Review: A Daughter’s Dilemma by Miranda Lee

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Powers-Slater Studio, #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Vaughan Slater
Heroine: Carolyn McKensie
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 21, 1997
Started On: December 21, 2021
Finished On: December 30, 2021021

A Daughter’s Dilemma by Miranda Lee was my last read for the year 2021. It is February 2022, and it is only now I am able to get my last review for the year in place. I am a firm believer of the philosophy better late than never. Perhaps more applicable here than elsewhere in my life because I have a habit of always running behind on my review schedule.

My book list for 2021 veered in the direction of picking up older Harlequin romances to read because, at the cost of repeating myself, modern watered down versions of the heroes that I come across in books these days just makes me itch, and not in a good way at all. I feel bereft of the emotions that would otherwise run gamut through me when authors just get it all right, with a hero who is brusque, taciturn, and all those qualities that we hate to love and love to hate.

Miranda Lee in this way, is an author whose books teeter on 50-50 line; I either love them or am meh about them. Luckily, this one too passed muster, and I had an enjoyable time with the journey that was 34 year old Vaughan Slater and 24 year old Carolyn McKensie take to their happily ever after.

The story begins with Carolyn sending off her newly wedded mother on her honeymoon cruise, with a promise to her stepfather that she would do what was needed to ensure that their new home was ready to move into upon their return. However, Carolyn gets the shock of her life when she finds out that the architect hired by her stepfather is none other than Vaughan, who basically destroyed her mother all those years ago.

Carolyn’s mother raises her as a single parent, with her father having died even before she was born. All of that had caught up with her mother when Carolyn was fourteen years old, and since then, Carolyn had acted more as a mother than vice versa. Carolyn being fiercely protective of her mother is not ready to forgive and forget what Vaughan is responsible for; having seduced and discarded a woman who was much older than him.

Carolyn’s helpless reaction to the magnetism that Vaughan exudes is however the nail on the coffin so to speak, and even though she is determined not to give in, it proves too much of a challenge to turn away from the heat, especially with Vaughan feeling the same way. Consequently, the attraction between them gives way to passion of the kind that innocent Carolyn had never known, and before she knows it, her heart too is on the line.

But there looms dark clouds on the horizon, casting gloomy shadows on her newfound happiness that is all too fragile, especially when Carolyn has a hard time reconciling with the version of the events that Vaughan stands by and won’t let her shy away from. With Carolyn torn between the man who makes her senses reel and her heart soar, and her mother for whom she would practically do anything for, it is up to Carolyn to gather her courage and face the music, whatever tune it may be playing when all is said and done.

While I found Carolyn a bit tiresome at certain points, overall, I understood where she was coming from. I too would probably have been a bundle of nerves if I were in her place, believing that I have to choose between the love of my life and my own mother who sacrificed her youth to bring me up. That is a tough place to be in.

I loved Vaughan, for being as determined to make Carolyn stand up for what she wants, for giving her that needed push to step out of her comfort zone, without which she would probably have made the wrong choice and ended up being miserable, bitter, and lonely for the rest of her life.

Recommended for fans of Miranda Lee and fans of Harlequin romances.

Final Verdict: A Daughter’s Dilemma delves into what it is like to be caught between a rock and a hard place; it takes courage of the kind not many of us can muster to make that leap of faith.

Favorite Quotes

For a few seconds longer he stared down at her. ‘Let’s see if I can’t help you make up your mind…’ And his mouth slowly descended.
How long later did it lift again? A minute? Two?
Carolyn had no idea, for instantly those soft sensual lips claimed hers she was catapulted into a world so erotic and exciting that all coherent thought rocketed to a distant planet. She clung to him, her lips parting soundlessly beneath the increasing pressure of his, letting his tongue slide forward into her mouth, letting him arouse her with it to a pitch she would never have believed possible from a kiss. The blood began swimming in her head and wave upon wave of heat flooded up through her body. When her knees threatened to buckle from under her, she slid her arms up tightly around his neck, her small hard breasts pressed flat against his wet chest.

Carolyn bit her bottom lip against the tumultuous pleasure he immediately evoked, her knuckles whitening around the railing as she felt him gradually work his way back down her body. Surely he didn’t mean to…to…
When he passed her navel, every internal muscle she owned contracted and held tightly. Her lips parted, as though ready for protest. But no protest came from her lips when he finally reached his destination. No protest at all. Only a shuddering sigh of sheer ecstasy. ‘Oh, yes,’ she moaned. ‘Yes…’

For a split second Carolyn felt a thrilling moment of peaking, of being suspended. And then she was spun into a wild avalanche of sensation that shattered her completely, the experience impossible to fully capture in words or even memory. Its sharpness caught at her breath, then forced sounds from her lips, soft sensual cries somewhere between sighs and moans. Her head tipped back, her lips panting apart, her back bending like a bow from the bed as she felt her flesh convulsing around Vaughan’s, felt her woman’s pull on his body, urging him to a mutual release.
When it came Carolyn was stunned, thinking the pleasure she’d just experienced was impossible to surpass. But nothing could eclipse the emotional and physical satisfaction of holding Vaughan and feeling him climax deep within her.

‘Tell me you love me too,’ he urged. ‘I want to hear you say it.’
Her heart leapt, but instinct warned her not to admit to such a thing. ‘No,’ she panted. ‘No…’
He muttered something and resumed his slow, steady rhythm, taking her inexorably towards the moment when will-power would cease to exist, when there was nothing but her body and his, teetering on the brink of ecstasy.
At this most crucial moment, Vaughan stopped once again, bringing a cry of sharp need from her gasping lungs. Her nails dug deeply in his back and her body urged him desperately to continue.
‘Tell me you love me, dammit,’ he demanded, holding her still beneath him in an iron grip.
She whipped her head from side to side till he captured her mouth with his own, grinding her head back into the soft pillow with a savage kiss.
‘Say it!’ he gasped when his mouth finally burst from hers. ‘Dear God, just say it this once!’
She was moved, more by the desperate note in his voice than his violent kiss, or the sexual edge on which she was hanging.
‘I love you,’ she cried huskily. ‘I’ve loved you all along.’

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

Review: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Bellinger Sisters, #1
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Brendan Taggart
Heroine: Piper Bellinger
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 13, 2021
Started On: November 28, 2021
Finished On: December 14, 2021

It Happened One Summer, the debut book in the Bellinger Sisters series by Tessa Bailey features two main protagonists who are the complete opposite of each other, the journey they travel towards finding their other half in one another making for an enjoyable read.

The story begins with 28 year old Piper Bellinger being dumped by her current boyfriend in the midst of a party, a nightmare for someone like Piper who lives for the likes and comments on social media profiles. Piper considers her career to be partying and being seen in the right places. Her stepfather being loaded enough for her to afford the lifestyle she leads means that Piper had never really grown up, nor had she ever felt the need to.

Her delayed reaction to the breakup however turns out to be the last straw for her stepfather, and with the need to teach her a lesson driving him, Piper is “exiled” to her father’s hometown in Westport for three months. While everyone (including herself) expects her to fail to live up the requirements of her stay in Westport, Piper has no other avenues to turn to and it is thus she and her sister Hannah find themselves in the town where their deceased father is a revered hero of sorts, the last man of the Westport crew to die while hunting the almighty king crab on the Bering Sea.

From the instance that Piper walks into the bar which her her father owns the deed to, she clashes with Brendan Taggart, a man who seems to engulf her every sense from the get go. As a seaman and captain of Della Ray, the wheel of which he had taken over from his father-in-law, Brendan is a man who is a stickler for routine, never straying from his tight schedules and the regimented lifestyle which keeps him grounded. But all of that is shaken up by none other than Piper, who for the first time in seven long years makes him want to move on from his revered status as a widower.

While Brendan is a bit grumpy and gives Piper attitude at first, all of that changes with the realization of the extensive nature of his burgeoning feelings towards Piper. The lady herself, who has never really even considered putting down roots in a place other than a vibrant city with a nightlife to beckon her, finds herself swayed by the quaint charm that is small town life, where without even realizing, she makes herself an integral part of the small community.

But then again, the past has a way of rearing its ugly head when its least wanted, and that is exactly what happens, giving the story a healthy dose of angst to make things more well rounded towards the final stretch.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Piper and Brendan, each being unique and refreshing in a way that made them easily earn their rightful place in my heart. Queen of Smut, aka Ms. Bailey definitely delivers on THAT front, leaving readers with their scorched e-readers to contend with when all is said and done. Watching Piper embrace the wholesome version of herself was an added bonus which I loved!

I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in the series which is set to hit the book stands on the first of next month. No time like the present to get your hands on this one!

Final Verdict: With It Happened One Summer, Ms. Tessa Bailey weaves a complex character-driven story full of heart and the best kind of smut, rendering this unputdownnable!

Favorite Quotes

One second he was holding the toolbox, the next it was on the ground and he was turning. Piper’s momentum brought her up against Brendan’s body, hard, and his boat captain forearm wrapped around her lower back, lifting her just enough that her toes brushed the concrete. And then he bowed her backward on that steel arm, stamping his mouth down onto hers in an epic kiss. It was like a movie poster, with the male lead curling his big, hunky body over the swooning, feminine lady and taking his fill.
What?
What was she thinking? Her brain was clearly compromised—and it was no wonder. The mouth that found hers was tender and hungry, all at once. Worshipful, but restraining an appetite like she’d never encountered. As soon as their lips connected and held, her fingers curled into the neck of his T-shirt, and that arm at the small of her back levered her upright, flattening the fronts of their bodies, and oh God, he just devoured her.

That big body swayed closer, lines of strain appearing around his mouth. “Please . . .”
“You don’t have to beg,” Piper said, bringing the champagne flute to her breasts, tipping the glass and letting the champagne trickle out over one nipple, then the next, and Brendan started to pant. “Not for something we both want. Touch me, Brendan. Taste me. Please?”
“Christ, I have to.” He traced his mouth to her left nipple, pressed his bared teeth against it, before rubbing his tongue against the stiff bud, yanking her hips forward, the move arching her back so she had to use his hair for balance, taking two big handfuls. Her mouth was in an O, watching him savor her, manhandle her body. No games. Just need.

He stared hard at her juncture, the grip on her knees flexing, a curse issuing unsteadily from his mouth. “Yeah, I have to be an idiot leaving you without my attention for two weeks.”
She panted. “Are you calling me high maintenance?”
“Are you denying it?” He tugged aside the strip of material shielding her core, which thankfully she’d waxed clean as a whistle right before leaving LA. “Fuck me. You can be as high maintenance as you want, honey. But I’m the only one who does the maintenance.” He ran his thumb down the seam of her sex. “Understood?”
Piper nodded, as if in a trance.

His lips ghosted up her inner thigh, blunt fingers hooking in the sides of her panties. “Lift up,” he rumbled, nipping at her sensitive skin with his teeth. “Want them off.”
Oh great. His voice could get even deeper? It resonated all the way up to her clit, and she fell back on her elbows, inching her hips up enough for Brendan to peel the thong down her legs. She watched this man, who grew more exciting by the moment, expecting him to drop the underwear on the floor. He wrapped the thin black material around his shaft instead, pressing his mouth and nose up against her wetness, groaning as he choked himself up and down in a tight fist.
“Holy . . .” Piper breathed, momentarily blacking out.
“See this, baby?” He rubbed his mouth side to side, parting the damp folds of her femininity, that hand jerking roughly between his thighs. “You’re still getting me off, too.”

