Review: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverawakened.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Zsadist
Heroine: Bella Soang
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 1, 2006
Started On: August 02, 2016
Finished On: August 08, 2016

“I was dead until you found me, though I breathed. I was sightless, though I could see. And then you came… and I was awakened.”

Let me just take a moment before I begin my review to thank J. R. Ward for telling Zsadists’s story as it is, without pretensions and bringing to us a character that is so very flawed, yet the best of the Brotherhood. Yes, the best. Fact that Ms. Ward could have dragged Zsadist’s story on as a secondary tale in the series up till readers were ready to go into a tizzy with wanting, something many authors tend to do when they identify with a character readers absolutely want to read about; the fact that Ms. Ward saw it fit to deliver this story as the 3rd installment in the series is something that at least I am eternally grateful for.

Zsadist’s story is by no means an easy tale to tell. Having been taken on as a blood slave by a woman that had kept him practically chained in the bed for her pleasure and violated him in every single way possible to do that to a person, well, needless to say Zsadist comes from dark stock. The only woman who had been able to shake him out of the deep and dark aura that surrounds him had been Bella, even be it for a brief moment, a daughter of a family considered quite high in rank in vampire lineage, something which makes Zsadist more wary.

Zsadist keeps himself apart from the rest of the members of the Brotherhood. He doesn’t feed as they, doesn’t take pleasure in sex as they do; he considers himself dirty, something to be left on the sides of the streets for stray dogs to come and pick on. But his twin brother Phury refuses to let him be so, but even his attempts to reach out to Zsadist gets him that far.

It is upon Bella’s abduction by a Lesser who had wanted her for himself that forces Zsadist to step out of his comfort zone and face all of his fears, one by one. Zsadist is relentless in his hunt for Bella, and once he finds her, he is the one who nurses her back, even if it kills him to see his body react in that “ugly” manner towards her femaleness. For anyone made out of lesser stuff than Bella, making Zsadist come around would have been an impossible feat.

I have rarely come across novels that feature sexually abused heroes. Heroines, yes, multiple times. Heroes, I can practically count the books in one hand. And one who has been violated to Zsadist’s extent? Never. Amazing is how Ms. Ward handled the whole situation so beautifully. Giving Zsadist the time to adjust, to face his nightmares, to learn that his responses towards Bella are inherent in him as a male warrior would for his mate for life. Bella’s utter patience when it comes to Zsadist, even when it kills her at times, the attempts Zsadist makes numerous times to push her away, Bella does hold on strong.

It was indeed an interesting facet of the novel to see Bella come into her needing in this novel, the first of its variety that has been described since the series began. Needing is the time when female vampires go into their fertile period, the need for them to mate so incredibly painful that there is no male in scenting distant to be unaffected by it. Zsadist had practically decided by that point in time that he would not be able to bed Bella and consider himself unsullied. What a glorious and healing experience did Bella’s needing turn out to be for Zsadist! And what an erotic experience for Bella, not to mention the readers! Not that it was easy for Zsadist to give in, but the nature of his beast didn’t give up until Zsadist experienced what pleasure is like, why mates would kill for their women and why bonding is such an integral part of vampire biology.

To say that I loved Zsadist’s story would be a grave understatement. I loved, adored and reveled in how Zsadist made me feel. There is nothing, absolutely nothing I would have changed in his story. Ms. Ward definitely pulled all the punches when she wrote Zsadist’s book, and it shows. Having read around 5 books in the series so far, I believe that a hero that could topple Zsadist from the position he is in my heart would be an impossible feat. I am looking forward to Rehvenge’s book however. And I believe I am not alone in feeling this way.

I recommend Zsadist’s story even if you are not a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. The fact that Zsadist wanted to become a better version of himself before claiming Bella in the end just made me love him more! The little epilogue tucked at the end, the first of its kind I believe in this series, was more than enough to make this heart of mine melt. Just read the first three books. Trust me, it’s more than worth it!

Final Verdict: Raw and powerful, Zsadist’s novel is a stunning masterpiece by J. R. Ward!

Favorite Quotes

“Zsadist?”
“Yes,” he whispered.
“Relax your mouth for me.”
Careful not to crowd him, she propped herself up on her forearms and got in close again. His lips were shockingly soft except for where the upper one was scarred. To make sure he knew the imperfection didn’t matter to her, she deliberately attended to that place, returning there again and again.
And then it happened: He kissed her back. It was just the slightest movement of his mouth, but she felt it all the way to her core.

