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: 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: A Bride for the Prizefighter by Alice Coldbreath

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Victorian Prizefighters, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: William James Nye
Heroine: Minerva Walters
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 25, 2020
Started On: June 15, 2021
Finished On: June 19, 2021

Debut novel in the Victorian Prizefighters series from Alice Coldbreath, a new to me author at that, turns out to be A Bride for the Prizefighter. Stumbling across this title from Ms. Coldbreath’s novels on Kindle Unlimited, I am glad that I decided to give this author a try as I enjoyed this novel quite so!

The story begins with the heroine, 24 year old Minerva Walters being witness to her father’s death, leaving her alone and destitute, except for the last piece of advice that he gives her; to entrust her welfare in her long lost brother who would come for her.

At a loss for options otherwise, Minerva is forced to make nice with and follow the man who turns up on her doorstep, only to be given away in marriage to a man named William James Nye, who runs a pub called The Harlot of all things. Even with the lowest of expectations, Minerva is at a loss for words when it comes to the farcical ceremony that ties the knot between her and William.

Given the fact that Minerva is not someone averse to hard work and earning her keep, that is how she is determined to approach her life as a married woman, winning the hearts of everyone involved in the story. While William makes no secret of the fact that he does not having been forced to take her on as his wife, Minerva’s stubborn determination makes William start to see her in a whole new light.

As these two start to navigate life as husband and wife, the passion that ignites between the two comes as a surprise for both William and especially Minerva, who is as innocent as they come. However, once her husband starts teaching her pleasures to be had in the marriage bed, she is an avid pupil, giving readers hot and beautifully spun scenes of passion between the two..

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Ms. Coldbreath. I loved both William and Minerva; William being just the right touch of taciturn, ruthless, grumpy, and hot, while Minerva was fierce, determined, beautiful, kind, and compassionate. I loved how these two started to open up to each other and confide in one another. I enjoyed the adventurous and exploratory nature of their sex life, and I thoroughly reveled in how they were possessive and protective of each other.

The biggest factor that won me over? Minerva never set out to change her husband; William did it on his own, all because he wanted to be the best version of himself for the woman who owned his heart, body, and soul. I dislike female leads who always act out of “goodness” of their heart and try to change the male lead – love is supposed to do that on its own if it were meant to be. If not, you just accept the person you are with, flaws and all, and make your peace with your lot in life.

There were no preachy undertones to the story, Minerva just accepts things the way they are and by virtue of her being a hardworking and honest person, not to mention the steamy hot attraction between the two which drives William a little bit stir-crazy, he is the one who on his own changes for the better. For a woman whose mother kept telling her that beauty is not for all women, William certainly proved her mother wrong in the way he saw the beauty both on the inside and out when it comes to his beloved.

There are very few authors out there, whose historical romances that I enjoy now – to be honest, few authors who writes romances as I enjoy them now, so Ms. Coldbreath, who writes the kind of characters that speaks to my heart is one that I would continue to read in the time to come.

Recommended for fans of historical romances featuring protagonists brought together by life’s circumstances, opening wide the door for the kind of love that lasts a lifetime!

Final Verdict: With a fabulous mix of good storytelling, characterization, emotional depth, and heat, A Bride for the Prizefighter is definitely a must-read!

Favorite Quotes

His eyes glinted. “Maybe there are other things I’d rather you tried out with me.”
“Such as what?” The words had left Mina’s mouth before she noticed his expression. Then he reached out and grip on her forearm and she was spun around, an arm clamped about her waist and Will Nye’s large hand resting against her jaw. Oh, he meant kissing, Mina realized mere moments before his lips descended to hers.
Oh dear, she thought distractedly, what was it he had told her to do last time? Breathe through her nose, she seemed to recall. Then she noticed his lips were much gentler this time, touching tentatively to hers, exerting much less pressure. Not wanting him to accuse her of not pulling her weight, she tilted her head up and leaned into the kiss.
Nye made a noise in his throat that was not a growl, but something very close. Mina’s head reeled.

“Nye—” Mina breathed, but his hands were on either side of her face, angling her head up for his kiss. This time when he sealed his lips to hers, she felt his tongue swipe slowly along her bottom lip and jolted with shock. That was it! Last time he had said he wanted a taste of her tongue. Her face flamed hot. No sooner had she let her lips part for him then her mouth was thoroughly taken.
Her eyes closed, Mina gave a muffled gasp, before remembering to breathe through her nose. One of the cups fell from her loosened grip and shattered on the kitchen floor. Nye didn’t even flinch. One of his hands lowered from her jaw to grip her waist and then skimmed as much of a hip as her stiffened petticoats allowed. He made a noise of frustration. Then his tongue was tangling against hers again and Mina’s mind went blank.

“Take down your hair,” he said in a gravelly voice.
A refusal trembled on her lips, but it seemed silly to cavil after she’d stripped off her clothing at his request. Instead, she reached up hesitant fingers and removed her hairpins, unravelling the roll of hair from her nape. She shook her head and ran her fingers through it, until her hair lay loose over her shoulders.
“Turn around,” he said in a gravelly voice.
“Nye—” she started to object, but he interrupted her.
“Indulge me.”

He reached up and loosened the strings at her waist. “Lift up,” he ordered. Mina lifted her hips off the bed, and he tugged her white drawers down to her ankles, then whisked them off her altogether. Mina forgot to breathe for a moment. She didn’t dare look Nye in the face. She was mortified that he was squatting down like that, at eye level with her most private place. She had never even taken a good look down there herself! His hands were on her knees, urging her to part her legs and heaven help her before she even realized it, she had obeyed his unspoken demand and opened herself to him.
Suddenly, he let out a harsh groan, and Mina’s eyes flew to his. He was staring right between her legs. Her mouth went dry. She almost shrank from him when he lurched forward, sliding two big hands under her bare bottom, and dragged her to the edge of the mattress. “Nye,” she cried. “What on earth are you—?” She forgot to breathe when he went in face first.

