ARC Review: Undecided by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-bookundecided
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Crosbie Lucas
Heroine: Nora Kincaid
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 04, 2016
Started On: March 25, 2016
Finished On: April 01, 2016

Nora Kincaid gets the wake up call she needs to get her act together, when shit hits the fan on her adventurous and party-going lifestyle that she had adapted to during her first year at college. Trying to make the change that would prevent her scholarship being taken away or worse, Nora decides to remove herself from temptations path and make changes in her life which includes moving to a new apartment that advertises seeking a roommate with the same qualities that she is interested in. She turns up only to find that the tenant seeking a roommate to is none other than her one-time drunken closet hookup and campus stud Kellan McVey.

While Nora definitely has second thoughts about saying yes, especially given her dislike towards Kellan’s best friend Crosbie Lucas, uber-jock and renowned campus party boy, the decision is made and she moves in. Things get interesting when Nora gets to spend more time with Crosbie and begins to see a side of him that he seldom shows to the rest of the world, a side that has her falling for him in a big way.

While the title of the book might make one think that this book delves into the love triangle sort of story, it does not. Crosbie and Nora are the couple that begins their journey on uncharted waters for both of them. Nora who has never had the opportunity to call someone her own, finds that in Crosbie, a guy who is sensitive, kind and sexy all in one. Which spells a lot of trouble especially given the secret that she harbors in her heart, forever scared that it might come out and ruin the very thing that has become precious to her along the way.

I loved Crosbie for a lot of reasons. He is considerate, a bit shy with a touch of cocky as well. Crosbie does not understand his worth, is unable to see what he can be and what he is to other people. In that sense, he is just like Nora, the girl who believes that she cannot do it all. That it is either the road to Hell or Heaven when it comes to her and that there is no in between.

The best thing about Crosbie’s character for me was his sense of humor. It was such a turn on and very endearing in a guy like him. The fact that Nora and Crosbie could have fun with each other even during the most sensual moments in the story is a reason why this book was such a hit with me.

Having only sampled Julianna’s book Time Served before, I had no inkling of what to expect from Undecided except the fact that this too would deliver a steamy book to indulge in. Because Undecided was so different from Time Served in a lot of ways, this book being a bit less of everything, however I think it worked for the story that Julianna was aiming for in Undecided. There are times when you need the angst-ridden stories to take you to the very peak of your emotions and then there are those times that you require something a bit mellow in contrast to tide you over. Undecided was that for me.

Final Verdict: Sweet & sexy, with just the right touch of angst. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“I have wanted to touch these for a long time.”
I laugh, surprised. “What?” I suppose I shouldn’t be so shocked: he’s a guy, these are boobs. It’s like peanut butter and jelly.
He reaches around and I feel his fingers slide under the bra’s lace band, undoing the hooks. “That first day,” he whispers against my hair, “when you showed up with that tight little sweater with the buttons on the front? I think about that a lot.”

He keeps his eyes open, locked on mine, as he unbuttons his own jeans and frees his erection. It’s too dark for me to fully appreciate it, but I see his arm move and know he’s stroking himself. He’d done this last time, too, and I never even got to touch.
“Let me,” I whisper against his lips. My hand replaces his we both groan. He’s thick and hot and hard, everything I want and need.

“Nora,” he murmurs, cupping my face and kissing me. Our chests press together and even through my shirt I can feel the heat of his skin, the rapid thud of his heart. He kisses me deeply, wetly, like it means something, and though I wanted to fuck him, my body has other ideas. Instead I shift and slide slowly, the movement slick with friction and heady arousal, reaching places I didn’t even know existed.

“I wish we had more time,” he mutters, tongue trailing over my neck, teeth nipping lightly. “And a door with a lock he didn’t have the keys to.”
“I know. I know.” I can’t think much beyond the hand he’s sliding under my panties, coasting over the skin of my ass and lower, down between my legs, finding the wetness that waits.
“Oh fuck.”
I echo the sentiment when one of his thick fingers pushes inside. It feels like only seconds before I’m clinging to his neck, my short nails digging into the muscles of his back as I switch between begging for more and swearing I can’t wait any longer.

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

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Review: Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Format: E-bookCorrupt
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Hero: Michael Crist
Heroine: Erika Fane
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 17, 2015
Started On: January 05, 2016
Finished On: January 08, 2016

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas is my very first read from the author. My hankering for romances that are dark led me to Penelope’s books, and I decided to jump with both feet in where this book was concerned. Though Young Adult is not my preferred genre to read, some of the books that I have forayed into have made out to be pretty good reads. A word of warning though; Corrupt is definitely not for those that don’t like their comfort zones pushed. It is a read for those that dare venture into areas they are not comfortable with, but when all is said and done, you still feel a sense of rightness and understand that at the end, it was pretty much worth it.

19 year old Erika Fane is about to leave the gilded cage her life had been pretty much up till then. With the death of her father and her mother taking to drowning her sorrows and shrouding herself in the depression that had not let up since then had made Erika spend much of her time at the Crist’s place which is where her history with Michael Crist comes from. Erika had always had a huge crush on Michael, the older and more aloof version of Trevor, his younger brother who seems more malleable and definitely seems to have the hots for Erika. Erika finally manages to break free of the “accepted mold” her life has become, only to find out that she has run smack-dab into Michael and his group of friends who for some reason, want to exact revenge on her.

Michael has not forgiven Erika for what that fateful night a couple of years ago had culminated into. Neither is he willing to accept the fact that Erika matters to him on a level that his heart, body and soul cannot deny. Michael is not the conventional form of hero, who changes overnight at the mere entrance of the heroine into his life. Rather, Michael clings onto what has essentially protected him from Erika all along. The fact that his family has other plans where Erika is concerned means little to him as he makes his move on her, intending to teach her a lesson that she wouldn’t forget in a long, long time.