But then he frowned and looked at her. “Wait, I’m supposed to kiss you on the mouth first, aren’t I? I mean, males start at the top and work their way down, don’t they?”
What an odd question… like he’d never done this at all?
Before she could reply he began to move back, so she sat up and captured his face in her hands.
“You can do whatever you like to me.”
His eyes flashed and he held his position for a split second.
Then he lunged at her, taking her down onto the bed.

His lips parted, and his tongue led the way as he dipped down. His mouth was warm on her flesh, so very tentative, kissing, then sucking her nipple inside. He tugged, then ran a languid circle around her, then drew her in again… and all the while his hands stroked her waist and her hips and legs.
How ironic that he’d worried he wouldn’t be gentle. Far from brutal, he was positively reverent as he suckled, his lashes down against his cheek as he savored her, his face worshipful and rapt.
“Christ,” he murmured, moving to her other breast. “I had no idea it would be like this.”

“Bella, I don’t think I can stop. There’s this… roar in my head telling me to keep my mouth on you. How can I make this… okay for you?”
“Make me… finish me,” she said hoarsely.
He blinked as if she’d surprised him. “How do I make you come?”
“Just keep doing what you’re doing. Only faster.”
He was a quick study as he figured out what made her go wild, and he was ruthless once he discovered how to give her an orgasm. He drove her hard, watching her as she shattered apart once, twice… many time. It was as if he fed from her pleasure and was insatiable.

“Make love to me,” she said.
He moaned and started to move like a great wave on top of her, that thick, hard part of him stroking the inside of her.
“Oh, shit…” He dropped his head into her neck. His rhythm intensified, his breath shooting out of him, rushing into her ear. “Bella… shit, I’m scared… but I can’t… stop…”
With a groan he propped himself up on his arms and let his hips swing freely, each thrust nailing against her, pushing her farther up on the bed. She grabbed for his wrists to hold her body in place under the onslaught. As he pounded, she could feel herself getting near the edge again, and the faster he went, the closer she got.
Her orgasm slammed into her core, then raced throughout her body, the force stretching her out so she was infinitely long and infinitely wide.

As if he sensed what she needed, he twisted his body around so he could stay inside of her while giving her access to his throat.
“Feed,” he said hoarsely, his body moving into her and pulling back. “Take what you need.”
She bit him without hesitation, piercing right through the slave band, going deep into his skin. As his taste hit her tongue, she heard a roar leave him. And then the strength and the power of him washed over her, through her.

He closed his eyes, so exhausted he could barely breathe. He was flat on his back, legs splayed out, arms lying wherever. He’d been in that position since he’d rolled off Bella maybe an hour ago.
He felt like it had been a year since he’d come back into the room the night before. His neck and wrists burned from the number of times she’d fed from him, and the thing between his leg was sore. The air around them was saturated with the bonding scent, and the sheets were with with a combination of his blood and the other thing she needed from him.
He wouldn’t have traded a moment of it.

Bella eased up and slid the it inside of her. As beat as he was, he groaned in ecstasy. The feel of her was something he couldn’t he enough of, and he knew it wasn’t because of her needing.
She rode him, planting her hands on his pecs and finding a rhythm with her hips because he couldn’t thrust anymore with his. He felt himself gearing up for another explosion, especially as he watched her breasts sway with her movement.
“You are so beautiful,” he said in a hoarse voice.
She paused to bend down and kiss him again, her dark hair falling around him, a gentle shelter. When she straightened, he marveled at the sight of her. She was glowing with health and vitality from everything he had given her, a resplendent female who he…
Loved. Yes, loved.

“Go to hell, Zsadist. Go there right-“
He moved fast as a lightning strike, taking her down hard to the bed, tackling her with his weight.
“I am in hell,” he hissed, pushing his hips into her. He swiveled them against her core, that massive erection pushing into the soft place he’d just had with his mouth. With a curse, he pulled back, unzipped his leathers…
and thrust into her, stretching her so wide it almost hurt. She cried out at the invasion, but tilted her hips up so he could go in even farther.