He all but fell on her, his face landing in the crook of her neck, his fist positioning his stiffness between her thighs, right over that uber-sensitive flesh. “One day soon, Piper, I’m going to fuck you so goddamn hard.” He alternated between dragging his swollen tip through her saturated folds and stroking himself. “Going to fuck the word ‘friend’ right out of your beautiful mouth. You’ll forget how to say anything but my name. Real quick, honey.”
Her clit hummed again, unbelievably, and that buzz of connection, of more promised pleasure had to be the reason she turned her head slightly, whispering in his ear, “Promise?”
With a strangled growl of her name, he hit his peak, shooting moisture onto her belly, his hand moving in a blur, his teeth bared against the side of her throat. “Piper. Piper.”

The moment their mouths collided, Brendan knew he’d made a mistake. He should have waited to kiss her until they were home in his bed, because the uncertainty of the last eleven days reared back and punched him. It did the same to Piper—he could feel it.
She gave a broken moan and opened her sweet mouth for him, her breath coming in short pants almost immediately, just like his. He’d barely slid his tongue between her lips when she gripped his shoulders, drew herself high against his chest, and slung her legs around his waist. And Jesus, he’d already been halfway to hard, but his cock surged against his fly now, swelling like a motherfucker when she settled the warm give of her sex on top of him, the drag of friction making him curse. Making him wish they were anywhere but a hospital hallway, half an hour from his house.

Lips seeking and wet, their kiss escalated to the point of no return again. They both wrestled with the waistband of her yoga pants, shoving them down past her hips, lower until she could kick them away. And then she was back to climbing him, her lithe thighs skimming up to his waist, his hips punching forward to get his cock up against her softness, pinning her to the wall in the process.
“Noticed we didn’t have to get any panties off,” he said in between kisses, finding her incredible ass with both hands and kneading her buns almost angrily, because Jesus, this thing drove him fucking crazy. “You drive here in my truck with a bare pussy, Piper?”
She bit his bottom lip, tugged. “Slept in your bed with it, too.”

“This bed isn’t strong enough to survive what I’m going to do to you,” Brendan growled against her mouth, capturing her lips again in a kiss fraught with male sexual frustration. It let her know in no uncertain terms that she was the source and he’d be exacting revenge.
Take it. Take it.
Without breaking contact with her mouth, Brendan’s hand wedged down between them and wrestled his zipper down, the desperation of his jerky movements exciting her like nothing else, dampening the folds between her legs. “Hurry,” she begged, biting at his lips. “Hurry.”
“Goddammit, Piper, you make me so fucking hard.”

“Tell me you’re wet. Tell me to put it in.”
“I’m so wet,” she moaned, lifting her hips, running the insides of her knees up and down his heaving rib cage. “I’m ready. I need you. Rough as you can.”
That full, smooth dome pressed up against her entrance, and she braced, one hand flying to his shoulder, the other to the wooden bunk rail. And still she wasn’t prepared for the savagery of that first thrust. With a hoarse roar, his hips drove Piper up the narrow bed, his thickness invading all available space within her, and without allowing her time to acclimate, he was already pumping feverishly, rocking the bed with staccato squeaks.

“Brendan,” she gasped. Then louder, “Brendan. You’re so good. It’s so good.”
“I’ll never lie in this bed again without having to jerk off.” His hand came up to frame her jaw, applying just enough pressure while looking her square in the eye that another rush of wetness coated her sex, aiding him in his destruction of her senses. “You love knowing that, don’t you? You love making me fucking crazy.”
She bit her lip and nodded. “Sure you want to be my boyfriend?”
“Yes,” he growled, and slammed into her, holding still, deep, his pained face dropping into the crook of her neck. “And don’t call me that right now or I’m going to come.”
Oh. Jesus. That confession sent a contracting ripple through Piper’s core, and she let out a strangled sob, her hands flying to Brendan’s ass inside his loosened jeans, fingernails sinking in and yanking him, scraping pathways into his flesh. “Oh my God. N-now. Now.”

She was panting as he rose, dropped his chest down onto her back and pushed his cock inside of her still-contracting pussy. “Mine,” he gritted, the tightness of her cinching his balls up painfully, firing every ounce of his blood with possessiveness. “I’m taking what’s mine now.”
A movement ahead of them on the bed reminded Brendan of the mirrored headboard, and he almost came, caught off guard by the erotic sight of her slack jaw and tits that bounced along with every pump of his hips. His body loomed behind her, damn near twice her size, his lips peeled back from his teeth like he might very well devour her whole.

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

Review: Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Ian
Heroine: Samantha Grace Abrams
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 09, 2018
Started On: August 15, 2021
Finished On: August 20, 2021

Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey is a best friends to lovers themed romance of the contemporary variety, told in the first person from the viewpoints of both protagonists. 27 year old Samantha Grace Abrams (Sam) and Ian (we never learn of his full name nor his age), are teachers at Oak High School. While Ian is the AP Chem II teacher, Sam is the journalism teacher and the staff coordinator for the Oak Hill Gazette, a weekly newspaper at the school.

Ian and Sam become friends three years prior to when the story begins, and it becomes evident as the story progresses that both Ian and Sam are in love with each other, but resigned to being friends because of the uncertainty involved when it comes to crossing that line and leaving the friend-zone.

Sam more so than Ian, is reluctant to rock the boat even when she has x-rated dreams that involves Ian and has a hard time keeping her burgeoning feelings to herself. Things however have a way of changing, and love as fierce as the one that Sam and Ian have for each other cannot be denied in its entirety and has a way of coming out, one way or the other.

Not So Nice Guy is perhaps not so aptly titled because I found Ian to be quite the amicable hero in every sense. I would have loved a bit of grumpiness or taciturn behavior on his part because I just love a hero that brings angst to the story, but for the most, he is the kind of man who looks out for his other half, and aims to protect himself when it comes to Sam and her lack of certainty in them becoming something more.

Recommended for those who love humor laced friends-to-lovers romance with a hero that makes you melt on the spot!

Final Verdict: Low on angst, funny, and heartwarming; Ian makes your heart go aflutter!

Favorite Quotes

“Sam,” I say, reaching down to adjust myself. My dick is begging for attention, but I want to concentrate on her. “Pull them to the side and tell me how wet you are.”
We’ve probably spoken hundreds of thousands of words to each other throughout our friendship, but right now our sentences sound like they’re being spoken by strangers.
Her head tips back and her gaze hits the ceiling. She’s exposing her neck. If I were there, I’d drag my teeth along her pulse line.

“I want to taste you.”
She’s panting.
So close.
Her breaths are shorter and shorter.
Her legs are trembling.
I’m imagining her on that bed, pink and wet and so very good at listening.
“I’m so close, Ian.”
“Imagine how well we’ll fit, Sam. Imagine how easily I’ll fill you up.”
“Ian…I’m—”
The rest of the sentence dissolves and so does she.
She’s fisting her sheets, about to come undone just from the sound of my voice.
“I’ll be so gentle at first, but you know what? I’ve been lonely way too long and I need to fuck—hard.”

He stalks forward like a panther and then he’s right there, looming over me. He tips down so his hands rest on the desk on either side of my hips. We’re eye level, blue gaze to blue gaze. My knees brush against the front of his suit pants. Holy shit. He’s big. My eyes grow wide. He lets out a deep breath then glances down. His growl is barely contained to the back of his throat.

What the hell are you doing to me? he asks silently.
Beating you at your own game, I mentally reply with a smirk, and then I kiss him again. This time there’s no stoicism on his part. He hauls me up against his chest and slants his mouth against mine. It hits me like a ton of bricks that we’re kissing. IAN FLETCHER AND I ARE KISSING. I would exclaim this out loud if my mouth weren’t currently occupied with something much more important.
Here’s the thing: Ian might have been frozen a few moments ago, but he’s not anymore. His hands dip under his coat and he pushes it off my shoulders. His palms burn across my neck and then lower, skating the outer edges of my breasts. My nipples tighten. His touch sears. I have no doubt my dress is charred and moments from disintegrating into a pile of ash at my feet.

I make a sound in the back of my throat that I’ve never heard before (a guttural moan mixed with the word “please”) and he delivers, gently coaxing my lips apart and touching the tip of his tongue to mine. Oh yes. Our PG kiss has turned X-rated. I’m glad to see he’s retaliating with vigor.
Don’t stop, don’t stop.
I’ve been deprived of this kiss for so long, and now that it’s happening, I’d like it to last for at least one to two decades. We’ll barricade the windows and door. We’ll tear the pages from the English textbooks stacked against the back wall and make a cozy sex nest. We’ll survive by taking little nibbles of each other every now and then, like little love cannibals. I’m aware it isn’t the most well-adjusted thing to think about during a passionate kiss, but it’s just the kind of joke Ian and I would crack up about for hours. It fits.

“It’s been a while since I’ve done this.”
I laugh. “Yeah, you can save the awkwardness. I don’t care. It’s just us, Sam. Me and you.”
“Right.” She nods, growing confident enough to drag one of her hands back around to the front of my hip. Then she slowly reaches over and circles her palm around my dick. She has the softest, surest grip. My eyes roll back in my head. My hips jerk forward on instinct. “Sam,” I warn.
“I’m barely touching it!” she says defensively.
Yeah, I know. It’s been a fucking while since I’ve slept with someone, and also this fantasy has been building for, oh, I don’t know…a millennium. I won’t last for shit.
“Just don’t drag it out. Our entire time as friends has been a tease, foreplay. It’s been like five-play or six-play.”

He reaches one arm around my stomach and tugs me back against him. My butt hits the front of his tuxedo pants and I feel his hard length press against me. His fingers dip beneath my panties and my stomach swoops.
Not so fast. I turn and push him away so I have room to turn and hop up on the counter.
“You have to undress too. Bareness is fairness.”
“Want to do it for me?”
“No. I want to watch.”
He chuckles and rubs the back of his neck. If I had a radio handy, I’d tune it to slow jams, something he can sway his hips to. I want a show.

“Is this too much?”
Of course it is. I’m being forced to watch what he’s doing to me. I’m looking at my flushed, heated skin; that black bowtie around my neck that smells like him; my wild, tangled hair; the crazed look in my eyes. There’s no escaping what he’s doing to me and maybe I won’t always want it this way, but right now I do.
“Not enough,” I beg, and Ian delivers.
He slides into me slowly and he’s deeper than before. He stays pressed there and our eyes lock in the mirror.
I’ve been naked for a while, but in the reflection, I’m stripped bare. Ian has his fist wrapped around my soul.

I fist the sheets and my eyes pinch closed. My bottom lip is between my teeth so I don’t cry out loud enough to disturb our entire floor.
“So, is this how you envisioned it? Sweet and gentle?” he asks, leaning down and taking my hands in his. He drags them up and over my head and presses them into the bed. My eyes blink back open as he leans over me, putting me in his shadow. His hair hangs down on his forehead. His sharp features seem even more intimidating from this perspective. He pulls out and thrusts again and I groan because his full weight on top of me is intense and wonderful.

When he’s sure I’m finished, he sits back up and turns me over so I’m on my hands and knees. Now, there’s no more sweet and gentle. Ian is relentless. Pounding. Thrusting. Fucking. I’m slack-jawed, wide-eyed, and any number of other hyphenated adjectives. My arms give out and my cheek hits a pillow, but he holds on to my hips to keep me from collapsing altogether. Never once does he break pace. When I glance back, I see him staring down between us, watching what he’s doing to me, and whatever he’s seeing must send him over the edge, because he pulls out and grips his hard length and comes just like that, with my name on his lips.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Review: Taming The Beast by Heather Grothaus

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: Roderick Cherbon
Heroine: Michaela Fortune
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 01, 2009
Started On: July 29, 2021
Finished On: August 09, 2021

Taming The Beast by Heather Grothaus is a novel that kept popping up in my recommendations list every now and then. Being the fan of anti-heroes that I am, I decided to give this historical romance a go and ended up enjoying this story as predicted.