Corrupt is a story told in first person from both Erika and Michael’s point of view. I was glad it was told from both, because it would have been very difficult to get where Michael was coming from if not. Michael is harsh, and very much so at certain points in the story that one thinks he would never be able to redeem himself. The story is dark, no doubts about that. Elements that makes certain things almost unforgivable exists in the story and like I said before, Corrupt is not for the faint of heart.

Michael’s saving grace comes from the fact that he understood Erika better than anyone else and wasn’t afraid to give it to her exactly as she wants it. Erika’s brand of pain and pleasure is one that entwines one another, and Michael dishes it out in doses that Erika is more than woman enough to handle. Michael’s refusal to coddle Erika and give her the freedom that she craves for and desires is one that made Michael win points with me. He had never liked Erika being coddled left and right and when push comes to shove, though Michael’s possessive nature makes him protective as well, it doesn’t deter him from pushing Erika to stretch her wings and fly.

Erika’s point of view was equally important in determining whether Michael was exactly what she wanted and needed. Of course, her love for Michael had been one that had stemmed from long back, but that fateful night that had brought Michael and Erika together for a brief moment in time had also been the pivotal point whereby Erika had decided that she and Michael would never be. Though she is far from immune to Michael, Erika is determined that she would lead her own life, no matter how much she craves for the brand of pleasure that Michael is so good at dishing out.

When all is said and done, Michael and Erika’s backstory and entwined history gives that sense of right to their coming together. It’s not perfect, but then again, who wants the kind of perfect that barely skims the surface? I guess the point of comfort that was all the darkness in this novel stemmed from the fact that Michael and Erika; they are two halves of one whole and it is evident once the story reaches its ultimate conclusion. It all clicks into place because Michael, even though he plays mind games and fucks around with Erika in a misguided sense of seeking revenge, it is there in the way he can’t help himself but protect her from the worst of it. Because they are the ‘us’ neither can live without and fate had meant it so. 

The ending had a surprising twist to it, perhaps one all readers might foresee as the story continues. Lots of possibilities for the emergence of a series exists in this novel and I for one clamor for books for the other guys in the story. Damon for one, is the darkest character in the story, at least from what Penelope has divulged so far. I believe he, more than anyone else deserves his own redemption and happily ever after. Kai is another character that intrigues me. Makes me wonder, what would it be that finally makes him go all in.

I loved the epilogue. It didn’t follow the traditional sense of an epilogue, but rather gives a peek into how Michael had gotten ‘corrupted’. Interesting tidbit to leave us with.

Corrupt is recommended for those that can take the pain with the pleasure. I believe, Penelope is an author to be contended with in the world of romances tinged with darkness.

Final Verdict: Penelope redefines darkness in romances, delivers a read most cannot even fathom!

Favorite Quotes

[Erika] I twisted around, ready to leave, but then I looked up and instantly stopped.
My stomach flipped, and I couldn’t breathe.
Shit.
Michael sat in one of the cushioned chairs all the way at the back of the solarium, his eyes locked on mine, looking eerily calm.
Michael. The one that wasn’t nice. The one that wasn’t good to me.
My throat thickened, and I wanted to swallow, but I couldn’t move. I just stared, paralyzed. Had he been there since I first walked down? The whole time?
He leaned back in his heavy armchair, nearly shrouded by the darkness and the shadows of the trees overhead. One hand rested on a basketball that sat on top of his thigh, and the other hand lay on the armrest, the neck of a beer bottle hanging from his fingers.

[Erika] The closer he got, the taller his six feet four inches looked. Michael was lean but muscular, and he made me feel small. In many ways. He looked like he was walking straight for me, and my heart hammered in my chest as I narrowed my eyes, bracing myself.
But he didn’t stop.
The faint hint of his body wash hit me as he passed by, and I turned my head, my chest aching as he walked out the solarium doors without a word.

[Erika] Oh, God. He was right.
My eyes burned, and I wanted to cry. Goddammit, he was right.
I locked my ankles behind his back and held his shoulders as his hazel eyes stared at me. He wore jeans and a black hoodie, just like in the past.
I stared into his eyes and slowly slid my arms around his neck, the drumming in my chest charging every muscle in my body, making me strong.
“Yes,” I breathed out, bringing my lips close to his mask and taunting him. “Yes, it turns me on.”
And then I dived down, burying my lips in his neck and devouring him.

[Erika] He jerked me into him, going faster and harder, and the feel of him sliding in and out of me, finally taking me, was doing nothing to ease my need. I was hungrier.
I dived into his neck, breathing against his skin as I grazed my lips back and forth, whispering, “They all thought I was a good girl, Michael.” I dragged his lobe through my teeth. “But there’s so many bad things I want to do. Do dirty things to me.”
“Jesus,” he gasped, hooking an arm under my knee and yanking my ass into him, fucking harder as he let his head fall back.

[Michael] I lowered to my knees, standing above her as I pulled off my hoodie and T-shirt. Then, I pulled a condom out of my pocket and ripped it open.
“You may think I fuck with your head,” I said, looking down at her as I unbuckled my belt and unfastened my jeans, “but you don’t know what you’ve done to me all these years.”
I came down on top of her, forcing her legs apart as I pushed her arms back over her head and held her down with one hand.
Rolling the condom on, I dragged my cock up and down her wet slit, finding her hot entrance.
I breathed hard, whispering over her lips. “You don’t know.”

[Michael] She said she didn’t trust me, but I knew it was a lie. I’d be willing to bet I was the one person she trusted the most.
She and I were the same, after all. We fought shame every day, struggling with who we could let see the real us, and we’d finally found each other.
Unfortunately…we were fucked.

[Michael] I shouldn’t be able to look at her. I shouldn’t love to touch her, and I shouldn’t need to feel her wrapped around my cock every second since I’d first had her last night.
She wasn’t mine. She would never be mine.
And I shouldn’t want her.
I stood up and walked over to the bed, leaning down and studying her pretty face.
Fuck you, Rika.
Fuck you. I can’t choose you.