Her head lolled back on a choked sob. She writhed against his mouth in an abandonment she could never have believed herself capable of, arching her back and craning for the wicked caress of his mouth where she most needed it. Tears started from her eyes and she realized she was being none too gentle, tugging and pulling at his hair, raising her hips to press herself eagerly against his mouth. He didn’t seem to mind though, as his hands squeezed her buttocks, urging her to press closer and closer to questing tongue.
“Oh Nye!” she squealed. “Nye!” Then her vision wavered altogether, and she felt herself swoop over the edge of an altogether different cliff, but instead of being dashed against the rocks below she turned into sea foam as light as the air and crested on the bobbing waves.

“Nye!” she whimpered. He released his grip on one breast and inserted his hand between them, running it down her flat stomach and between her legs. “Nye!” Her head came off the pillow.
“You’re nice and wet down here,” he said with approval. The slide of his fingers was downright scandalous. His words penetrated the fog that was on her mind right now. Wet? Her gaze snapped to his.
“F-from your mouth?” she faltered, realizing she was wet down there. Very wet. She could even hear it. Her ears burned at the lewd sound.
He smiled slowly. “No, this is all you.”

“Wrap it around my back,” his words were tersely spoken. She had only just rested her heel against the small of his back when he thrust again with a loud, shuddering groan. “Red stockings,” he gritted.
Mina was telling herself it did not hurt so much now. She felt alarmingly full and stretched to capacity but not in pain precisely. She frowned. “Red stockings?” she repeated.
“I want you in them.”
What? “Why?”
“And lace,” he grunted as he settled into a bruising rhythm. “Lots and lots of lace.”

“I hate you!” she grumbled, even as she felt the familiar tingle through her limbs as he pressed all his hard, muscular flesh up against her between her legs. And he was hard. She nearly groaned aloud feeling his manhood bobbing against her thigh. He just grunted an acknowledgement as his hands sought out her breasts, cupping and making out their shape.
“I hate you too,” he groaned then lent down to rub his face over her unbound breasts. “God,” he whispered against her nipple, then took it in his mouth and began sucking her.
“Nye!” Mina whimpered. He gave a satisfied moan, then moved to her other nipple, wrapping his tongue around it, and drawing it into his hot mouth. With horror, Mina realized she was grinding her hips against him. Her conscious mind told her to stop it at once, but her flushed body wasn’t listening. “Nye,” she groaned again, arching her back up as she tried to press even closer.

“Come on Mina.” His voice throbbed. “I want you mindless again. I need it.”
‘Oh God, I – Nye – I—” Her hips shifted restlessly as he hammered into her, the slick sounds their bodies made as they moved together were shamefully exciting. She was so wet, her yielding pussy was giving his big cock barely any resistance as he pushed in and out, her suctioning flesh, pressing and gripping him as he ruthlessly plunged into her depths.
He gave a low dirty groan. “If you don’t give it to me soon—” His gleaming eyes returned to her full bouncing breasts and he adjusted his position so he could take one of her nipples into his mouth again and give it a hard suck. She felt the tug of his hot mouth everywhere and with a startled cry she crashed over the edge.

“Are you wet, Mina?” he asked hoarsely. She watched him run his tongue over his full bottom lip, as his fingers slid into the warm folds of her quivering cleft. Mina’s fingers gripped hard around the brass rail of the headboard. “Nye!” she gasped again, and he gave a satisfied growl. “Drenched,” he said tracing her slit as he coated his fingers in her moisture. “I want you to ride me.”
“What?” Even as her shocked words burst forth, he slid two fingers deep inside her, making her eyes water even as she clamped down on him. “Oh Nye!”

Mina’s hands dropped from the rail to either side of his head on the pillows. The bed shuddered as she felt him reach up instead to seize the metal frame with his hands. “Ride me,” he groaned. “Now.”
“I don’t—”
“Yes, you do. Move your hips,” he ground out, sounding in pain. “Use me.”
Mina blinked down at him. She felt so full at this angle, she was a little concerned she might do herself a mischief. She bounced forward experimentally, and he groaned. Re-settling her knees against the mattress, she rose up and then sank back down on him. She couldn’t help crying out at the thrilling sensation of propelling herself like this on him.
“Harder,” he grunted.

“Oh.” She fell forward, bracing her hands against his chest. “Will,” she sobbed, twisting her fingers in his dark smattering of chest hair, and tugging sharply. She couldn’t hold off much longer, a few more strokes and she’d ignite. Holding off her pleasure, she stopped bouncing and just undulated against him, tightening her inner muscles around him, taking him deep. “Will,” she whispered brokenly. “You feel so good.”
She felt him throb within her as she came apart and suddenly his knees came up behind her. The bed jerked as he released the headboard and sat up, his hands hard on her hips.
“Minerva!” he choked, and she blinked in the dark as she felt his breath on her face, his shocked voice in her ear. For a second, she thought she’d hurt one of his injuries, but then she felt him spilling within her.

She was just starting to feel foolish when his lips descended on hers, in a kiss such as Will Nye had never bestowed on her before. His lips were soft yet firm against her own, and infinitely sweet as he molded them to her own. After a moment, she felt his hands cup her face almost tenderly and run his thumbs along her cheekbones in what she could only consider to be a caress.
Never in her wildest dreams would she have dreamt that Will Nye would ever touch her thus. When he lifted his face away from hers, he looked almost as surprised by it as she.

Pinning her to the edge of the seat, he reached down to free himself from his breeches and she felt the bold thrust of him against her belly. “Hurry Nye,” she implored.
He cast a wild glance out of the carriage window. “We’ve plenty of time.”
“That’s not what I meant!” she sobbed, crowding against him. “I can’t wait any longer. Please, Nye.”
He was still for a heartbeat. “Ah Mina, love,” he said thickly. “It needed only that…” He caught her behind her knee and hooked it over his hip. “Tell me again.”
“I can’t wait, I want you- oh! Oh Nye!” she keened as he thrust and her eyes watered as she felt him lodged within her, sinking into her slowly but surely.

“Tell me, Mina. I’ll do anything you say,” he vowed throatily.
“Yes, yes faster,” she implored, tightening her arms over his shoulder. “Faster please! Oh yes!”
At this point, he illustrated so thoroughly an understanding of what she needed, that Mina lost her wits completely. She shivered and moaned and wailed her way through an orgasm that saw her lose control of her limbs and her inhibitions so completely that they ended up sliding from the seat into a tangle of limbs on the floor of the carriage.