When the story begins, 29 year old Roderick Cherbon is injured at war, and would like to be left alone in peace to die from his painful injuries. Roderick has always been on the receiving end of his father’s wrath, and it had been his father’s ultimatum that had driven Roderick to travel to the Holy Land to make something of himself or lose his home forever. With no love lost between him and his father, Roderick would rather leave this world than face his father as a failure. Through his slow, painful, and unwanted recovery, he receives the news of the ultimate demise of his father after which the story continues.

It is thus that two years later Roderick returns home to Cherbon as a changed man both on the inside and out. The horrific scars lining his body and face speaks of a war that has left its mark, while on the inside, the wounds of the childhood he endured with no love nor affection makes him an embittered shell of a man. Returning with his friend Hugh and son Leo in tow, it is upon his homecoming Roderick learns that in order to keep his home, he has to get married before his next birthday, and he has just one year to fulfill the condition set by his father.

Michaela Fortune is the woman who harbours the dream of marriage to Lord Alan of Tornfield, Roderick’s cousin who is set to inherit Cherbon if Roderick fails to fulfill the condition of marriage. But when Michaela’s dream is shattered, it is her need for vengeance that at first carries her to Cherbon and offer herself in marriage to Roderick. However, from the moment that she lays eyes on Roderick, all of that starts to change. Where everyone sees nothing beyond the frightful scarring on his face, what Michaela observes is the beauty of his eyes that draws her to him.

Roderick is a distrustful hero as they come, and with good reason. He thwarts and resists Michaela’s efforts at every turn, unable to believe that a woman such as Michaela could be drawn to a “cripple” like himself. With Hugh, Roderick’s best friend in the mix and Roderick’s old nemesis who still haunts Cherbon, it is an interesting cast of secondary characters that adds to making the story a compelling page-turner.

I enjoyed Taming the Beast in many ways. Roderick’s character is one that draws the reader in; you empathize and sympathize with his plight, while at the same time wanting to shake some sense into him so that he could see the fortune that has come to his life in the form of Michaela. But for someone who has known nothing but misery and agony in his life, with little to no love being part of his most formative years, it is only too understandable where he is coming from. If it were contemporary times, Roderick is the kind of character who would undergo therapy his entire lifetime.

Luckily for Roderick, Michaela is the kind of heroine who is as stubborn as they come, and a little bit on the clumsy and “crazy” side enough to want to win the affections of Roderick. Because Michaela sees what the rest cannot – that inside the downtrodden and injured form that is Roderick lies a heart that craves love and a soul that cries for affection and acceptance.

With a little bit of the mystical tossed in, Taming the Beast is the kind of story that has enough substance that makes it for great reading. Recommended for those who love a great historical romance, featuring a hero that is taciturn to boot and a heroine who never ever gives up!

Final Verdict: Taming the Beast is aptly titled; drawing Roderick out of his shell requires all the patience and love that Michaela has to offer – and seeing him give in is the best reward!

Favorite Quotes

Before her bravado could slip away from her, Michaela stood and stepped to stand perpendicular to the Lord of Cherbon. To her surprise—and her fearful excitement—he, too, turned, so that they stood facing each other, little more than a handsbreadth apart. Michaela looked up into his once more darkly shadowed face, and before she could hesitate, she reached up with both hands and pushed the hood back from his head.
He flinched, but Michaela paid him no heed, letting her arms go back slowly to her sides and her gaze rove over his face, his scars, his full lips, his beautiful, dazzling eyes, sating her curiosity as she’d not had chance to since first seeing those green depths. The only sounds in the room were their breaths meeting and swirling together before dashing toward the crackling flames to be washed up the chimney.

“Are you going to kiss me again?” He gave her a dangerous grin, the scar on his cheek going white by his eye like a warning.
But she could not heed it. “I think I shall.” She licked her lips. “Do you mind?”
For one who was so deliberate in his movements, Roderick had taken her into his arms within the span of a blink, and this time, it was he who kissed her. Roughly, wetly, his mouth open and his tongue invading her. Michaela could only cling to the front of his tunic, her head spinning, her heart racing, her breath flown somewhere beyond the keep. The feel of him was intoxicating to the point that she felt she’d been drugged.

Michaela felt her smile to the tips of her ears and she leaned down, placing her mouth near Roderick’s ear. “It will please me very, very much, my lord. Thank you.” She pressed her lips to the high, rough ledge of his cheek. She pulled away, but only slightly, and Roderick turned his face toward her.
He leaned forward and kissed her mouth, softly, his lips barely touching hers, and so Michaela flicked her tongue out to taste him.
In the fraction of a breath, Roderick had released Michaela’s right hand to turn her and pull her over the arm of the chair onto his lap. Her arms snaked around his neck like the wild vines that had once claimed Cherbon, and Roderick kissed her as if he would consume her. His arms cradled her, his hands cupped her shoulder and buttock, and Michaela buried her hands in his hair, holding him to her, claiming him as her own, at last.

“I want you,” she said against his mouth, smashing her lips against his, mumbling her words, nibbling at him, licking him. “Roderick, please…”
His hand left her breast and traveled down to the L of her trunk and legs, where her gown had caught between her thighs. He slid a flat palm into the seam, and when he touched her there, even through the thick wool, Michaela’s whole abdomen clenched.
“Yes,” she sighed. “Roderick, take me to your bed.”
He said nothing, only claimed her mouth again as his fingers snagged a fold of her gown and slid the heavy skirt up, slowly, until it bunched around her hips. His fingers found her, wet and aching, and he touched her again, invaded her, until she was arching her hips and moaning words she could not understand into his mouth. He was answering her, but she could not understand him either.

“I’m here for you,” she whispered in his ear. “For all of you.”
“You’re making a mistake,” he growled back, an animal so weary from his ensnarement that the worst he could do was a frightening sound.
She shook her head. “No. I have made many mistakes before—some I admit were with you. But not this night.”
“I can’t love you. Not like you want me to. I don’t even think I can love Leo.” His voice caught, as if he would weep.
“I want you to love me—and Leo—however you can. That is enough.” Then she kissed him again, more deeply. He still did not respond. She raised her head only slightly, whispering the words into his mouth as the thunder crashed around them. “And until you can, I will love you both enough for all of us.”
This time when she kissed him, he kissed her back.’

In the murky darkness, she could see him shake his head. “This is a mistake, Michaela.”
“No, it isn’t.” She was tired of waiting for him. Reaching behind her toward his right boot, she felt for the cold hilt of his hidden dagger.
Roderick became instantly alarmed as she moved to his feet. “No—stop—”
But she had the blade in hand before he could rise, and with one swift flick of her wrist, she drew the dagger’s sharp edge up the center of the ladder his laces created. Aided by his erection, his breeches pulled apart soundlessly, save for the whoosh of breath that came from the Lord of Cherbon, himself.
Michaela tossed the blade over the edge of the bed and it disappeared into the darkness with a clang.

“I can never be the man you want me to be,” Roderick warned her, each word wracked with pain and shame.
“You already are.” Pulling apart his breeches fully, his manhood sprung free, Michaela threw her leg over Roderick’s hips. She took him in her hand, despite his strangled, “Michaela, wait,” and without giving herself time to be afraid, Michaela sank onto him.
Her cry mingled with Roderick’s—pain and wonder and fear. She settled onto his length with difficulty, but did not relent until she had taken him all. She paused for a moment as the throbbing pain receded and then slowly, she began to ride him, the link around her neck swinging in time to her movements, out over Roderick’s face, making a warped ring of shadow when the lightning flashed.

She felt him grow inside her, heard his groans drawing out, longer and longer, his panting taking his words and tying them into unintelligible knots, and she knew that his time was very near. She was close, too, so close, and so she rode faster, deeper, letting loose her own throaty cries as she felt him in her very core, it seemed.
And then it started for her, an expanding around his length, slowly, infinitely, as if time had stopped, and then in a wink, her whole body, her whole world collapsed in with a crash and she cried out, froze.
Roderick gave a guttural yell and strained his hips upward, driving into her one time on his own, deeply, and his passion, too, erupted.
The link fell dim once more.

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Review: It Must Be Love by Rachel Gibson

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: AVON
Hero: Joseph Andrew Shanahan
Heroine: Gabrielle Breedlove
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 07, 2000
Started On: July 28, 2021
Finished On: July 29, 2021

Needing to read a book that would bring all the feels and then some, I decided to take something out of the backlist of Rachel Gibson’s published works, and found myself reading It Must be Love, bringing together two protagonists who are the very opposite of each other in every single sense.

35 year old Joseph Andrew Shanahan (Joe) is a law enforcement officer who has been shadowing the moves of 28 year old Gabrielle Breedlove for the past couple of days. Fifteen years as a police officer, and Gabrielle is the first person to get the jump on him, which hurts his pride. Gabrielle and her business partner Kevin comes under investigation upon suspicion of using their curio shop to deal in stolen antiques, and Joe remains unconvinced that Gabrielle might be as innocent as she claims to be.

Forced to play boyfriend-girlfriend for Joe to get the evidence he requires means that the situation creates for the kind of moments that makes it hard to turn away from the blistering heat and desire that flares to life between them. Neither Gabrielle nor Joe believes that they are right for each other, but then there is no denying the other half of your soul, is there?

I had such fun reading this novel, and picking this was the right choice at the time. I love the uniqueness that is Ms. Gibson in her books – she brings together the classic alpha male who literally makes you swoon and then some, and it is always an experience to see how the smart-ass heroine brings them to their knees before all is said and done.

Like I said earlier, Joe and Gabrielle are the antithesis of each other, which makes it hard for either of them to see the qualities that actually draws them together. Joe, who has a colorful childhood growing up with four older sisters, is chauvinistic in his way, and wants a woman who is low maintenance, would be a good housewife (after all, he does not like to cook), would pick up after him, and also enjoy fabulous uninhibited sex of the kind that he does.

Meanwhile Gabrielle, who has an unconventional childhood at best traveling across the country with a mother who claimed to have psychic powers after their “summer of awakening”, wants a man who is enlightened and physically appealing – a tough combo to find if ever there was one. Gabrielle would rather chew her arm off than admit to the fact that Joe gets under her skin in a way that makes it impossible for her to deny how much she is affected by everything that is Joe.

However, being forced to engage as a couple means looking beyond their initial impressions and finding common ground, which leads them to give in to the heady desire and strong connection between them. While both Gabrielle and Joe are reluctant in their own ways, Joe has a harder time reconciling with his reaction towards a woman whom he considers to be crazy and not so right in the head.

I loved Joe, his chauvinism and all – I found it adorable the way he fell so helplessly for the woman who drove him stir-crazy in many ways. I loved Gabrielle too; for all her need for an enlightened man, she is no match for the charm and intensity that is Joe in every sense. Yin to her yang, it is Joe that resists towards the end, until he too of course has no choice left, but to surrender. I also had such fun getting acquainted with Gabrielle’s mother, Joe’s family, alongside with the unruly mouthed parrot of Joe’s!