[Michael] “Such a good girl,” I growled in a whisper, flicking her lips with my tongue. “Say it, Rika.”
“I’m a good girl,” she panted, her voice shaky.
“And I’m going to fuck you up,” I finished, taking my hand off her breast and gripping her hip.
Diving down, I covered her lips with mine, eating her up and tasting her, her tongue meeting mine in more heat and fucking lust than I had ever felt for anyone.
My body was on fire, and I was gone.

[Michael] “I’m not tough, Michael,” she whispered. “Not really. I can play, and I can let you fuck me in your brother’s bed or on your father’s desk and use me as an object to get back at them, but in the end—” She paused and then continued, “In the end I’m still here, Michael. I’m still here. It’s still just you and me.”
She breathed hard against my skin, and I dropped my head, caving. I wrapped both of my arms around her and held her warm body tight as I buried my face in her neck. I couldn’t ever let her go.

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

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Review: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookMakeMe
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: Broke and Beautiful, #3
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hero: Russell Hart
Heroine: Abby Sullivan
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 11, 2015
Started On: October 18, 2015
Finished On: October 21, 2015

Anyone who loves Tessa Bailey’s books knows what one can do for you. How it can mess you up in ways you never thought possible. Which is why I started reading the Broke and Beautiful series even though I am not much of a fan of the New Adult genre; though if Tessa writes them, I am definitely reading them. Though I missed out on the first book in the series (perhaps I will get around to reading it one of these days – a girl can always hope), I became an avid fan of the series from the moment Ben (the hero from the second book in the series), walked into MY life. Yes, my life. Note the possessive edge!

One cannot read either of the books in the Broke and Beautiful series without being invested in all of the characters. Thus, my heart was clamoring for the story of Russell, oh the big bad Russell, from the moment I laid my eyes on him. The man is a walking talking temptation unto womenkind if ever there was one. Well, of course after MY Ben of course! Abby and Russell’s friendship is one reason why Russell keeps his hands off of his precious Abby. Another being his past – a past that has screwed him up enough to believe that he would never measure up to someone like Abby.

Abby’s past wasn’t a walk in the park on a breezy Sunday morning either. A genius at numbers, something she inherited from her father, Abby’s life defines the word loneliness, until she finds a friendship of the kind she never thought possible with Honey and Roxy, and of course the three gorgeous men that relationship had brought into her life, one of them being Russell, the friend that she can always count on. Abby’s perspective of Russell as the friend she never had takes a dive when a set of events makes her take notice of the man he is – the man who sets her senses reeling, panties wet, and sets an ache tumbling through her that cannot be denied.

Russell is a man who can take torture, and I mean torture of the kind a lesser man would crumble from. But his heart doesn’t allow him to take that step, until of course there is no way that he CANNOT give into the passion between him and Abby. And then comes the heartache. Sigh! While I wanted to give Russell a bit of a good shaking until the chips in his head aligned just right so that he could see what preciousness that he was throwing away by playing noble, I wasn’t too happy with Abby for not realizing that for a man like Russell, the friend who would lay down his life for her – there must have been something that would cause him to behave as such.

But worry not ladies. If anything, Tessa Bailey knows how to write a mean ending and of course makes you pant your way to the finish line! And I mean literally pant your way through it because with all that heat? You won’t have a choice!

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of Tessa Bailey. Though not my favorite, Make Me still delivered a good read!

Final Verdict: Hot dayum!!

Favorite Quotes

Abby didn’t realize she’d closed her eyes until Russell’s heavy tread forced them open, and she saw him standing in her doorway.
Shirtless. Damp. Jeans sitting low on his hips.
A red-hot fist formed beneath her belly button. For Russell? She tried to shoot into a sitting position so fast, the back of her head bashed against the headboard, which really didn’t help her confusion. Not a bit. She wasn’t supposed to notice Russell in that way, right? But when a water droplet rolled down the center of his abdomen and vanished into the waistband of his jeans, she noticed. And she noticed good.

When the orgasm crested over her, Abby’s heels dug into the mattress to push herself back into the welcoming strength of his body, bearing down on his pleasure-giving hand at the same time. And God, even with the wicked climax turning her inside out, she wanted to feel his erection against her backside. Wanted to tempt him to do something about relieving the hunger she sensed in him. Already, his movements were growing uneven, staggered, his breathing ragged at the back of her neck.
“Yes,” he grated. “That’s how I make you come. Hard as fuck when you’re in my bed. That’s the way I do it.”

Long seconds of Abby’s studying his face had passed, as if she could discern what was taking place in his head when even he didn’t have a fucking clue. Those eyes were obscured a moment by her eyelashes, and Russell could feel that gaze move over his erect cock where it tented his jeans, then shoot back up. Hexpected surprise, maybe more confusion. Instead, he got relief and excitement. No. Not that. He couldn’t handle that.
Her sweet, ripe tits rose and fell on a shudder. “I’m sorry I used the situation to my advantage, Russell. It was wrong of m—”
He kissed Abby. Abby. He . . . kissed Abby.

“Abby, attraction is a weak-ass term for what’s going on here. It doesn’t begin to describe what I’d like to do to you.”
“Wh-which is?”
He placed his mouth against her ear, the truth coming out on a rush of breath. “I’d like to bang your little virgin brains out.”

“Come on, I’ll walk you to the train.”
Sti cazza. In another, more appropriate term, screw this. With a silent prayer for courage, Abby found the hem of her sundress and peeled the garment over her head, letting it fall to the floor. “I’m not ready to leave yet.”
[…]
Doubts fell from her consciousness like a cup of overturned paper clips when Russell stalked forward, prowling across the room and shifting the air around her. This impulsive disrobing had started as an act of rebellion, but now a furnace blast hit her head to toe. The raindrops pelted the window in time with her jumping pulse. The fierceness in his eyes told her to expect being pinned against the wall again, but it never happened. Instead, he fell to his knees in front of her, gripped her bottom . . .
And buried his face between her thighs.