“You’re mine, Minerva,” he said richly. “Say it.”
‘I’m yours.”
His mouth nuzzled at the back of her neck. “Don’t you ever forget it, wife.”
“Or you,” she panted, making him give a broken laugh.
“I’m not likely to,” he groaned, his hips picking up the pace further. “Everyone knows you keep me on a short fucking leash, woman.”
Minerva made a sound of explosive disagreement as he ran his thumbs hard over her nipples.
“Oh yes, you do,” he whispered huskily against her temple. “And I don’t give a fuck who knows it.”

“You want to know something really messed up, Mina?” he asked in a raspy voice.
His hips were really hammering against her backside now and Mina knew she was lost. She gave a low scream as he pushed in deep and pinned her hard against the seat. She clamped down on his shaft, as her shuddering orgasm ripped through her. Only when the tremors had subsided, did he buck his hips forward in another hard thrust which tore a grunt from his own throat. “I. fucking. like. you. owning. me.” Each word was punctuated with a thrust.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

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.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

Review: A Figure of Love by Minerva Spencer

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Academy of Love, #2
Publisher: Crooked Sixpence Press
Hero: Gareth Lockheart
Heroine: Serena Lombard
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 03, 2020
Started On: February 20, 2021
Finished On: March 13, 2021

The Academy of Love series by Minerva Spencer tells the stories of seven Regency Era teachers who while in pursuit of ork, find themselves immersed in lessons in love of the kind to last a lifetime. A Figure of Love is the second installment in the series, bringing to readers the tale of widower Serena Lombard and 35 year old Gareth Lockheart, a self-made aristocrat in England.

Gareth is a man of few words and controlled emotions. Having grown up at an orphanage and having been at the receiving end of the worst that humanity has to offer, Gareth has the emotional scars to prove it. One of the richest men in England, Gareth knows that taking his businesses to the next level requires that something elusive which would need him to make his entrance into the genteel world of society’s accepted breed of aristocrats.

Designing his country house to standards befitting that of the world he plans to inhabits is how Serena comes into his life. A French emigrant who is the widow of the youngest son of a Duke and Duchess, Serena is someone who defies the conventions and has been working towards making a name for herself as a respected sculptor and landscape gardener.

Neither of them are what they expect each other to be, and for Serena, Gareth is the man who unlocks her passions and makes her want a significant other after years of living through excruciating loneliness. In her heart, Serena is the woman who thaws the heart of the enigmatic man that is Gareth, but in reality, she knows that the secrets that she hides would never let it be so.

I loved this story on so many levels, Gareth being the first and foremost reason. He is the kind of hero that speaks to you in every single way that matters without him having to utter a single word. Ms. Spencer has done a remarkable job in bringing him to life, his sheer presence enough to make you feel as if he is your whole world. His fascination with numbers, his faithful nature even if it may seem unwarranted at that point, all that and more tells you the kind of man he is deep inside.

His passions lie dormant, not because he does not feel them, but because he reserves them for those whom he feels it to be worthy of. In Serena, he finds the woman who shakes him up in a way no other woman has, and he knows that it is futile to deny his burgeoning feelings of desire and need for her, which is when Ms. Spencer with her remarkable flair ushers in the kind of love scenes that leaves the reader in a state of stunned anticipation for more.

Serena was a swell heroine, just the right touch of everything that is needed for Gareth. With a young son in tow, it is the secrets that she carries which puts her and those she cares about in danger. And it is her need to protect Gareth from that ugly reality which lands her in an untenable situation which drives the story to its climax and beyond.

In my opinion, Gareth was the star of this story – there is something about a strong and silent hero that just speaks to me on a level that is indescribable. I loved Serena too, she loves Gareth and all that he is just as fiercely as he does her, and is protective of him in a way that no one has ever been all through his life. I also loved the character of her son – his character meshes well with that of Gareth, which made for enjoyable reading.

Recommended for fans of Ms. Spencer, fans of the series, and fans of Regency Era romances! Romance, suspense, and toe-curling sex – this one has got it all!

Final Verdict: Featuring exquisitely crafted scenes of scrumptious passion that is trademark Ms. Spencer, A Figure in Love is a notable addition to this beautifully crafted series!

Favorite Quotes

He walked her slowly toward the wall, rubbing the stiff length of his erection against her as he pushed, until her shoulders hit the wall, but he kept coming.
Stroke.
Stroke.
Stroke.
His stiff length drew an answering pulse from her sex and she imagined his strong, insistent body entering hers, plunging into her with all the strength she knew he possessed. She could feel the struggle of will and desire that raged inside him. The slightest sign from her and he would take her right here, against the wall.

Serena had never been so cold in her life, but when his eyes swept over her, she burst into flames. And when he lowered his mouth to hers, she forgot all about the cold and slid her arms around his taut waist, this time resting both palms on his bottom. He made a muffled sound of approval and pushed closer, the soft leather of his breeches cool and smooth against her belly.
He kissed as if he wanted to devour her, his lips demanding, his tongue invading, his teeth grazing and nipping as long, powerful fingers massaged their way down her neck, until they rested on her shoulders.

Serena cried out when he flicked a cold, hard nipple with the hot tip of his tongue, and then was gone. She pushed herself against him. More.
He took her in his mouth and suckled her until warmth radiated out from her breast.
“So beautiful,” he whispered into the hollow between her breasts, and then moved to her other nipple and tormented her until she had to bite her lip to keep from screaming.

“Unbutton me.”
A rush of pleasure shot through her at the sound of his command, spoken in such hushed passion. She pushed a hand between their bodies, tracing the hard length of him thrusting against the soft leather.
He groaned and tightened his hold, his fingers sinking into her soft flesh. She stroked him again and again and again, until his powerful body vibrated with need, and then, with a few deft flicks, she opened the flap of his breeches and released him.

They gasped as he sheathed himself fully, the echoes of her climax contracting around his thick shaft. His body jerked and arched, the muscles of his stomach, chest, and shoulders so defined they looked as if they’d been carved from the finest alabaster.
Serena leaned forward until her breasts grazed his chest, her hands fisting the blanket on each side of his shoulders as she tilted to take him even deeper. Barely an inch separated their faces and this close to him she saw the fine, icy gray shards that made up his irises. She tightened her inner muscles and his eyes widened, his hands like butterflies on her waist.