Recommended for fans of Ms. Gibson and romances that features two opposites, whose journey towards their happily ever after is always a delight!

Final Verdict: It is nothing but love that draws together two people at odds with each other; what is fascinating is their journey towards reconciling with that love, which is where Ms. Gibson excels at!

Favorite Quotes

The kiss was tender, almost sweet, and she fought to keep her eyes open, fought to remind herself that the lips brushing hers, as if he really were her lover, belonged to a hard-nosed cop with a black aura. But at that moment, his aura didn’t feel black. It felt red, the sultry hot red of passion, his passion, surrounding them both and urging her to surrender to his persuasive touch.
She lost the fight. Her eyes slid closed and her lips parted. He coaxed her mouth open, and his tongue touched hers, hot and slick and enticing a response. She pressed her mouth against his, deepening the kiss, and gave herself to the sensations surging through her. He smelled good. He tasted better.

Teasing even as he soothed her with his mouth. Her position against the wall arched her back and thrust her breasts into his hard chest. Her nipples drew tight, and when he deepened the kiss, Gabrielle got all squishy inside. Hot liquid pooled low in her abdomen and dragged a moan from deep within her chest. She heard it but barely recognized it as coming from her.
Then she heard something like Joe clearing his throat, but standing within the hypnotic influence of his deep red aura, she wondered how he could clear his throat when his tongue was in her mouth.
“When you get done with the handyman, Gabe, I need you to look over those invoices for that damaged shipment of sushi plates.”

“You don’t believe I’m trigger happy?”
She shook her head. “I don’t believe you’re reckless, or that you’d take someone’s life unless you weren’t given a choice.”
“Maybe I’m as cold-blooded as the papers said. How do you know?”
She answered what she knew to be true in her heart. “Because I know your soul, Joe Shanahan.”
Joe looked into her clear green eyes, and he almost believed she could see inside him and know something he didn’t know with absolute certainty.
She licked her lips, and he watched the tip of her tongue slide to the corner of her mouth. Then she did something that stopped his heart and sent pure lust slamming into his groin. She bent her head and kissed his thigh.
“I know you’re a good man.”

He reached for her and covered her mouth with his. He recognized the taste of her full, sweet lips, as if they were lovers. As if he’d known her forever. He slanted his head to one side, and her mouth opened to him, hot and slick and welcoming. He felt her shudder as his tongue touched hers. Her arms twined around his neck, and she clung to him. The front of her bibbed dress brushed his bare chest, while her hips arched toward him, pressing into his rock-hard erection. Joe grasped her waist, and instead of playing it smart and shoving her away, he ground his pelvis up against her. The pleasure was exquisite and painful. Throbbing agony and ecstasy, and he wanted more from her than a kiss.

He opened his mouth to tell her she had great breasts, but all that came out was a tangle of swear words as he spread the bead of oil across the tip and circled her puckered flesh.
Gabrielle swayed and placed one of her hands on the back of his neck. She pressed her moist lips to his and gently sucked his tongue into her mouth. Joe smeared oil all over soft breasts and smooth belly. He wanted her. He’d never wanted anything like he wanted to give into the aching lust pounding his groin.

“Do you remember the night I walked into your backyard and found you floating in the kiddie pool?”
“Mmm-hmm.”
“I wanted to do this.” He leaned over her and placed his palms beneath her shoulders. He lifted, then nestled his face in her cleavage. He placed soft kisses between her breasts as she ran her hands across his bare shoulders and down his smooth back. She wrapped one leg around his waist and pressed into him. A low groan tumbled deep in his throat as he pressed back, shoving his hard erection against her crotch. Everything in her consciousness focused on him, the pleasure of his touch, and the dull ache between her legs.

“Put your hands behind your head,” she ordered.
Suspicion shone in his eyes, but he did as she asked. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to blow your mind.”
“That’s a bold statement.”
Gabrielle just smiled. She’d taken six months of belly dancing, just enough to know how to roll and undulate real good. She raised her hands high in the air and rotated her hips as she swayed. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the feeling of him touching her deep inside. “You like this?”
“God—d da—mn!”
Her smile grew, and with him buried deep inside, she blew his mind.

He knelt before her, placed her foot on his shoulder, and grasped her behind in his big hand. He combed his finger through her short pubic hair, then tilted her pelvis toward his mouth and kissed her there. She leaned her head back against the shower wall as the tension inside her built tighter and tighter. Then he stood and she wrapped her legs around his waist. His smooth, hot erection slid against her bottom, and she shivered.
“This is my favorite part,” he said, lifting, then lowering her onto his engorged penis, burying himself deep inside. “Touching you where you’re all hot and slick. Where it feels so good. Where you feel so good.”

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Review: Wed By Proxy by Alice Coldbreath

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Brides of Karadok, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Guy Randall
Heroine: Mathilde Martindale
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 07, 2019
Started On: July 24, 2021
Finished On: July 26, 2021

Book 1 in the Brides of Karadok series by Alice Coldbreath turned out to be a great read in many ways. Taking on the theme of a marriage forced upon the main protagonists, Wed By Proxy brings to the forefront a heroine who is daring and innocent at the same time, and a hero who is cynical and world weary in a way that is all too understandable.

24 year old Mathilde Martindale is a heroine who is twice widowed and now married to a third husband, all by proxy, having never experienced marriage in its lived reality. Tired of being kept away like an unwanted pest, Mathilde decides to take matters into her own hands, and with the held of her three friends, she puts on the guise of a boy and travels to her husband’s home, determined to be more than a wife in name only.

When 31 year old Guy Randall is confronted with the woman who claims to be his lawfully wedded wife, at first Guy is not impressed, nor does he want to believe a word that comes out of her mouth. After all, Guy had been forced to sign the papers of his betrothal to the woman who stands before him, and as far as the rumours go, his wife does not want anything to do with him.

But Guy’s resistance is no match for Mathilde, who for all her innocence when it comes to the marriage bed, is aided by a book entitled The Seduction of a Virtuous Knight, and Guy does not know what hits him when she tries to practice the seduction wiles as laid out in the book.

The happiness that Guy finds with Mathilde however is a short-lived one however, unless he is willing to trust his bride and lay his heart on the line – the hardest thing he has ever had to do. But if Mathilde has showed him anything, it is that courage can overcome one’s deepest fears and lay open life’s endless possibilities at your feet.

I enjoyed Wed By Proxy, which has all the classic elements that is synonymous with stories from Ms. Coldbreath. The heroine who has led a sheltered life up to the point, who nevertheless amazes you with her spunk and ingenuity. The hero who is the perfect package; cynical, world weary, and a tad dangerous – but falls like a ton of bricks for the woman who lays siege to his heart.

I enjoyed how Guy put up a token of resistance to ward his wife off, but alas, her charms proved to be too much for Guy, and succumb he does, in the most beautiful fashion. The touch of angst towards the latter half of the story increased my appreciation. After all, a love story without angst in the mix is just never right!

Recommended for those who adore historical romances filled with mirth, warmth, and love!

Final Verdict: Wed by Proxy is the kind of story you read on a cold night, cozied up in bed. It is the kind of story that heats you up from the inside and leaves you warm in the afterglow!

Favorite Quotes

“Guy,” she whispered. “Please.”
“Anything,” he found himself answering shakily.
“Please don’t stop.”
He swore filthily, and she didn’t even murmur a reproof. Just stared at his lips in unspoken invitation.
“I don’t know how long I can do this,” he confessed, his voice raw. Already without conscious thought, his hands were sliding down around her sweet little rounded backside. He wasn’t good at sweet.

“Just a while longer,” she pleaded, and unable to resist, he crushed his lips to hers. Already, gentle is going out of the window, he thought with a regretful pang. She moaned against his mouth, but didn’t part her lips. Gods, he wished she would. He had thought only moments ago he would pass out from the sweetness of her lips alone, but now he wanted a taste of that mouth. Like the filthy beast he was, he drew his tongue along the seam of her lips and felt her gasp right the way through his body. Her open-mouthed surprise was too good an opportunity to miss. His tongue sought out hers, and when he found it, the kiss exploded. Gods, this was all that mattered.
This was his. He reveled in the sensation, his body reeling at the pleasure that flooded him.

Seizing her hips, he dragged her across his lap, to where such movements would maximize his pleasure. She stilled a moment, and drew back her head, her eyes very wide. They regarded each other, panting hard.
“Is that—?” she ventured. Words seemed to fail her.
He cleared his throat. “Should we stop?”
Her answer was a swift cry, “No!”
“Mathilde—” But she forestalled his words by grabbing one of his hands between hers and lifting it with great daring to her bosom. He sat very still as she placed his large paw over the rapid rise and fall of her breasts. Now he lost the ability of speech, as he closed his hard, callused hand upon the soft swell of flesh there. “My gods,” he whispered.

“Guy?”
This hadn’t happened in The Seduction of a Virtuous Knight, so she wasn’t prepared for any of this. Maybe she should have read on further? She glanced down and found her exposed breasts heaving, her dress hanging around her waist in tatters. Oh my gods! In trepidation, she sought to meet Guy’s gaze, but he was sat back in his chair, devouring her splayed figure with his eyes, his expression ablaze.
“I’m going to consume you, utterly,” he rumbled with intent.

Torment. That was what he had called her touch, and she understood now, as her back arched, and her fingers twisted in his dark hair, pulling and clasping, but never deterring him from his purpose. But it seemed her own torment was not to be withstood. It built and built and suddenly she went hurtling right over the edge with a startled yell. The next thing she knew, she was being dragged off the table, back into Guy’s lap. More specifically, onto his — what had he called it? His cock.

One of her arms was tight around his neck. Her fingers tangled in the hair at his nape. She was whimpering into his mouth, and the world just did not exist for him outside of the hot, wet slide of their kiss. The soft swell of her cleavage gently rubbing against his chest was not enough. He managed to insert one hand between them, and grabbed Mathilde’s already plunging neckline, dragging it down until he could feel those pink little nipples against his chest. Mathilde gasped, but even his lust-addled mind could tell it was with pleasure and not shock.
“Yes, Guy,” she moaned, dragging her hard nipples through his chest hair. This was what she had wanted? Nice was not a strong enough word for it.

“If you go…” she started direly.
“Yes?” he said setting the candle down with a thud and sitting down on the bed. “Let’s hear it,” he said. As if unable to stop himself, he grabbed her upper arms, yanking her forward so she was practically in his lap. “If I go? What will you do?”
“Don’t bother looking for me on your return, that’s all,” said Mathilde. “For I won’t be here.”
“You’d leave me? You’d dare to…” he broke off his words as she nodded at him mutinously. He stared at her a moment. “Would you indeed?“ he said grimly, and suddenly his mouth was on hers in a punishing kiss, that gave no quarter.
Mathilde drew back her hand to push him away, but at that instance, he slid one hand into her hair and groaned roughly against her mouth. She melted. Gods, she had missed this so much. The physical connection with him.