Abby buried her fingernails into his ass, her thighs beginning to tremble around him. “I’m going to . . . oh my God, don’t stop. I’m . . .”
Russell dropped his head forward and closed his eyes, putting all his focus into staying right where the fuck he was, not deviating from what was pushing her toward a climax. Just a little longer. Just a little—
“Russell.”
Holy shit. His eyes flew open in time to witness Abby’s tits shaking between them, her teeth buried into her bottom lip as she arched on the chair. Her heels had a firm hold at the small of his back as she rode it out, her pussy squeezing him in tiny spasms that he would crave like air for the rest of his time on earth.

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

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Review: Need Me by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookneedmetb
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Broke and Beautiful, #2
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hero: Ben Dawson
Heroine: Honey Perribow
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 21, 2015
Started On: April 24, 2015
Finished On: May 10, 2015

From the deliciousness of the cover to what’s inside, Tessa Bailey seems to have outdone herself with the second book in the Broke and Beautiful series that wooed me in more ways than I can count. Tessa Bailey is a master, no a goddess, when it comes to delivering dirty of the good kind. As a reader who always loves a good bout of scorching steam in her romances, Tessa is a godsend from whom I dearly ask never ever to change in the delectable heroes and stories that she continues to deliver.

Having not read book one in the series, I can assure you with 100% certainty that you would be able to carry off with reading Need Me as a standalone. Tessa has managed to do a marvelous job with a trope that can be tricky to pull off, i.e. romance between a professor and his student.

Before you go on building your own assumptions about Professor Ben Dawson who teaches Introduction to Literary Theory, let me do my civic duty and inform you that Ben is worth your time in gold! And yes, I mean it. A man whose words alone seduced me from the beginning, whose control over his baser emotions was a thing of wonder to see break into such absolute mess of a pieces was just exhilarating to watch. I might be a bit too enthusiastic about that fact but lets face it, we all love a hero whose control breaks under the right circumstances and boy, does Tessa deliver a healthy dose of just that!

Honey Parribow, from the small town of Bloomfield, Kentucky has dreams of her own which is why she moves to the big city to make it a reality. Though she misses her home and family overly much, the essence of her being which yearns for things that her hometown would not be able to provide for her makes her stick it out. Not to mention her ‘unhealthy’ obsession with her lit professor Ben makes it all worthwhile.

When a culmination of events brings Ben to his knees and convinces Honey of all that she had firmly believed to be true about her “crush” on the professor, things take a turn that neither of them expects to. Ben finds himself in waters that he has steered clear of all his life. To make the same mistakes that his father had made, to ruin a life that he had built for himself with rigid control, rules and structure that seems to tumble down in the face of all that is Honey Parribow.

With plenty of angst to match and oh god, hot sex of the panty scorching variety included, Tessa takes the reader on a veritable feast for the senses that I just could not get enough of. If you are fan of Tessa, I don’t think you would need any further encouragement from me to take the tumble. If not and you have a thing for tropes like professor/student themes that deliver dirty talking heroes that would want to make you throw yourself at him, then I assure you that you’ve chosen right. Trust me on that.

There were so many aspects that I loved about the story. The emotional roller coaster ride this story took me on is one that is unforgettable. I was driven to laughter, tears & moments of sheer angst that felt so good that I didn’t want any of it to end. Few authors can make a reader feel right from the very beginning of a story till its end. Tessa Bailey is one who can, and does deliver, every single time. Need Me definitely is a story to be reckoned with and I think I’ll forever remember Professor Ben Dawson with a goofy smile and naughty glint in my eyes because every inch of his delicious self demands nothing less.

Ben Dawson is hands down the reason I fell for this story, hook, line and sinker. From the moment his uber controlled self strode into the story with his rules about keeping his personal & private lives separate, I knew that he’d cause me palpitations of the good kind. And oh boy, did he deliver! He delivered all that and so much more that I went into this state where I wished for a professor of my own just like Ben Dawson. But I have a feeling that the world cannot handle more than one of his kind; demanding in bed, a bit of a brood and of course towards the end sweet of the kind that is just potent! Sigh! I guess I can go on waxing poetry over Ben Dawson and even that wouldn’t be enough!

Tessa Bailey knows how to deliver characters that speaks to your heart. She’s yet to disappoint me in that aspect and I loved Honey Parribow to bits and then some. She was the perfect balance of wholesomeness, sexy and all things woman enough to drive the very stoic professor out of his ever loving mind. Loved Honey’s courage, what drives her to pursue her dreams & of course the way she is able to so effortlessly drive the professor to profess all sorts of dirty deeds that he wants to do to her and with her. Oh boy!

Only thing that I wanted more was a bit more of Honey and Ben towards the ending. After such a painful angst ridden of a “separation”, my heart needed the healing and I guess I acutely missed that & felt that the ending was a trifle bit rushed. In all other aspects, Need Me was perfect and I wouldn’t change it any other way.

I cannot end the review without sharing some of the notes that I made along the way while I was reading, which I think would convey more of what I was feeling than a lengthy review would! And forgive me. I went sort of crazy with the quotes. But I tell you, it was ALL worth it!

My God, Tessa Bailey, where on earth did you dream up Ben from!!!

Sigh! What’s with Tessa and the way she makes her men strut around that makes ME want to say, hell yes please, take me now!!!

Tessa Bailey! Oh the things you do to a woman!!!!

Holy shit Tessa!!

Final Verdict: You’re going to fall in love. In love with every single inch that’s Professor Ben Dawson.

