Review: Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-bookbadprincess.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Finian Bellamy
Heroine: Brinley Cantrella
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 27, 2017
Started On: June 20, 2018
Finished On: June 22, 2018

Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes is a novella that I enjoyed immensely. One reason being that it was different and lighthearted for the most part, while giving readers two characters that you could root and fall for. Julianna Keyes is an author who is immensely talented in the way she invokes so much emotion with every book she has written to-date. I know what I am talking about because except for her latest book in the Burnham College series, I have read everything that she has written and published in the genre.

Bad Princess as the title alludes to, is the story of the younger princess of the Kingdom of Estau, born three years after the birth of the most precious and beloved daughter of the Kingdom, Princess Elle Vida. Princess Elle had been the perfect princess; nothing in her life had been out of sync, never had she misbehaved. She had always done what had been expected of her, that is until she had abdicated the throne and eloped with a commoner when her marriage had already been arranged with a Prince from the neighboring Kingdom of Lenora.

Meanwhile, Princess Brinley Cantrella, with her penchant for mischief and “misbehavior”, is considered lacking the proper decorum that is required of a princess. Knowing that she would never be able to live up to the image of perfection that is her sister, Brinley perhaps had gone out of her way to live her life exactly as she had wanted. Causing scandals is her nature, and getting the opportunity to go to university, away from the prying eyes and ears of the Kingdom had been a godsend for her, that is until duty once again calls her back home.

With Elle having eloped and left the duty of marriage to Prince Finian Bellamy hanging in the balance, it is Brinley who eventually has to step in to fill the role, especially being caught in her most clandestine position yet, with none other than Prince Finian, her sister’s ex-fiance’. For Brinley, this marriage of convenience would be the ultimate punishment; getting married to the man she has loved since she was five years old, but knowing he would never love her in return.

So starts a marriage that is borne out of duty on both parts, or so Brinley believes, until her husband proves her otherwise, in each delicious and wanton encounter in bed and out of it, that leaves Brinley begging for more. However, Brinley’s legendary past is something that is determined to keep up, until she is forced to face her inner demons and accept her own self as being capable and able to course her own chart in traversing through life as an equal partner to her wedded husband.

I believe Julianna did a marvelous job of bringing the touch of modern to a fairy tale romance, the kind of romance we all fall in love with during our childhoods and carry them with us, even till today. I loved every single aspect of this book from the very unusual Princess Brinley who had her work cut out for her when it came to standing her ground and being true to her own self.

I absolutely adored Finnian. He is the kind of Prince I wouldn’t mind being shackled with. In all honesty, Finn and Brinley were made for each other. I fell in love with Finn because he sees right through Brinley, and accepts and loves her for all that she is. Her exploratory nature, her need for messing things up a little, and the way she always gives herself wholeheartedly to each and every adventure that life throws their way are reasons to love her all the more.

I cannot help but be curious to read about Elle’s story, the perfect sister and princess who “lost” her way to the “wicked” lumberjack who had led her “astray”. I hope Julianna intends to write her story one day.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: In Bad Princess, Julianna Keyes delivers a fairytale romance with a twist of modern and leaves the reader wanting more!

Favorite Quotes

She clutched his shoulder and raised onto her toes, kissing him again, breath hitching when he pressed a finger inside. He touched her sweetly at first, then with more confidence, more purpose. A second finger joined in, the heel of his hand glancing her clit, and Brinley couldn’t help but grind against him, even though she wanted this to last much, much longer. He was so good, so—
The library doors banged open and Brinley froze.
Everything froze.
Finn.
His fingers.
The air.
The planet turning on its axis.
The only things that moved were the tourist cameras, clicking frantically as they caught the bad princess in her most compromising position yet.

Finn made the first move.
He put down the tablet and leaned in, closing the scant inches between them, and paused with his mouth a hairsbreadth away. When Brinley didn’t move he closed the remaining space and touched his lips softly to hers.
She tried not to whimper foolishly.
Tried foolishly not to want this.
Want him.
Her husband.
He tilted his head slightly and hers moved as well, improving the fit. They fit together so well. Unfairly well. So temptingly, appallingly well. He nudged her bottom lip and she opened for him, felt his tongue on hers, every bit as skilled as it had been the first time. His hand slipped into her hair and cupped the back of her head, and Brinley let out the whimper she wanted to hide, let him slide a hand over her hip and draw her in so she straddled his lap.

His head fell forward like his neck had grown too weary to hold it up, and she heard him pull in a shaky, steadying breath. She lifted a hand to stroke his back, feeling the ridges of his spine beneath her fingers, the sweat that beaded on his skin. He was waiting for something, composure perhaps, or even more permission, and Brinley opened her legs wider and pressed her heels into the cushion to spur him on.
He started to move, deep, languorous thrusts that reignited nerve endings she would have sworn had been extinguished, and slowly their hips found a compatible rhythm, the slap of their skin growing louder as the intensity increased, as the thrusts lengthened and deepened, as Finn fucked her.
It was that idea, that word, that had Brinley coming undone a second time, something that had never happened before, never even been close to happening. Now it felt like it was totally out of her control, her body responding to stimuli it had been trying for years to tell her it needed.

Brinley writhed in her seat, acutely aware of the weight of his fingers inside her, the reward that waited if she could just behave long enough. Her tutors had tried to teach her the virtues of patience so many times, then given up when their own patience expired.
“I need to come,” she said, her voice hitching. “Please move your hand again. Please touch me.”
He held her gaze, then slowly lowered his head so his mouth covered her nipple, lips fastening around the sensitive skin and sucking hard. Brinley’s back arched and her legs fell apart, and all pretense of not moving fell by the wayside. She felt herself sliding down the smooth leather until her back was on the seat and her husband loomed over her, his fingers thrusting hard inside, finding just the right spot to have her fumbling for her satin clutch, biting into the shiny fabric as she came.