“Are you angry with me?”
The question stopped him like a stone wall. Before he could think of an answer, she touched him, her hand on his chest as light as a soft breeze.
Gareth’s control snapped and he crushed her mouth with a ferocity that left the metallic taste of blood flooding his mouth. His blood, her blood, both, he didn’t know or care. Her fingers plunged into his hair and she yanked him down, meeting his violently ravaging tongue with her own.

“I want to bury myself deep inside you.” He ground his length against her, making her gasp while he whispered in her ear, “But I think you know that, don’t you?” He stepped away, until their bodies were no longer touching and raised his hands, palm out, barely grazing the erect tips of her breasts, caressing them with light, circular motions.
She jerked and bucked against him, her back arching, the impressive muscles of her arms like the taut strings of a bow as she clutched the wooden door frame above her head and strained toward him.

“You can release the door frame now.”
Triumph and amusement echoed in his words but she didn’t care. She’d do whatever he asked of her to feel that way again.
“Touch me.”
She fell on his mouth like a starving person, consuming him as he’d just done her, tasting herself on his tongue. He lifted her higher while they kissed, until she felt his hot, insistent crown nudging against her sex.
He leaned away from her, just far enough that she could see between their bodies. His stomach, lean, ridged, and sweaty, hers flushed, soft, and trembling.
He lifted her higher, until she could see his erection. “Guide me inside you.”

He turned his head and gently bit the side of her breast.
She laughed. “Are you going to eat me?”
His hot mouth roamed her body above the thin gauze of her gown, nipping and sucking her until the fabric was damp.
“When we return to Rushton I am going to tie your arms and legs to the four posts of my bed—tightly, so you cannot move or squirm away. And when you are bound and spread for me, I will take my pleasure. And I will lick and suck and bite every part of you.”
The words and the raw, confident desire with which he spoke them sent a crippling w
ave of lust straight to her core.

He scooped her up in his arms and strode into the adjacent room. She watched him slit-eyed through a haze of pure contentment, laughing when he tossed her onto the bed and positioned himself at the edge. His face was hard and his eyes burning into her as he ripped open the fall on his breeches and freed himself. Serena was already inching toward him when he slid his hands beneath her thighs, jerked her toward him and lifted her hips off the bed, entering her with a savage thrust.

He lifted her skirt and petticoats to her hips, his cock pulsing at the unbearably erotic sight of her serviceable stockings and the plain garters that held them just above her knees, nothing but smooth, naked thigh above them until . . . His mouth flooded with moisture at the sight of her curls.
She lifted her eyebrows high. “Novice?” Her thumb swirled his hard, slick head and she grazed him lightly with her nails.
Gareth jolted under the intoxicating combination of pleasure and pain. “Dammit, Serena!”
“Language, Gareth.”
He pushed away her hand and positioned himself at the hot, wet entrance to her body, bringing her down hard. They both gasped and then froze, reveling in their joining.

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Review: His Valet by S.M. LaViolette

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Victorian Decadence, #2
Publisher: Crooked Sixpence Press
Hero: Stephen Chatham
Heroine: Joseph Edward Leather
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 19, 2020
Started On: January 23, 2021
Finished On: January 28, 2021

His Valet is the second installment in the Victorian Decadence series by S.M. LaViolette. The story brings together 27 year old Joseph Edward Leather (Jo), who has been employed as a valet to 42 year old Stephen Chatham for quite sometime, and falls in love with her employer along the way, a man who wouldn’t look twice at her for all intents and purposes.

Jo is someone who has been working since the tender age of seven years. Her father had taught her to be nothing but exemplary in her servitude. Devotion is all that has been ingrained into her, not to mention the fact that she has spent her entire life pretending to be a man, the only way of life she has ever known. Even if it meant foregoing own sense of self-dignity, that is what Jo’s father drilled into her and her brother, and that is the code of ethics by which she lives.

Jo does not ever dream of a conventional happily ever after nor marriage for her. The only thing that she yearns for with every fiber of her being is to be with Stephen and when the opportunity presents itself, indulge she does for the five nights she pretends to be someone else.

When the truth comes out, Jo knows that the price she would have to pay would be immense, and even then, she is ill-prepared for the white hot anger that rules every decision Stephen makes thereon. Stephen, who has been burnt once and is twice shy, loathes deception of any kind. In Jo, Stephen sees only what he wants to see, and therein lies the battle which he must wage and win over himself, if Stephen and Jo were to have any chance in having a future together.

I loved the story line and the main protagonists better than I did those in the debut book of the series. Stephen is a compelling character and with Jo, he finds the answer to his every desire, the whys of which he doesn’t want to look into too closely lest it takes him in a direction that is far too uncomfortable for him to ponder on.

Jo’s character is the one that shines bright in the story, and I believe it is as Ms. LaViolette intended it to be. Her character makes one question their conceptions about the gender which they identify with, and it is something that I have never really thought much about. But Jo’s predicament is all too well understood, given how she was brought up and the fact that she has never had the freedom to understand enough to choose who she wanted to be.

It is with the enigmatic Mr. Smith that Jo truly finds the freedom to explore her mind and conscience, and to understand herself enough to be comfortable in her own skin and most of all, to love her own self. And it is those terms upon which Stephen must try to reconcile his own feelings with, if ever these two were to have their own version of a happily ever after.

The second lead game was strong in this novel; which is often felt when you are watching Korean dramas that strongly rely on love triangles to bring the angst factor forward. For me, the fact that I fell hard for Mr. Smith and my heart wept for him spells trouble with a capital T. It means that I am in a shit load of trouble even before Ms. LaViolette has released Smith’s own story, which I do not think I would ever be ready for. The fact that most fans of this series would want to get their hands on his novel is a foregone conclusion, and a Goodreads discussion on the author’s page proved me right.

Ms. LaViolette mentions that she is actually 3/4 through with his story and had to stop, because she too is learning that Smith is a difficult character who views sex and love to be completely separate and views love to be rarer than the practice of fidelity to someone. He is neither an easy person to love nor a nice person and his past even shocked Ms. LaViolette as she wrote the book.

