final Verdict: My Darling Arrow was unpalatable on so many levels; the despondency I feel is one that is indescribable.
He leans over and kisses the corner of my mouth and I freeze. My eyes go wide when he flicks his tongue out and licks that corner too before whispering, “Tell you what. You waited for me, didn’t you? You worried over me. Not to mention, you’re my friend. So maybe I can give you a little something.” “Something like what?” He kisses the corner of my mouth again, a small, soft, soothing kiss. “Your first kiss,” he whispers, his hot breath fanning over my mouth. “I told you I wouldn’t but maybe I can break my own rule.” “You can?” “Uh-huh. For you.” “For me?” “Yeah. Just to be nice.” Oh God. Thank God.
He curses and strains, his cock expanding inside my channel. His head rears back, his spine bowing. I see his sweaty, hot body become tight and stone-like as his cock jerks inside of me and spurts the first dose of his cum in the latex. We’re both coming together then. He’s pulsing inside of me like I’m pulsing around him. I scratch his ridged abdomen and his hand fists my hair at the scalp. I realize that’s what he wanted to hear too – that I’m his. That I’m my Arrow’s, and I smile again.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Lachlan Matthew Taylor Heroine: Dandelion Meadows Sensuality: 3.5 Date of Publication: March 25, 2020 Started On: August 14, 2020 Finished On: August 19, 2020
Sweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer is from a new to me author, whose books that I would definitely be checking out from here onwards.
Following the aftermath and recovery from a school shooting that renders the heroine Dandelion Meadows unable to cope, it is the requirement tat she takes counseling sessions at school that puts her in the path of the 29 year old school counselor, Lachlan Matthew Taylor.
Dandelion has been trying to move on from what happened for the past nine months, having lost her so much at the school shooting incident. The trauma is raw and alive within her, and though Dandelion is skeptical of the efficacy of the sessions she is required to take, meeting Lachlan is an experience in itself.
From the start, Lachlan is conscientious of her needs. He does not push her into going in directions which is extremely difficult for her, but at the same time, Dandelion finds herself drawn to, and at peace with her thoughts when it comes to the her sessions with Lachlan.
When things start to change between them, even though both Dandelion and Lachlan try their darnedest to not let it happen, somehow, somethings in life are inevitable. It is pretty difficult for Lachlan to reconcile his burgeoning feelings for Dandelion with that of his role as her school counselor and as a result he struggles more than Dandelion does when it comes to the consequences of their coming together. The fact that he is also a lot older than Dandelion is one reason, and even though both Lachlan and Dandelion are lonely in a way that they both alone identify with, there is a whole host of challenges that they both need to overcome, if their love is to survive.
There is a sweet poignancy to the story as it unfolds, and Lachlan, my God Lachlan!, is definitely one for the book boyfriends list. He is sweet, dreamy, kind, has a soul that yearns for love and deep abiding connection with the other half of his soul, loves fiercely and gently at the same time, and is demanding and intense in bed, setting the pages afire. I loved Lachlan from the very first moment he came into the picture, and in a way, he reminded me of Professor Lukas Halstrom, but Lachlan is definitely one of the most unique heroes I have come across and I fell for him hard and fast.
Dandelion has her own growing up to do, even though she has an old soul that yearns for Lachlan in every single way. Even with everyone in her life dead set against the thought of Lachlan and her together, Dandelion knows that she would choose to be with him in a heartbeat, if he were willing to take the risk. But then true love is sometimes never as easy to conquer as we would like to think, and there is a lot that Dandelion goes through before she is ready to take that step and understand where Lachlan was coming from all along.
Needless to say, I loved Sweet Dandelion. It is no mean feat to cast two protagonists whose love would be frowned upon and castigated severely by society (and it is usually for good reason), and make it into something so profoundly beautiful that I am at a loss as to how to properly describe the feelings that coursed through me as I delved deeper into their story. The in-depth characterisation, how comprehensively Ms. Smeltzer explored the range of emotions between the two, not to mention that of the secondary characters in the story; all that and more lent this tale an edge that lasted up till the last page was read and done.
There is nary a word nor character that I would do away with in Sweet Dandelion and I believe this is what extraordinary romance books are all about – taking on difficult tropes and working them out in a way that leaves the reader spellbound from start to finish. The TWO (not one), epilogues tucked at the end made up for a lot that happened as the story reached towards its climax and beyond, and I loved and reveled in all of it!
Definitely recommended for those who love romances that sweep you off your feet. Sweet Dandelion is one for the records and Lachlan, definitely a keeper!
Final Verdict: Sweet Dandelion is story that is nuanced, sumptuous, and phenomenal; Lachlan and Dandelion sweep you off your feet on a journey that is worth every obstacle faced along the way to their HEA!