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

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Review: Until You by Judith McNaught

Format: E-bookuntilyou
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Westmoreland Saga, #3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Stephen David Elliott Westmoreland
Heroine: Sheridan Bromleigh
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1995
Started On: January 29, 2016
Finished On: January 31, 2016

Until You by Judith McNaught is one of my favorite books by an author who would always remain as one of those that are unforgettable for me as a romance reader. For myself, authors like Judith McNaught remains as my go to authors when most books of today fails to satisfy me and hit all those spots that need to be petted and stroked when I pick up a romance to read.

Until You is the 3rd book in the Westmoreland saga and tells the story of Stephen David Elliott Westmoreland, Earl of Langford, Baron of Ellingwood, Fifth Viscount Hargrove, Viscount Ashbourne. Well, that was a handful if ever there was one. Stephen is the younger brother of Clayton Westmoreland, the much revered hero of Whitney, My Love, the book that saw Judith McNaught rise to stardom. All the books in the series are 5-star reads for me. However, for some reason, Stephen has always occupied a special spot in my heart, perhaps owing to the fact that he is a hero overlooked by many fans of the author.

Stephen finds himself in a fit of bad luck when an accident makes him responsible for informing the deceased’s fiancée that her intended had met an untimely demise. Unknown to him, Sheridan Bromleigh, the woman who was entrusted by the bride-to-be’s father to safely transport her from America into the hands of her betrothed finds herself in a bit of a fix with the bride having eloped with another man. Sick with fear that she would be imprisoned or worse, not knowing what had happened to the groom in question, Sheridan meets an accident that nearly ends her life, leaving her in the hands and of Stephen himself.

Stephen believes that the woman who has somehow invaded his very thoughts and desires is the fiancée of a dead man, whose death he holds himself responsible for. It doesn’t help matters when Sheridan wakes up with no memories whatsoever of how she got there and what had happened before. Stephen’s reluctant attraction to Sheridan is clouded by the fact that Sheridan is led to believe that Stephen is her intended husband. The fact that she cannot recall any memories of a man as Stephen makes her panicky, but the moments of tenderness that catches Stephen unawares as he unknowingly starts courting the woman he would take as his wife makes her believe in the connection that exists between them.

Truth comes to light at one of those hold your breaths moments and the sheer betrayal that Stephen feels and his ruthless reaction towards it is perhaps the reason why I love Until You so much. It is the way he reacts that gives the book the angst factor, that makes my throat close up, no matter how many times I read this story. Characters from other stories make their appearances, giving a helping hand in a romance that is fraught with tension. Stephen proves to be a hard nut to crack, but then again if he were that easy, I believe I wouldn’t have loved him half as much.

A classic for me, if ever there was one. Recommended!

Final Verdict: Does not disappoint. Ever!

Favorite Quotes

His warm breath in her ear sent shivers up Sheridan’s spine, and she turned her face away from the cause, which brought her lips into instant contact with his. Stephen had intended to kiss her as Burleton might have done, but when her soft lips parted on a shaky breath, his intentions slipped from his mind.
Sheridan knew the moment his arm tightened on her waist and his lips began to move insistently against hers that she couldn’t have been expecting this… not the stormy rush of sensation that made her gasp and cling tighter to him, nor the compulsion to yield her mouth to his searching tongue, nor the frantic beating of her heart when his fingers shoved into the hair at her nape, holding her mouth tighter to his while her body seemed to want to meet and forge into his.

Stephen said abruptly, “Since we’ve ruled out rouge and curtsying, what are you interested in?”
You, Sherry thought. I am interested in you. I am interested in why you seem uneasy right now. I am interested in why there are times when you smile at me as if you see only me and I am all that matters. I am interested in why there are times when I sense that you don’t want to see me at all, even when I’m in front of you. I am interested in anything that matters to you because I want so much to matter to you. I am interested in history. Your history. My history. “History! I like history,” she provided brightly after a pause.

Her smooth brow furrowed in bewilderment. “I can’t quite remember what sort of injury it was, however.”
“A head injury,” Sherry provided helpfully.
“Yes, that was it.” Her bright blue gaze darted to Sherry’s head for a moment. “It looks as if it has healed.”
Dr. Whitticomb intervened. “The injury has healed,” he reminded her. “But there is still a troublesome aftereffect. Miss Lancaster has not yet recovered her memory.”
Miss Charity’s face fell. “My poor child. Do you know who you are?”
“Yes.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Who am I?”