“This won’t be gentle,” he growled in her ear. “I’m too far gone for that consideration right now.”
“I don’t care,” Mathilde answered recklessly. His hands were at his crotch, unfastening the ties there, shoving down his breeches. Mathilde sobbed with relief when he slid between her thighs. She clasped him to her.
“Yes, Guy!” she urged him on.
He swore again, and if she wasn’t so ready for him already, the way he shoved inside her would have been brutal. As it was, they both immediately stilled. “Mathilde?”
“All’s well,” she panted, grasping his shoulders. “Hurry!”
“Gods,” he whispered, and started moving. She could feel him struggle to loosen his hold on her hip and shoulder, to pull his powerful strokes, but he was too far gone.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo

Review: Her Baseborn Bridegroom by Alice Coldbreath

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Vawdrey Brothers, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Mason Vawdrey
Heroine: Linnet Cadwallader
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 22, 2017
Started On: June 20, 2021
Finished On: June 24, 2021

The first book in the Vawdrey Brothers series, Her Baseborn Bridegroom by Alice Coldbreath was such a fun book to read. Riding the high of my first novel from Ms. Coldbreath, I wanted to delve into one more book from hers, just to experience the sheer magic of a historical romance done right, all over again.

The story begins with 24 year old Linnet Cadwallader getting ready for her marriage, arranged for her by her uncle. When the puppet groom that had been arranged fails to turn up, and in his place comes his baseborn brother, Sir Mason Vawdrey, things take a rather interesting turn. Taking matters into her own hands out of sheer desperation, Linnet asks Mason to marry her to which Mason agrees.

From the start, Mason turns her life upside down by seeing the extent to which Linnet’s guardians controlled her life in order to be the recipients of the fortune that is in her name. Linnet’s uncle and aunt basically makes her a captive in her own home, using the excuse that she was too sickly to venture out and do more. All of that changes with Mason, as from the start, he allows her the liberty and freedom to be the mistress of her own home. I thoroughly applauded the fact that this particular arc was not dragged on for an eternity before being properly dealt with.

As their married life begins, both Linnet and Mason are in for surprises, with Linnet learning that she too shares the passionate nature of her husband’s when it comes to the marriage bed. For Mason, it is discovering that when it comes to his wife, his possessiveness for the very first time extends to a significant other, something that he has pretty much avoided all his life up till Linnet that shakes him up.

The best thing about this story was Linnet; she was amazing in every sense. Sheltered pretty much all her life, taught to think that her freckles were an affliction, and robbed of her right to make decisions for herself, the way she sparkles and shines is what made the story. The bravery she shows when Mason turns up and tells her what she has been sort of expecting to happen won big points from me. It is that bravery that lands her with Mason, who would most likely have walked away if otherwise. Linnet has a way of taking matters into her own hands – case in point, when she wants to gain her stamina and to the point where she got a “salve” for bigger boobs (you will have to read the book to enjoy the mirth and sensuality on that score).

Mason was a darling too! Sexy, broody, commanding, and most of all possessive of his bride in a way that soothes Linnet’s ravaged soul, I thoroughly enjoyed the way he kept rationalizing away his developing feelings for Linnet, trying to evade the possibility that he was head over heels in love.

Ms. Coldbreath has a way of developing the story line that shows to readers how the physical and emotional intimacy develops between main protagonists, who for all intents and purposes are complete opposites of each other. I would say that Her Baseborn Bridegroom delivered well on that score!

Recommended for fans of beautifully spun historical romances. Ms. Coldbreath is a gem of a find!

Final Verdict: Her Baseborn Bridegroom is the kind of novel that has you screaming with laughter one minute and melting from the heat next; Ms. Coldbreath definitely knows what she is doing!

Favorite Quotes

“Be calm wife,” he breathed against her temple, and she felt his mouth brush against her.
She puffed out her breath and dragged in a deep breath. “If . . . if you just give me a moment to accustom myself . . . ” she asked beseechingly. “I promise I’ll do everything you say.”
“Yes,” he agreed in a low, rough voice. “You will,” and in an unhurried move, he dragged his hand down until it lay between her breasts. Then his mouth was on her throat, and Linnet gasped when she felt his tongue lick her there. He shifted again, until his mouth was next to her ear. “Sweet,” he whispered. “You taste very, very sweet Linnet.”

“You please me, wife,” he said gruffly and lowered his mouth to hers where he kissed her entirely differently from how he had kissed her in the chapel. Their kiss there had been chaste and close-lipped. Now his mouth moved over hers in an intimate exploration. His tongue teased and prodded and invaded her mouth in a wet, hot slide that left her gasping and clinging to him, bewildered and reeling. And then his fingers were performing the same dance between her legs, petting and stroking and making her gasp into his mouth both in dismay and in shocked delight.

“I think I’ve been pretty considerate this last month,” he said and reached out to palm one of her small breasts. Linnet gasped. “The candles by the bed,” she choked out.
“I want to see what I’m doing.”
“But last time—”
“Last time I was feeling considerate. Tonight I’m not.”
Linnet blinked at him. Was he annoyed? She could almost swear his eyes were glowing. His other hand yanked the covers down, exposing her pale naked body to his roving gaze. Linnet cringed, but when her eyes flew to his he had a strange expression on his face that she didn’t quite recognize. It wasn’t disappointment, she realized with relief. No, not disappointment. It was almost . . . proprietary?

“Hmm, such sweet, sensitive little breasts,” he said huskily. “Do you like that?”
She bit her lip and squeezed her legs together, trying to shift against the pillows. “I—I’m not really sure . . . ” she said breathlessly.
At her slight movement, his other hand glided down, down until his fingers slid right into her curls and then the core of her, making her cry out in surprise.
He gave an approving growl. “It seems like you do, Linnet.”
She tipped her head back to look at him as his finger slid up inside her. Her cheeks felt scorched. She held her breath.
“Nice and wet for me,” he said thickly. “When you’re in my bed, that’s what I expect. You, naked and wet. Not to hear you talking about other men.”

“Linnet,” he gasped and thrust into her.
“It doesn’t hurt,” she murmured and felt his face turn into her neck.
He planted his palm at her side, lifting most of his weight off her and onto his arms.
“That’s good,” he said richly and thrust again, harder this time. “That means,” he groaned loudly. “I don’t have to hold back this time.”

“Next time,” he said. “You’ll find release when I’m inside you.”
Linnet’s head jerked back, but his eyes had already drifted shut. She stared at him in confusion, mulling over his words from earlier. “You can’t mean for me to sleep naked every night, surely?” she asked drowsily before tucking her head back into his chest.
“I do,” he answered. “And you will.”

He heard her gasp again and then her hands were travelling restlessly over his back. “Please Mason,” she whispered. “I want you to move like last time.”
He squeezed his eyes shut, luxuriating in the feel of her all around him, clasping him tight. “I will,” he promised groaning. “Just give me a minute. You feel so good, Linnet.”
“So do you,” she whispered back.
He wanted to be gentle and considerate, but he knew he wasn’t going to be. Then he remembered he hadn’t been last time. I want you to move like last time, she’d said. His eyes snapped open to look at her, but it was too dark to catch her expression. “Like last time?” he echoed, not quite believing his own ears. He’d been angry last time. Jealous, his conscience corrected him. He’d been a boorish lout. Loud and energetic. He hadn’t held back.
Her hands slid down his ribs to grip his hips, sparking his lust even further. “Yes,” she said huskily. “Please, Mason.”

“Um . . . ” she made no move to lie back. He stared at her. Was she trying to test his goddamn limits? He wondered incredulously.
“What?” he asked unable to help himself. What the hell did she want from him now?
“Well, for maximum efficacy,” she mumbled almost incoherently, “You have to . . . ”
He craned his ears to catch her words. “What was that?” he asked sharply.
“ . . . Lick it off,” she whispered, shamefaced.
He stared as she turned rosy pink all the way up her neck to the tips of her ears. There was a rushing sound in his ears and the next thing he knew he had yanked her forward into his lap so she straddled his steely erection.

“Ohhhhh,” she whimpered, arching her back and pressing even more firmly into his embrace, his hungry mouth, his rock-hard cock. “Oh, Mason!”
Her voice was so breathy, like a siren. His blood pounded in his head with the need to possess, to take from her sweetness.
“Was this what you wanted?” he asked her in a low growl, panting against the delicate swell of her bosom.
“Yes,” she answered dreamily without a trace of guile, her hands still running through his hair.

He caught his breath at the sight of her: naked, pale, and scattered in golden freckles. Beautiful. All mine. He shook his head again, his thoughts confusing him. It seemed to him now that he could barely remember a time that he had not been attracted to her. He tipped her onto her back and covered her with his body.
“Kiss me, Linnet,” he said huskily as he took her mouth. Gods, she felt so good. He groaned as he felt her palms move down his sides to his hips. “Touch me some more,” he whispered against her jaw.

“Husband?”
For some twisted reason, he felt pure pleasure at being addressed thus whilst deep inside her.
“Wife,” he whispered huskily, lowering his brow until their foreheads touched.
For one moment, they both stared into each other’s eyes, hovering on the brink of bliss together, and then he felt her tip over the edge, her cunny tightening and convulsing around him until with a shout he found himself spilling inside her. Holy hells. He dropped his face into her neck and concentrated on keeping the top of his head intact. He felt Linnet’s knees squeeze into his still-moving hips as she gasped into his shoulder.

He shuddered. “Linnet!” A sharp groan. “Holy hells!”
She licked and licked all around the top and down the sturdy shaft until he was shaking and she was running out of ideas.
“Just . . . Stop,” he gasped.
“Stop?” When she tried to lift her head to look at him his hands tightened on her hair holding her in place.
He swore, low and dirty.
No, that couldn’t be right, thought Linnet, narrowing her eyes. When he did it to her he took her all the way to rapture.
“Just—oh fuck, put me in your mouth,” he gritted out.

“Just how close are you, my leopardess?” he whispered and rubbed the pad of his thumb against her.
Linnet tensed and then cried out as her pleasure burst forth and engulfed her. She hung on for dear life as Mason hammered into her with renewed vigor, right the way through her own blissful tremors until, at last, he shouted his own release, pressing his hips forward and crushing her between his big hard body and the door as he spent himself inside her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo

Review: The Doctor by Nikki Sloane

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Nashville Neighborhood, #1
Publisher: Shady Creek Publishing
Hero: Greg Lowe
Heroine: Cassidy Shepard
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: August 29, 2018
Started On: June 13, 2021
Finished On: June 14, 2021

The Doctor by Nikki Sloane, debut book in the Nashville Neighborhood series is my very first read from the author, giving me a taste of her titillating writing style which drew me in from the start.

19 year old Cassidy Shepard has been dating her boyfriend Preston Lowe for three years, with their senior class having even voted them “Most Likely to Marry Their High School Sweetheart”. However, Cassidy starts to feel a change in how Preston sees her and treats her, and the final straw comes as both of them are back home for the holidays and Preston’s callous attitude just becomes all too much.

Usher in Greg Lowe, none other than her ex-boyfriend’s father, the savior in every form when it comes to Cassidy’s inner turmoil over the breakup. Greg is a trauma surgeon working long hours, who is mostly never around and looks younger than he is. A simple touch from Greg offered as comfort, changes the dynamics between the two and lets Cassidy know that the heat that she feels with his touch is not just one-sided.

Thus starts the sexiest and at times raunchiest affair that I have come across in a book of late, which definitely kept the pages turning. Though initially when the transition from father of the ex-boyfriend to the new lover happened just like that, I was a trifle bit apprehensive that the story line would not work. But somehow, when all was said and done, Ms. Sloane did make it work.

At some point in the story, I was of the mind that every woman should have a Dr. Lowe teach them or show them the wonders of sex and lovemaking as it should be, by making their partner feel cherished, desired, and coveted all at the same time. But alas, real life does not offer Dr. Lowes’ in abundance.

