Review: Sweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Lachlan Matthew Taylor
Heroine: Dandelion Meadows
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 25, 2020
Started On: August 14, 2020
Finished On: August 19, 2020

Sweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer is a new to me author, whose books that I would definitely be checking out from here onwards. Following the aftermath and recovery from a school shooting that had rendered the heroine Dandelion Meadows unable to cope, she is required to take counseling sessions at school, which is how she meets the 29 year old school counselor, Lachlan Matthew Taylor.

Dandelion has been trying to move on from what happened for the past nine months, having lost her mother at the school shooting incident. The trauma is raw and alive within her, and though Dandelion is skeptical of the efficacy of the sessions she is required to take, meeting Lachlan is an experience in itself. From the start, Lachlan is conscientious of her needs. He does not push her into going in directions which is extremely difficult for her, but at the same time, Dandelion finds herself drawn to, and at peace with her thoughts when it comes to the her sessions with Lachlan.

When things start to change between them, even though both Dandelion and Lachlan try their darnedest to not let it happen, somehow, somethings in life are inevitable. It is pretty difficult for Lachlan to reconcile his burgeoning feelings for Dandelion with that of his role as her school counselor and as a result he struggles more than Dandelion does when it comes to the consequences of their coming together. The fact that he is also a lot older than Dandelion is one reason, and even though both Lachlan and Dandelion are lonely in a way that they both alone identify with, there is a whole host of challenges that they both need to overcome, if their love is to survive.

There is a sweet poignancy to the story as it unfolds, and Lachlan, my God Lachlan!, is definitely one for the book boyfriends list. He is sweet, dreamy, kind, has a soul that yearns for love and deep abiding connection with the other half of his soul, loves fiercely and gently at the same time, and is demanding and intense in bed, setting the pages afire. I loved Lachlan from the very first moment he came into the picture, and in a way, he reminded me of Professor Lukas Halstrom, but Lachlan is definitely one of the most unique heroes I have come across and I fell for him hard and fast.

Dandelion has her own growing up to do, even though she has an old soul that yearns for Lachlan in every single way. Even with everyone in her life dead against the thought of Lachlan and her together, Dandelion knows that she would choose to be with him in a heartbeat, if he were willing to take the risk. But then love is never easy to conquer as we would like to think, and there is a lot that Dandelion goes through before she is ready to take that step and understand where Lachlan was coming from all along.

Needless to say, I loved Sweet Dandelion. It is no mean feat to cast two protagonists whose love would be frowned upon and castigated severely by society (and it is usually for good reason), and make it into something so profoundly beautiful that I am at a loss as to how to properly describe the feelings that coursed through me as I delved deeper into their story. The in-depth characterisation, how comprehensively Ms. Smeltzer explored the range of emotions between the two, not to mention that of the secondary characters in the story; all that and more lent this tale an edge that lasted up till the last page was read and done.

There is nary a word nor character that I would do away with in Sweet Dandelion and I believe this is what extraordinary romance books are all about – taking on difficult tropes and working them out in a way that leaves the reader spellbound from start to finish. The TWO (not one), epilogues tucked at the end made up for a lot that happened as the story reached towards its climax and beyond, and I loved and reveled in all o it!

Definitely recommended for those who love romances that sweep you off your feet. Sweet Dandelion is one for the records and Lachlan, definitely a keeper!

Final Verdict: Sweet Dandelion is story that is nuanced, sumptuous, and phenomenal; Lachlan and Dandelion sweep you off your feet on a journey that is worth every obstacle faced along the way to their HEA!

Favorite Quotes

I lean over, closing the short distance between us. The peppermint on his tongue permeates the air and I lick my bottom lip before I press my lips to his. My mouth tingles from the taste of him. He doesn’t move at first, but then a manly growl echoes in his throat. His long strong fingers tangle in my hair. His hold is tight enough to hurt, but isn’t painful. His tongue finds mine and that minty taste is everywhere.
I’ve never been kissed like this before. It’s a ravaging more than a kiss, like he’s a knight claiming his bounty. His stubble burns my cheeks, but I don’t mind the sting—it’s a welcome reminder that this is real, I’m kissing Lachlan, but more importantly he’s kissing me back.

His eyes close once more, murmuring my name.
In a blink his hands are on my hips.
I squeak as he pulls me onto his lap. My hips sink down onto him, a soft moan parting my lips at the feel of him pressed to my center.
“Dani,” he croons.
His hands fist in my hair.
I roll my hips, eliciting another moan from my throat.
“Dani,” a purr this time.
Finally, blissfully, his lips are on mine.

He kisses me with a desperation I mirror with my movements. I’m eager to get closer to him, to feel every part of him.
Our tongues tangle together with a passion we’ve kept chained for months. This is the kind of kiss I’ve seen in movies and read in the books he’s let me borrow. It’s a kiss that changes things. There’s no coming back from this. It doesn’t in any way compare to our first kiss. That was a hesitant, fragile thing, while this is a claiming.

“Lachlan,” I gasp, and he bites my bottom lip, tugging it into his mouth.
His blue eyes meet mine in the dark as he releases my lip. “Let go, Dani, I’ve got you.”
I don’t want to let go, because once I do, I’m afraid this moment between us will be over too. There’s no controlling it once I fall off the ledge into an abyss of pleasure. His hold tightens on my hips, his own rocking against mine.
He pants, letting out a low groan. “Fuck.”
We fall together.
Spinning.
Twirling.
Stars.
Pleasure.

“Why does it have to be you?” he whispers gruffly, moving his lips over my face.
“Kiss me,” I beg, not even caring if I sound wanton.
He does, our dance long forgotten but a whole new one beginning to play out.
His hands move down my body, creating a trail that sends fire spreading through my body. “Touch me,” I beg. “Please.” My voice is achy with need.
“Dani—”
“Please.”
His uttered, “Fuck,” is a deep rumble.

His long legs round the couch, carrying me down the hall. He taps the door to his bedroom with his foot and in a blink my back hits his mattress.
His big body is a blanket over mine. With his grip on my neck, our lips are only separated by millimeters. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”
“Show me.”
His eyes flash in the darkened bedroom, only illuminated by the lights emanating from the outside. “Dani—”
“Show me,” I beg, kissing his chin. “Show me.” His jaw. “Show me.” His cheek. “Show me.”
His eyes stare deep into mine.
Looking.
Searching.
Finding.

“I love you,” I murmur, pressing a tender kiss to his lips.
His hands flex against my sides, his jaw working back and forth as his eyes fill with turmoil. I fear he’s going to shove me away, that common sense is going to overtake our feelings, but he doesn’t do that. “I love you, too.” The words are barely above a whisper, but they’re every-fucking-thing and I feel them all the way down to my toes. Saying them once must make him bolder, because he says them again, this time louder. “I love you.” Louder. “I love you.” He begins to punctuate each word with a kiss. “I love you. I love you. I love you Dandelion Meadows. Despite it all, despite myself, I love you.”
Our kisses deepen, fueled by a love that defies the odds.

“Dani,” he growls my name into my ear, turning into a feral sound. “Fuck, you’re killing me baby.”
He applies a little more pressure to my clit, increasing his speed. My orgasm hits like a rocket shooting into the sky. My whole body shakes and when my hands fall from the glass, my body unable to stay upright, he’s there to catch me.
He gathers me into his arms, holding me close, gently now.
He rubs my back as the tremors fade. “That was—”
He silences me with a kiss. Rubbing his thumb over my cheek he stares into my eyes. “Amazing,” he finishes for me.

“Lachlan—”
In a blink he’s upon me, his mouth taking mine prisoner. He’s rough, demanding. His hold on my cheeks is tight and I find my back pressed against the wall.
He claws at me like a wild animal, bunching the tulle of my skirt in his hands, trying to yank it up.
I kiss him back with fervor, a spark igniting into an entire fire inside me from one touch of his lips. I match his desperation, pulling at his shirt, trying to get it over his head.
He tosses the shirt off like he can’t get it far enough away from him.
His eyes are twin sapphires blazing when he looks down at me. His whole body is a taut live wire waiting to go off.
“If you don’t tell me how to get you out of this dress, I’ll rip it off of you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Unconditional by Q.B. Tyler

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Cal Michael Grayson
Heroine: Madeline Elizabeth
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 14, 2019
Started On: August 06, 2020
Finished On: August 14, 2020

Unconditional by Q.B. Tyler is my first ever book by the author, and definitely would not be my last. With an age difference of 16 years between the hero and heroine, not to mention the fact that hero is the guardian of the heroine from a tender age, this story is filled with all kinds of forbidden deliciousness that it is hard to put down once you get started. That is if you are a reader like myself who loves tropes of the nature.

The story begins ten years prior to present day, when 23 year old Cal Michael Grayson, a newly minted cop finds himself in a setting of domestic violence that reeks of horrors untold. Soon after, seven year old Madeline Elizabeth comes under his care, the years following which is fulfilling in a way that Cal would never have thought possible.