Stephen felt her hand slide up his chest, felt her press closer to him, and he claimed his victory, plundering her mouth with his, teasing and tormenting her, and she responded instinctively. The fires within her that had fueled her tempestuous rebellion earlier, now burned hot and bright with passion, and Stephen found himself in the midst of a kiss that was wildly erotic—and rapidly getting out of control. His hand was sliding over her breast, cupping it, and she was straining toward him in sweet abandon, offering her mouth to him. He told himself to stop and kissed her deeper instead, making her moan softly, and when she kissed him back, tentatively touching her tongue to his lips, it was the gasp of his own breath that he heard.

Every nerve in his body was screaming for release and still he held himself back, driving deeply into her, while the muscles in his arms strained with the rest of his body, refusing to deprive her of the same pleasure she was going to give him any second now. She was whimpering, eyes closed tightly, desperate for something she didn’t understand, afraid to have it. Afraid not to. Sobbing with desire, needing reassurance. He gave it to her in a hoarse whisper. “… Any second now…”
She went up in flames before he finished the sentence, her body clenching his, and Stephen heard himself groan with the extravagant splendor she was somehow making him feel. And then he gave himself over to it, driving toward it… and then past it, climaxing, his body jerking as he poured himself into her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

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Review: Once and Always by Judith McNaught

Format: E-bookonceandalways
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Sequels, #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Jason Fielding
Heroine: Victoria Elizabeth Seaton
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January, 1987
Started On: January 26, 2016
Finished On: January 26, 2016

Judith McNaught is one of the most revered authors in the romance genre, and with good reason. Her books have turned many a romantic soul into romance readers, giving them all something to dream, sigh and moon over. I have read all the published works by Judith McNaught to-date and loved almost each and every single one of them. I have revisited the books that I consider my favorites many a time. Most of those re-reads took place before I established my blog in 2009. So here goes, a review for Once and Always, a tale that for me, stands the irrevocable test of time itself.

Jason Fielding, the Marquess of Wakefield is a man who hides a wealth of pain beneath the formidable exterior of his. Life has taught him time and yet again that love and happiness is not meant for the likes of himself. His failure of a marriage and the consequences left behind in the wake of the disaster that particular venture had proven to be makes Jason a man wary at best of getting entangled with the opposite sex in a way that would lead to anything permanent. Most of all, Jason considers his heart closed off forever. His less than stellar childhood had also taught him that valuable lesson. That is until Victoria Elizabeth Seaton makes her way into his life and changes it forever.

18 year old Victoria is forced to leave the home that she has known all her life that is in America and sail to England where her maternal relatives await her and her sister’s arrival. From the moment Victoria and Jason meet, sparks fly. Victoria being the kind of person who is concerned about the welfare of those around her clashes at every turn with someone like Jason who has closed himself off from caring about what goes on in other people’s lives. Moments of hilarity and mirth fill this novel, at least during the beginning of the “courtship” stage where Jason hardly knows what to do with Victoria and Victoria in turn wants nothing more to do with the likes of him.

Moments of truce disappear into thin air more often than not, especially with Jason’s plans to wed her off so that the Duke of Atherton would stop trying to push him to take her as his wife. Victoria is equally determined to stay unwed, until her beau from America returns for her. But alas, as fate would have it, with more than a little helping hand given by the Duke, Victoria finds herself wedded to an exasperatingly beautiful man, who makes her senses go alive with the merest of touches. Each kiss and caress exchanged convinces Victoria of the fact that when it comes to her and Jason, falling in love is a foregone conclusion. But their future and happiness depends on how soon Victoria can make Jason see that when it comes to her, he would always get nothing but the purest of love.

Once and Always is a wonderful novel to immerse yourself in, if you like romances that deliver a ton of angst that can make you tie yourself up in knots, even when you know that the inevitable conclusion would be a happy one. Jason is a hero whose commanding presence alone makes a woman go gaga over him. Taming someone like Jason is a task for someone who is as strong as Victoria, someone who wouldn’t back down in the face of all the rejections and walls that Jason puts up, all because he can’t bring himself to be that vulnerable towards someone, ever again. But tame him Victoria does, and the result of course is a man whom you would indeed fall head over heels in love with.

This is exactly why Judith McNaught is an author that remains unrivaled in her contribution to the world of romance. Tempestuous, angst ridden and filled with so much love and passion that you would feel like dying if you didn’t read it to its ultimate and very satisfying conclusion, Once and Always managed to keep me spellbound, and God knows how many times I have already re-read this particular book already.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Jason and Victoria’s love is bold and vivacious; it is all encompassing. Not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

“Have I made another social blunder—like failing to knock?” he inquired in a low, amused voice, his lips offensively close to her cheek as she took her seat. “Is it not the custom in America for a gentleman to seat a lady?”
Victoria jerked her head away. “Are you seating me, or trying to eat my ear?”
His lips twitched. “I may do that,” he replied, “if the new cook provides us with a poor meal.”