She groaned loud and long into the pillow as he slipped two fingers inside her pussy, her inner muscles clinging to him greedily, thrilling to the rough handling. “Lose the pillow,” he grunted, reaching up to pull it away from her face.
“I can’t,” she replied, fumbling to take it back, barely able to breathe. “Someone will hear.”
“Let them hear. They will stop this talk of divorce.” He punctuated each sentence with a rough lick across her too-sensitive skin, and Brinley trembled all over.
“They will start a new conversation, of an even more embarrassing nature.”
“What’s embarrassing about having your pussy eaten?” Finn asked mildly.

“Fuck,” he growled above her. “Brinley.”
She sucked him harder, hollowing her cheeks, rubbing her tongue on the underside of his cock and tasting the wetness at his tip.
He jerked away and caught her under the arm, pulling her to her feet. “Bend over,” he ordered roughly.
She did as instructed, bracing her elbows on the bed, ass in the air, exposed and anticipating. There was the sharp rip of the condom package and a pause as Finn rolled it on, then he was gripping her hips and working himself into her welcoming body, grinding himself against her as though erasing any doubts between them. Brinley dropped her head to the soft blankets and gave herself over to sensations she could not control. She moaned and writhed as Finn fucked her, his hips driving in so deeply from this angle, so completely. He shattered her and she came apart in his hands, her body conceding, obeying when she never obeyed. And above her he groaned, a long, heartfelt sound as he came, showing her all the things he could not say.

greatread

Review: The Samurai’s Garden by Patricia Kiyono

Format: E-bookthesamuraisgarden.jpeg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Astraea Press
Hero: Hiromasa Tanaka
Heroine: Hanako Shimizu
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 06, 2012
Started On: October 15, 2017
Finished On: December 19, 2017

The Samurai’s Garden by Patricia Kinoyo is a book that I purchased on a whim when I came across the title on Amazon. The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise, set in Japan is one of my favorite movies of all time. Plus, Japan as a country holds a wealth of fascination for me, not the least to do with their discipline, moral code, their love for nature, and their general kindness towards humanity. To read a romance set in Japan, infused deeply with Imperial Japanese culture was something too good for me to pass up.

The Samurai’s Garden is set in the 17th century, a time during when the Samurai were stripped of their powers, leaving a lot of of men lost amidst the changes taking place. In Hokkaido, Hanako Shimizu is a widow struggling to survive the harsh realities of life without her father and her husband. Not that the latter had been of much help when it came to the practicalities of life. But for a woman without the protection of a male in the household, life was a perilous journey, especially considering the unwanted advances of men she would rather not associate with.

When a stranger with two swords hanging at his side comes to her rescue at the market and offers to work at her homestead for a place to stay and warm meals, Hanako wants to refuse. But something about the way Hiromasa Tanaka holds himself makes her trust him enough to invite him into her life.

Justice, Bravery, Benevolence, Politeness, Veracity, Honor, and Loyalty were the seven codes of the Bushido, or “Way of the Warrior”; the code by which Hiro has lived his life up till the point until the new laws had come into place. Rather than head back to Tokyo to be with his family as he should have done, Hiro had gone even further north until he had come to the island of Hokkaido where he meets Hanako, invariably changing both their lives forever.

Working together to make Hanako’s home self sufficient, Hiro proposes marriage to Hanako, an offer that she is reluctant to accept for many reasons. Hanako has always more or less being viewed as a nobody with no special skills to speak of, no family of worth to back her, which means that understanding her own worth is a monumental task for her. Hiro aims to change all that for his Little Flower, as soon as she would agree to do the honors of being his wife.

The Samurai’s Garden was so lovely in so many ways. There is Hiro of course, a man who is as gentle and kind as they come, with a core of steel running through him that makes him oh so very desirable. His dedication towards making their shared home a prosperous and happy one is evident throughout and for those reasons and more I loved him wholeheartedly. There was also the fact that Hiro wanting to allay Hanako’s fears about being done wrong by a worthless husband yet again, does something very uncommon, especially during the time period in which the story is set. That was the icing on the cake for me when it came to Hiro’s character.

Hanako, while she resists Hiro on many levels at first, starts seeing the man of worth Hiro is from day one. However, that does not make it easy for her to trust him with her heart, and the way Hiro wins her over, inch by inch, and how Hanako blooms under his care, love, and attention was so worth it.

In the midst of it all, Hiro prepares the village to face off rogue Samurai, and the final test of their relationship comes when Hiro is called back home to face unfinished business that he had left behind. What the whole story brings together, apart from the way Hideyori Kato’s story ended, a bit anticlimactically if you ask me, everything else was pretty wonderful.

I just adored how Hiro calls Hanako his Little Flower. Made me go awn every single time. The garden Hiro plants and tends to around their property, even with Hanako’s misgivings about its practicality, the flowers that bloom, the beauty, peace, and tranquility of it all which Ms. Kinoyo brings to life so effortlessly with her words was why I adored this book.

Recommended for those who would love to read a romance in a Japanese historical setting.

Final Verdict: The Samurai’s Garden is aptly named in a way that brings a smile to my heart. It reminds me of Hiro and Hanaka, and Hiro’s undying love for a woman who is his equal in every way. Beautifully written!

Favorite Quotes

Hiro stood at the edge of the clearing, swinging an ancient axe in a deadly arc at the trunk of a thick tree. A loud crack preceded the thunderous boom as it crumpled to the earth. The axe continued its work as limbs and branches were separated from the trunk.
Hanako’s mouth went dry at the sight of her handsome guest. He was stripped to the waist, his tanned and muscled arms glistening as they swung rhythmically. She couldn’t resist leaning out of the doorway to get a closer look. Mesmerized, she stared at the rippling muscles on his back. Kenji had never stirred such feelings in her. Of course, Kenji had never subjected himself to hard physical labor. He was an artist and an intellectual.