So here I am hoping that one day soon, Ms. LaViolette gets the courage to start where she left it off and give us the story of the character that all our hearts collectively yearn for. I know it wouldn’t be an easy read by any means, but it would totally be worth it.

When all was said and done, Jo and Stephen did leave me with one burning question at the end – how would they fare as they go through the different phases of life together in their relationship; would either of them want more than the other can give? Would it always be enough, for her to be his valet and he her master in a way? I don’t think there are any easy answers to any of these questions.

Recommended for fans of Ms. LaViolette and fans of dark erotic romances in a historical setting.

Final Verdict: Thought provoking is not a phrase you would usually apply to an erotic romance, but in His Valet, Ms. LaViolette has outdone herself in giving readers characters that leaves the strongest impression on you!

Favorite Quotes

His lips curved into a smile she never thought she’d see directed toward her. “Lift your skirts higher for me.”
Her hands responded to his order just as they always did, and his gaze dropped to her thighs. He’d somehow managed to take off her other slipper without her being aware of it.
“I want to leave your stockings on,” he told her as she lifted her hem, exposing her shaved sex.
Heat flared in his eyes, dark, smoky and explosive—just like the savage, uncontrollable peat fires Jo had once seen when she’d been a girl. “God, yes. You are exactly the way I like,” he murmured. “So smooth, soft, sleek.”

“Should I ease in slowly, or do you want me to get it over with?” “Get it—” The marble phallus had not prepared her for the sensation of his thick, hot, and remarkably long organ sliding into her body. “My God you’re tight,” he whispered against her ear when he paused. “Is it terribly painful? Should I give you more? Or wait?” More?! She’d thought he was already all the way in. He was bloody huge and Jo was afraid she might scream if she opened her mouth so she clenched her jaws tight and whispered, “More.”

“Not yet,” he hissed between clenched teeth, his hips pounding without mercy. “Not yet, not yet, not—fuck!” He threw back his head and roared, driving into Gillian so hard that her head bumped Jo’s belly.
“Now,” he ordered, hilted in the other woman. “Come now.”
Jo’s back spasmed and arched, until it felt like it would snap, and she hurtled over the edge into oblivion.

“Hello, Stephen.”
Stephen slammed the armoire door and strode toward her without speaking, pulled off her hat, tossing it aside, and crushed her mouth with his, as if he’d not seen her in a year, instead of only a night.
She gave as hard as she got and they were both breathless when he finally pulled away.
“Hello, Josephine.”

“Do you like it, Josephine?” he asked in a voice that was rough with restraint.
Jo pressed herself against him, the action pushing him deeper, causing a dull pain to radiate from where they were joined. She felt the change in his body, the subtle loosening of control, like a rope that had been cut and was beginning to fray faster and faster.
“Fuck,” he said, groaning. His arm slid around her waist and his fingers fanned over her belly, holding her body against his while he invaded her inch by inch by inch. Just the thought of what they were doing—so filthy and primitive and wrong—made every muscle clench.
“Josephine,” he whispered, shuddering.

Stephen whispered in her ear, his voice harsh. “I can’t restrain myself much longer, Josephine. Do you want it?”
“Yes, Stephen. . . please.”
Stephen must have made some sign because Julian left her body and stepped back, his cock jutting heavy and slick in front of him, his expression tense with the effort of holding back his orgasm. It was Jo’s turn to smile and then she closed her eyes and opened her body to the man she loved, heart and soul.
Stephen’s pounding became savage, his hips pumping mercilessly now. “I’m going to come in you, Josephine. I’m going to—” he gave loud, guttural cry as he thrust deep and froze, holding her in an unbreakable embrace while his cock spasmed and flooded her with his seed.

When his mouth slanted over hers, her hands did what they’d been wanting to do for weeks and slid around his smooth, muscular torso. He groaned and pulled her against him, his arm like an iron strap around her waist.
His mouth was silken and tasted like liquor and smoke from his strangely fragrant cigars. His kisses were as firm and hot and powerful as he was.

He grazed her breast with his teeth and she whimpered as he slid a hand down the front of her trousers, beneath the waistband, and then stopped on her mound, groaning. “Oh, God, I love a shaved cunt,” he whispered into her breast before dropping into a crouch and grabbing both sides of her placket and then ripping her trousers right down the middle.
Jo gasped. “Oh, no, but—”
“Hush,” he muttered, yanking the string that held up her drawers. “I’ll buy you another dozen pairs. Good Lord your body is beautiful.” He dropped to his haunches and spread her lower lips with his thumbs and plunged his tongue into her, his moan vibrating through her body.

“Stockings stay on while I fuck you, I think,” he said, panting as he knelt between her spread thighs, staring down at her with black eyes that were heavy with need. “This is an emergency, darling, and I’m going to ejaculate with shocking haste. But the next time will be up to my usual standards.”
Jo laughed breathlessly and spread wide for him as he placed his beautiful cock at her soaking entrance and slammed into her, pulling her tight to his body as he entered. He held her full for a moment, his eyes locked with hers, his chest rising and falling as if he were being chased.
“How do you want it? Hard, hard, or hard?” he asked.
Jo couldn’t help laughing. “What was that third one agai—”
He began to fuck her with furious, violent thrusts, his teeth gritted and his jaw clenched as he pounded into her, angling his hips for the deepest penetration. He worked her so savagely she knew there would be bruises.

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Review: Till Dawn Tames the Night by Meagan McKinney

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Vashon Blackwell
Heroine: Aurora Dayne
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 1991
Started On: January 20, 2021
Finished On: January 22, 2021

Till Dawn Tames the Night by Meagan McKinney brings to readers the story of 19 year old Aurora Dayne who is set to travel to Jamaica with her modest belongings in tow, which includes a unique bejeweled locket, the sole legacy from her dead father. Little does she know that the journey she embarks upon puts her at the mercy of none other than 34 year old Vashon, a ruthless privateer with an agenda for vengeance that has carried him thus far, who is in pursuit of the very locket that she holds.