Since the story is mainly told from the first person point of view (Cassidy’s), the way Greg feels is a bit hard to decipher, except of course that when it comes to the kink, of which he has a lot up his sleeve. The doctor definitely knows his way around the bedroom and then some, if you ask me. But through the conversations that takes place on the side, there emerges the picture of the man that Greg is deep inside; sensitive to the needs of his son to a point where he had neglected living a life of his choosing.

While Cassidy (as expected), acted bratty at certain points through the story, Greg seemed to take those things in stride, which I guess is love in its truest form? You accept the person as they are because life without them would just not be worth the heartache and loneliness.

Fabulously hot sex (explains the number of quotes with this review), with just enough of a plot line to keep the emotions engaged. Recommended for those who are looking for their next smutty read. This one delivers in spades and Ms. Sloane definitely deserves the title of Queen of Smut!

Final Verdict: Sexy, commanding, thoughtful, and sensual describes Dr. Lowe; every woman deserves one, in bed and out of it!

Favorite Quotes

Warning sirens blared in my mind, but it was useless. His gentle, hesitant kiss roared loudly through my body, drumming back any other sound. His soft lips moved against mine, cautious and testing, and I answered back. Even more, I encouraged. I opened my mouth to welcome his seeking tongue.
He drew in a sharp breath through his nose as our reckless kiss deepened, but it didn’t stop his exploration of my mouth. Behind my back, his palm urged me into him, and his grip on my face firmed. His lush tongue dipped past my lips, slid against mine, causing goosebumps to burst down my legs.
I couldn’t think, breathe, or even move as he kissed me, because I worried I’d break the spell.

I gripped the edge of the counter and moaned as he stirred careful circles over my clit. The tiniest touch from him caused me to flinch and shiver. Ecstasy rocketed up and down my spine like lightning. His mouth was pressed against the side of my neck, and my hair fluttered with his rapid, uneven breathing.
Like last time, I was both feverishly hot and frigid cold. My nipples tightened and protruded through my unlined bra and tank top, as if wanting to be closer to him. It sent me into chaos. The way his skillful fingers stroked and touched me, I was going to melt into a puddle.

Could he read my thoughts through my eyes? “If I kiss you,” he said, “that’s it. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop.”
I exhaled softly and stared at his lips. I was here, ready. Desperate. “Then, kiss me.”
He moved fast, sealing his mouth over mine and stealing all the air from the room.
The kiss was explosive. Heat flared from where his lips met mine, spreading outward like wildfire, engulfing me. I cased his neck with my hands, pretending to steady him when I was really stabilizing myself. Everything went weak inside me. My bones turned to jelly.

“Fuck.” He whispered it as he began to drag the panties down and nuzzled his face into the cradle of my lap.
“Oh my God.” I gripped his broad shoulders. His lips followed the descent of my underwear, kissing each new spot of my flesh he revealed.
I was going to explode. Burst into a million pieces and flutter to the ground like burnt confetti. His mouth inched along the top of my slit, and something like panic gurgled in my system. I wasn’t supposed to do this, but dear God, how I craved the slippery slide of his tongue, desperate for him to go lower.

I clutched at the comforter beneath my body—like having a physical handle on something would help. The sensation was too intense. I wanted to control it, but I’d have better luck holding back the waves of the ocean. He had his mouth on me, and part of him was inside my body.
Claiming me. It made me want more. I shouldn’t, but I wanted all of him.
This thought was my undoing.
“Shit,” I groaned, locking up as the orgasm surged. Heat flooded through my veins, searing my nerves. I fell into a million pieces while pleasure roared up and down my body, leaving me cold and flushed as it subsided.

He was right at my entrance and began to push, easing inside. I locked my legs around him so tightly, his hipbones dug into the insides of my thighs. Greg’s eyes were as dark as coffee, and the color deepened as he advanced. He watched intently, studying every breath I swallowed as he claimed me.
Oh, shit, the uncomfortable stretch felt good. A delicious shiver tore through my body. I reached up a hand to cup the side of his face and held on to him, even as my lips rounded into a silent moan.
“Fuck,” he uttered so quietly, it was a ghost of a word.

I arched off the mattress, pushing myself into his hands, wriggling against his hips beating against mine. Gone was the unsure girl I’d been before. Beneath Greg, the sexual woman I’d always wanted to be came alive.
He looked stunning as the fading light from outside played across his chest, his expression intense and focused. I didn’t bother holding back the whimpers and sounds of enjoyment, and he didn’t either. He grunted and sighed as he rutted into me, both taking and giving pleasure.

I was slick between my legs, and faint sweat clung to my skin. It was the same for him. It beaded at his forehead and glossed his face. We looked so good together. I tightened my hold on the smooth post of dark wood, bracing myself so hard, my muscles strained.
My pulse thundered as he slipped one hand down, his fingertips searching my slit. He strummed there, making me gasp.
“Shit,” I cried out, arching back so my head rested on his collarbone. Even with my head tipped back, I watched the mirror through my half-lidded eyes. How could I not? His powerful body behind mine, fucking me into oblivion, was a sight to behold. I’d never forget it as long as I lived.

“You want to hear about my fantasies, Cassidy? Because there are a lot, and they are very, very bad.”
Just like me.
I nearly said it out loud, but I’d turned to liquid under his mouth. I couldn’t catch my breath as I swallowed a gulp, so I nodded enthusiastically. “Tell me. I bet I want to do them all.”
He made a sound like I’d stroked a hand over his erection, even though I hadn’t yet, and his face took a dark, sexual cast. It was primal and gorgeous.
Greg’s mouth slammed into mine, his tongue pushing past my lips and invading. This kiss wasn’t like the others. It was blistering, and punishing, and rewarding. He shoved a hand up my shirt and gripped my bra-covered breast, all while his mouth fucked mine.

“Show me,” he commanded again. “You put on that dress, so I’m not the only one with bad thoughts.”
The wickedness of his order had me trembling against the dresser, and the brass pulls on the drawers rattled quietly. I stared at the glide of his hand over himself, each pass making him harder and bigger. A dull ache inside me burned, and I grew hot and slick between my legs.
The dress was supposed to make me feel powerful, yet I was powerless to stop the sigh from seeping from my lips, or the way my hands clawed at my skirt, hitching it upward.

“What happens to bad girls, Cassidy?”
I froze. I hadn’t realized we were playing a game, and now it was clear it was my turn. My move. I could answer any way I wanted. Tell him bad girls got sent home, or put in time-out . . . or fucked.
I balled the sheets into my fists, closed my eyes, and pressed my cheek to the bed. Hopefully he wanted the answer I was going to give.
“They get punished,” I breathed.
It was immediate. There was a whoosh of air, and the smack of skin registered before the sensation of his spanking did. The sting radiated up my backside, rippling outward. I bit down on my bottom lip. No one had ever hit me before. Not Preston, not my mom, and certainly not the father I’d never met.
“You deserved that,” Greg said in a seductive tone, “didn’t you?”
“Yes,” I panted.

And then he was there, nudging. The tip of his hard dick pushed and intruded, one delicious inch at a time.
“Oh, Jesus. Oh, God,” I babbled through my short gasps of breath. “Yes, that’s it.”
His sigh was heavy with satisfaction, and I felt it mirrored inside me. He slipped deeper as his hands grasped my waist and pulled me back onto him. All the way until his pelvis was pressed flat against my ass, and he was so hard inside me I couldn’t see straight.
We stayed motionless, me bent over the bed and him standing behind, just breathing and enjoying the way it felt. Fuck, it felt so good. He throbbed inside me, and my body squeezed in reply. And even though we weren’t moving, blood thundered through my veins. My pulse sped along, banging loudly in my ears.

“You like that?” he asked darkly.
“Yeah.”
He did it again.
And again. His hold on my hair began to ache, but I said nothing. As his tempo picked up, his grasp on my arm tightened, drawing me further back toward him so my spine was shaped like a U. He pounded into me, our bodies slapping together with a punishing, angry rhythm, and it was sexy. I listened to the sound of us fucking and grew wetter and hotter.
“Fuck, your pussy is insane.”

My whimpers of enjoyment swelled and grew frantic. Tingles raced up and down my legs. Every inch of my skin felt alive. The slap of his body against mine hit all the right spots, inside and out. My mind focused in on a single need, the desperate release of tension.
“Oh,” I gasped.
“Uh huh,” he encouraged. “I’m gonna come. You’re going to make me fucking come, Cassidy.”

Greg leaned forward, set his forehead against mine, and watched me intently as he tugged at the knot behind my neck. Tension went out of the strings. He caught one and used it to peel the wet cup away from my breast, exposing my already-erect nipple to the night air.
His arms wrapped behind my back, causing me to arch upward, and I stared at the stars in the sky above us as his mouth closed on my breast. He licked, and sucked, and bit softly at me, and I made all the quiet cries of pleasure he’d told me he loved hearing. I couldn’t stop myself, even if I had wanted to. The empty ache between my legs was constant and throbbing.

He’d untied my bikini top slowly, but now he attacked the knots at my hips, yanking them open. I gasped as he jerked the fabric away, tossed it into a heap, and nuzzled his face between my legs. The rough, coarse ends of his beard brushed against my inner thighs. I clenched a hand on the back of his head, holding on as his tongue probed the most intimate part of me.
His kiss was electric. It jolted me with a shock, and I cried out on every long, deliberate lick he delivered. I moaned as he fluttered and massaged the tip of his tongue against my clit. Sparks shot across my skin, making me convulse. Greg wrapped a hand around each of my thighs and pushed them back toward me, opening me further to him.
The pleasure was intense. Like nothing I’d ever felt.

“This is my fantasy,” he said. He rubbed the tip of his cock on my slit, making me squirm and shift. I needed him inside me. Couldn’t he see how desperate I was? His gaze moved along my body until it connected with mine. “My fantasy,” he continued, “every day since I saw you out here with him.”
My mouth dropped open in surprise then rounded into a silent moan as he pushed himself into me. It felt like he was everywhere. Inside my body, inside my mind, inside the deepest recesses I didn’t allow myself to go. It couldn’t be his fantasy—because it was mine. I tried to tell him, but his first thrust was so powerful, all I could do was grab the cushion beneath us and hang on.
“I was jealous. So unbelievably jealous.” Greg widened his knees, which were tucked under my spread legs, and pumped his hips a second time. I recoiled with pleasure, and a victorious look lit up his eyes. “Watching him get to fuck you, when I wanted it to be me. I wanted it to be like this.”
Oh. My. God.
I was a stick of dynamite, and his confession cut the fuse in half. One spark and I was done for.

“I wanted it to be you,” I said in a blur. I hadn’t even admitted it to myself, and now here I was, saying it out loud. “After I saw you—” How far should I go with this? Should I tell him all of it? “I closed my eyes and imagined I was with you.”
“Oh, fuck,” he said and descended upon me.
The intensity of our movements went wild. Finding out our dark appetites matched each other was liberating, and we reveled in it. His rhythm changed from seduction and passion, and crossed into a territory that was more primal.

“You’re flushed. Breathing hard.” He seized my wrist, pressed his index finger to my pulse point, and peered down at his watch, counting the seconds. “Your pulse is elevated.”
I had no idea my wrist was an erogenous zone, but in Greg’s hands, every inch of my skin felt that way. I swallowed a breath. “I’m having a reaction to something.”
God, his expression was corrupt and victorious as he walked me backward toward a wall. He feigned concern. “Any idea what’s causing it?”
He wasn’t playing fair, but I liked it. “No . . . Doctor.”
The second the words left my mouth, we burst into flames. His lips slammed against mine at the same instant my back hit the wall. His hands were on my waist, then under my shirt, sliding over my belly and skimming upward. I clenched the lapels of his coat as our tongues tangled with each other, battling for control. He won, of course.