Charles pushed her out the door under the guise of escorting her to her carriage, and Victoria halted and swung around on the stairway. Like a beautiful, outraged goddess she stood trembling with wrath, staring down at Jason. “Am I to understand,” she enunciated furiously, “that the engagement you said was ‘off’ was our engagement?”
Jason’s only answer was a tightening of his jaw, but his silence was a tacit admission, and she glared at him with blue sparks shooting from her eyes, heedless of the servants who were staring at her in paralyzed horror. “How dare you!” she hissed. “How dare you let anyone think I would consider marrying you. I wouldn’t marry you if you were—”
“I don’t recall asking you to marry me,” Jason interrupted sarcastically. “However, it’s reassuring to know that if I ever took leave of my senses and did ask you, you’d have the consideration to turn me down.”

Victoria saw something primitive and terrifying flare in his eyes as his hands tightened on her arms. She jerked back, a scream rising in her throat, but his lips covered hers, stifling her voice with a demanding insistence that stunned her into immobility. Like an alarmed rabbit captured in a painless trap, she struggled until she felt his hands stroke soothingly up and down her spine and shoulders, while his lips moved on hers with inflaming expertise.

“William Rogers,” Charles shot back in a challenging voice, “and he’s tall, conservative, mature, intelligent, and handsome. He’s also heir to one of the finest estates in England. I think he would do very well for Victoria.”
“No.”
“No?” Charles burst out. “Why not?”
“I don’t like the way Rogers sits a horse.”
“You don’t like—” Charles bit out in angry disbelief; then he glanced at Jason’s implacable face and sighed. “Very well. The last name on my list is Lord Terrance. He sits a horse extremely well, in addition to being an excellent chap. He is also tall, handsome, intelligent, and wealthy. Now,” he finished triumphantly, “what fault can you find with him?”
Jason’s jaw tightened ominously. “I don’t like, him.”
“You aren’t going to marry him!” Charles shot back, his voice rising.
Jason lurched forward in his chair and slammed his hand on his desk. “I said I don’t like him,” he said through clenched teeth. “And that’s the end of it.”

But in the mounting turmoil of their kiss and unaware of the hardening pressure against her stomach, Victoria let her fingers slide into the soft hair at his nape while her body automatically fitted itself to his—and suddenly everything changed. Jason’s arms closed around her with stunning force, his mouth opening on hers with fierce hunger. He parted her lips, teasing her with his tongue until he coaxed her to touch her own tongue to his lips, and when she did, he gasped, pulling her even closer, his body taut with fiery need.
When he finally lifted his head, he stared down at her with an odd expression of bemused self-mockery on his ruggedly chiseled features. “I should have given you diamonds and sapphires the other night, instead of pearls,” he commented. “But don’t kiss me like this again until after we’re married.”

“You have a very peculiar idea of what being a wife means,” he mocked savagely. “Now, get out of here.”
“Damn you!” Victoria blazed. “I don’t know how to be a wife, can’t you see that? I know how to cook and sew and look after a husband, but you don’t need me for that, because you have other people to take care of you. And I’ll tell you something else, Lord Fielding,” she continued, working herself into a fine rage, “I may not be a very good wife, but you’re an impossible husband! When I offer to play chess with you, you get angry. When I try to seduce you, you get nasty—”
She saw Jason’s head jerk up, but she was so angry she didn’t pay any heed to the stunned expression on his face. “And when I bring you a gift, you go off to London to see your mistress!”
“Tory,” he said achingly, “come here.”