When these two opposites meet, sparks of course, fly. When a series of events ensures that Aurora is Vashon’s prisoner, the clash of wills begins in earnest, Aurora on her mission to reform a man who is driven by hatred and consumed by the memories of his past riddled with darkness.

I really wanted to love the two main protagonists of the story. Vashon was something fierce and determined, with a ruthless edge to him that I crave in my heroes. While Aurora, though innocent and sheltered for the most part, had the sort of fire in within her that refused to take everything he dished lying down. I was set to enjoy them both, but alas.

What annoyed me to no end was how Aurora wanted to reform Vashon. She continuously bickered about his actions, is always shocked by the violence that surrounds him, even when he does what he must to protect what is his. In my opinion, any redeeming qualities that comes forth should come of one’s own volition – it should never be forced upon the character at any point in time. Aurora nagging about Vashon continuing on his path of vengeance wasn’t how I wanted the changes to come about.

Or here is a wild thought; how about just accepting someone for who they are? Vashon does not try to change Aurora, maybe because she is so perfect? I hardly think so. There are plenty of romances that work with heroes who embrace their darkness and whatever redeeming qualities they have, whatever softness they show, are partial to the heroine for whom they would risk everything and lay down their very life for. And that is enough, if you want your characters to stay true to who they are, because some characters have reached a tipping point that makes it difficult for them to become mushy cuddle bears.

The saddest part is that this story had so much potential and could have ended up being so much more. As things stood, I skipped chunks of paragraphs and went for the end. An epilogue would also have been much appreciated.

Recommended for fans of Meagan McKinney.

Final Verdict: In Till Dawn Tames the Night, Ms. McKinney brings to life a heroine who would stop at nothing to reform the hero, be it nag her way towards the redemption of his character.

Favorite Quotes

He was so close she could feel his breath warm and enticing on her cheek. As her fingers uncurled against his chest, she rediscovered the pleasure of caressing him. She explored his front, textured with hair and rigid with muscle, and she never imagined mere flesh could be so hard and implacable. Beneath her hand she felt his heart drumming against his ribs, and she was amazed to find it quicken as he drew her to him. Her own heart beat wildly as his arm encircled her waist. At last the moment seemed to come when they would meet, and even the ship seemed to steady for their encounter.

She looked up at him. She didn’t really want to know his despicable rules, but since she was under his domination until they arrived in Grand Talimen, it was inevitable she would learn them. Resentfully she nodded her head.
“Rule number one,” he said in a husky voice, “is all ship’s spoils belong to me . . . and to me alone.”
He lifted her hair and as if his lips were a brand, she felt him place one fiery kiss upon her nape. Her hair was still damp from its washing, and he seemed particularly entranced by the way the delicate curls clung to her hairline. She closed her eyes, unable to bear what he was doing. His kiss only reminded her again of that wretched dream, and she trembled just from the thought of the power he had over her.

He moved to leave the bed, but before he went, he woodenly placed a kiss upon her tear-stained cheek. Desperate to make him stay, she summoned a womanly guile she never knew she possessed. She waited for his lips to leave her cheek and just when they did, she turned her head and her lips met with his.
Their kiss was sublime. Never in her most wishful dreams did she believe a kiss could be like this: a man’s heart and soul distilled into one soft motion of his lips. He made her want him with a desire that surpassed the physical, that grew and grew until she was almost made wild by it. Losing her self-consciousness, she slid her hand between them and let her palm mold to the grid of warm muscle over his torso. Her other hand reached up and caressed his beard-roughened cheek. Their kiss deepened.

She put her hand in the water. Another fish, a brilliant cobalt-colored one, flitted up and bumped her palm. Frightened, she snatched it back, then giggled at her folly. She turned to Vashon, but she wasn’t prepared for the expression on his face. He was staring at her so intensely, he fairly took her breath away.
“Vashon—” she began, but he didn’t let her finish. He lowered her legs until her feet touched the sandy bottom and her dress clung wetly to her hips. Then he pulled her to him and kissed her like a sinner seeking salvation, the doomed begging for redemption. In her mind she thought about fighting, but it would be useless. The way he so violently held her to him, he’d refuse to let her go.

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Review: His Harlot by S.M. LaViolette

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Victorian Decadence, #1
Publisher: Crooked Sixpence Press
Hero: Edward Fanshawe
Heroine: Nora
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 05, 2020
Started On: January 02, 2021
Finished On: January 09, 2021

S.M. LaViolette’s foray into erotic romance comes in the form of the Victorian Decadence series, the debut book of which is entitled His Harlot. These books are unlike any erotic romance books I have read (not that my experience is that vast), but I like character driven erotic romance just as much as anyone who loves the sub-genre. Ms. LaViolette certainly pulls no punches when it comes to writing these stories, and irrespective of those things that I did not understand (perhaps due to my conservative nature that is inherent in me), I did enjoy the major arcs as the story unfolded for the most part.

41 year old Edward Fanshawe is a regular customer at the Madame Tosca’s exclusive establishment for gentlemen where Nora works. Though not exclusively, Edward had been visiting Nora for the last eight months, during three months of which he had seen her and no other. During the period their sexual games had intensified with every encounter. Nora is an odd creature, someone whose body is as lithe as a young boy’s and yet feminine in a way that drives Edward just a little crazy.

Edward is horrified at the mere thought of being too dependent and obsessed with Nora, something which he seeks to avoid at all costs. His need to see those rare moments during which Nora lets him see into her emotions, by driving her hard sexually is the one aspect of their sexual escapades that leaves Edward more scared than he lets on. Having grown up at an orphanage, steeped in poverty, Edward has worked hard to get where he is, and he has plans that points him in the direction of finding him a respectable wife and getting himself an heir.

Nora makes him want the impossible, and unlike in “normal” romance novels where the hero would reluctantly offer for the heroine’s hand in marriage, what Edward offers her is to become his mistress. For Nora who has been in love with Edward, it is not an offer that she has to think much about it. Accept it she does, and then she finds out that that Edward plans on achieving his life goals with her by his side.

Nora is someone who likes sexual depravity. Since she had been fourteen years old, Nora had known that she was differently wired. Wanting freedom from the shackles of marriage, she had left life as she had known it and made it on her own – working at the whorehouse had been a means to an end of sorts, where she knew her sinful nature served her well. Meeting Edward and falling in love had been the one thing that had made her question her life choices, but Nora knows that marriage and respectability are two words that would never be applied to her.