However, change comes calling when 13 year old Madeline starts to see Cal in a whole different light, chastising herself all the while for the way she feels. There is nothing happening between her and Cal at this point, except for her own sexual awakening, which had been purely due to her own intuitiveness and curiosity playing its role, and Cal had starred prominently as the lead in each and every single one of her fantasies. Things hit a point of no return when Madeline is 17 years old, with just a couple of weeks away from hitting 18.

While Cal would not admit to his changing feelings towards Madeline even at gun point, as always, he is in a fix when it comes to denying Madeline what she wants. Cal is a mass of confusion, want, and self derision when it comes to his feelings towards Madeline and it is not easy to walk away when desire and love for her tugs at his very soul.

Of course there are those in Cal and Madeline’s lives that frown upon the connection between them. After all, it is hard for those observing what is unfolding to understand the true nature of feelings two people have for each other. Obviously the hero being 16 years older, and the fact that he is her legal guardian for that matter makes things doubly difficult. But there was a sensitivity with which Ms. Tyler handled it all which makes for swell reading and I reveled in every single feeling that coursed through me as I read along.

Cal makes it really easy to fall in love with him. After all he is kind, gentle, and wants what is best for Madeline, even if it means cutting his own heart open and letting himself bleed. He would lay down his very life for Madeline and there is no easy way to reconcile with his burgeoning feelings of the amorous variety when it comes to her, his Madeline. But of course, Madeline does not make it easy for him to walk away just like that, and it is she that makes sure that Cal sees her feelings for what they are – feelings of the till death do us part kind which has no beginning and no end.

I found Unconditional to be just purrfect. I believe in the fact that love often finds us at the most inopportune moments, that we have no power over whom we love (though we do have power over what we decide to do with that love), and society would always judge us no matter what – there is just no pleasing everyone. Ms. Tyler does an amazing job of bringing out the emotions, characterization, and the oh dear Lord, hot as sin sex scenes that just fired up the pages.

Loved the epilogue, which was sheer perfection, much needed after all that was said and done. Recommended for fans of taboo themed romances. This one is pretty much it when considering the circumstances.

Final Verdict: Unconditional by Q. B. Tyler conceptualizes the word in every sense as the story is told; the love that unfolds between Madeline and Cal is as beautiful because it is unconditional.

Favorite Quotes

“You should get up,” he tells me, and despite the foot and a half and eighty pounds of muscle he has on me, he doesn’t move me from his lap.
Push him, Maddie.
I press my hands to his chest gently and shake my head back and forth. “But…that’s not what you want.”
“Madeline, up,” he growls and I curl my fingers into his shirt and dig into his chest as I move back slightly so that my sex is right against his dick.
I try to ignore the racing in my heart as my pulsing clit has totally taken control, and before I can stop myself, I’ve rubbed against his cock.
“Maddie, please…” His voice is pained and I was fully planning to stop—maybe, but when I open my eyes, Cal’s are closed and I can tell he’s gritting his teeth.
“Just…do this for me. Please.” I beg as the fire between my legs becomes greater with each stroke.

“Open them.” I assume he means my eyes and when I do, his gaze locks with mine instantly. His hands move to my hips, gripping them as I move back and forth.
“Fuck. That feels good.”
“Does…it?” He chokes out, and I nod.
“I’m going to come.”
He clears his throat, and when I meet his eyes, they’re filled with lust. “Tell me when.”
I nod and his hands move up my hips and rest under the t-shirt I’m wearing. He strokes the skin just above my belly button as my hips begin moving more erratically as I chase the orgasm that was just out of reach. “I’m going to come, oh fuck!” He wraps his hands around my waist again, moving my body faster against his cock. “I want to wait for you.” I whimper as my toes begin to curl.
“No. Come, Madeline. Come for me, right now.”

“Stop fighting it, Cal. Let go.” I grab him by the back of the neck and pull him closer to me and lean up slightly, letting him know what I plan to do and then our lips touch.
Not in an awkward way like most first kisses are. Not in a slow passionate way like when you kiss your lover after not kissing them in so long. But in a rushed, frenzied way that is aggressive and hard and rough. He bites and I bite back. His tongue sweeps between my lips, and I meet him with rabid urgency. I’m so desperate for his taste on my tongue, I explore every inch of his mouth. It’s sloppy and wet and loud and, quite frankly, the hottest fucking kiss of my life.
He presses my arms above my head, holding them there, and laces our fingers together as his tongue penetrates my mouth in a way I wish his cock was doing to my pussy. He bucks against me with wild reckless abandon, fighting for the orgasm he’s spent God knows how long fighting and then he does. Long and hard.

“Cal,” I moan as his lips find my neck, sucking at the skin and I relish at the idea of having a hickey. My usually flawless skin purple and blue with indents of his teeth in the flesh.
“I won’t mark you here.” His voice is low in his throat and it makes my whole body tingle. “Maybe somewhere less visible.”
“Like…between my legs?” I can feel my cheeks heating with embarrassment or maybe arousal?
“Shit, like exactly there.”
I take deep breaths, trying to slow my breathing as I think about him leaving a hickey. On my fucking pussy. I’ve died and gone to heaven…
Or maybe hell.

“Touch your pussy,” he demands, his eyes are dark and feral, like he’s preparing to rip me apart with his teeth.
“What?”
“Slip your fingers under your leggings. Don’t take them off and don’t show me your pussy. But just finger yourself for me…and I’ll taste you from your fingers.”
My eyes widen and my heart skips a beat in my chest before it returns to the steady thrumming between my legs. “You’re serious?”
He nods and moves to sit against the headboard. “Come here.”
I do as I’m told and he pulls me so that my back is flush against his chest, my ass pressed right up against his cock. His legs are spread and I’m settled between them feeling his cock jump every few minutes. His lips find my ear before he bites down gently. “Pretend it’s me.”
“I always pretend it’s you.”

“You rubbing against my dick until we come is pretty high up on the list of things we shouldn’t be fucking doing.” I can hear the hesitation in his voice but I also hear the lust.
The want.
I can see the war behind his eyes over what to do, so I push him just a little harder.
“Shhh.” I begin to rub against him and I can feel the juices from my orgasm getting all over the inside of my leggings. The seam of the fabric grazes my clit with every swipe and I wonder if I’m going to come again. “You’re so hard. God, Cal. Is it all for me?” I wrap my arms around his neck as I begin to move faster against him. His hands find my hips and begin to control the speed, pushing and pulling me harder on him.
“Yes.” He hisses. “It’s for you.”

“Say my name again.” My voice is so gruff, I don’t even recognize it but the shiver that moves through Maddie alerts me that she does.
“Cal,” she yelps as I bite down on her flesh. I run my tongue over the skin, doing my best to soothe the sting of my teeth. Her hands find the back of my head and she pulls at the hair as she cocks her head more allowing me further access. I love how she opens herself up to me; whatever I want from her she gives me so blindly. She feeds the beast, and if I was a better man, I’d tell her to stop. Tell her to run. But I won’t. Because the beast in me is only responding to the one in her.
The one that’s been unleashed already and doesn’t seem to want to let me go without a fight.

She’s a blank canvas I want to paint with my cum. I want to rain my seed all over her perfect tits, her smooth ass, her gorgeous face. I want to worship her…but I also want to defile her.
I want to use her body, fuck every single one of her holes until she’s so full of my cum it drips out of her. I want to fuck her like she’s a slut. Bend her over every surface in our house and take her so brutally she won’t be able to sit down for a week. I want to hate fuck her for making me feel this way. For turning me into this sick bastard that’s having these thoughts about the girl I raised. And then, when all of that’s done, when I’m done fucking the life out of her, I want to bring her back. Run my lips over every inch of her marked skin, whispering my love and devotion to her in between each kiss as I rock gently into her. Make love to her, teach her the love language that our bodies already know by heart.

“I had plans to lay you out and make love to your pussy with my fingers and my tongue and make you come over and over until you were loose and languid and drunk on me and then I’d take your virginity slowly, making love to you until your body couldn’t take it. But now…” I stare down to where we’re connected, where my dick is an inch inside of her. “I want to take you like a fucking animal. Rut into you like a beast and rip your precious body apart and put you back together a new fucking woman.” I push slightly harder and I watch as the wind leaves her in a gush. “My. Fucking. Woman.”
The word leaves her lips like a prayer and my dick is the holy word. “Yes.”
And then in the shower, her legs and arms wrapped around me like ivy, I press my cock fully into Madeline Shaw, the most important person in my world for the past ten years, just as a scream so sexual and passionate leaves her lips that I almost shoot my seed inside of her.

“Come on my cock, baby. Touch your pretty clit until your cunt creams all over me.”
“Oh, God keep talking.” She moans and I feel her hand moving between us.
“You know what’s going to happen the second we get out of this shower? I’m going to bend you over and lick you from your pussy to your asshole and then back. Settling on your sweet folds until you come so hard you black out.”
“Oh my God!”

She is still riding the high of her last orgasm, with a sensitive clit, so I know it won’t take her long to come again.
“Me too.” She speaks, though it’s muffled as her mouth is full of my cock. I press my lips to her again, my tongue taking a new speed as it rapidly fucks her while I rub her clit in clockwise motions. “Oh God, wait wait wait!” She stops and I smile knowing she’s close.
“I’m there, put your mouth on my dick, Madeline.” I see that she visibly shivers above me when she hears me use her full name.
“Yes, Daddy.” Oh, for the love of fuck.
She puts me back in her mouth and I thrust upwards, exploding down her throat instantly, that one word pushing me over the edge.