“Are you certain you are all right?” Hanako asked again.
“I’m fine,” he insisted. “I’m just hungry.”
“Yes, of course. I will prepare your meal,” she said as she scurried toward the cook stove. He noticed her hands shook as she measured the rice, poured water into the pot, and attempted to light the fire. The flame would not start for her, and as she tried again and again, she got more agitated. Finally he got up and stood behind her. He reached around her and put his hand on hers.
“You are too distressed from today’s events. I can do this.”
She dropped the flint and covered her eyes. Great sobs racked her body, and she tried to step away from him, but he gathered her in his arms and rocked her gently.
“You are safe, my little flower. I would not let anyone harm you.”

She let herself dream as his arms and body cradled her. They went through the motions, his right hand and arm directing the improvised weapon, his left hand moving her body. It was amazing how their bodies fit together, how their limbs moved in perfect synchronization. His hands switched as he moved the improvised weapon to her other hand and turned her body so her left side faced the imaginary opponent. Hanako knew the movements had been designed for fighting, but the two of them were engaged in a much different, though equally intense, reality.

He had often imagined her like this, late at night, as he tried to sleep knowing she was only a short walk away. His mind’s eye had constructed the creaminess of her skin, the smooth curve of her body, the warmth of her smile. But the vision before him surpassed all of his dreams. This woman had been created especially for him, and he alone would have the right to cherish her from now to eternity. He would not ever take this right for granted.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepository

greatread

Review: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdukeofdesire.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #12
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Raphael de Chartres
Heroine: Iris Daniels
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 17, 2017
Started On: December 11, 2017
Finished On: December 16, 2017

Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt is the much awaited final installment in the Maiden Lane series, books that have consistently managed to captivate, woo, and stupendously deliver on all fronts where the romance genre is concerned. Hoyt writes with a flair that is rarely found in the genre; with heart, wit, and a sensuality that takes your breathe away. Why I fell in love with her books is owing to all that and more, and though I was sad to be saying goodbye to the series, I knew in my heart that it was time.

Duke of Desire brings to readers the story of Iris Daniels, Lady Jordan whom we encounter in the previous book in the series, alongside with Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore. Raphael is a man on a mission to hunt down the members of the Lords of Chaos, a despicable secret society whose members consisted of aristocrats who enjoyed preying on the most vulnerable – on the rape and destruction of women and children.

When Iris finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the diabolical intentions of the members of the Lords of Chaos, it is Raphael who steps into rescue her, though it does not seem like that at first from where she is standing. However, as circumstances push them together, Raphael finds himself at odds with his lifelong mission that had set him on the course of pursuing the members of the group. In Iris, he finds a a flicker of light at the end of that long and dark tunnel that glows brighter every passing minute he spends in her company, enticing him to cast the demons that hounds him aside and be free to love her as he yearns to.

Iris having being married before, wants more from marriage the second time around. Being “forced” into “wedded bliss” with Raphael hardly seems like the road to achieving that particular dream she has for her future. But bit by bit, Iris comes to the realization that with Raphael, she just might find everything her heart yearns and desires for, if only she is willing to peel back the layers that makes the complex man that Raphael is, and help him confront his painful past.

For me, Duke of Desire was a story that didn’t quite reach its potential. I felt that there was so much more that Hoyt could have done with the storyline, but missed out on, which made the story a bit lackluster in certain areas.

Raphael however, was a gem of a hero who I wanted to hold close and even cry about at times. His past is one that proved to be graphically all too real at certain points (which was necessary in my opinion), and horrifyingly so close to the truth if you look at the depravity that is human nature all too often. To have suffered what Raphael did, at such a tender age, alongside with the conflicting array of emotions he has for his abuser (which was all too understandable), I found that Raphael’s character was one I fell for without a shred of doubt.

For me, it was Iris’s character that I found lacking. While I loved her for her gentle and giving nature, there was something missing in her, a characteristic that is strongly inherent in almost all of Hoyt’s heroines. I also found the ending of the Lords of Chaos to be a bit anticlimactic after the continued theme in a couple of books towards the end of the series. However, even with all the tidbits that did not work for me, I did enjoy the story and ended it with the hope that Hoyt would continue to write amazing stories that readers like us covet so much.

Final Verdict: Hoyt bids adios to her Maiden Lane series by bringing forth one of the most broken and yet formidable heroes in the series, the Duke of Dyemore. Loved him to bits and then some.

Favorite Quotes

She took his hand in hers and ran the cloth over the veins that roped the back. His fingers were long and strong, and they dwarfed hers, the nails square and pale. She carefully washed each one and then cupped his hand in hers to wash his palm. It was an intimate act. A … caring act. One a mother might perform for a child.
Or a woman might perform for her lover.
Iris caught her breath and straightened to rinse the cloth.
When she turned back her gaze caught his.
He was watching her, his crystal eyes half-lidded, his twisted lips parted.
She felt something inside her clench.

Iris cleared her throat and rubbed in small circles on his upper chest, moving downward, toward one of those nipples. They were just little bits of flesh, weren’t they? A deeper color, certainly, than the surrounding skin, and creped, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Her breath caught as she swept over his nipple with the cloth. Did he feel that? Did it feel any different from the rest of his skin? Did he feel as she did when cloth brushed over her bare nipples?
She dared to peek from under her lowered eyelashes.
His nostrils were flared, his eyes mere slits.