His Harlot is a novel that depicts how two people so lost in their depraved games to heighten sexual intimacy, each equally afraid of giving away the fragility of their feelings for one another, hurt other people in their lives to the extent that one might perceive it to be unforgivable. There is a lot of pain that both Nora and Edward undergo before things get better, a lot of growing up that each does as individuals to understand the ramifications of their decisions when it came to each other.

Being an erotic romance, there were plentiful scenes of sex involved of course, but Ms. LaViolette has achieved what few authors perhaps can in such a setting – given emotional wholesomeness alongside with development of secondary characters to a point that makes you want to learn more about them. But funnily enough, me being the book quote lover that I am, did not really find much affinity with the scenes of passion in the story as it unfolded, perhaps because most of it were to do with Nora and Edward finding sexual pleasure at the cost of someone else’s emotions.

Furthermore, I had a hard time understanding Nora’s life choices – I just could not perceive how a woman brought up in a loving household (there were no indications of it being anything but) could just be okay with servicing men for sexual pleasure. I know that we are all wired differently, but that was just something I could not wrap my head around. We all pursue the fulfillment of our baser desires to different extents; our life choices often get messed up along the way as a resultant effect of those desires as well. But I guess regardless of my personal opinion, everything did work out for Nora and Edward in the end. I even rooted for them from a certain point onward, the painful period of separation giving that right touch of penance perhaps for their earlier behavior.

One key takeaway from the series – was everyone sex crazed in the Victorian era? Or is that just me? I certainly did not understand the need to have sex with everything that moves, but that is how most of the characters came off in the story. But enticing they are, and I am definitely going to read more of where this came from.

Recommended for erotic romance lovers; Ms. LaViolette is certainly talented in writing plentiful when it comes to inventive sex scenes and delivering wholesome goodness while at it.

Final Verdict: His Harlot is unlike any erotic romance I have read, taking the reader on a journey of sensual depravity that meets a lot of hurdles on the road to the happily ever after.

Favorite Quotes

“Look at us,” he ordered, their eyes meeting in the glass. He pumped his hips, relishing the sight of his powerful body covering hers. “We look like two animals in rut,” he said, demonstrating again but harder, devouring the pain and lust and—yes, if he wasn’t mistaken—jealousy on her face. “We’re two of a kind,” he whispered in her ear. “Two mutts who like to fuck like the animals we are.” He thrust again, very close to his climax now. “But my wife, Nora, she will be a purebred.” His dark eyes held her pale ones in thrall: black and white just like this room—their room.
“And I’ll pump my seed into her purebred cunt and breed my mutts inside her gold-plated womb.” He leaned close enough to kiss her ear. “And you’ll have to watch and suffer and want.”
He gave one last vicious thrust and they came at the same moment, Nora climaxing as he spent deep inside her, tears streaming from her eyes.

There was no finesse, no gentleness. He sucked her into his mouth and ravaged her, the thick middle finger of his hand slamming into her hard, his thrusts deep and remorseless.
Nora plunged her fingers into his thick white hair, holding him firm while she ground herself against him, spreading wider and fucking his tongue, his lips, even his rough chin, which scratched skin that was almost virginal it had been so long since it had last had contact with anything but her hand.
Not like Edward, who’d been fucking and whipping women other than her all along. The familiar swirl of lust and jealousy filled her belly and overflowed into her womb, her body pounding with a primitive throbbing for hi
m.

“My poor Nora,” he whispered, his hips resuming their pumping, his hand briefly grazing her wet cheek. “You’ve missed this just as much as I have.” This, being a thrust so brutal it almost choked her. He chuckled at the sound. “I can see you’re out of practice and in need of my firm hand and hard cock.” He held her head in an unbreakable grip while he drove into her with increasingly savagery, plunging cruelly, with no care but for his own pleasure, pushing her dangerously close to the edge.
“No,” he ordered harshly.
His selfish command was more powerful than the most exotic aphrodisiac and almost sent her over the edge. But her body, if not her mind, responded without question to his mastery.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Review: All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Byrne

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Devil You Know, #2
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hero: Cassius Gerard Ramsay
Heroine: Cecelia Teague
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 29, 2020
Started On: December 11, 2020
Finished On: December 26, 2020

The second installment in the Devil You Know series; All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Byrne turned out to be anticlimactic in many ways. This series which focuses on three women who meet and forge an unlikely friendship and bond at boarding school, which continues to be a huge part of their lives even after, often reads like a cliched manuscript for a women’s rights advocacy group.

Cecelia Teague spends her most formative years undergoing emotional and at times physical abuse at the hands of her father until she is rescued and given all of those things which she never would have thought possible. However, the one constant in her life remains – loneliness, which has never truly left since those dark days long in her past.

Cecelia’s path crosses that of Cassius Gerard Ramsay, when one of her friends gets married to Ramsay’s half brother. Ramsay is a stickler for due process, understandable given his profession as the Lord Chief Justice of the High Court. Furthermore, Ramsay is a man who believes abstinence is key to a life that is not ruled by vices. However, in Cecelia he finds a woman who tests his resolve for the first time in seven long years.

Even so, fate does not treat these two ever so kindly at first, with Cecelia forced to assume responsibility for something that Ramsay loathes with his very existence. When danger comes calling and in pursuit of Cecelia and those whom she holds dearest, Ramsay does not waste any time in taking her to safety until they are able to get to the bottom of it.

As these two battle out their mutual attraction to one another, the truth that emerges from the past maybe a much heavier price to pay than either of them bargained for. But reconcile they must, and acceptance is key to a shared future, if Ramsay and Cecelia are ever so inclined.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, this book turned out to be such a let-down in many ways. I found the story bogged down with tedious detail and cliched in many ways that I often left comments expressing my dissatisfaction with the undertones in the story. I am all for strong heroines who go out of their way to fight for and carve out their rightful place in society. But I do dislike stories that rather than impart important messaging along those lines with subtlety, goes to include preachy dialogue that just falls flat, given the time period, circumstances, and characters in question.