“We’ll see each other, baby.” His hand touches my face and traces his fingers from my forehead to my chin. “I won’t be able to stay away from you but for so long.”
I lean down and rub my nose against his. “I’m holding you to that.” I plant a kiss on his lips. “Do you have time to fuck me before you go to work?”
A growl rumbles in his chest and then I’m on my back with my legs wrapped around his waist. I’m wearing one of his t-shirts and a pair of panties that he rips from me instantly. “You call me.” He grits out. “Day or night.” He grips my face and stares down at me, his eyes boring into mine. “You need me, you call me. I’ll come.” He narrows his eyes to emphasize his point. His gaze is hard and demanding, almost daring me to disobey him.
I mean it, Madeline.

I bite my lip at his words and pull him closer, his lips hovering just over mine. “Please,” I whimper and then our lips crash in a dizzying kiss. His tongue rubs against mine and his hands spread my legs so he can stand between them before he lifts me up and I wrap my legs around his waist. “Cal,” I whimper.
“Fuck…” He opens my coat and steps between them, finding the seam of my leggings between my legs making me grateful that I changed out of my leotard before I left. He digs one finger into the seam, pressing against my sex and I moan, only to let out a yelp when he rips them at the center, making a hole in my crotch.
“Cal!”
“Hold on, baby.” He growls as he lowers his sweatpants. He opens the hole wider and moves my panties to the side and before I can protest, he’s inside of me.
Outside.
On the dark road of route fifty-eight.

“Cal!” I throw my head back as he fucks me deeper, harder and faster.
“You’re so perfect, Jesus Christ, Madeline.”
My full name sets my body on fire. My eyes snap open and I quirk an eyebrow at him. He must sense where I’m going because he lets his head fall back and a growl leaves his lips. “Say it, baby.” He grabs the back of my head and presses our foreheads together. “Say it.”
“Daddy,” I breathe out.
“Fuck.”
“Daddy, please.”
“Please what, baby. Tell me what you need and Daddy will take care of it. Whatever it is.”
“I need you to come, Daddy…” I press my lips to his neck before flicking my tongue out and running it along his pulse point. I nibble on his ear. “Come inside me.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Lovewrecked by Karina Halle

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Tai Wakefield
Heroine: Daisy Lewis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 25, 2020
Started On: May 27, 2020
Finished On: May 28, 2020

Lovewrecked is my very first read from Karina Halle. It seemed to be the perfect fit at that point in time, as the country was slowly emerging from the first and God willing only lock-down that will be imposed owing to the pandemic, and I was feeling a bit antsy, in need of something that would provide the sort of escape I was looking for. Seeing this on Amazon, promising a sizzling enemies to lovers story, I thought to myself, why not, and the rest as they say is history.

Lovewrecked tells the story of how 34 year old Tai Wakefield meets 28 year old Daisy Lewis, when the latter travels to New Zealand for her elder sister’s nuptials. Having lost her job and her boyfriend who was supposed to help her get through the wedding which she wasn’t all that much looking forward to attending, needless to say Daisy is not in the best form when she meets the formidable grump that is Tai.

From the onset, Tai’s grumpy nature makes Daisy want to ruffle his feathers in an attempt to see how far she can go. There is a lightheartedness to her character that I found a bit annoying at times, but then there is a reason behind why she is the way she is, which Ms. Halle unveils as the story moves further along.

As the story moves forward, Tai and Daisy along with her sister and husband find themselves shipwrecked and with no rescue in sight, the group of four are forced to spend time together in a way that no other situation would have imposed upon them. It is then that we see the other side of Daisy, where readers get an insight into where her seemingly frivolous and carefree attitude comes from, and the simmering tension between Daisy and her sister, which all goes back to their childhood.

I would not go as far as to say that I loved Daisy when all was said and done. Even though for the most part, I did find appealing qualities about her towards the end, I was not overly enthusiastic about her because of her annoying habit of skimming everything on the surface as things seemed to happen. I also found it a tad abrupt, the way she came to terms with her past, her wants, and needs towards the end, which just seemed to align with what was burgeoning to life between herself and Tai.

Tai on the other hand, was the kind of grumpy hero that I live for. Gorgeous, and sinfully sexy, Tai is a man with a past that makes him weary of long term commitment, especially when it comes to someone like Daisy who would never feel at peace living the kind of life that Tai has built for himself in a remote corner of the world. Tai makes it his life’s mission to keep emotional entanglements at bay, and yet it is Daisy’s persistence when it comes to him that chips away at the armor around his heart.

Overall, Lovewrecked did provide the kind of read that Karina Halle promises readers at the beginning. It was fun and lighthearted for the most part, with the secondary characters adding value to the story and characterization without deflecting attention from the main protagonists. The epilogue was also cute and served the story well towards leaving the reader with a good feeling overall.

Though promised as an enemies to lovers story, I found very little of that in the romance that buds to life between Tai and Daisy. Perhaps that was one reason why this depraved heart of mine wished for Tai’s character to have given the story more angst than it did, because I did expect the story to take a different turn than it did. But then most books do end up doing that. However, with all that, I still enjoyed Lovewrecked and would definitely look up Ms. Halle’s titles in the future.

Recommended for those who enjoy a feel good contemporary romance with a sexy grump of a hero who who continually has the habit of making your toes curl.

Final Verdict: Pure escapism, with just the needed touch of emotional depth is guaranteed with Karina Halle’s Lovewrecked!

Favorite Quotes

“Fine. Fine, you saw me get off,” I grumble. “You happy now?”
“Very.”
I cock my brow, the words taking a moment to rest on my tongue before I spit them out. “Did it make you hard?”
Yeah. I said it.
A bold look flashes in his eyes, more intense than the darkest coffee. “What do you think?”
I think yes.
“Are you still hard?”
I don’t know where the hell I’m getting the gumption to ask him these questions, but fuck it. It’s only fair now.
The look in his eyes intensifies and I watch his throat as he swallows.
“Why don’t you find out,” he manages to say, his words measured.

Before I even know what’s happening, I lean forward, my body operating on instinct only.
And I kiss him.
I can’t help it.
All these weeks of wanting to do this, wanting to know what his lips feel like against mine, it was inevitable that I’d lose control.
He stiffens at first, hesitating, then I feel the muscles in his back relax as he kisses me back.
And…shit.
I mean…wow.
He’s a good kisser.

“Tai,” I whisper, sticking my finger into the jar.
I stand right in front of him, holding my finger out, the honey dripping on the end.
He blinks at it. “Where did you get that?”
“Open your mouth.”
His eyes meet mine and for a moment I think he’s going to be a real hard-head and refuse.
Then he does as he’s told.
Opens his mouth.
That gorgeous, sensual mouth.
Wraps his lips around my finger, and gives it one, long deep pull that I feel all the way to my toes. His eyes never leave mine, if anything they intensify as his tongue rolls over the sides of my skin.
A moan vibrates through him, and I think it might be the sexiest sound I’ve ever heard.

I can see the fight in his eyes. The want to say no, the urge to say yes.
His urges win.
So do mine.
In a flash he whips me around so I’m pressed up hard against the palm tree, the rough bark digging into the back of my head.
He’s kissing me roughly, with impatience, teeth, lips, tongue all in a frenzy, creating a hurricane that will gladly consume us.

The pressure inside me goes over the threshold.
My skin flushes like I’m on fire and then…
I’m falling.
Sinking against the palm tree.
Falling into his hand.
Letting go.
Coming hard.

“Tai,” she whines, sounding breathless, impatient.
“It’s Captain Wakefield,” I tell her, grinning.
“Captain Wakefield. What are you waiting for?”
Nothing.
I suck in my breath and with one swift, hard thrust I plunge my cock deep inside of her.
“Fuck!” Daisy yelps, and I realize I may have been a bit rough.
I’m about to apologize when she cries out, “Keep going.”
That I can do. I slowly pull out and then spear her again, my cock sinking into the hilt as my fingers make bruises on her hips.

With my finger slipping and sliding all over her swollen clit, I stroke that sensitive bundle of nerves until she’s tense and ready to explode. Then, as she yells out my name and begins to shake and shudder, clenching around my cock, I let go.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I growl, thrusting in harder and deeper, faster, like I’m trying to impale her right into the sand. Everything inside me tenses from my balls to my chest and then I’m being walloped by a tsunami, the orgasm ripping me apart and dragging me out to sea.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo

Review: Scandalous by L.J. Shen

Format: E-Bookscandalous
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Sinners of Saint, #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Trent Rexroth
Heroine: Edie Van Der Zee
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 21, 2017
Started On: April 03, 2020
Finished On: April 05, 2020

Scandalous by L.J. Shen is the 3rd book in the Sinners of Saint series. Having not read the two books prior to this one in the series, I just jumped right in because a lot of reviews seemed to hint that the hero was the kind that I love the best; ruthless, a tad cruel at times, and nevertheless endearing in a way that is hard to explain.