She stretched on tiptoe and pressed the sketchbook to his chest, holding it there with the flat of her palm. “Tell me the truth, Raphael. Now. Tonight. No more evasions and lies. What is it you feel for me? Is it affection—or merely indifference?”
He finally moved then, snatching the sketchbook from her hand and tossing it to a chair.
He wrapped one arm around her waist and fisted her hair with the other hand, bending over her until she had to grasp those broad shoulders or fall. “Believe me, Wife, the last thing I feel for you is indifference.”
Then his mouth was on hers, devouring her, his hot tongue demanding that she part her lips and let him into her depths.

His hips began to move, thrusting gently, shoving his cock in and out of her mouth.
She glanced up and saw his head tilted back, the tendons of his neck drawn taut, and suddenly his hand was in her hair, pulling, trying to make her move away.
But she didn’t want to. She had such power now and she was drunk on his taste and scent. She sucked strongly, moving her hands up and down that gorgeous shaft, feeling as he thrust his cock against her tongue.
He groaned as if he were in pain and his hips shuddered.
And she tasted hot, bitter liquid in her mouth.
Semen. His semen.

He guided her down so that she was pressed against him, his knee right in her softness, her lips spread on him.
Her eyes widened.
“Rock,” he said, watching her.
She grasped his thigh and slowly rubbed against him, her breasts trembling.
“Do you like it?” he asked, looking quite sinister.
“Yes.” She licked her lips. “Yes, I do.”
“You look like you like it,” he murmured low.

“Have you ever pleasured yourself?” he asked.
And she opened her eyes wide in shock. She never … To discuss aloud such things!
His eyes were knowing, as if he’d seen her, lying in her virginal bed long ago, fingering herself.
“Show me,” he growled. “Show me what you do.”
She swallowed and trailed her right hand down, burrowing her middle finger into where she was hot and wet.
Oh! She couldn’t catch her breath. Doing this in front of him as he eyed her dispassionately. As he ordered her to display herself for him. She was on the point, so close, so close, her finger working faster and faster as her scent rose in the air between them.
Her mouth opened wide and her hips stuttered against him, sweet heat flowing through her, infusing her limbs, making her light-headed.
He caught her and drew her against him, pressing kisses into her mouth as he murmured, “So beautiful. So beautiful.”

He licked, flicking her nipple with his tongue on one side and his fingers on the other, and at the same time he ground down on her, shoving her chemise into her pussy, rubbing against her clitoris, until the silk was sodden with her wetness. Until she could hear the soft, slick sounds he made, his body on hers, him pleasuring her, while he would not let her move.
He wasn’t gentle. But then perhaps he didn’t know how to be gentle, and the thought made something inside her weep, even as he drove her up that peak. Maybe this was all he knew: flesh and liquid heat.
Maybe that was all she would ever have from him.
She wasn’t certain it was enough.

She arched beneath him, her hips shoving up, trying to get more of that hand, more of that gaze. He lowered his head and covered her mouth, thrusting between her lips as he slid a finger into her softness.
She trembled beneath him, moaning as he kissed her so deeply she thought she might lose her senses.
He was rubbing his thumb over her clitoris now, fast and hard, and he broke the kiss to murmur in a voice dark as hellfire, “Wet my hand. Show me your desire. Show me all that you are. Let me look at your sweet cunt, swollen and rosy for me. I want to make you weep. I want all your pleasure, Iris, all your pain, everything you are. You are the light in my black night. Come for me.”

Oh God, she wanted him to fill her.
She pressed her palm to the side of his face.
He turned his head and kissed her palm … and at the same time thrust inside her.
She gasped at the sudden invasion. At feeling his cock inside her at long last. At the stretch and the fullness and the glory.
He thrust again and was fully seated, as far inside her as it was possible to be. Her legs were stretched open to accommodate his hips, and he was pressed deeply, intimately into her.
He pushed up on his arms and held himself there as he pulled his cock nearly all the way from her body and then drove back in again.
She opened her mouth, panting, holding his crystal-gray gaze. His hips were working now, driving into her at a hard pace, filling her again and again.
She’d never …
It had never been like this before.
So intense. So intimate. So devastating.

She moaned, long and low, wanting to arch, to thrash, to scream. Instead she opened her mouth and bit his shoulder, tasting salt.
Tasting want.
Then she gasped. “Please.”
“What do you want?” he whispered in her ear, an incubus, dark and alive and in her. “Tell me. What do you need?”
“I …” Her mouth opened, wordless.
“Tell me,” his smoky voice curled around her.
“You.”
He chuckled, dark and low.
“This?” He thrust short and hard into her, the impact sending jolts of pleasure through her body. “Yes, that,” he murmured to himself as if pleased, and did it again.
And again.

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

goodread

Review: To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booktoseduceasinner
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers, #2
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Jasper Renshaw
Heroine: Melisande Fleming
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 1, 2008
Started On: August 15, 2016
Finished On: August 18, 2016

It is quite the impossible feat to finish reading To Taste Temptation, the 1st book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series and not be intrigued by Emeline’s best friend Melisande Fleming. It is also fair to say that pairing Emeline’s best friend with the man she had been engaged to marry before she had met her happily ever after, the man being Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale was another reason that I was so quick in picking this up to read. Melisande’s character intrigued me for the front she puts up, the stoic and reasonable woman behind which I knew lay a heart that wants what most of us do. Someone to love, someone who returns that love tenfold and make you glad and giddy that it is so.

Even though popular with the ladies all over the ton, Vale seems to have run into quite the fix when it comes to acquiring his own bride. After being jilted for the second time, it is Melisande who comes to his rescue and offers her hand in marriage to him, surprising and intriguing him at the same time. While Vale makes it quite clear to Melisande that he is looking for a proper marriage, one where he gets bedding rights with his wife, Melisande agrees to everything and more. After all, she has loved Vale from afar for six long years and he needs not know her reasons for wanting him as her own.