My biggest disappointment was how Ramsay turned out to be. He was such a formidable character from the very first installment in the series. His presence alone had a vibe that I liked, something that sent delicious shivers running up and down my spine. But alas, his character seemed to deflate like a balloon that loses air in small degrees, as Ms. Byrne attempted to make Cecelia stand strong and true to her values.

I agree that Ramsay was an ass ofttimes and held such strong opinions of his own regarding women’s place in society and how his life should be. In a way I don’t blame him given the job title which he holds, which comes with a lot of moral and ethical responsibilities attached to it. It is not just his own self and actions that would be under scrutiny but those whom he considers his family and friends as well.

So Cecelia in her high handedness refusing to see that was part of the problem for me, while Ramsay’s stubbornness also was unacceptable. But then in truth, that is what humans are like, and I would have expected them to find a way to be together because their love was worth it. As women, we don’t have to push feminism and women’s right to the extent that we are unwilling to bend and compromise for what is important in life. Love requires compromise, a future built on mutual trust and other values requires compromise – show me a successful marriage and/or relationship that does not include compromise as the number one keyword for their success and I will reconsider my opinion.

So Ramsay’s character, needless to say, was butchered in a way that was unacceptable in my opinion. He was initially the very definition of compelling. I keep wondering as to whatever happened to Ms. Byrne’s will to write ruthless heroes that made my senses go haywire. I wonder what happened to the writer who was willing to go where her characters took her, even when they were often difficult roads to travel on. But we as readers appreciated that darkness to her characters which few authors tend to risk writing. I wanted so much more for Ramsay and Cecelia – a plot that just sank in the middle was not it.

Recommended for die-hard fans of Kerrigan Byrne and fans of the series! I am not entirely certain that I would be reading the next installment, given the reviews that show that readers were more or less let down once again!

Final Verdict: What a sore disappointment this turned out to be, me with my high hopes smashed to smithereens by the overly preachy and cliched overtones on feminism & women’s rights interwoven into the story.

Favorite Quotes

“I like your names,” she whispered, swaying forward. “Ramsay. And Cassius.”
He hated his name. He hated it every day. “I like yers.”
She blinked. “Would you say it?”
“Miss Teague?”
“No, might you call me Cecelia?”
“Cecelia.” He drew out the syllables, letting his tongue linger over them. Learn them.
She closed her eyes, seeming to savor the word with the same vigor as the truffles. “Again?”
An invisible restraint shackled his bones, this one not of cold hard iron, but of velvet. It tugged him toward her. Drew her name out of his chest like a poem, and then a prayer.
“Cecelia.”
Her lips parted.
And he was l
ost.

She didn’t reach for him, nor did she do anything else wanton or wicked. She just accepted his mouth with a sweet sigh, tilting her head to receive more of him.
He lifted his hands to her face, intent upon gently holding her still so he could extricate himself from a kiss that shouldn’t be.
His thumbs drew up the line of her jaw and over her cheek, finding no angles, no hard lines. Somehow, he was cupping her face. Tilting it back. Drawing her in rather than pushing her away.
The roaring of his blood in his ears became a growl and then a purr.

He skimmed the seam of her lips with his tongue in a warm caress as his hand covered hers on his jaw. He laced their fingers in a motion that sent shivers rocketing through her entire frame like the waves of a sea gale. One crashing over the other with no sign of a break.

Her greedy hands danced over him, taking advantage of their position. She raked her fingers through a soft wealth of golden hair over his chest, finding the flat, masculine nipples that pebbled beneath her touch.
He made a noise that wasn’t entirely human and allowed her to slide down his body until she stood again so he could gather her hands in his own.
No, she thought, pulling her hands from his grasp. No, you don’t get to control this.
She wanted him like he was now. Free and wild, uninhibited and mindless. She wanted the man to give way to the animal beneath. If almost every one of their interactions had been a battle, this one would be different in a very unmistakable way.
This was a battle she’d win.

She gazed up over the cords of his stomach and the mounds of his chest into gilded lightning glinting down at her from eyes that no longer held a hint of winter. His skin was flushed with arousal. His lids at half-mast.
He bared his teeth in a show of dominance, though his hand was gentle as it urged her mouth toward the column of his sex.
He thought he was still in control.
How adorable.

She employed the strength of her jaw, sucking him in, taking him as deep against her throat as she could. Her tongue flattened to make room for him, rubbing at the underside of his rod as she pumped faster.
“Nay,” he gritted out. “Ye canna.”
Yes, she thought. I can. You’re mine. This is mine. This wicked intimacy they would always share regardless of the outcome of their current nightmare. At least she’d owned him with her mouth. And he was the man whose lips she would never forget.

Cecelia finally opened her eyes, glorying in the sight of him locked within his own skin and strength. Helpless and vulnerable inside her mouth. Arching with a pleasure that looked very much like pain.
This was the beast. This untethered, unselfconscious thing.
This beast was hers. This beast wanted to lay claim to her, as well.

“How can I not look?” he asked her as though she’d gone mad. His growl had deepened another impossible degree, to that of a Gregorian monk at prayer. “I didna know such perfection existed.”
In that moment Cecelia didn’t care if anything subsequent proved to be folly, she merely realized she was falling for this strong giant brute, with all the subtle grace of a landslide. Plunging artlessly into love with him even though every logical thought told her she should not.
Logic didn’t belong in this mysterious Scottish forest.
Only this. Only them.

“Oh, don’t make me say it,” she pleaded.
A dark chuckle overtook him as he lowered his great body to nuzzle into her hair. “Ye confound me, woman,” he purred into her ear. “Tell me what ye want, and I’ll give it to ye.”
“I want you.” Cecelia turned her head, sifting her fingers through his hair as she returned her breath against his ear. “And you can have me, Ramsay,” she offered gently, reaching in between their bodies to stroke his hard length over his trousers. “In whatever way you want me. I can take it. I can take you. All of you.”

There was a moment of fright. A single, breathless knowledge that once he’d claimed her this night, neither of them be the same. His weight was both a comfort and a burden, and she did the only thing she could think of to release a sudden rush of anxiety.
She bit the muscle between his neck and his shoulder.
He snarled and drove forward, pressing inside.

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