The one thing that I can say is that Scandalous can be read as a standalone; for the most part, I did not feel as if I had lost out on anything by starting straightaway with the 3rd book in the series. Scandalous tells the story of how 33 year old Trent Rexroth meets his match in 18 year old Edie Van Der Zee, the last woman on earth whom he would have chosen for the role, if he had a choice in the matter.

The story begins with the most unlikely of scenes, where Edie snatches a purse off a woman on the street, only to find that it is from Trent’s mother. Days later, she finds herself forced to work for her father (whom she hates and for good reason), who is in a partnership with Trent and his friends.

Trent’s only weakness lies in his love for his daughter Luna, whose refusal to articulate and give voice to her thoughts drives him to desperation. The therapy sessions seem to help, but it is in Edie’s presence that Luna comes alive for the first time in a long while, which basically seals the deal where Trent and Edie are concerned.

Even though Edie plays a dangerous game with her father which involves Trent, and Trent would like nothing better than to be able to keep his hands off of Edie, none of that matters when these two share the same breathing space. The heat between them is not the kind anyone walks away from, and before they both know it, they are both in too deep with each other.

While I liked the overall premise of Scandalous, which includes the forbidden factor and the huge age gap, I truly could not understand why Trent is referred to as The Mute in the story. It was apparently because he rarely speaks. I must have been reading a totally different book, because to me, he appeared to be perfectly fine in the speaking department.

I did like Edie and felt for her rough life with parents who neither of them deserved to be one. Edie’s penchant for stealing is explained as the story hits its climax, the secret which she keeps from basically everyone in her life, which is the shock factor of the story.

I also felt that there was just too much happening in the story to really focus on how the relationship between Trent and Edie evolves and builds to form something meaningful out of the foundation of wanting Luna’s happiness in common. I know that there was ample enough sex happening, and apart from Luna being the basis for Trent lowering his guard and letting Edie into his life, I couldn’t see much going for them to hold them together. Even the sex scenes were mostly focused on portraying just how good Trent is between the sheets or anywhere for that matter. I for one would have loved to see just once, how Trent is driven crazy by his want and need for Edie than the other way around.

I also did not find myself all that enamored with Trent. He was gushed about as an anti-hero by a lot of readers, but what I found was an asshole (who has friends who are a bunch of assholes), who are mean and rude to everyone else except when it comes to each other and their women. I wished for a hero who had his own issues to deal with, who actually showed through his actions that Luna meant more to him than just taking her to therapy sessions and then scratching his sexual itch with the therapist after hours. To me, that just did not sit all that well for some reason.

Recommended for fans of LJ Shen and fans of the Sinners of Saint series.

Final Verdict: Trent and Edie’s love is forged out of something easy to understand and stays that way for reasons best left unknown; after all, the heart wants what it wants, regardless.

Favorite Quotes

“How can it feel this good?” she nearly protested, reaching with her hand to touch me again. I moved away quickly, still playing with her tit.
“Because it’s different when you’re in the hands of a man.”
“Show me.”
I didn’t answer.
“Please,” she purred, and this time she managed to glide her bikini-ed groin over my training shorts. Fuck, I wasn’t sure if it was the ocean or her, but something there was damp.
That’s when I lost it.

“It means”—his teeth dragged along my neck—“that what we are to each other is potential sacrifices. As long as you know I will throw you under the train if you mess with my plans, I’m good.”
I swallowed. “I’m good, too.”
“Let’s have some fun then.”
And that was all the preparation he gave me before shoving his hand inside my panties. His strong, warm fingers stroked my folds gently, as if soothing them, preparing for whatever he was going to give me.
“One last warning,” he said, his hot tongue making its first appearance, licking a trail of tantalizing desire up the side of my neck, making me shiver violently. “I fuck rough.” He shoved one finger into me and I arched my back, gasping from the sudden penetration. “Deep-throating is a requirement, not an option”—he shoved a second finger into me—“and I’m about to fucking ruin you for any other man. So when the time comes and no one else can compare to me, just remember—you asked for it.”

The orgasm was slamming into me like whiplash. Again and again. It took me a few moments to realize I was experiencing multiple orgasms for the first time in my life. They were all equally intense, and I was beginning to wonder what it was about Trent that made me feel like I was burning from the inside out. Bane was good in bed. He was great, actually.
But he didn’t set me ablaze only to turn his back on me once the tongues of fire consumed me.
He didn’t ignite in me the need to do and say crazy things.

“I liked it when you bit my nipple hard,” she said. I ignored her, pulling my fingers out and coating her pussy with her arousal.
“You make me feel deranged with need,” she whimpered, just as I slapped her pussy for the first time. It made her body stutter and stir, and she let out a little yelp I stifled by shoving my wet fingers into her mouth.
“Shhh,” I said. “You said you like it. Show me how much.”

“Harder.”
“No.”
“Trent.”
“No.”
“I need it.”
“You’ve had enough for one day, Edie. Your cum is all over my dick. I can eat you out if you want another orgasm.” Was I bargaining with her mid-fuck? That was a first. And a last. This chick wasn’t running the show, no matter how hard I wanted her tight pink pussy to milk my cock.
“If you won’t, Bane will.” I heard the smile in her voice but couldn’t see it. Fuck it. She’d asked for it.
Thwack!
We came together like a storm.

“Did you just give me a nickname?” I smirked, feeling the muscles of my tight hole tightening around his finger. It hurt a little, but mostly felt weird. Not weird bad, either. But the kind you needed to get used to in order to enjoy. The way he worked his fingers over mine…that was the real treat.
“Better than Gidget.” He bit my chin.
“I like Gidget.”
“You like Little Tide more.”
“No, I don’t.”
“You’re about to.” He slammed his finger deeper into my ass and I yelped, clinging to his broad shoulders. His lips met my ear and he bit my earlobe, smiling.
I exploded on our fingers.

There was no excuse for what I was doing. For me walking into that room and closing the door behind us. For me striding over to her with chaos dancing in my chest, watching her as she lifted her eyes from the toy, reading everything that was inside of mine.
I could say it was because she’d protected my daughter, but that wouldn’t be true.
I could say it was because I saw her layers as she held that toy soldier in her small hand, but that would be bullshit, too.
I did it because I had to. Because fuck the consequences and Jordan Van Der Zee and everything standing between us. For the first time in five years, I put my lips on another person’s and kissed her. Hard.

“I won’t beg.”
“You won’t beg,” he repeated, pushing his whole cock through my panties, penetrating me. The fabric of my underwear stretched along my inner thighs painfully, and I threw my head back, wincing.
I wanted more.
I wanted it harder.
I wanted everything.
I moaned, slipping my fingers into his denim and underwear and clutching his ass as I opened my legs wider for him. “What are we doing?”
“Exactly what I promised myself I’d never do again. Fucking without a condom.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Fake It ‘Til You Break It by Meagan Brandy

Format: E-Bookfakeittillyoubreakit
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Nico Sykes
Heroine: Demi Davenport
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 04, 2020
Started On: February 27, 2020
Finished On: February 28, 2020

“You keep kneeing me and I’m gonna do one of two things. One being lifting you up and putting you beside me so you can’t anymore, or two, plant your ass in my lap, which will either embarrass or entice you. Your call, Davenport.”

Fake It ‘Til You Break It is the first time I tried out a book by Meagan Brandy. It is a New Adult romance, and while I would not classify myself as someone who enjoys them so much, I am hard pressed in finding good material to read if I am to pursue heroes of the variety that I enjoy reading about, aka the ones who are known as alpha-holes.

New Adult romances are often “childish” in my opinion – I get a headache from all the senseless sleeping around, drinking and partying; part of the signature transition into adulthood when it comes to the Western world perhaps. I feel the same when I watch Korean drama centered around the same theme – I need adults behaving like adults when it comes right down to it. Thankfully, the few New Adult romances that I have dared to read have all proven their mettle in terms of delivering strong characters that I could root for without cringing to death while I am at it.

Fake It ‘Til You Break It begins during the senior year of high school for both Demi Davenport (Demi) and Nico Sykes (Nico). Lab partners are squared off at the Chemistry class attended by both, where Demi ends up with her nemesis of sorts, Nico. Demi is pretty certain that she would be paired off with Alex Hammons, the guy she has been crushing on for a while now, and never in her worst nightmares would she have expected to end up with Nico, the guy who has been ignoring her very existence for a long time.

While Demi is studious and gets good grades, you guessed it right, Nico is the direct opposite; sinfully handsome, a member of the football squad, pursued by females all over. Thrown together owing to their teacher’s whims, Demi has no choice but to make “nice” with Nico, while he is determined to press all her hot buttons and then some.

A pretend relationship is forged between the two (reasons for which you will have to read to find out), which begins the ball rolling in the story. Where Nico makes her burn and burn good with want and desire for him, Demi is not entirely certain whether what is between them is real or not.

Like all high school drama, this one had the hormones surging beneath the surface. But Demi being the girl that she is, made the story in my opinion. Demi is strong, loyal to a fault, and not easily swayed by the theatrics of high school drama. However, Demi too struggles with her mother at home, someone who barely functions as a parent, and leaves her be for the most part, as long as Demi does what she wants whenever she asserts that pressure on her.