Beneath her she could feel the pulsing of his rigid shaft, the fiery touch of his heated skin, the violent hammering of his heart against her breasts. But instead of taking her, as she expected, he gazed at her with desire raging in his eyes and humbly said the words he had tried to force her to say last night. “I want you,” he whispered. As if he didn’t think he had humbled himself enough, he added, “Please, darling.”
Feeling as if her heart would break with the love bursting in it, Victoria answered him with a melting kiss. It was answer enough.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-bookadarklure
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Cole McDonough
Heroine: Sarah Jane Baker / Olivia West
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 1, 2015
Started On: January 20, 2016
Finished On: January 22, 2016

She tied him a fly, using a pattern she’d designed, one that had given her untold luck with those silvery fish, those fighting steelhead. She was anxious for his return.
“Does it have a name?” he said, when she gave it to him.
“The Predator.” She smiled. A little embarrassed.
His eyes turned dark, and her heart beat faster. His voice dipped low. “It’s a fine name.”
He regarded her for several heavy, silent beats. She felt an atavistic pull, the hairs on her arms rising toward him, as if in electrical attraction. He leaned closer and her mouth turned dry. And he told her about the wild blueberries. Down by the bend in the river.
She took the lure.
She went in search of the berries.
She never came home.

Some books are hard to review because lets face it, they were really not worth the time and investment you placed in reading them. But others, they are tough because you are afraid that you wouldn’t be able to do justice to what the book did to you. It ravages you in a way you would never forget anytime soon. It brings forth emotions that you thought you wouldn’t ever feel. It violates and heals you in equal doses and you know you would never feel the same, ever again. A Dark Lure was that kind of book for me. It is dark, incredibly dark, which is why I loved it so much, not to mention the fact that Loreth Anne White has a penchant for writing the kind of stories that makes you feel one with the tale as it unfolds, the best kind of stories if you ask me.

Sarah Jane Baker or Olivia West as she is known as later on, is a survivor. A survivor of a terrible ordeal which had seen her imprisoned by the infamous Watt Lake Killer. She is the one who got away from the killer’s clutches and lived to tell the tale of the horrors that she experienced at his hand. Almost 12 years to the day that Sarah was taken, the Watt Lake Killer returns, determined to finish the hunt that he had started years back – the brief reprieve that had happened only wetting his appetite for his Sarah all the more!

Cole McDonough is an ex-military psychology and philosophy scholar turned war correspondent turned narrative nonfiction adventure writer, who has made a name for himself with the evocative books he has written. The words he writes on paper speaks to Olivia on a level that she knows spells trouble. But the imminent death of her dear friend who is Cole’s estranged father makes her throw caution to the wind and summons the prodigal son home after 13 long years. Which means that there is no turning away from the answering need that flares to life in Cole, a man who had been on the verge of giving up because life had dealt him a cruel blow in a life that had been lived chasing one story after another.

Olivia’s whole world is thrown off kilter when the flashbacks begin, the panic and anxiety that she had lived through and survived before comes knocking on her door once again, the seemingly coincidental happenings around the ranch being all too close for comfort to what had happened to her all those years back. And all the while, the killer lurks in the shadows, drawing her deeper into a web of his making, determined that he wouldn’t lose to her this time around.

Loreth has penned a tale that practically takes your breathe away with this one. Be it the killer, the hero or heroine or even the secondary characters, there is no one that appears to be of the cookie cutter variety. I loved the fact that the villain, instead of being the hideous looking versions they are in most books, the Watt Lake Killer turned out to be as charming as they come. His ability to draw people towards him, be it man or woman, was what fascinated me. His past as it was revealed in bits and pieces – not enough to appease my appetite for more, was one that unsettled me. Well, his whole character was unsettling in one way or another and that was the sheer brilliance in it for me. A villain that makes you think and wants to explore beyond the mere projections on paper is one that intrigues me. I loved A Dark Lure for that very reason!

Loreth’s mastery comes to light in the way she juggles the voices of three different “writers” in this story. There is Loreth’s own voice. Then there is Cole, who is a writer of a different kind who writes nonfiction on survivalists whereas Melody Vanderbilt, whose unpublished manuscript tells the tale of what took place almost 12 years back, how Sarah had been ensnared in the trap laid out by an enigmatic killer and gone missing; that was one of the cleverest parts of the plot if you ask me. To read about the tragedy, the one that had made Olivia West out of Sarah Jane Baker, the story of how Sarah had had to go through all of it all alone; that was sheer genius on the part of Loreth and I cannot rave about it just enough.

Olivia’s story is an extraordinary one of strength, survival, fortitude and human instinct to protect oneself. It was amazing the fact that she had managed to carve a different sort of woman out of herself and being able to weather it through. I am not making light of what she went through. No, never that. She had plummeted to the lowest of the lows, the physical scars on her body just a surface indicator of what she had been subjected to, gone through and come out stronger, all because of it. Olivia is vulnerable to her very core, but she has learnt the hard way to tamp down on that vulnerability and project strength from within.