Melisande is described as a plain woman. Someone who pretty much no man, especially one like Vale would notice in his attempts to woo and seduce ladies. It is Vale’s coping mechanism. Being surrounded by people, parties, laughter and joviality while on the inside he is reeling from the effect the tragedy at Spinner’s Falls had left on him. Being responsible for the regiment that had been attacked by Indians, the nightmares never leave him, especially at night when they come home to roost in his subconscious. Vale keeps that fact close to his heart, until Melisande breaks down the barriers he has put up, both physical and mental, until she takes him for everything he is.

Vale’s intrigue when it comes to the woman he married increases by the day. The sharp contrast between the woman who does not show much emotion during the day and fulfills every dirty and wanton need of his at night is a woman that needed to be unraveled. Vale is relentless in his pursuit of the secrets that Melisande hides behind. To find out what makes her tick. To find out what she wants. And most of all, why she offered her hand in marriage to him. A secret that Melisande guards as selfishly as Vale does that of his nightmares.

Along with the seduction and wooing of his wife that he pursuits with a vengeance, Vale continues his quest for the truth behind what happened at Spinner’s Falls. To find out the man that had betrayed his regiment and left them all at the torturous mercy of Indians who had practically annihilated them. Vale’s character is one you grow to love as the story goes on. The man behind the mask that he puts on at social gatherings is a man worthy of everything Melisande has to give and more. The fact that he never acknowledged Melisande’s existence before she had come up to him with the proposition does not deter him from seeing her from then on. Really seeing through to her and finding a woman who completes him in every single way possible. A woman he needs in every single way there is.

The emotional wallop behind the story suckerpunches you square in the gut right after the marriage. The emotions that coursed through me as I witnessed both Melisande and Vale at once fight the losing battle between them towards claiming each other as their own was one that I absolutely loved! The scene where Vale draws out Melisande’s secrets, one kiss at a time, one heady caress at a time was purely hedonistic, and I could not have asked for more!

Beautifully crafted, as always! Kudos to Hoyt, the master of the genre!

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Sinfully hot and just as exquisite! Hoyt’s name resounds all over the genre for a reason!

Favorite Quotes

“Why are you doing this?”
“What?” he asked idly. He brushed the rose against her cheek, the softness of the petals sending a shudder down her spine.
She caught his hand, hard and warm beneath her fingertips. “This. You act as if you’re wooing me.”
“Do I?” He was very still, his lips only inches from hers.
“I’m already your wife. There’s no need to woo me,” she whispered, and couldn’t keep the plea from her voice.
He moved his hand easily, though she still had her fingers wrapped about his. The rose drifted across her parted lips.
“Oh, I think there’s every need,” he said.

“Do you mind?” she asked.
She was gratified that he had to clear his throat. “Not at all.”
She nodded and raised the hem of her chemise to her hips before climbing into the chair. She straddled his lap carefully and let the chemise fall. Then she sat. For a moment, all she could do was savor the heat of his thighs against her bottom. She could feel his body hair tickling her most intimate parts.
Then she smiled and wove her arms about his neck. “Will you kiss me?”
“God, yes,” he growled.

She raised up on her knees and pushed against his cock. She was panting now. He watched her and brought his thumbs and forefingers together, pinching her nipples. She gasped and arched her back, but his cock slid to one side. Frantically, she reached between them to hold his slippery length steady. She ground against him. She could feel her folds, swollen beneath her fingers. She imagined her sex, crimson and wet, flowering against his cock. She rubbed the head of his penis against her clitoris, biting her lips, striving, struggling toward that goal.
Then he leaned forward and sucked a nipple into his hot, humid mouth, and she went over the cliff. Rushing, panting, she shattered in space.

She grabbed his broad shoulders and hung on. Her legs were wide, her breasts jiggling, and her mouth was open against his face, kissing, licking, biting. And all the while, his cock plundered her. Leaping. Demanding. Plunging.
Until all his muscles tightened at once. He shook his head, his teeth clenched, his body rigid, and she felt the hot wash of his seed into her body. He jerked once. Again. Then exhaled as if all the air was leaving his body at once.

 He jackknifed up and flipped her beneath him. And then he was looming large and menacing over her, his face dark as he growled, “Do you think me a plaything, my lady?”
She opened her legs wide, planted her feet, and arched her hips off the bed. She rubbed her sex against his length, watching as his eyelids fell in reaction.
“Perhaps I do,” she whispered. “Perhaps your cock is my favorite toy. Perhaps I want my toy in my—”
But he thrust fast and hard, making her lose her words on a gasp of pleasure.
“Wanton,” he gritted. “My wanton.”

“I have watched you,” she panted, “for years. I’ve seen you look at women—vapid, pretty women. I’ve seen you choose which ones you wanted. I’ve seen you stalk them, woo them, and seduce them. And I’ve seen when you grew tired of them, when your eyes would start to wander again.”
He tore at the laces to her bodice, loosening and pulling aside the fabric of her dress and stays until he reached her bare nipple. He palmed one breast and drew the other into his mouth, sucking strongly.
She cried out.
He lifted his head. “Tell me.”

“I watched you for years,” she whispered. The tears were drying on her cheeks, and heat was building within her. If he would just touch her. Touch her there. “I watched you and you never saw me.”
“I see you now,” he said, licking around a nipple. He trailed his tongue across her breast and to the other breast, circling the nipple there. Delicately. Tenderly.
Damn him.
“You didn’t even know my name.”
“I know it now.” He tested her flesh with his teeth.
Pleasure mixed with pain shot through her, straight from her nipple to where his hand still played. She arched, silently begging, and he relented, sucking the nipple strongly into his mouth.
“You . . .” She swallowed, trying to focus her thoughts. “You didn’t know I existed.”
“I do now.”