Favorite Quotes

She took a deep breath and eased closer to him. The door rattled, telling her he’d backed up and hit it. Good. He couldn’t go any further. She placed her palms on his chest and felt him shudder. Heard him curse in an almost desperate manner. Memorizing every inch of terrain encountered by her hands, she smoothed them higher, over his shoulders, before dragging her fingertips back down the way she’d come. When they reached his hard abdomen, Ben heaved an exhale and tunneled his hands into her hair. It was so sudden and so fierce that Honey’s knees almost gave out.
“What are you doing?” he demanded.
“Touching you. Feeling what you look like.”

“Fuck. I’ve been so hard all day, babe.”
She felt dazed at hearing her straightlaced professor curse. Admit to a weakness. “Why?”
“So many reasons.” His laughter sounded pained, turning into a hiss of breath as she began to stroke him through his pants. “But it feels like it was all for you. I don’t know how to explain that.”
The beating in her chest expanded, reaching her throat. Her limbs felt heavy but pliant at the same time. Coupled with the darkness, the anonymity, his words emboldened her. I’ve been so hard all day, babe. It feels like it was all for you. She went up on her toes and laid her mouth on his ear. “I’ve been soft for you all day, so I guess we’re even.”

“Did you think of me when you put those good girl panties on this morning?” He coasted his hands up the tops of her spread legs, letting his thumbs drag up the sensitive insides of her thighs, taking her skirt higher as he went. “Did you think they’d make my dick hard if I got a peek at them?”
“Yes.” The answer burst out of her in a desperate whisper, as if she’d been holding it in. “I thought of you when I chose them.”

Ben sounded out of breath when he rounded the doorway into the classroom. He stood outlined by the frame for a moment, looking her over from head to toe. Burning her. God, he looked amazing. If possible, his stubble had grown more pronounced during the reading, hair standing out at every direction. Honey trapped a gasp in her throat when he slammed the door behind him and came toward her, moving so fast her heart shot to her throat. His long legs ate up the distance. The weight of his determined gaze had her gripping the large metal desk behind her for balance.

He hauled her body up against his, bending her backwards over his forearm and yanking her back up, as if he couldn’t decide how he wanted her. How to get close enough. His fingertips traced the hem of her dress before slipping beneath to skim up the inside of her thigh. When his warm hand molded to the flesh between her legs and squeezed, Honey broke away with a moan.
“Does it still hurt?” He grated the question at her lips. “Tell me it still hurts so I can lick it better.”
A sharp exhale burst from her mouth. “It still hurts.”

“Do you know what I thought about during the reading, Honey?”
“What?”
Her head fell to the side, giving him room to suck and lick at her neck. “I thought that if we were sitting in the back row, I would have made you sit on my lap. With my dick inside you.” He drove into her tightness, again and again. So wet. So damn wet. Fuck yes. The rhythm was perfect. Steady enough to give her time to come, fast enough to satisfy this urgency she made him feel. “No one would know except us. Unless you moved, even just once. Because then you’d have to keep moving. We’d need it. And we’d have to fuck right there in front of everyone.”

Her lips curved into an even wider smile. “Where I come from, a good story is a gift.”
“You must be buried in gifts, then.”
She looked up at him. “What do you mean?”
Feeling a little uncomfortable, he tried to sit up straighter, but she shook her head and he stilled. “Your papers.” He cleared his throat, and it echoed in the empty classroom. “I’ve read the classics ten times over, I’ve studied and written enough words to drown us both, but I bet I’ve never held anyone’s attention the way your papers hold mine.”

“Come on, babe. I’m right behind you.”
“Ben.”
Sweet fucking hell.
No one came like Honey. She bent forward with her hands braced on the wall, practically giving him a vertical lap dance as her body trembled. Legs spread, hips grinding on his hard dick while she moaned his name. As if she needed to feel every damn part of what their bodies had produced. He’d never get over seeing it. Especially not at that moment, when release clamored in his stomach, successfully finding an outlet right between her gorgeous thighs.

Roxy pulled her knees up to her chest. “So, Professor Ben, huh? Please tell me he slapped your ass with a yardstick.”
“Well it wasn’t a full yard . . .” Honey coughed into her fist. “But it was impressive. It reminded me of that scene in A Few Good Men where Jack Nicholson yells, ‘You can’t handle the truth’ at Tom Cruise. Except Ben was Jack Nicholson and my vagina was Tom Cruise.”

Honey tried not to be miffed that he didn’t appear bothered by the lack of nookie on the table. It made her wonder if he had a plan cooking behind those scholarly looking glasses. “Who was Elmer to you, Honey? Please note that I’m speaking in the past tense.”
“My high school sweetheart.” She pursed her lips. “You jealous of ol’ Elmer, Ben?”
“ ‘Jealous’ is too common a word. His existence is a threat to my sanity.”

He pressed their foreheads together and looked her in the eye. “Listen to me.” He waited for her nod. “You’re going to take me somewhere now where I can see you without your panties on. I’m going to get you off good and hard, maybe a few times. And then, Honey, we’re going to talk.” He bucked his hips into her twice. “But first, I’m going to fuck you so dirty, you won’t be able to look anyone but me in the eye afterward. Have you heard everything I’ve said?”
He removed his hand so she could answer. “Yes. Okay, Ben.”
“Good. I’ll be at the truck.” He stepped back, letting her slide down the wall. “Tell them whatever gets us out of here.”

When her palm brushed over his erection, his head fell back and hit the car on a groan. As she unzipped his pants, she leaned in and licked the column of his neck. “Whenever I fantasized about you during class, I pictured you wearing a tie when I did this.”
“Did what?”
Honey gave him a sly smile in response. Having succeeded in undoing his pants, she slipped her hand into his boxer briefs and stroked his heavy arousal. “You asked me earlier about my favorite position.”
“Tell me,” he panted. “Say it.”
She placed her mouth over his ear. “On my knees.”