Nico has a totally different situation at home, which Demi finds out much later, even though they are neighbors. Nico’s life is one that is too easily pictured with a mother who has lost herself to a man who doesn’t value her at any level.

The secret to the goodness in the story lies in the psychology that is interwoven into the relationships that exists between the main protagonists and the secondary characters. That was brilliantly done in my opinion, bringing forth a tale worth sinking your teeth into.

I loved Demi. She was all sorts of wonderful in the way she maintains her dignity while walking in and out of situations like we can all only aspire to be. When it came to Nico however, I felt that he somehow didn’t live up to his image at certain points. I wanted a Nico who would step up more and take a proactive step towards the girl he has wanted all along and never thought himself to be good enough for.

Human psychology is warped enough for us to tell ourselves that we are not worthy of the one we may covet and love from afar. It is also the reason why we as humans tend to never take that step and continue to regret that indecision for the rest of our lives.

Demi and Nico are direct contrasts as you will find out. While Demi is the good girl, that does not make her a saint in any sense, and while she maybe subservient to the emotional blackmail of her mother, that does not make a doormat – which is the reason why I rooted wholeheartedly for Demi.

The sexual tension in the book was well done, but the delivery was just enough so that the reader would not end up throwing their e-readers against the wall. I loved the angst factor (perhaps another reason why I tend to give New Adult novels a chance even with all the misgivings I have). The life that Nico leads, the tension between him and his father; the psychology behind all of this which is very real, lends this to be a page turner in my opinion.

When it came to the love factor, Demi was all in – there was no hesitation on her part to stand up for herself and Nico where concerned. But Nico was harder to read even when his point of view was a huge part of the story. Perhaps one reason why I brought down the rating from 5 is because of that as well; I wanted Nico to lose control over Demi, to show that when it came right down to it, Demi was all that he wanted. Demi stood up for him way too many times in the story and I never saw that reciprocated.

Loved the ending and the wholesome edge that provided after the roller-coaster of emotions that was part and parcel of the latter half of the novel. Recommended for those who love angst-ridden new adult romances; this one definitely delivers!

Final Verdict: Meagan Brandy delivers a slow-burn page turner in Fake It ‘Til You Break It, the kind that makes you read it all in one setting!

Favorite Quotes

My hips jolt forward, a deep groan leaving me as heat spreads through my veins.
Her head falls all the way back and her lips part, her chest rising above the steam as she gasps into the air.
I imagine the sounds escaping as her hand trails lower, slipping under the tiny white scrap of material covering her breasts. She massages herself, her core lifting in the water as she fights for her release.
Come on, baby.
Demi’s legs stiffen, shooting down into the water as her chin falls to her chest, and I swear I can feel her fuckin’ trembling from here.

My stomach warms, and I feel the tension surrounding him, but the longer he stares, the more his features smooth. Still, he doesn’t give me much.
Sliding his shoulder against the wall, he moves closer until I’m only a foot’s space away. His hand slips into my hair, his focus now on my lips.
I keep my arms locked at my sides, my toes curling in my flats, fingers digging into my skirt as he leans in.
Waiting.
But he doesn’t kiss me.
As soon as the disappointment stirs in my gut, the warmth of his lips press down against the throbbing pulse of my neck, creating a deeper kind of heat, and my eyes close.
He has to feel it, right?

He steps closer, tugging me to the edge so he’s pressed against me, nothing but both our workout shorts between us.
My eyes cling to his, a rapid, throbbing, unbearable ache taking over my body.
And I can’t help myself, not when his hard-on is resting on me with a subtleness that should be forbidden.
I grind into him.
A tiny bit at first, almost enough to be considered a shift of my body, but then his forehead tightens.
A sign of slipping control?
I do it again, harder, longer, with a deeper sway, and a small whimper escapes from my own actions.
Nico’s response is a reckless growl.

I moan instantly, and when he pushes his dick against me, shifting his hips the smallest bit, I gasp into his mouth.
As if expecting it, Nico is ready, his tongue delving inside my mouth, his hand coming up to force me impossibly close and leaving no room for air to breathe, nothing but him to fill my lungs.
My legs lift, sliding across his thighs, before wrapping across his back and locking.
He groans, ripping his mouth from mine as he gives a strong squeeze to my thighs. “I’ve been dying to feel these around me again.”

“Tell me I am,” I rasp.
When his brows dip, I continue.
“Your baby.” My eyes hit his. “For reals, not for fakes. For keeps, not for now.”
The heavy thump of his heart beats against my hand, and I flatten my palm there, not wanting to miss the way it’s climbing.
“Pixie.” He leans in, brushing his lips over mine. “You are. You’ve been,” he stresses. “Even when you had no fuckin’ clue… you were my baby.”
He kisses me, and the overbearing weight on my shoulders lifts.
His.
That’s what I am.

I run the tips of my fingers up and down, slowly moving the rest of the stretchy material to the side, until I’m ghosting right over her clit.
She gives a slow blink. “What are you waiting for?” she whispers with a dare.
My touch falls on her, pressing harder the lower my fingers slip, and a small smirk finds her lips, her eyes closing at the same time.
I drop my mouth to hers, but she doesn’t kiss me.
Demi pulls my lip between her teeth, biting lightly, an airy “yes” escaping as she releases me.

Her features soften and she pulls her body in, pressing her chest tight against mine. She eyes me, then drops her lips to mine, kissing me with deep, erotic strokes of her tongue. She shifts her lower half, aligning the head of my dick with her entrance.

She releases my lips, opening her eyes to look at me as she pushes her ass into my hands, and the tip is suddenly wrapped in her wet, warm flesh.
“You on birth control?”
Her grip tightens and she nods. “We’re good.”
Fuck, yes.
“It might hurt more like this,” I tell her, sliding my lips across hers. “You’re wide open for me, baby.”
She pushes more and at first I keep my grip, when her pupils expand, I let up, let her body slide down my shaft until her pussy has swallowed me whole.
She gulps, tugging me close, her pussy clenching around me as I grow even harder inside her.

I flex inside her and her eyes widen with need. “How bad do you need to come, D?”
I pull back, until only my tip is left inside her, and then slowly drive back in.
She whimpers, her nails finding my ass, a sexy little warning glare filling her eyes. “I’m pretty sure I can come just feeling you like this, but if you want to earn it, you better move, ‘cause I’m ready. Ready for you. For this.” She licks her lips, a heavy need blanketing her features as she rasps, “Give me all of you, Neek. Now.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

Format: E-Bookthekissthief
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Wolfe Keaton
Heroine: Francesca Rossi
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 06, 2019
Started On: January 08, 2020
Finished On: January 24, 2020

The Kiss Thief is my very first novel by L.J. Shen, the story being one that has popped up on various recommendation lists for ruthless heroes. I am a die-hard fan of anti-heroes, the ruthless and ones disliked by most readers, and loved by the few. Hunting those books down in the world of romance today has become a challenge and yet I persevere. The Kiss Thief was one of the rewards that came my way, thanks to aforementioned perseverance.

When 19 year old Francesca Rossi, the only child of Arthur Rossi, head of The Outfit (organised crime if you will), makes her official introduction to Chicagoan society, the only thing on her mind is to get Angelo, the perfect husband in the eyes of her parents, to kiss her as if he means it, kiss her as the woman he was going to make his wife and enjoy doing it.

That is also the night that 30 year old Wolfe Keaton, a US Senator, makes his presence known to Francesca, and steals the kiss that was meant for Angelo, and in the process upends her entire world. Forced into marrying Wolfe, Francesca at first has no intention of cooperating with a man whose high handed manner irks her to no end, not to mention the derailment of plans to fulfill her dreams of being married to the man she had grown up with and had given her heart to over the years.

However, the force that is Wolfe Keaton is one to be reckoned with, and before Francesca knows it, she enters a world where she learns firsthand what it means to fall in love and lose your heart to someone as ruthless as her husband.

There are scenes in this book that is definitely not for the faint-hearted, which is one reason why I loved the story and the turns it took to bring to us a happily ever after worth rooting for. My dislike for books that fill every nook and cranny of romance genre today lies in the fact that there is nothing worthy of fantasizing about the “ruthless and dangerous hero” that turns putty at the heroine’s hand from the minute they meet.

All the build-up that the author does in painting the hero as someone who has committed unthinkable acts in his life who suddenly, with the least amount of resistance, loses every essence of his character that makes him vitally himself is just tiring. How does that even translate into realistic human behavior? I can understand a character who subtly changes over the years, maybe months into a relationship, but the first time he lays eyes on the heroine, he just does a 180 degree turn on his character? That is foolhardy and as unrealistic as they come in my opinion.

The Kiss Thief certainly did not do that. L.J. Shen has crafted a hero worthy of salivating over and then some in Wolfe Keaton, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about him. From his ruthlessness that serves him well in every single manner, to his inner core of strength and vulnerability when it comes to his wife as he learns to love all over again were facets of the story that fascinated me. I loved the fact that Wolfe was able to give his wife the one thing that was denied from her as she grew up and how in his embrace she found the freedom to be herself and let go.