The fact that she is able to empathize, love and care for others even after having witnessed the darkest of human nature is one of the many reasons to love and admire her character. The painful memories of what she’d undergone are ones that keeps the pages turning, your heart shaking. In a way, Cole’s musings were spot on. How does anyone for that matter, ever move on from something like that? Would they ever be “normal”? Or would they have to carve a new “normal” that works for them and just make the best of it? All of these are thoughts that haunts you long after you are done and you can’t help but be moved on a level that is beyond your understanding.

Cole makes for the perfect partner for someone like Olivia who would most likely live through a lifelong process of healing. There is no pill in the world, no amount of therapy in the world that would ever make someone who had gone through what Olivia had whole in a sense that we think is what should be. I believe that Cole’s patience, abundance of empathy and the life he has led till then is what makes him the perfect person to bring Olivia out of hiding from her emotions and the love that she craves above all else. A beautiful and passionate woman as Olivia should not live hiding from her true nature. And I believe that given time, she’d get there with Cole by her side.

Loreth’s writing is one that is deeply evocative. It is descriptive in a way that makes you feel like you are inside the pages, haunted by the trees shrouded in darkness, where evil lurks just beneath the surface. It makes you feel the rioting emotions that courses through Olivia as she feels the ground shake beneath her, pulling her headlong into a nightmare she’d already once lived through and survived. It makes you see the pain, darkness and the fluttering hope that lies at the heart of the characters who are all scarred in one way or other, as they are brought together by the machinations of fate. It makes you hear even the owl that hoots, as it watches through the darkness to the evil stalks you and once again melts into the night, leaving your heart rapidly thumping in your chest in its wake. Few authors can bring forth these emotions as such when you turn the pages and this is exactly why I would keep coming back for more!

Loreth’s stories are all consuming. Every book that I’ve read from hers has been better than the previous one in that regard. I fervently hope that the trend continues because Loreth has become my go to author for romantic suspense of the dark variety. I now have to lie patiently in wait until Loreth’s newest romantic suspense, In the Barren Ground hits the stands come August 16. Guess till then, I would have to satisfy myself with some of Loreth’s Harlequin Intrigue titles that sounds like they would deliver stellar reads.

Absolutely, definitely, recommended!

Final Verdict: Incredible storytelling from start to finish! Kept me mesmerized all throughout!

Favorite Quotes

Cole drew her more firmly against his body, his mouth pressing down harder. Blinding desire swelled through her, obliterating all thought, all memories as she opened her mouth under his. His tongue slipped into her mouth, tasting, devouring her, and she leaned up into his kiss, into his solid body, her tongue tangling furiously with his as her own hunger consumed her.
His stubble was rough against her face. It made her more fierce, hungrier. She felt the hard length of his erection press against her pelvis as he backed her toward her cabin.

Anticipation, anger, fear—it all smashed through her as she closed her eyes tightly and angled down onto his cock, opening her legs wider as she sank inch by inch onto the delicious length of hard, hot shaft. Her breath caught at the shock of the sensation of him inside her. But she pushed against pain until he was in to the hilt, right up against her inner core. And she felt a sweet, quivering explosion of wetness as she adjusted to the size of him. It was an exquisite, titillating kind of hurt that just drove her higher, wilder.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

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ARC Review: If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

Format: E-bookifyouonlyknew
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: MIRA
Hero: Leo Killian
Heroine: Jenny Tate
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 25, 2015
Started On: August 10, 2015
Finished On: August 14, 2015

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins comes after a seemingly long wait since her last novel. I’ve been scouring through Netgalley, and even tweeted to Ms. Higgins go find out when her next book was going to be released. And as luck would have it, I found this up on Netgalley after finding out its release date and since then have been on tenterhooks, all giddy of course, because that’s what happens when you have a book that you’d love to really sink your teeth into, waiting for you.

If You Only Knew, like most stories by Kristan Higgins, is told in the first person. The difference perhaps is that it tells the story of two people, Jenny and Rachel, two sisters, their love lives or the lack of, their struggles which reaches out to you and the emotions that practically whip your insides to a frenzy. Kristan takes your emotions or rather your soul on a roller coaster ride, makes it reach heights that you never thought possible with the way this story plays with your emotions.