He ceased his torture of her breasts to lift his head. “You want me to finger bang you, Honey?”
“Yes. Yes.”
His eyes locked on hers as he drove two fingers inside her. Oh God. She was going to come. Going to come. But she couldn’t, because his touch didn’t move, granted her no friction. Her hips lifted and fell in a plea, but he didn’t grant her request, choosing instead to study the movements of her body like one eyed a juicy steak. “If you move like that when I’m inside you, babe, I will fuck you all the harder.”

“I’m the only one who belongs inside you,” he growled. “Show me why, babe.”
She tightened her thighs around him and ground herself down as the climax shook through her. Her scream was swallowed by his hungry mouth as it claimed her, tongue pushing her lips wide to tangle with hers. His big body, plastered so tightly against her, began to shudder. He ripped his mouth away with a shouted expletive, eyes squeezed closed as his release took him.

Her heels dug into the small of his back. “One thing you do, though, is by far the hottest.”
“Tell me. Tell me now. I’ll never stop doing it.”
Honey’s lips twitched. “When you talk to me in that professor voice.” Her eyelids fluttered, as if just saying it out loud was enough to get her going. Sweet hell. This girl. “You do it all the time, you know. Out of nowhere, your tone changes, and it . . .”
“What?”
“It makes me so wet,” she murmured, hitting him with the full impact of those big eyes. “For you.”

Ben kept her pinned with his body, continuing to speak in the voice he usually reserved for lectures. “That’s a good girl, Ms. Perribow.” He rotated his hips, grinding the base of his cock against her clit. “Now take down your panties and bend over my desk. Stay that way until I’ve dismissed you. Not a moment sooner.”
Honey cried out, her body going bow tight beneath him before it started to shake. Ben watched her with nothing short of awe. Unbelievable. He’d actually made her come just by talking to her. He liked the power of that. A lot. Maybe too much, because his body was now thrumming with the relentless need to be inside her. Now.

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

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ARC Review: Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr

Format: E-bookimaginarylines
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: New York Leopards, #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Abraham Krasner
Heroine: Tamar Rosenfeld
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 14, 2014
Started On: October 31, 2014
Finished On: November 2, 2014

I fell in love with Abraham Kramer when I was twelve years old.

Tamar Rosenfeld had fallen in love with Abraham Krasner when she’d been just twelve years old. Growing up with him had only intensified the feelings and at the age of 19, Tamar decides to put her heart on the line and confess of her undying love to the man himself. The rejection of her love, the answer that Abraham only sees her as a little sister gives Tamar the jolt that she needs to cut ties and heal her broken heart and get over her injured pride. Until four years later, she moves to New York as a sports reporter.

New York is where Abraham lives, his career as a New York Leopards linebacker ensuring that. When Tamar comes to New York, Abraham is determined that he get to spend as much time as possible with her as their schedules would allow. And the more time Tamar spends with Abraham, the more she goes onto realize that she had been kidding where her heart had been concerned, where she had convinced herself that she was so over Abraham. And Abraham certainly doesn’t make it easy for Tamar to move on; he pursues her with a relentlessness that Tamar finds she can only resist so much before giving in.

Imaginary Lines is a story told in first person in the heroine’s point of view. Being the third book in the New York Leopards series and having never read the two books published before this one, I would say that the fact I wasn’t left with a question mark in my head where the secondary characters were concerned is a pretty good signal that this book can definitely be read as a standalone.

Imaginary Lines proved to be a novel experience for me in my journey as a reader of romance. Tamar and Abraham are both Jewish coming from big Jewish families. I’ve never read about a Jewish couple, about their customs and food of choice for celebrations and such and thus it was an interesting exploratory journey of sorts for me. Many a time I used the search the web function on my iBooks to find out what a delicacy mentioned in the story looked like, which holiday were they talking about etc. I even managed to read a bit on Judaism on the religion section of BBC, something I’ve been meaning to do for quite sometime. So all in all, Imaginary Lines turned out to be quite the informative journey for me.

I loved the subtle hint of humor interwoven into the story. There is a sense of humor to Tamar that is hard to resist and if you can read a couple of chapters with a straight face, well you are a person in more control of your emotions than I would ever be. Tamar and Abraham, both turned out to be equally likable characters who are strong, so much in love with each other and yet true to who they are individually. I loved Tamar for having the guts to stand up for what she believed in, facing all that crap because she dared rattle around what pretty much everyone else had thought an area of football that she should have just left alone. Abraham turned out to be the sweetest guy! I sort of expected him to get pissed off and storm off, but he proved me 100% wrong by sticking with his woman and standing by her side even through the most difficult of time. That in essence is what true love is all about.

Being a story told in first person, which is something I don’t like for obvious reasons, yet somehow I get roped into reading books featuring just that, it wasn’t easy to garner Abraham’s emotions, something I felt the lack of. I wanted to see Abraham’s reactions, read deep into his mind, see his thoughts and the way he viewed the shared past of his and Tamar’s childhood. I think the novel would have provided a more wholesome experience to Abraham’s character if the author had integrated his point of view into the story as well. That being said, Tamar seemed to see into who Abraham truly is, seeing beyond the facade that Abraham puts up with the rest of the world giving Abraham a true sense of homecoming after four long years of separation.

Though the story seemed to lose focus on Abraham and Tamar during the first half of the story, it definitely picked up the rest of the way and gave an enjoyable read that is recommended for fans of sports romances. Abraham and Tamar would definitely end up being a favorite.

Final Verdict: Childhood friends to lovers; not your usual run of the mill story!

Favorite Quotes

He groaned and leaned back. The lamplights silhouetted him perfectly, light and dark. Dreams made real. When he looked back, he cupped my face in his hands. “I’ve been resisting doing this for years.”
I just stared. I was melting. I was hot clay under the summer’s sun.
He let out a soft sound of desire. The air between us simmered with need, and my whole body yearned toward him. I could barely think, couldn’t blink. Small breaths slipped in and out of me like the hopeful flutterings of a hummingbird and then his lips were on mine.