Francesca was lovely in many ways; she was certainly brought up to fulfill a certain role, but she is a quick learner if ever there was one and able to adapt to situations and the punches as they rolled. I loved her for quick wit, her ability to keep up with Wolfe, and the way she brought him to his very knees towards the end.

Recommended for those who love a hero who is ruthless and loves just as ferociously.

Final Verdict: With a couple of surprising twists and turns, The Kiss Thief delivered a highly combustible read from the get-go!

Favorite Quotes

I grabbed the edges of his suit, pulling him closer. I’d imagined our kiss countless times before, but I’d never expected it to feel like this. Like home. Like oxygen. Like forever. His full lips fluttered over mine, sending hot air into my mouth, and he explored, and nipped, and bit my lower lip before claiming my mouth with his, slanting his head sideways and dipping down for a ferocious caress. He opened his mouth, his tongue peeking out and swiping mine. I returned the favor. He drew me close, devouring me slowly and passionately, pressing his hand to the small of my back and groaning into my mouth like I was water in the desert. I moaned into his lips and licked every corner of his mouth with zero expertise, feeling embarrassed, aroused, and more importantly, free.

Slowly, and despite my better judgment, I crawled into my future husband’s lap. I knew that by doing that, I was raising a white flag. Surrendering to him. Seeking his protection, both from my father and from my own internal turmoil. I flew directly into my cage, asking him to lock me inside. Because the beautiful lie was far more desirable than the awful truth. The cage was warm and safe. No harm could find me. I wrapped my arms around his neck, burying my head in his steel chest and holding my breath to prevent the next sob.
He stiffened, his body rigid with our sudden proximity.
I thought about what Ms. Sterling said about killing him with kindness. Defeating him with love.
Break. Crack. Feel me. Accept me.

Wolfe Keaton was a kiss thief, but it wasn’t only a kiss that he stole. He stole my heart, too. Ripped it from my chest and put it in his pocket. I did what he promised me I would do, and willingly—I spread my legs and begged him, once again, this time meaning every word. “Because you were right. You said I’d come to your bed willingly—and I am. So, take me.”
He kissed me dirty, biting down on my tender lower lip, that was still sore from the accident. “Still not the entire truth, but this’ll do.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Credence by Penelope Douglas

Format: E-Bookcredence
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Kaleb Ver der Berg
Heroine: Tiernan de Haas
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 13, 2020
Started On: January 14, 2020
Finished On: January 19, 2020

Credence by Penelope Douglas was one of the most awaited stories for me by the time 2019 hurtled towards its inevitable end. Released on January 13th, Credence was welcomed with such hope and excitement in my heart, because Penelope is an author who knows how to write a damn good story.

Credence begins at the point where the heroine Tiernan de Haas faces the shocking and untimely death of her parents. Loneliness has always been part of Tiernan’s life, growing up with two people who had loved each other to the point that Tiernan had always been an afterthought. Their death leaves its mark on her, as had life up till that point, until her step-uncle Jake Ver der Berg invites her to live with them.

Deep in the mountains of Colorado lives the Ver der Berg’s, their lives being very much different from what had been the norm for Tiernan. Jake and his two sons Noah and Kaleb take Tiernan under their wing, and from the onset there is a weird dynamics between the three that proved to be a major conflict for me in the way the story unfolded.

I am someone who enjoys authors that push the boundaries and explores taboo tropes in their books. Penelope is an author who does this so brilliantly in most of her books, and that is one reason that I was so excited when I read the blurb of Credence prior to its release. She is also one helluva writer, which is probably the one reason why I stuck it out when so many things just felt wrong for me with Credence.

A lot of readers who felt positively about Credence have been raving about how out of the norm this book is, how it surprises you, and how you should read it without any preconceived notions to guide you. I didn’t have any of those notions when I started reading, because I am someone who usually make up my own mind about books that I read rather than letting the “popular” view dictate mine.

I agree with one thing when it comes to the popular view of Credence; the story was definitely surprising in more ways than one, and definitely not in a good way for me for the most part. I think in Credence, I have found a major turnoff for me when it comes to romance, one that had remained undiscovered up till this point; when the heroine is too loose with her affections when it comes to a father and his biological sons.

It is her step-uncle who is the first in line, and while neither of them professes to anything long-term, the ease with which Tiernan was able to turn herself on and off for the three of them was just jarring for me. Each unto their own of course, but for me, I think I just felt like the Ver der Berg themselves had so many issues to just turn up the testosterone levels on a girl who was barely shy of eighteen, who had not had much love in her life from those who should have loved, sheltered, and protected her.

The psychology of Tiernan was something that bothered me; because it is evident that she has many unresolved issues from the way her parents had neglected her throughout  her life. She had always had whatever riches that money could buy, had had every comfort and luxury the rich can provide, but she never did experience unconditional love, the reason why I felt uncomfortable by the whole vibe of Tiernan being taken advantage of by the three of them. Plus, the way the three of them kept reiterating over and over how she was theirs from that point on was kind of creepy too!

I think one of the biggest reasons why I disliked how Tiernan behaved (apart from my conservative beliefs I suppose), is that her sleeping around added no value to the story. There was no tangible emotional connection to any of the characters that would have made me go crazy over the story, there was no development to her character apart from her losing her virginity and hitting jackpot with three men who could get her off just like that. I couldn’t find anything special that differentiated the guy she ended up with, which was also another bummer in the story. Maybe that is how it is in the modern world. I wouldn’t know.

The way she just fell in love, suddenly, just like that, with the least developed character in the story made zero sense. I am at least thankful for the fact that Jake had enough sense for all of them to step back when he did. I would have preferred had she gotten together with him in reality. Because they actually have conversations with each other that don’t always lead to sex and innuendos being exchanged, and he was mature enough to understand where Tiernan was coming from. Had Jake not stepped back at the point he did, I would probably have turned off my Kindle and banged my head on a wall for the bad porno I was subjecting myself to.

I did enjoy the first half of the book, or should I say the first third of the book where Penelope introduced Tiernan and delivered a gut wrenching beginning to the story. My excitement mounted at that point and plummeted to a quick and painful death thereon after. I just wish that there had been more character development, less getting it off without emotional connections, and more fleshing out of the character who ended up being the “hero” of the story.

That brings me to my other big peeve in the story. The “hero” who not so much as made an emotional connection with Tiernan, much less the readers, ended up being one of the most pivotal characters towards the end. Had there being a back story of how he turned out that way, how his emotions had developed when it came to Tiernan, and what had made him change to a point where he could communicate his feelings with her was an aspect that was deeply missed from the story.

Recommended for those who love anything and everything by Penelope Douglas.

Final Verdict: Credence is one of those books loved & gushed over by many and disappointed the few like myself. I wished for a story that would sweep me off my feet and instead feel bereft of the tangible emotions I wanted to feel from the story.

Favorite Quotes

“Do you feel this?” he growls over my lips as he pushes me into the sink. The thick, hard ridge of his cock nudges my ass, and I groan. “This is what you’re doing to me, Tiernan. It’s not right. Instead of pile-driving the hot tits and ass I came home with, I’m sitting down here, trying to talk myself out of going into your room and giving the teenage piece of ass living in my house a really long kiss goodnight.”
My clit throbs, and I shift on my feet, feeling the slickness between my legs.
“And do I take off my panties for that?” I breathe out.

His taste fills my body, and I slide my hand up, taking the back of his neck and holding him to me. I’m so hungry. So hungry, and I can’t breathe. My blood races under my skin, and it feels so good, but God, I need more.
I need more.
I start to move my mouth and kiss him back, slipping my tongue past his lips little by little, moaning and tasting him until I don’t think I’ll ever get enough.

The nerves under my skin fire, and I feel her heat wrap me up as I push her thighs up higher and drive into her. “Tiernan…”
I kiss her deep, licking her sweat, reveling in the heat inside the cab, and tasting my life all those years ago when I would’ve died happy doing this to someone for the rest of my life.
I look down at Tiernan, her body taking everything I’m giving, and I swear I want to swallow her whole. I’d forgotten what this felt like.
To actually want to make someone happy.

“What do you want?” I ask.
He opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out.
And then he lowers his voice, barely a whisper. “I want you to like this.”
I do.
But before I have a chance to respond, he drops me to my feet, twists me around, and pins me to the wall. I gasp as he spreads my legs and thrusts inside of me again, pushing my body up on my tiptoes as he holds my thigh wide with one hand. With the other, he reaches around and slips his hand inside my panties.
“I want you happy, Tiernan,” he says low and husky in my ear. “I want my sons happy.”
He fucks me up against the wall, thrusting faster and faster as I turn my head to meet his lips.
“And I want you to know that no matter where you go,” he tells me between kisses, “you’ll always be ours. We’re your home.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Undeclared by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-Bookundeclared
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Burnham College, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Kellan McVey
Heroine: Andrea Walsh
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 27, 2017
Started On: October 19, 2019
Finished On: October 20, 2019

Undeclared, book 2 in the Burnham College series by Julianna Keyes, released in 2017 is a book that I have been meaning to read since its publication. Julianna is an author I definitely look forward to for many reasons; she has written some of the best contemporary romances that I have read in recent years.