He stopped suddenly, and she opened her eyes. His head was thrown back, his eyes blind, pleasure convulsing his face.
“Melisande!” he cried.
His head thumped to the pillow beside hers, his lungs sucking air. He was heavy and hard, and her arms were still drawn over her head. It didn’t matter. She’d gladly suffocate here underneath him. She turned her face toward him and licked the ear she’d earlier bloodied, and she finally said it. She gave him what he wanted.
“I love you. I’ve always loved you. That’s why I married you.”

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

greatread

Requested Review: Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy

Format: E-bookpetalsandthorns.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Roland
Heroine: Amarantha
Sensuality: 5
Date of Publication: July 13, 2010
Started On: May 20, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Petals and Thorns is a novella based on the Beauty and Beast theme interwoven with strong elements of BDSM. Amarantha the heroine finds herself married off to someone known as the Beast, a man too hideous to be seen out in public, who shrouds himself under a cloak, whose voice from the get go has a hypnotic effect on the reluctant Amarantha. All that Amarantha has to do is “suffer” through seven days with the Beast, her husband, and leave with her virginity intact in order for their family to be saved. And while the Beast had agreed to not force her to give up her maidenhood, everything else remains fair game.

Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, the Disney version of course. There is a timeless love story if ever there was one and my interest was piqued enough to give this a go because I wanted to see how the author would interweave BDSM elements into the story.

While the flow of the story was pretty much okay, I found that the Amarantha didn’t pretty much have a choice when it came to the Beast and his command over her body. A virgin without any experience whatsoever to guide her, Amarantha was at a disadvantage from the beginning of their marriage and I found the Beast to be a bit cruel at times in his attempts to make her bow to his will.

While I have read novels whose main theme has been BDSM, I have never remained emotionally hollowed out by any of it and yet I guess Petals and Thorns is going to be the first of its kind for me. One thing I think that led to the fact was that the story while its quite short with just 80+ pages to it, didn’t contain any elements from the Beast’s point of view. I guess that in itself leads the reader to draw the conclusion that the Beast’s ministrations on his wife was a tad cruel. Towards the latter part of the story, that tension eased a bit as readers are able to see that the Beast isn’t as much in control of his emotions & reaction towards Amarantha as he’d like her to believe.

I felt that the Beast and Amarantha, though seemed to be well matched in their desire for one another towards the end, seemed mismatched in other ways. While the Beast appeared to be well read with varied interests in other aspects of life as well, Amarantha didn’t seem as in tune with him in this aspect. I guess it was the lack of her exposure to much in life that made her the innocent she was.

Recommended for those that love hardcore BDSM themed romances.

Final Verdict: Jeffe Kennedy brings to readers the beauty and the beast, BDSM style!

Favorite Quotes

She forced herself to look at him. “I must tell you, I don‘t see how I can ever be your wife in truth. I cannot imagine asking you to—“
“To take your maidenhead? To rend you with my cock so that you scream in agonized pleasure?”
The shock drained Amarantha‘s cheeks of color. Even as the image somehow stirred her.
“Sir Beast, you cannot say such things to me.”
“It seems, my bride, that we must stretch your imagination as well. The only thing I may not do is take you by force. Everything else is open to me.”

“Amarantha…”
She heard the warning in his voice and inched up her skirts, just high enough to slip her hand under. He knew she wore no underthings, and she blushed at it. Amarantha dipped a hesitant finger into her private area, finding it slick and swollen. She nearly hummed at the sensation.
“Now show me.”
If possible, she flushed more deeply, that he might have thought she lingered. She held out a trembling hand for him. It gleamed slick in the sun. The Beast bent over. She felt his hot breath whuffing over her hand.
“You move me, Amarantha,” he finally murmured, his voice rough.

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

fairread

Review: Warrior by Kristina Douglas

Format: E-bookwarrrior
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Fallen, #3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Michael Angelo
Heroine: Victoria Bellona
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 24, 2012
Started On: January 24, 2015
Finished On: February 8, 2015

He wanted her. Needed her.
He wouldn’t take her.

Warrior by Kristina Douglas is the third book in the Fallen series. Warrior tells the story of Michael Angelo, the angel that has honed himself into a lethal fighting machine. It has been two centuries since Michael had last taken a mate and Michael has no intention of taking one until fate brings to his life Victoria Bellona, the Roman Goddess of War.

Victoria doesn’t believe in the fact that she is a goddess of anything, much less a Goddess of War. However, it is undeniable that her childhood up till now had prepared her in the art of fighting and she aims to fight dirty to gain her freedom from the life she has been subjected to, until she finds herself married off to Michael, a man whose very presence makes Victoria forget herself, until she learns that Michael is one of the Fallen and has no intention of ever truly making her his.

Michael fights a losing battle when it comes to Victoria. Michael’s honorable intentions take a hard hit when it comes to her. When Michael is forced to go after Victoria, all bets are off when both Victoria and Michael finally give in to the hunger that courses through them every second that they are together.

With every searing kiss and scorching touch, Michael knows that there would be no turning back for him when it comes to Victoria. But the Fallen’s number one enemy is still eager as ever to break them up, make them all bow down to him and in the process, destroy what they’ve built millenniums ago. Will Victoria make a difference or will she be the one that helps their enemy finally and once and for all bring them down?

Though not as good as the first two books in the series, it is hard to remain detached from a tale spun by Anne Stuart. She brings the variety of wicked humor and nerve tingling passion alive in her books that are hard to forget. Michael and Victoria, though at the surface might seem like they don’t want anything to do with each other, fights an attraction that burns through their blood, a calling that runs through their soul for each to claim the other. Half the fun lay in Michael trying to resist Victoria and the passion that ignited when he finally succumbed to the inevitability of it all.