The air shimmered between us. With each breath I took, I could feel my body pushing against his, my breasts full and aching as they strained against the fabric of my shirt. My hands smoothed down over his biceps, smooth as carved marble under my fingers, living marble. His hands ran down over my body, coming to rest in the small of my back, holding me tight against him. I ached for those hands to keep moving, to keep roaming. My breath hitched but our locked gazes never faltered.
He pulled me down and kissed me.

When the door snapped closed I turned, heart in my eyes, hot and wild as the man striding across the room toward me. He pushed me up against the wall, and we were kissing, tangled in each other, his tongue parting my lips with exquisite skill until I was moaning under his ministrations. There was nothing anymore, just him and me, the sensation of tongues and lips and sliding hands. His hand pushed my dress up around my hip and curved down around my ass. It slid up to the inside of my leg, and toyed with the thin cloth.

And then he lost control, wild now, plunging and plummeting, so quickly that we were both ablaze. There was no control anymore, no anything, just the fierce dance of our bodies, the beat, the rhythm, the everything, and I wanted more and more and I was blind except for him, it had always been him, and it would always be him—
He let out a great shout, a great noise that ripped from his throat. And then I felt the crystalline desire break me apart, a shattering of tension, bringing a great, crashing wave of pleasure and relief that lost the world to me. There was no world. Only the forever of the night and the brightness of the moon, carrying me on a dizzying rush through the stars. I was awash in desire and joy and happiness, aware of only one thing.
Only Abraham.

He withdrew and then slid back in, slow at first, and then increasing in speed and force. It drove me mad with desire, and I rocked against him, helpless and wanton, meeting each thrust with my own, until I was wild with want and empty of thought. We were hot and fast, light lightning, a storm after a dry spell. We were the roaring ocean, the brightness of the moon, the inexplorable tide that tied them together. I let out a cry and clung to him, and he to me, and we were lost together.
Lost and found.

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

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ARC Review: Sempre by J.M. Darhower

Format: E-booksempre
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Forever Series, #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Carmine Marcello DeMarco
Heroine: Haven Isadora
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 29, 2012
Started On: February 22, 2014
Finished On: February 26, 2014

Sempre is book 1 in the Forever Series by J. M. Darhower. The story begins when Haven Isadora is just seven years old, present at a “child auction” of sorts where no act of violence seems to be taboo for the people who hold several young girls captive. The opening act of this book is horrific in the sense that it opens up the world of modern day child slavery and the unspeakable acts these children are forced to perform in order to survive.

Story continues 10 years down the line, when Haven is “rescued” from the clutches that holds her a captive by a Dr. Vincent DeMarco who whisks her away to his home which marks the beginning of the sort of life that Haven has never dared to dream of for someone like herself. And when she comes across Vincent’s youngest son Carmine, the connection that forges between these two is instant and electrifying.

Carmine is the epitome of bad boy hero, angry and sullen at the world with a ton of attitude. Carmine exists by doing everything else but what is expected of him, partying and sleeping around just for the heck of it. Though Haven stirs his interest, Carmine finds it hard to tone down his abrasiveness which has been a part of him for so long. But as time goes on and a bond is forged between these two unlikely souls, there is no stopping the love that unfurls in their hearts.

Both Haven and Carmine have no idea what life has in store for them. With Carmine more or less destined to follow in his father’s footsteps by being “obliged” to belong to the Mafia family, it is a tough future that awaits both of them. Vincent was the hero in my eyes, the man who tries so hard to keep his children away from a life that is filled with treachery and one in which the soul is never ever free from the darkness that taints it once you become one of the Family.

Having never watched or read much on stories involving the Mafia though I had picked up bits and pieces on the lives they lead along the way, I don’t think I actually had any clue as to just how much power the head of the Family holds on the rest of the members. There is a “code of ethics” that the Family lives by, once crossed one has to face the dire consequences or die trying to flee from whats coming. Vincent was the truly enigmatic character in this novel that actually stirred my interest, the mix of Jekyll and Hyde in him making him one of the most contrasting characters I have come across of late. Vincent tries to do right by his children, though its far from easy. While one side of Vincent finds it as easy as breathing to give free reign to the ruthless killer in him, there is the other side that heals and saves lives, the one part of his life that gives him solace and peace to the soul, be it even for a little while. The fact that Vincent could look beyond the anger, hurt and pain of his past to take Haven under his care was something that deeply moved me.

While Haven’s character impressed me with her ability and strength to overcome the countless horrors she had been subjected to while growing up, Haven herself doesn’t know her true power in the hierarchy of the Family, a secret if found would be worth shedding the blood of the many the Family wouldn’t hesitate to take out. I liked Carmine’s character well enough, but I found his emotions to be all over the place, sometimes rightfully so. But in the maturity aspect, Haven wins hands down, not surprising given spoilt life Carmine had led till then. However, Carmine does turn himself around for the woman he loves more than his own life, a love that turns out to be the pivotal reason behind the basis of the next book in the series.

Though I am not wowed enough to pick up the second book, nevertheless, Sempre did provide me with an entertaining read, albeit a trifle bit of a long one, some pages of which I skipped as I reached towards the end of the book. Perhaps I am right in avoiding young adult romances, the few I have read haven’t really impressed me all that much. But if you are a lover of new adult romances with the interesting facet of being part of the Mafia thrown in, then I would recommend that you pick this up. It just might be what you’re looking for.

Final Verdict: An intriguing mix of romance & the politics that govern the lives of those indebted to the Mafia.

Favorite Quotes

Yanking her to him, he eagerly kissed her without another thought.
It was passionate and messy, seventeen years worth of kisses rolled into one stolen embrace. Haven kissed him back, her lips parting as they moved with his. Running her hand along the back of his head, she laced her fingers in the hair by his neck as she trembled, but whether from nerves or excitement, Carmine wasn’t sure.