Undeclared tells the story of Kellan McVey and Andrea Walsh (Andie), in the first person POV, from Kellan’s perspective. Kellan who returns to his hometown for a bit, to run into Andie, the girl with whom he had been friends/neighbors since they were five years old, Andie who had loved him for years, and Kellan who had left it unacknowledged all along, even when they had both slept with each other that summer before Kellan had upped and left for college, leaving Andie behind.

Returning to college after the break, only to find that Andie too is now a student, throws Kellan for a loop. Kellan who believes himself to have grown up over the past couple of years, having faced the fright of his life just recently, even though he continues to remain uncommitted to a future, much less a relationship of any sorts.

A series of events leads up to the point where Kellan and Andie gets together again, Kellan savoring each moment that he gets to have with Andie, and if he were to acknowledge the truth, he had never truly gotten over the summer fling they had had, before he left for the greener pastures of life away from his hometown.

While I found Undeclared to be an okay read, it did not move me as much as it did Undecided. One of the major factors being perhaps that the entire story is told from the hero’s point of view which meant that while it was a novelty for me, I was not really impressed.

A romance being told solely from the man’s point of view tends to lack emotional depth and description, because the way I see it, the nuances of emotions tends to escape most men, especially of Kellan’s nature. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Kellan as a character. He was okay in many ways, though I don’t think I was that enamored by him on any scale. Perhaps the more sensitive male protagonists would be able to assess and relate emotions/feelings better, but Kellan being who he was, did not really manage to do that for the story in my opinion.

For that reason I believe, the novel lacked that something vital which makes readers fall in love with the characters and ultimately the story. The inability to see what Andie was feeling and thinking made it impossible to relate to her as a character as well. The fact that I could not really gauge her feelings for Kellan made it difficult for me to be excited about them being together. It is not just two people coming together that makes a romance novel; it is all about how much readers can relate to the characters and understand them which spikes up our emotions as we read.

However, being a Julianna Keyes novel also accounts for a lot, and if nothing else, the book did have me looking forward to reading at that point in time, which I take to be an achievement in itself.

Recommended for fans of sports-themed, new adult romances in college settings. Also those who have a hankering to read a book told from the hero’s viewpoint.

Final Verdict: Undeclared is unlike any other book I have read from Julianna Keyes; she explores what it is like when a romance is told from the male perspective alone, which was a novel experience in itself.

Favorite Quotes

More than two years after our last kiss, I kiss Andi again. For ten long seconds I just press my lips to hers, her mouth soft and stubborn all at once. I can’t remember the last time I did this when I wasn’t drunk and horny and willing to get off with anyone who was equally willing.
Finally Andi exhales, a ragged breath I hear and feel, and she fists her hands in the hem of my T-shirt and tugs. I know what that means. Andi wasn’t a girl who said things like “Do me” or “Fuck me” or “Yeah, baby.” Her actions spoke for her and this one says all of the above. Relief courses through me, then adrenaline, then hormones. Arousal as sharp and heady as I’ve ever felt it.

I push in slowly, feeling her body cede to mine. I’m vaguely aware of the sweat at my temples and the trembling in my weak muscles, but I nudge my hips forward until there’s nowhere left to go, Andi’s legs bent and splayed wide to accommodate me.
I hear her soft sigh as I bottom out and for a long time I don’t do anything. I can’t do anything. This is what I’ve looked for in far too many places and failed to find. It’s what I’m terrified I’ll never find again.

When I’m buried as deep as I can go, I just stay there, my arms trembling as I hold myself up, not sure I have the strength to move. After a minute Andi nudges my chin so she can kiss me, tongues twining lazily. At some point I realize I’m moving, slow, deep strokes that feel like they’re going nowhere and everywhere all at once. I can’t recall the last time I had sex where it wasn’t just about getting off. Maybe never.

My block is dark and quiet, the only sounds our rapid breathing and the quick shuffle of our sneakers on damp pavement. I snatch the keys from my pocket, twist open the front door, and stumble when Andi fairly shoves me inside. I smile and whirl around to pin her to the door with my hips and my hands, though it’s totally unnecessary since she’s already got her fingers in my hair, rising onto her toes to kiss me.
My cock grows impossibly harder.
This might have been worth the wait.

Before I can dwell on it Andi tangles her fingers in my hair and tugs me back, gazing down, lips parted. If I ever woke up in a jungle, this is exactly the woman I imagine would find me. I grope around for the condom, my clumsy fingers eventually finding and rolling it on. I hold my cock in one hand and her ass in the other, guiding her as she lowers herself into my lap. The strong muscles in her thighs quiver as she hovers over me, the too-sensitive head of my cock stroking over her entrance. She bites her bottom lip, hair tangled around her shoulders, and the visual sears itself into my brain.

“Kell,” she gasps.
“What?” I gasp back.
“I… She struggles to inhale. “I don’t have…” Another breath. “A journal…” Her eyes sink shut as she starts to come. “But if I did…” She shudders. “This would be page one.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Review: Guys My Age by Saffron A. Kent

Format: E-Bookguysmyage.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novella
Genre: New Adult
Series: Mixtape: A Love Song Anthology
Publisher: Shady Creek Publishing
Hero: Fallon
Heroine: Dean
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 07, 2019
Started On: August 02, 2019
Finished On: August 05, 2019

I was born with love for Dean and now that I have him in my arms, I’ll never let him go.

Following on the heels of Medicine Man, Saffron Kent has chosen to bring to her reader-base the story of Fallon and Dean, two people who are on the very fringes of the story, but make a huge impact as you read along. The fact that it is a novella made me a bit sadder than I should have been, because Saffron is an author who delivers such good angst and emotions of the feel good variety when it comes to writing on taboo tropes in romance, and I definitely wanted a full length novel to explore all the dangerous possibilities between Fallon and Dean, and I am pretty certain I am not alone in feeling this way.

Nevertheless, being the voracious reader that I am, and having discovered someone like Saffron whose books I identify with on so many levels, wanted to devour as quickly as I could, and at the same wanted that list to be endless,  meant that I of course went ahead and took this on as my next read! Part of an anthology with a bunch of other readers, I dived into the story I wanted to read and did not even skim through the rest.

It had been fifteen years since Fallon had asked Dean to marry her; she had been three and he seventeen. Fallon had not known what the huge age gap meant at that point in time, but what she had known with utter certainty even back then was how Dean could make her feel good about everything, and even make the sad days feel less so.

Saffron’s books always explore aspects of mental health, which was one of the pivotal themes of Medicine Man; the female lead character who suffers from chronic depression. Fallon too has bouts of it, and over the years, Dean had become her best friend, the man she was in love with, the man whose successful career keeps him far too busy for visits.

When Fallon suggests that they take a five day drive back to New York for Christmas, even though Dean is reluctant, he agrees to her plans, crucial for Fallon’s plans of coming clean with Dean about her feelings for him to be successful. Fallon knows deep in her heart just how special it is between them, and if it is going to take a five day road trip of close proximity with her for Dean to get it through his thick head, so be it.

In a short number of pages, Saffron takes readers through the tumultuous emotions that comes from love between two people that society at large would most likely frown upon. Dean’s sense of responsibility and the way he cares about Fallon and her well-being speaks volumes, while at the same time, he his reluctance to cross a line that he could never walk away from speaks of his discipline.

Fallon, in all her wisdom, knows that there is no other for her than Dean. But to convince that to the man of her undying love and affection, it is going to be a bumpy ride, all worth it towards the end. The huge age gap, lusting after someone who was that young, meant Dean had been hard on himself because it should never be. But who is he to deny the woman he loves when she puts forth such a convincing case?

In Guys My Age, true to Saffron’s style that I have come to adore and fall hopelessly in love with, she manages to take the reader on a ride that they would never forget, be it the story is 70 pages or 300 plus pages. I loved Dean to bits. What’s not there to love when it comes to a man who is sexy, collected, authoritative, knows his heart, and is terrified of losing the woman he loves, but at the same berates himself for loving her so much?

I loved Fallon too! She reminds me in a huge way of her mother, a character I fell in love with from the get-go. I just wish that there had been more in-depth exploration of both Dean and Fallon to go around, before the story had ended. Which is where my wish for Fallon and Dean’s story to have been a full length romance gains strength once again.

I believe it would have been emotionally more satisfying to go through the different phases of their lives together, to see Dean’s struggles owing to his feelings for Fallon and vice versa. The full punch of angst did not emerge because a quick resolution is required in a novella. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their short journey towards happily ever after.

Recommended for fans of Saffron A. Kent. If you are not one and a romance reader, do avail yourself to the nearest book by hers you can get your hands on!

Final Verdict: The conviction with which the young love is often infallible. Some are born knowing who their soul belongs with. That is in essence what Saffron explores with Fallon and Dean’s story. Beautifully told, as always.

Favorite Quotes

His grip in my hair, my breasts flattened against his wildly breathing chest. His mouth slamming into mine as he groans like he’s dying. His hot skin, soft hair and rough mouth.
When we break apart for air, my hands are tugging at the shirt at his shoulder and one of my legs is wrapped around his hips.
“I—I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time,” I admit to his glistening lips.
“Not as long as I have,” he says.