“I want you to take off your clothes, get into my bed, and make yourself come.”
I gasped, but he wasn’t finished.
“You,” he said, “playing with yourself in my bed? Fuck.” He smoothed a hand down his leg, straightening the swell that threatened. “That’s my fantasy. I want you rolling around in my sheets, making them smell like you. Make that whole room smell like sex by the time I get home.”
My mouth hung open, and then I closed it with an audible snap.

I jammed my hand in between my body and the bed, fumbling toward his expert fingers to slow him down and control the pace, but I was much too late. My climax hit me like a gunshot and ricocheted through my body, burning a thousand degrees. A desperate cry burst from my lips as pleasure flooded my core. It was followed by spiderwebbing tendrils of satisfaction, sweeping along my limbs as I convulsed beneath the crush of his strong body.
“Yes,” he murmured. “Yes.”
And then the muscles in his chest went rigid. His body locked up for a half-second and began to shudder in mindless jerks. I could feel every throb of him as he spurted his orgasm, wave after wave. It was intense and overwhelming.
I went hazy in the aftermath.

“I’m not going to touch you.” He declared it loudly, his voice ringing in the cavernous space, traveling up to the balcony of the second floor.
Anxiety ratcheted inside me. “What?”
“I’ve spent the last year wanting you, but I wasn’t able to touch. Tonight, you’re going to see what that’s like.” His gaze drilled deep down into me. “You’re going to watch what you do to me.”
“I don’t understand,” I sputtered, shifting on my heels as I stood before him, only an arm’s length away.
“You know how many times I imagined you coming to me? How badly I wanted you to seduce me?” He rolled his shoulders back in the chair and widened his legs, getting comfortable in his seat. “That’s my ultimate fantasy, Cassidy.”
Oh. My. God. My chest tightened. “You want me to seduce you?”
The smile that curled across his lips was like the devil’s, and it was fucking hot.

Since I understood the game now, I went in for the kill. I closed the space between us, threaded a hand through his thick hair, and lifted my leg, pulling his lips to where my body was hot and slick. His eyes went wide and then closed, happy to fulfill my request.
I hooked one leg over his shoulder.
My knee threatened to buckle at the first swipe of his tongue, and the grunt he gave was erotic. I held my tenuous balance as he stroked and massaged my clit with his velvet tongue, giving me the most intimate of kisses. The scene played out before me. His head was right beside the black band at the top of my thigh-high stocking, his mouth moving over my bare, pink skin.

The bra slid away from my body, releasing my breasts, and I dropped it delicately on the floor. It cost more than my last paycheck, after all. Greg tipped his forehead toward me, letting it rest against my collarbone, and I arched instinctively into him. The whiskers of his beard pressed in the valley between my breasts, and—good God—it felt so good when I moved, rubbing my heavy, tingling skin against his face.
He sighed, and the beautiful sound reverberated through my core. “Fuck,” he said, long and low.
Between my parted legs, I felt the swell of his hardening dick, and I swiveled on him, grinding against what I wanted inside me. The chair beneath us creaked, but not from my movement—it was his tight grip on the wood.

My moans and whimpers swelled as the heat inside my core surged. I writhed on him, casting my head back as I jerked his face into me, yanking on his suitcoat. I crushed his head to my heaving chest, undulating like a girl possessed, and shivered as his mouth locked around one of my nipples.
“Oh, God, yes,” I cried.
The stream of words came from him rapid-fire. “That’s it, fuck me.”
His hands suddenly moved. One gripped my thigh, and the other slid onto the small of my back. His palm and fingers pressed into me so hard, my bare skin dented around it. He pushed and pulled, urging me to ride him faster.
“Come on me.” His words were law—no alternative. And as the orgasm dug its hooks in, pulling me upward, he sensed it. “Fucking yes.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books | AbeBooks | BookDepo

Review: Mistress for a Weekend by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Blake MacLeod
Heroine: Eleanor Lang
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 29, 2006
Started On: May 19, 2021
Finished On: May 24, 2021

Mistress for a Weekend by Susan Napier is one of those few books that I have left over from the author’s backlist of books which I have not read previously. Ms. Napier is a dying breed when it comes to romance authors. Even with books that did not turn out to be high in terms of rating, I have enjoyed the journey the main protagonists take towards their happily ever after, and I feel sad knowing that Ms. Napier stopped writing a couple of years ago for whichever reasons.

25 year old Eleanor Lang (Nora) is on the hunt for the most dangerous man in the room that she can find. Betrayed by the man that she has been with for the past five years, having been labeled as a bore, someone who lacks initiative in the bed and out of it, Nora is determined to forget all of that and move on as she sets eyes on 33 year old Blake MacLeod.

Blake is a business tycoon, who normally prefers sophisticated women that might challenge him in bed, but never out of it. That is how he prefers it, and it shocks him when his body reacts in a most primitive fashion when it comes to the woman who makes eye contact with him in a way that speaks volumes.

Needless to say, the one night stand is more than either Nora or Blake bargained for, a night that ends in a misunderstanding which makes Blake weary of all that is Nora and what she presents. Keeping Nora at his side until she gives up the information that he cannot possibly risk being leaked out, tests his self-control to its very limits, given how much he desires to possess Nora at all levels.

Blake was a delicious hero who unleashes his sexual magnetism in a way that leaves, not just Nora, wanting. I loved Blake and all that he was in the story. One might think that he would be a typical brooding alpha, but he is charming and also ruthless on a level that just adds to his appeal. Finding out his roots and where he comes from just adds to his appeal.

With Ms. Napier’s books, you never know what you will get. That is one of the main reasons why I remain a steadfast fan of her books even now. What may start out as a conventional romance is never just that. Ms. Napier always manages to advocate for equal rights, shedding light on the sexism of the workplace and more, without sounding preachy about it. That is where a lot of authors fail today – as if the author is up on a podium preaching to the lesser intellects on what is right and wrong.

Recommended for those who love a good category romance. Ms. Napier’s books is a wonderful place to indulge in!

Final Verdict: Susan Napier always manages to surprise readers with delicious twists and turns in her stories and Mistress for a Weekend is no exception to that rule!

Favorite Quotes

Instead of impatiently snapping at her to pull herself together, as Ryan had done whenever she had revealed her weakness, he firmed his grip, his voice quiet, slow and forceful. ‘Yes, you can. Focus on me. Concentrate. Breathe deeply and think of something else, something you want more than anything—’
‘Like what?’ she choked despairingly, her slender body beginning to ripple with chills, the blood draining from her extremities to warm her icy core.
His eyes fell to her mouth and blazed with a fierce determination. ‘Like this…’
He bent his head, blotting out the world, his mouth crushing down on her cold lips, sealing in her ragged breath, invading her with his masculine heat and iron will sheathed in a wet velvet tongue.

She squirmed to get closer, her chills turned to a raging fever, burning away her inhibitions, her awareness of time and place. She groaned as she felt him subtly pull back from the kiss, but it was only to allow her to free her arms. Her evening bag plopped unnoticed on top of her umbrella as her hands slid eagerly up under the back of his jacket, fingers clawing at the soft cotton of his shirt, her short-trimmed nails biting into his hot skin through the thin fabric.
His muscles tensed and he growled a warning deep in his throat, the sound of a hungry male predator staking claim over his captive prey.

His expression was a dark mask of lustful intent, the skin drawn tight across his bones emphasising the intimidating harshness of his face. His eyes burned in their deep sockets, the coal-black shadow on his pugnacious jaw making him look uncompromisingly tough, his slashing widow’s peak adding a faintly satanic air to his smouldering regard. He looked primed and ready to take her, body and soul.
Nora took an uncertain step back. His nostrils flared as if he scented her sudden doubt, and then he was reaching for her, gathering her up and driving her back until her legs bumped against the side of the desk. In the same forceful motion his mouth was swooping down on hers, drinking in her shocked gasp as she threw up her hands and they came into contact with the hot skin of his chest, her fingers automatically curling into the soft thicket of dark hair, hanging on for dear life as he deepened his plundering kiss.

‘Wait—’ she panted, jerking violently as she felt the brush of his fingers against the thin fabric which hid the creamy heart of her desire, almost fainting at the gush of pleasure released by the brief contact.
‘I can’t—’ His prickly jaw rasped across her skin, creating a stinging trail of sweet pain as he ate his way down to her throbbing nipple. He suckled hotly, pushing up his knee until she was astride his leg. ‘I need this too much…and so do you,’ he growled roughly. She felt his arm tighten around her waist, dragging her weight down against his contracting muscles, setting up a friction that turned the delicious pressure between her legs into an electrifying thrill. ‘Come on, baby—ride me,’ he invited hoarsely, rocking her against his powerful thigh until she adopted his urgent rhythm.

She smiled weakly. Even if she had gained his sympathy, his trust was obviously not so easily obtained.
‘Not that I can think of. I just thought—well—you might feel that I’d insulted your manhood…uh, the frail male ego and all that—’
He stood, towering over her. ‘My ego is very healthy, thank you…particularly after last night. There’s nothing more flattering for a man than to watch a woman come helplessly apart in his arms,’ he mused in that dark and dangerous drawl. ‘So violently aroused that she melts all over his fingers like sweet hot honey, and moans his name like a sexy mantra as she shudders to her first climax….’
Nora’s lips parted, but not a breath of sound trickled out of her shocked mouth, a wave of heat chasing away her pallor.

‘Blake…’
‘Yes, Nora?’ He leaned over her again, his mouth hot on the straining cords of her neck, the sharp prickle of his dark-blooming beard an exciting contrast to his warm wet tongue, his playful humour evaporating as his blind touch worked up under the band of elastic at the top of her thigh to slide against her creamy velvet centre. ‘Oh, yes, you want me quite badly, don’t you, Sparrow?’
She gave an incoherent choked cry that mingled with his hoarse sound of pleasure as he felt the slickness of her desire coat his fingers and explored the hot swollen folds of her womanhood where they curled protectively over the hidden kernel that had ripened into secret prominence.

He gave a clotted moan of pleasure as her fingers fluttered curiously down to find the lightly lubricated tip, trapped against his thigh by the cut of his jeans, measuring his full length as more than the span of her hand. His grip on her wrist tightened involuntarily, his hips thrusting to increase the friction of her palm, and he groaned.
‘That’s right, Sparrow…Now take me out,’ he begged roughly, and it was Blake, the expert, who was fumbling as he guided her to free his swollen flesh from the prison of denim and sheath him in the snug new covering.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Harlequin | Apple | AbeBooks | BookDepo

Review: His Countess by S.M. LaViolette

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Erotic Romance
Series: Victorian Decadence, #3
Publisher: Crooked Sixpence Press
Hero: Gideon Banks
Heroine: Alys Taunton
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 02, 2020
Started On: April 09, 2021
Finished On: April 09, 2021

Book 3 in the Victorian Decadence series brings to readers the story of 38 year old businessman Gideon Banks, who is legendary for his depravity, whose lecherous behavior had him expelled from Oxford at one point in time. Gideon makes no apologies for who he is, but at the same time, he increasingly finds himself dissatisfied with his lot in life, that is until he becomes the Sixth Earl of Taunton and finds himself saddled with the former mistress, Alys Taunton.