Love was the fluttering in her tummy whenever Carmine was near, the twinkle in his eyes when he laughed, the heat in her body from his words. Love was happy. Love was safe. Love was green.
Love was him—the beautifully flawed boy who made her glow. He stared at her, those words hanging in the air between them.

“I didn’t hear you come out of your room.”
“You aren’t the only one who knows how to be quiet, Ninja.”
She replaced the book on the shelf. “Hmm, well, maybe we should get you a bell.”
“Hey, at least I don’t almost give you heart attacks. You used to startle the hell out of me. I thought for sure you’d need to give me CPR a few times.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Don’t be so sure. You make my heart race every time you come near me.”
He strolled over to where she stood and leaned down to kiss her. He nipped at her bottom lip as he pulled back, pressing his palm against her chest. “How’s the heart?”
“Feels like it’s going to explode.”

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

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ARC Review: The Darkest Joy by Marata Eros

Format: E-bookthedarkestjoy
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Series: The Darkest Joy, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: Chance Taylor
Heroine: Brooke Elizabeth Starr
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 18, 2014
Started On: February 17, 2014
Finished On: February 21, 2014

The Darkest Joy is my second novel by Marata Eros. I absolutely loved what she brought to the table with her novel A Terrible Love, a story that I adored on so many levels. With that in mind, I requested for a galley of The Darkest Joy from netgalley, its premise and setting one that intrigued me when I read the blurb. And everything seemed to go really well, especially with the opening chapter introducing the reader to a wealth of horror when Brooke’s family is slaughtered while she listens in on as the whole nightmare unfolds.

Five months later, the investigation into the brutal killing behind her family’s death still remains to be solved and Brooke is running, running from the darkness of the memories and the guilt that threatens to swallow her as a whole. Moving to Homer, Alaska seems to be a farthest that she can go to bury herself under the cloak of anonymity, where no one would ask her the pressing questions which she needs to get away from, questions that haunt and plague her even as she flees the guilt ravaging her heart and soul.

When Brooke meets her employer Chance Taylor, it is at first the music he strums effortlessly from his guitar that pierces her to her very soul, reaching deep into the frozen cold that has protected her from her baser emotions for the past couple of months. Leaving her prospective future as a pianist, one who has had a future at the Juilliard well behind her had seemed like a wise choice up till the moment Chance invades her soul and etches a place for himself in her heart.

Chance is the love and leave them type personified, his one true and only love being the sea, the passion for which is satisfied by his occupation as a deep sea fisherman. But the minute Brooke enters the picture, everything Chance has believed in up till then ceases to exist until all he can think, feel and want is Brooke in every single way he can have her. But Brooke’s fear and guilt for a past that cannot be changed, together with a killer that seems to be nowhere near to stopping the litter of bodies that keep mounting proves to be the obstacle that seems to stand in the way of the joy that could be theirs if only Brooke were willing to make peace with the past and move on.

The Darkest Joy is a story that disappointed me on many levels. The opening chapter was the only good thing about this novel, the level of detail that went on to showcase Brooke’s life in Alaska in the chapters that followed sometimes getting so tedious to the point that I skim read large chunks of the novel to pick out the story that should have flowed smoothly otherwise. I found the whole thing with Brooke denying herself the closure that was required, especially turning her back on the authorities trying their hardest to keep her up to date on the developments of the case unbelievable at times. I can understand survivor’s guilt, the fact that someone might want to bury themselves right in the ground with their loved ones when tragedy strikes, but I couldn’t understand Brooke not being moved enough to actually WANT to seek justice for the death of her entire family.

I found Chance to be at odds with what his character was portrayed to be at the beginning of the story. Having lived practically most of his life in Homer, Alaska, everyone who knows him attests to his love em’ and leave em’ lifestyle. But throughout the story, Chance seemed too besotted with Brooke to really live up to any of the traits revealed to be the background of his character. I can understand a man changing for the right woman though it seldom happens in real life, but going against every single facet of his character for Brooke that soon just seemed highly unlikely to me.

When the villain was finally revealed, the surprise came from the fact that it all seemed so hard to take in, the fact that there seemed to be several gaps missing in the tale of how the villain had come to be as portrayed in the story. I believe that the novel could have done away with more than half the story and added more relevant chapters to keep the story flowing in a direction that would have captivated the reader rather than just portraying the sense of guilt that plagues Brooke, keeping her bound with an inability to let go and move on.

The only thing positive for me about the novel was the at times beautiful writing that came to light in bits and pieces as the story progressed. The Marata Eros I remember from my one single experience with her prose is one who writes beautifully well and reaches deep into your heart to invoke emotions that cannot be otherwise. And that was practically the only thing that kept me turning the pages even when I wanted to give up and label this a DNF. But all that being said, you just might find this to be your cup of tea while it didn’t meet any or all of my expectations when I picked it up. Recommended for fans of the author and fans of new adult romances.

Favorite Quotes

But those eyes, those haunted eyes, they’re burned into my brain. Her sadness has caught me like the fish I net. I’ve hit her hook without even knowing I’m in the ocean; saving her has reeled me in inextricably.
And I don’t even know her name.

He looks up and our gazes meet. Chance Taylor steals my breath. His open smile melts me.
I walk toward him.
It feels like a death march.

I feel the tip of him at my entrance, and his knees split my legs farther apart even as he enters me slowly, each hot inch sinking deeper, and I let out a hoarse cry, pressing myself back against him. My hips rise and he puts a staying hand on the back of my head and the other at the small of my back, pinning me in place, and I whimper in surrender.

Then he’s fully inside me with a single thrust and I scream my pleasure into his quiet house, absorbed by all that wood and I come until I can’t breathe. The pulses of my orgasm radiate through my tingling body and wash over Chance, grabbing at him as he grows impossibly harder, his own release crashes into him as he pours himself into me.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

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