Recommended.

Final Verdict: A grumpy & reluctant angel finds his match in the brave goddess of war that entices him unlike any other.

Favorite Quotes

He stood at one end, his face cool and impassive. Such an arresting face on the man. Angel. Whatever he was. Exquisitely beautiful. Exquisitely cold.
In the bright sunlight I could see him clearly for the first time. He was wearing white as all the others were, a loose open shirt, though he’d rolled up the sleeves, as if even a so-called wedding required hard work. I looked at his strong forearms, and for the first time I noticed tattoos snaking their way up beneath the white cloth. The shirt was loose at the neck as well, and there were more markings on his chest, his throat, twining around to the back of his head, markings I hadn’t seen before. I halted, momentarily fascinated, and then Allie caught my arm and gently urged me forward.

She must have heard him come in. She rose on one elbow, looking at him, and the sheet fell away, exposing one small, perfect breast. And he needed to suck at it, to slide his hand between her legs and feel the wetness of her desire. He’d tried everything he could to fight this.
For the first time in his limitless existence, he had lost a battle.

“You’re not paying a debt,” he said. “Are you?”
She hesitated. “No,” she said, and leaned back against the pillow. “And you aren’t doing your duty, are you?”
“No.” He knelt on the bed, straddling her carefully. There was barely enough room for the two of them. It didn’t matter. They were going to be so close they wouldn’t need extra space. “No,” he said again, moving between her legs, lifting them. He took her mouth, her sweet, inexperienced mouth, with his, and then simply pushed inside her, hard, knowing she’d be wet and ready for him.

He pulled out almost completely, and she let out a cry of loss. He slid his hand down her stomach to her clitoris, touching her as he suddenly slammed into her, and she shattered, her body clamping around him. She shrieked against his shoulder, in shock, in pleasure, her fingers digging into him so tightly he would have thought she’d draw blood. That was another arousal, and he thrust, again and again, hard, riding her orgasm, prolonging it, and when she finally fell back, limp, he let himself go, releasing his seed into her, filling her, his head dropping to the pillow beside her as his wings unfurled to lock around them, cradling them in softness.

Darkness. Thick, enveloping darkness, with his strong body surrounding me, his hot, wet mouth on mine. All arguments fled. I wanted this. Needed this. Ever since I’d left his bed, a part of me had been missing, and now it was found again. He had come for me. And I was his.
His tongue slid into my mouth, and I felt unaccountably shy even after last night, but it didn’t seem to matter. When I tentatively moved my tongue against his, he let out a low growl of unmistakable approval, and I wanted to get closer. I wanted him inside me again, I wanted to take his cock into my mouth the way they did in the books I’d read. I wanted everything.

So many contrasting emotions were flooding me that I felt dizzy. Lust and irritation went without saying. But . . . he’d come for me. He’d died for me. He had my blood inside him, making him strong. He had me inside him.
And in willingly giving him my blood, my life force, I was afraid I’d given him more than that. I had given him love.

He shook me again, gripping my wrists so tightly that my hands were growing numb. “Had enough?” he demanded furiously.
“Not even close,” I snapped back.
And then we both froze. He looked down at me, bafflement and rage fading from his face. His mouth was bleeding. “Oh, shit,” he said.
He released my wrists. I didn’t know if he was going to try to pull away, but I wasn’t going to give him that chance.
“Oh, shit, indeed,” I said, my eyes daring him.
His mouth on mine was hard and angry, and I could taste his blood. It should have horrified me. It didn’t.

I shattered, letting out a low, keening wail, and he caught the cry from my mouth, drinking it in. Distantly I heard the clang of his belt buckle and the rasp of his zipper, and then he was inside me, sliding deep, pulling my legs around his narrow hips. I was already wet, aroused, my body accepting, and I clung to him, shocked. I felt like a boat on a stormy ocean, adrift in a tempest of sensation so powerful I could focus only on his body and what it was doing to mine.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | eBookMall | iTunes | ARe
greatread

Review: Without Words by Ellen O’Connell

Format: E-bookwithoutwords
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Breton J. Sterling
Heroine: Hassie Ahearne Petty
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 30, 2014
Started On: November 6, 2014
Finished On: November 7, 2014

The very first note that I made as soon as I started reading Without Words by Ellen O’Connell was, “Reading an Ellen O’Connell after so long. I’m so excited.” That excitement pretty much started as soon as I stumbled upon Ellen’s newest release and held all throughout, since then up till I turned the very last page. Ellen O’Connell is a master unto herself. A force to be reckoned with when it comes to self-published and otherwise authors out there. Her writing style rivals that of one my favorite authors of Western themed romances, i.e. Maggie Osborne. Her heroes never fall short of making you fall head over heels in love with them and her heroines are just the same. And Without Words is definitely not an exception to the said rule.

Breton J. Sterling (Bret) is a bounty hunter, who after confronting his latest convict finds himself saddled with Hassie Ahearne Petty; it was either take her or leave her to fend off for herself which would have ultimately meant that she would starve to death or worse. Hassie has no choice but to do as the icy-eyed bounty hunter orders her to. A childhood accident had rendered Hassie without the ability to speak loudly and coherently enough for people to understand. That had pretty much defined Hassie’s life since then and she had been resigned to living the life that had been hers until Bret storms into her life and her heart, making her a changed woman forever.

Without Words is not just a story. It is a journey of two people who at first seems to have nothing in common, a man and a woman joined together by circumstances. Bret is man who is paying his self imposed dues to his family, and Hassie has no family to speak of. While Bret has no need for a woman, he can’t help but be protective of Hassie, a woman who defies every single hardship that had befallen her and still manages to see the beauty the world has to offer. And before long, Bret finds himself yearning for more of his violet-eyed Hassie, something he had never thought would happen in his lifetime.