26 year old Alys becomes a widow after eight years of marriage, having become disillusioned with the institution itself. She wants nothing to do with marriage, but as society would have it, she requires the protection and good will of the new Earl if she were to survive. While Gideon believes Alys to be of the stuck up lot in high society, Alys wants one thing from Gideon: for him to tutor her in the pleasures of the flesh.

What starts off as a raunchy one-time sexual escapade, with Gideon who might have been reluctant at first, brings such heady pleasure to both, which of course makes Gideon wary of what that might mean in the long run. The resultant effect ends in a marriage of convenience for which Gideon lays down one basic rule – he does not do fidelity, nor does he expect it from his wife. However, each raw encounter with his wife brings Gideon to the brink of surrender to which he resists with all his might, until one final act of power play on his part results in what Gideon has been pursuing out of sheer fear.

I found His Countess to be great in terms of readability, when most romances these days are either too preachy for their own good and/or filled with modern jargon that strives to keep certain reader-bases happy. But in reality, what it does is remove the essence of the genre that makes for such raw and gut-wrenching reads. I want my books to mean something; the drama as long as it adds value to the story and fleshes out the characters well enough for me to fall in love.

I enjoyed the journey that Gideon takes towards his happily ever after, even though like in previous books, I cannot fathom wanting to have so many sexual partners all at the same time. I can understand the lure certainly, when it comes to a someone who can give you pleasure of the kind you have only ever dreamed of. We are hard pressed to come across just one single person who does that in real life, and for the protagonists in these stories to just get it on with anyone of their choosing is still a bit jarring for me.

In my opinion, men and women experience sexual pleasure differently aside from the fact that we all identify with raw animal magnetism of those that attract us at our very core. But that does not translate into gratification of the kind that seems to come so easily to the characters of these books, no matter what. For women, our minds play a key role in reaching fulfillment, but for men it is a different ballgame altogether. Perhaps, new age adults might believe differently, but quantity does not necessarily translate to quality in the short or long term.

My ramblings about sexual pleasure aside, these decadent books by Ms. LaViolette are unlike most historical romances readers would come across. While Ms. LaViolette categorizes these books as historical erotic romance and not erotica, I would say it is a bit of both. There are few authors who dare push the conventional boundaries of romance novels, and with Ms. LaViolette, I would say she has no boundaries to begin with, giving readers highly erotically charged reads that are hard to put down.

As most readers and fans of this series, I cannot help but yearn to read Smith’s story. However, I believe it would be quite a while yet, given what Ms. LaViolette has stated in that regard on Goodreads. One can keep hoping and praying that Smith lets Ms. LaViolette write his story and give us all what we want!

Recommended for fans of the series and those who love plenty of eroticism in their novels.

Final Verdict: While Gideon Banks might not have a conventional bone in his body, his countess changes it all. Great characterization renders this a page-turner!

Favorite Quotes

“That’s what I want—something physical, animal, those things you were doing to L-Lucy and Susan.” She swallowed. “I imagined you doing them to me.”
Her words set off a commotion in his head—not to mention in his cock—that was too powerful to ignore. Gideon grabbed her arm and yanked her close, holding her clamped against him from hips to shoulders.
“You are rapidly approaching a place where I will not turn back,” he snarled into her ear. “Do you understand?”
“Yes . . . please.”

Alys made that embarrassing sound again and clamped her jaws shut. But her body’s trembling was beyond her control.
“Never hold back from me, Alys. I want to hear every whimper, yell, groan, grunt, and gasp.” His finger elicited several of those examples immediately, whatever he was doing making her dizzy and weak. “Come for me, little one,” he urged. “That’s right,” he praised as her hips jerked. “Let go and soak my hand.”
Her body responded to his crass order almost as much as his skilled touch and explosive, exquisite pleasure spread from that one little spot to every part of her.

Gideon held her gaze and pulsed gently in and out. “Do you want more, Alys?” he asked, his head almost dizzy with the effort of exercising restraint.
“Yes, Gideon,” she said in a whisper. And then she flexed her pelvis and his iron control shattered.
Gideon slammed into her, pounding her with hard, deep thrusts. “Tell me,” he rasped in between strokes. “Tell me when you’re close.”
She never answered because she was already there.
His restraint, already worn to threads, snapped and Gideon drove into her thrice more and then froze, emptying himself into her convulsing body.

“So tight. Clench for me, Alys.” Her entire body jerked as she contracted around him.
He gave a husky laugh. “I like the way your cunt obeys my commands—like an obedient pet.” His hand began to pump, slow and deep, his middle finger grazing something exquisite inside her. “I want to shove myself inside you but our fun would be over far too quickly. So let me pleasure you, first. Let’s see how many times I can make my pet come.”
It was his words as much as his actions that drove her toward the precipice with such dizzying speed. Any residual embarrassment at being so exposed slid away as he worked her with relentless, and increasing, intensity.

“You see, my love,” he’d gasped in between savage thrusts. “There is something to be said for riding astride. Now,” his jaw hardened and his nostrils flared, “Ride me to a lather.”
Alys had to admit she’d enjoyed the vantage point and being in control of their rhythm—at least to a degree. He’d not been a passive partner but had exhibited breathtaking strength as he’d thrust upward into her, every line and curve of his body hard and taut.
He’d made his pleasure obvious when he’d spent in her. “I love filling you with my seed,” he’d snarled in her ear while he pumped inside her. “I going to fuck you every chance I get, little one. I won’t be happy until you’re swollen with my child.”

“You see how excited you’ve made me?” He gave himself a pump, causing his slit to leak for her. “Tongue it, taste me,” he ordered, holding his cock by the root, the action making it look even bigger, thicker.
She trembled as she leaned closer, opening her mouth.
“Take my hips with both hands. Good. Now, show me your tongue—yes, like that, stick it out and make a point. And then poke it into my little hole.”
The tentative touch of her hot tongue ripped a groan from his chest.
“Christ! Yes,” he snarled, shoving his hands into her hair and holding her skull immobile. It took every ounce of self-control not to start fucking her mouth like the beast he was.

He opened his eyes, hungry to see her lips stretched around him. He grinned; she was sucking his fat head like it was a sweetie.
“The part below the crown is the most sensitive,” he encouraged, shuddering when she immediately began to investigate. He allowed himself only the slightest pulsing of his hips, his fingers massaging her skull. “One day,” he told her through clenched jaws. “I’m going to fuck your mouth as hard as I fuck your cunt.”
Her groan went right up his cock to his balls and he almost came.

“I’m going to check and see if you’ve been exercising for me.” He slammed into her without warning.
A mortifying animal moan slipped from her mouth; fortunately it was drown out by Gideon’s crude grunts and words.
“So. Fucking. Tight.” He punctuated each word with a brutal thrust.
He was wicked for saying such things and she was twice as wicked for loving his filthy mouth.
“You feel as delicious as you taste, my little pet.” His hips pounded savagely as he held her with fingers that would leave bruises. “I’m so looking forward to filling your body with my spend,” He said through clenched jaws. “I’ll fill all your holes, darling,” he whispered, the words so shocking Alys wasn’t quite sure she’d heard him correctly.
“But not just yet, I think. First I want you to come for me.”

“You seem almost fey, this morning, Gideon?”
He turned toward Alys, who was watching him with an affectionate look.
He grinned. “I’m looking forward to my daily riding reward.”
As he’d intended, she blushed and rolled her eyes. “You know, some people might consider riding itself a reward.”
Gideon laughed. “Not me.” He allowed all his desire for her to show on his face. “I’m going to strip you naked, tie you to a tree, and spread your legs wide, exposing your beautiful body to the morning sun. The only thing I’ll let you wear is your boots.” He grinned. “And then I’m going to kneel between those delicious thighs and make you scream.”

“What do you think Silber would say if he saw you like this?”
Pleasure rippled out from her tightly clenching sex. Alys only realized she was grunting and whimpering when he stepped closer and shoved a gloved finger between her folds.
“Did you just come, Alys?” he demanded roughly, pumping the finger inside her still-contracting sex. “I think you did.” He flicked her sensitive bud and she cried out. “I think you love the thought of being watched, put on display.” He lifted his hand, the black leather slick with her juices.

“Please, Gideon.”
“Please?” He cocked an eyebrow as he absently swatted the sensitive skin of her breasts, harder and harder. “Please what, darling?”
“Please. I want—”
He smiled like a cat that had eaten the canary. “What?” He smacked her mound and the stiff leather grazed her bud. “Do.” Smack. “You.” Smack. “Want?”
Each swat brought her closer to yet another climax.
Gideon dropped to his knees. “God, yes.” He spread her with sheathed, impersonal fingers and sucked her into his mouth.

“I can’t,” she gasped when he began to stroke her again. “Not again.”
“Just once more,” he said. “See how I’m begging? Please. Come once more for me?”
She groaned, but dropped her head, her shoulders dipping but her bottom pushing toward him, the position deliciously submissive.
“My good, obedient girl,” he murmured, stroking into her with his cock while he slowly brought her to orgasm.
When he felt the contractions coming, he fucked into her with vicious thrusts, until he could hold back no longer and drove himself deep, coming in wrenching jerks.
Mine! Mine! Mine! He crowed inside his head, glorying in his possession and marking her with each spasm of his cock until he was aching and empty.

“Open for me,” he ordered sharply, smiling when her legs instantly parted. His warm, questing fingers slipped between her thighs and grazed the seam of her sex and he shoved two fingers right up into her body. Her throbbing body.
Alys whimpered and pushed her hips to meet him.
“Do you always get this wet and swollen when you are angry?” he growled in her ear, leaning closer, his arm moving in slow, deep thrusts. He bit her ear lobe and she jumped. “Never lie to me about what arouses you, Alys. Your fantasies are mine, all mine—they all belong to me. Now, open for your husband.”
She spread wider to take him, her wanton body so greedy for the pleasure he could give that it didn’t care how mortified her mind was.
“Say it,” he demanded. “You’re mine—you belong to me.”
“I belong to you.”

Beyond the peep, it was as if they’d heard him. Or at least as if Alys had. Because they broke off kissing and grinding and the next thing he knew, Silber gently set Alys down and then led her to the seat that faced the peep—the closest one, the chair Gideon had most specifically instructed Jackson to arrange. They held hands for a moment and then Silber lowered himself into the chair, his huge body filling it.
Alys turned her back to him and the stable master placed his monstrous hands around her slender waist and lifted her over his spread thighs. Alys opened her shapely legs and reached for his rod, her eyes not moving from the peephole as she guided the fat crown toward her entrance—an opening Gideon knew to be exquisitely tight—and then took him into her body, inch by goddamned inch, her white teeth biting her lower lip and eyelids fluttering. She wore a rapturous expression as her body absorbed Silber’s ridiculous organ, until she was stuffed full, her body utterly impaled.
Gideon’s hand was nowhere near his cock when he came, splattering onto his waistcoat. His eyes flickered closed as his hips spasmed, powerful contractions wracking his body.

His hips began to buck, his control visibly slipping as he drove into her with primitive force, the muscles of his torso, back and shoulders gloriously defined as he held her arms immobile. His jaw clenched in a grimace as he pounded into her so hard Alys swore she could feel it inside her own wet, swollen body.
He thrust deep and then froze, the powerful muscles of his buttocks clenching as he jerked into her. Alys knew what it would feel like—hot jets of his spend filling her, the contractions of his shaft throbbing against her sensitive sheath.
She shoved her hand between her thighs and grunted as her finger finished what Jackson had started. As she came, biting her lip hard to suppress her cries, Jackson’s eyes opened, as if he knew. And then he did something she’d not believed possible: he smiled.

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