Pinning me with his eyes once again, he growls, “Stop tempting me, Tiny.”
“I will, if you agree.”
“I’ll burn in hell for this.”
I cock my head to the side and smirk, “I thought you were already burning. Exploding.”
“Fallon,” he warns.
His reluctance is weak, weaker than his desire to claim me; I can see it in his eyes. And it makes me bolder, shameless. “I’m burning too, Dean. I swear. It hurts, you know. I’ve been hurting ever since you went away and every night, I dream of you coming back and kissing me. Touching me where I hurt. In my—” I lower my voice and whisper the word I’ve only thought about in the dead of night “—p-pussy.”
I don’t even have time to catch my breath after that. Dean hauls me up, causing both my thighs to clench around his hips and he claims my mouth in a kiss.

“Y—you’re taking care of me,” I whisper, rubbing my cheek in his hair, feeling his thumb on my clit, his teeth on my neck.
Dean looks up, his eyes intense and full of what I feel for him in every corner of my heart. Love. “Always.”
“I love you, Dean.”
“I love you too, Fallon.”
He kisses me then, and I lose all my words. I lose myself. In him, in his mouth, in his body that’s moving in a slow, smooth rhythm inside me. I don’t feel pressure or pain when he thrusts deep, taking away my virginity in one stroke.
All I feel is my love for him. My lust and hunger and this urge to make him mine forever and ever.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Bad Boy Blues by Saffron A. Kent

Format: E-Bookbadboyblues.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Zachariah Benjamin Prince
Heroine: Cleopatra Marie Paige
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 11, 2019
Started On: July 22, 2019
Finished On: July 25, 2019

Mine.
My prize.
She is my prize.
She. Is. My prize.

Bad Boy Blues is another rip-your-panties-off kinda novel from the uber fabulous Saffron A. Kent. An enemies-to-lovers story that delivered all the feels right up till the very end, I am convinced that Saffron is an author who could literally do no wrong when it comes to writing romances that speaks to this wicked heart of mine.

Nineteen year old Cleopatra Marie Paige (Cleo) was born and raised in the “wrong” side of town. The side where folks worked hard and did not have much to show for it. Where everyone had to rely on the other side of town, the one owned by the Princes, for their means of living and employment, that is if you did not leave for greener pastures as soon as you were able to.

Months into her job at the mansion of the Princes, comes back the proverbial son home, Zachariah Benjamin Prince (Zach), the boy who had tormented her all through grade school into high school, until he had abruptly left town. Cleo believes herself to hate Zach with every fiber of her very existence, but at the same time, she cannot help but be drawn towards the man Zach is, the broody mess that is sheer perfection, searing with that sheer heated gaze of his whenever his mocking eyes rest upon her.

Zach tries to keep his distance from the one person he had made it his life’s mission to torment. That had been the only way Zach had known how to deal with all the misery in his own life, with parents who had put their mark on him through emotional abuse and neglect. Uncovering Zach’s life as it had been with his parents was an awakening experience in its entirety, because you never know what drives someone to lash out (not that it excuses their behavior). But for a child who was struggling with his own issues of acceptance and existence from the very two people who should have loved him unconditionally, that right there is the reason my heart wept for the boy Zach had been.

Drawn towards each other despite their misgivings and lack of trust on Zach’s part when it comes to love and being loved, it is the gamble of Cleo’s life when she embarks upon an affair that scorches the very pages of the book, leaving the reader breathless and wanting more. Saffron is an author who has that remarkable way with the words which takes the reader from zero to hundred in a millisecond, and that is one reason why reading her books are like walking a tight rope, all in a good way.

I loved both Cleo and Zach, and rooted for them both all the way through. Cleo had her own issues to deal with, leftover symptoms of losing her family in a way that is bound to leave a mark on anyone. Zach’s issues are more deeply interwoven into his psyche, which means that it is difficult for him to see beyond the surface, fear of rejection being the norm when he had been a child starving for affection and love. Complex is his psyche in every way, which made him a fascinating character. If any woman could do bring Zach out of his inner warring with himself, it would be Cleo, because she had been his, from the very first day they he had laid eyes upon her, and he hers.

Recommended for fans of Saffron A. Kent and readers who love a romance that takes you to that razor’s edge of sharp anticipation; Saffron definitely delivers!

Final Verdict: Bad Boy Blues is another winner from Saffron, an author who pushes all your buttons and gives you every bit of angst and emotion you want to be punched in the gut with!

Favorite Quotes

I thought his thumbs were driving me insane but the scratch of his jeans along my thighs turns every breath into something… erotic.
Before I can dwell on that, Zach grabs my face.
His hands are so large that they span my entire cheek, going up to my messy hair. “So, if I shove your panties aside and stick my finger inside you, I won’t find that tiny little piece of flesh that proves you’re untouched?”
I shudder at the graphic picture he’s painted.
Inside me. His finger.

A moment later, I feel him on my neck. He’s nosing the line of my throat.
I grip his biceps. “A-are you smelling me?”
“Yeah,” he groans.
I flinch and my neck bends sideways. I’m nothing in the face of his aggression right now. The way he’s sniffing my neck, like he’s snorting a line of cocaine. I’m nothing in the face of that need.
Need of a junkie.
“Why?”
“Because you smell nice. Like sugar.”
And sugar is his favorite thing in the world. He’s eating up my scent.
God.

My hips jut off the car but Zach keeps me balanced with his body and his mouth that’s still sucking on my clit while lapping up all the juices from my core. His fingers are still buried in my seam, pressing against my dark hole that won’t stop clenching.
“God…”
I moan and claw at his neck and chant out his name over and over. My entire body clenching and releasing until there’s nothing left.

“You fucked up, Blue,” he growls over my mouth.
“What?” I pant.
“Now, you’re fucked, baby.” His scans my face. He looks like he’s memorizing it. He’s committing me to memory.
“Why?”
His eyes, black and threatening and so beautiful, come up to mine. “Do you have any idea how long, how fucking long I’ve wanted to kiss that mouth?”
I shake my head.
“A thousand years.” He studies my parted, blue-painted lips. “Or at least, it feels like it. I’ve wanted to kiss it ever since you first put on your lipstick in eighth grade.”

“You’re gonna pull down your uniform every time I ask, aren’t you?”
I rock against him again because he read my mind. “Yes.”
Groaning, he gives a long, tight suck before letting go of my breast. “Fuck yeah, you will. You’ll bare your tits for me. Every day. Multiple times a day. Whenever I’m hard up for it. You’ll come to my room and make my bed. And then, I’ll throw you down on it, tear your clothes off, get out your tits and suck on them. You’ll writhe for me, won’t you?”
I nod, almost whimpering.
“You will. I’ll keep sucking on it and sucking on it and you’ll make a mess on the bed. You’ll cream my sheets. You’ll leave a wet spot, yeah?”
“Yes. For you.”

Still panting and sweaty, he lowers me on the bed, half-dressed and indecent. From this angle, the sun glares down at me but Zach blocks it with his big body.
He wraps his hand around my neck and growls, “Who are you?”
Even though I have very little energy left, I still arch my back. As if his voice is a call from my master.
“Your prize.”
His fingers flex around my throat in possession and he bends down to smack a hard kiss on my lips. “As long as I’m here.”

I spasm around his fingers and that makes his shaft jerk inside my mouth. I let his head go and peek out my tongue so he can come on it like I’m coming on his fingers.
The tightness and convulsions of his body match mine. And so do our noises. Probably our heartbeats match too, in this moment.
I drink him down all the while he’s milking me. His taste is just as I imagined it to be. Musky and spicy and him.
So fucking him.
So fucking Zach.

His spine arches, throwing the ridges of his torso into stark relief, as he moans out my name to the ceiling and comes inside of me.
I feel it in my slowly dying heart, that moan, that jerk of his dick.
I sit up and wind my arms around him, bringing us both down on the bed. Groaning, he falls over me.
I’m soothing his back, tracing it with my hands up and down as my channel absorbs his orgasm.
And finally, my body goes limp, listening to his heartbeats.
He’s mine.

I turn my face and tell him, “You can’t torture me like this, you know. You promised.”
“Promised what?”
“That you’ll fuck me like I’m your slut.”
Zach grabs my tits in both hands and squeezes them so hard that the moan that comes out of me is the loudest yet. “Yeah? You want everyone else to think you’re my slut too? Because if I fuck you like that, Blue, you’ll be screaming the roofs down. Your Mrs. S won’t be the only person to know what you do for me. How you serve me.”
Why does that arouse me so much?
Why do I want him to make me scream when I know the consequences?

I scratch his shoulders, his back, his biceps, whatever I can get to as I rock against him, fucking him with all these emotions in my heart.
I realize what I feel for him is too intense, too passionate, too heartbreaking and sad to be called love.
Maybe it’s a tragedy.
Or maybe it’s the blues.
I’ve got the blues and that’s why I can’t stop crying.

Zach sweeps his gaze all over my face before shaking his head once and entering my wet channel.
It’s a slow, sweaty fuck.
Actually, it’s not a fuck at all. It’s love.
We’re making love.
Slowly, gently, thoroughly.
He’s rocking into me like a soft wave and with every stroke, I’m drowning.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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