Hassie’s awakening towards Bret as a man is one that progresses slowly. She has no experience to put her trust in when it comes to anything good happening between a woman and a man, but Bret makes her want to trust and put her belief in the honor that is practically stamped all over the man himself. The trust that unfurls in Hassie towards Bret grows in leaps and bounds until of course Bret becomes the only man she has ever loved, even though his past warns her of the consequences that this love would wreak on her heart.

Without Words is a story in which practically everything worked and meshed well together to give the sort of read that is so hard to come by in the modern world of romance today. There is a reason why I still yearn for the “classics” that started me on my journey of reading romances. And Without Words brought that back with an effortless ease that made me want to cry because there aren’t enough authors who write today like Ellen O’Connell does.

Like I mentioned earlier in my review, Ellen creates some of very the best heroes and heroines I’ve encountered in romance novels. There’s a voice to Ellen’s work that speaks to you on a level beyond just words strung together that give meaning. These words, they speak to your soul. It invokes emotions in you that you don’t think possible and yet if you are a romance reader like myself, yearn for with every fiber for your being. I cried during moments of sweet angst and smiled so much at times that my face hurt. There’s nothing more beautiful to a reader than a well spun story that they can lose themselves in and Ellen has provided just that with every full length novel that she has published to date.

Bret; I swear I just trembled from want, every single time that icy control of his that shattered under the strength of his passions, be it anger against the wrongs in this world or his desire for the woman who consumes him. Bret is a hero who is uber masculine, one who is unabashedly manly and yet has a core of strength and honor in him that makes a woman fall like a ton of bricks. And fall hard, I did. There is no other way to say this; Bret, you own my heart.

With Hassie, Ellen has once again created her trademark variety of heroine. The fact that Hassie can’t speak was a novelty in itself, her outlook towards life, that sheer joy deep inside of her that reaches out from the pages and practically engulfs you in its hold is a powerful one. Without Words is an apt title for a book that speaks to the reader on so many levels and that too with a heroine who is unable to use her voice to communicate. I loved Hassie for everything she stood for. Her love for Bret hadn’t happened overnight, neither had she thrown herself at him just because she was dependent on her. Their love had been a slow and a fiery one, one that consumes you and leaves you with that wholesome glow of having been loved and loved well.

Ellen explores with her stories the hardship that life was during those times. The imminent threat of starvation, the price women had to pay to make a livelihood for themselves and the harsh reality of women without a man by their side, the rough and at times unforgiving land that could make or break a person; all that is vividly brought to life in every single novel that I have read from her. I’m so glad that I happened across the release of this one and Ellen, you’ve made my whole month by this beautiful story, which if you are a lover of romance novels definitely ought not miss!

The problem with finding a book that moves you enough to render you unable to do anything afterwards is the fact that you never want the story to end, you want the pages to go on, the magic to continue, the feelings that courses through you to never cease. And once you turn that last page, you feel like mourning, you feel like no other book would ever have that impact on you ever again and mostly it turns out to be true, because it is so rare these days to find new books that has everything going for them. So I treasure this diamond in the rough that shines vividly through and hope that someday soon I find yet again the magic that I discovered while reading Without Words, that undeniable magic that makes being a romance reader worthwhile.

Final Verdict: Without Words is a beautifully crafted masterpiece that touched every single piece of my soul. Definitely recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ve done this too often to count, and I’ll be back before you know it, but you need to be ready to move out fast then.”
Her hand rested on his cheek, fingers soft by his temple, palm warm even through the growth of several days’ beard. Her body pressed close. She hugged him and was gone.
The cool wind blew in vain as he rode toward the town. The memory of her touch warmed him every step of the way.

She anticipated the kiss, expected hard pressure on her mouth and an invading tongue. Instead his lips brushed hers as lightly as butterfly wings before settling more firmly. Her arms tightened. So did his.
Her body molded to his, chest to chest, belly to belly. Her quickened breath matched the rhythm of his. His mouth caressed hers, played against hers. His teeth tugged gently on her bottom lip, and she opened for him, not invaded at all but joined. His tongue teased until she tried to imitate. From the sound he made deep in his throat, she succeeded.

The mattress moved under his weight. His lips feathered across hers. Her breath caught. A small moan escaped, and she tried to stifle it.
“Don’t,” he whispered against her lips, “Don’t keep anything inside. If you feel like talking that Greek at me, do it.”
She laughed, felt him inhale her laughter.
“You have the most beautiful laugh. It runs up and down my spine, shivers over my skin, and makes me want to grab hold of you like a mad man. You have no idea….” His mouth closed over hers again, his tongue tracing her upper lip, lower, along the seam.

The fever rose again, and soft sounds of desire escaped with each breath. She pulled at his shoulders again to bring him over her, and this time he gave what she wanted, settled between her thighs, slid into her hot, wet core, stretching her past what she had known. Her muscles spasmed, and he groaned.
She did it again, deliberately this time.
“Hassie.” Her plain name sounded like it belonged to someone else, someone beautiful and desirable and loved.

His heat enveloped her or maybe only merged with hers until the room lost its chill. Sweat prickled along her spine, and the tiny knot of reservation inside her dissolved in the flood of pleasure. She moaned softly, her teeth in her lower lip. Mine, she thought. Her hands fisted in his hair. Mine.

“Is that how you think of it?” she signed.
“I was being poetic, but yes, it got harder every year. I’m glad to be done with it. My only regret is I’ll never again see the look of wonder on your face when you see something like the Missouri River for the first time.”
“There will be other things to wonder at.”
“Without mountains and rivers what will there be?”
She fought the temptation to tell him of the greatest thing they would wonder over.
“There will be Christmas trees.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

outstandingread