I lean over, closing the short distance between us. The peppermint on his tongue permeates the air and I lick my bottom lip before I press my lips to his. My mouth tingles from the taste of him. He doesn’t move at first, but then a manly growl echoes in his throat. His long strong fingers tangle in my hair. His hold is tight enough to hurt, but isn’t painful. His tongue finds mine and that minty taste is everywhere. I’ve never been kissed like this before. It’s a ravaging more than a kiss, like he’s a knight claiming his bounty. His stubble burns my cheeks, but I don’t mind the sting—it’s a welcome reminder that this is real, I’m kissing Lachlan, but more importantly he’s kissing me back.
His eyes close once more, murmuring my name. In a blink his hands are on my hips. I squeak as he pulls me onto his lap. My hips sink down onto him, a soft moan parting my lips at the feel of him pressed to my center. “Dani,” he croons. His hands fist in my hair. I roll my hips, eliciting another moan from my throat. “Dani,” a purr this time. Finally, blissfully, his lips are on mine.
He kisses me with a desperation I mirror with my movements. I’m eager to get closer to him, to feel every part of him. Our tongues tangle together with a passion we’ve kept chained for months. This is the kind of kiss I’ve seen in movies and read in the books he’s let me borrow. It’s a kiss that changes things. There’s no coming back from this. It doesn’t in any way compare to our first kiss. That was a hesitant, fragile thing, while this is a claiming.
“Lachlan,” I gasp, and he bites my bottom lip, tugging it into his mouth. His blue eyes meet mine in the dark as he releases my lip. “Let go, Dani, I’ve got you.” I don’t want to let go, because once I do, I’m afraid this moment between us will be over too. There’s no controlling it once I fall off the ledge into an abyss of pleasure. His hold tightens on my hips, his own rocking against mine. He pants, letting out a low groan. “Fuck.” We fall together. Spinning. Twirling. Stars. Pleasure.
“Why does it have to be you?” he whispers gruffly, moving his lips over my face. “Kiss me,” I beg, not even caring if I sound wanton. He does, our dance long forgotten but a whole new one beginning to play out. His hands move down my body, creating a trail that sends fire spreading through my body. “Touch me,” I beg. “Please.” My voice is achy with need. “Dani—” “Please.” His uttered, “Fuck,” is a deep rumble.
His long legs round the couch, carrying me down the hall. He taps the door to his bedroom with his foot and in a blink my back hits his mattress. His big body is a blanket over mine. With his grip on my neck, our lips are only separated by millimeters. “You’re so fucking beautiful.” “Show me.” His eyes flash in the darkened bedroom, only illuminated by the lights emanating from the outside. “Dani—” “Show me,” I beg, kissing his chin. “Show me.” His jaw. “Show me.” His cheek. “Show me.” His eyes stare deep into mine. Looking. Searching. Finding.
“I love you,” I murmur, pressing a tender kiss to his lips. His hands flex against my sides, his jaw working back and forth as his eyes fill with turmoil. I fear he’s going to shove me away, that common sense is going to overtake our feelings, but he doesn’t do that. “I love you, too.” The words are barely above a whisper, but they’re every-fucking-thing and I feel them all the way down to my toes. Saying them once must make him bolder, because he says them again, this time louder. “I love you.” Louder. “I love you.” He begins to punctuate each word with a kiss. “I love you. I love you. I love you Dandelion Meadows. Despite it all, despite myself, I love you.” Our kisses deepen, fueled by a love that defies the odds.
“Dani,” he growls my name into my ear, turning into a feral sound. “Fuck, you’re killing me baby.” He applies a little more pressure to my clit, increasing his speed. My orgasm hits like a rocket shooting into the sky. My whole body shakes and when my hands fall from the glass, my body unable to stay upright, he’s there to catch me. He gathers me into his arms, holding me close, gently now. He rubs my back as the tremors fade. “That was—” He silences me with a kiss. Rubbing his thumb over my cheek he stares into my eyes. “Amazing,” he finishes for me.
“Lachlan—” In a blink he’s upon me, his mouth taking mine prisoner. He’s rough, demanding. His hold on my cheeks is tight and I find my back pressed against the wall. He claws at me like a wild animal, bunching the tulle of my skirt in his hands, trying to yank it up. I kiss him back with fervor, a spark igniting into an entire fire inside me from one touch of his lips. I match his desperation, pulling at his shirt, trying to get it over his head. He tosses the shirt off like he can’t get it far enough away from him. His eyes are twin sapphires blazing when he looks down at me. His whole body is a taut live wire waiting to go off. “If you don’t tell me how to get you out of this dress, I’ll rip it off of you.”