Wedding dress designer Jenny Tate is ready to leave the big city life behind and move back to her hometown, and perhaps in the process learn to let go of her ex-husband whom she has never truly managed to divorce from her heart. The “jovial” relations she has with him and his newly wedded wife, though told with the sort of humor that makes it easy to laugh through the heartache, is more than relatable.

Jenny’s sister Rachel struggling for perfection with the handful that is her triplets, finds her seemingly picture perfect marriage in a rut when she opens a sext message that had been meant for her husband. Unable to face the reality of reconciling with the truth, Rachel goes out of her way to make things work with her husband, showing to us all that even though we promise ourselves that we would never be that woman who hangs around with the guy who hurts us beyond repair, walking away from a marriage or a relationship, especially when kids are involved, is one of the hardest decisions you would ever have to make.

Jenny has this quirky factor to her character that makes her go into daydream mode every time she eyes someone remotely potentially partner worthy. That’s the exact same thing that happens to her when she first encounters her landlord Leo Killian, his pain filled eyes and don’t-get-too-close-to-me attitude acting like a siren’s call that beckons her heart. Jenny’s journey towards happily ever after is not an easy one, but worth all the pain in the end.

Kristan spins a tale that makes you cry god honest tears as you read through the struggles and the turns the lives of Jenny and Rachel takes along the way. The second guessing, the doubts that creeps into you along the way, the self recrimination during the darkest moments of your life, they are all dealt with in this masterpiece with the sort of flair that only an author like Kristan can pull off.

Leo’s character is equally haunting, the secrets he hides in his soul coming to light towards the very end of the novel. Teaching beautiful music to a handful of youngsters, Leo would rather keep to himself, live by himself, than allow someone into his life, to open up his heart for the kind of heartbreak he never wants to subject himself to, ever again. Just like the music that lives inside the musical prodigy that is one of his students, If You Only Knew hits every note perfectly; sometimes it gets messy, ugly and ties you up in knots. But the whole of it together just takes your breathe away. 

The high you feel from reading a good novel is difficult to come down from. It also makes picking your next read that much more difficult because a story like this comes along, if at all, more rarely than you would think. I have just this left to say.

Dear Kristan, If You Only Knew was well worth the wait. It broke my heart & you managed to put it back together again. Might never be as it was before. But it’s all good. Because you left me with a smile in my heart & the beautiful glow of love in my soul.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: So much heart packed into 400 plus pages; it wrings everything out of you!

Favorite Quotes

“You eye-fucking me?” he asks.
“What? No! I’m just… I’m not, okay? I just need my key, but the stupid super isn’t here.”
“The stupid super is right in front of you.”
I close my eyes, sigh and then smile. “Hi. I’m Jenny. The new tenant.”
“Leo. Keep your eyes to yourself, for the record.”

Then he slides his hand around to the back of my head and pulls me to him. One of my hands goes to his chest, and I can feel the solid thumping of his heart. “Recreation only,” he murmurs, his voice scraping a part low in my stomach. “Got it?”
“Got it,” I whisper back.
His eyes crinkle with a small smile, and then he’s kissing me, and his mouth is… God, his mouth is good at what it’s doing—a slow, gentle, thorough kiss that makes my insides leap and spark.

And when he left, he pushed me against the front door and gave me a long, hot, lingering kiss. His hands slid down to my thighs, and he picked me up against him and I wrapped my legs around him, my back pressed against the door, and if it wasn’t the horniest moment of my life, I don’t know what was. Then he let me slide down against him, his hands going to my hair.
“Make sure your rent is on time,” he murmured against my mouth, and then he smiled and was gone, and I staggered back to the couch and collapsed there, grinning like an idiot.

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

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Review: Without Words by Ellen O’Connell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookmeanstreak
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Hayes Bannock
Heroine: Dr. Emory Charbonneau
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 2, 2014
Started On: September 28, 2014
Finished On: September 29, 2014

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown hit the bookshelves just earlier this month. I stumbled across the release of Mean Streak quite by accident. Ever since then, I’ve been biding my time until its release, putting it on my calender so that I could have it in my hands as soon as the book released. It would be an understatement to say that I am a HUGE fan of Sandra Brown. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that she is one of those authors who have compelled me to keep reading romance and also instilled in me a love for the genre. Her books are those that I have read, re-read and then re-read again when I had hit an all time low on reading books that somehow keep falling short of hitting all those vital spots that makes a book stand out in more ways than one.

Mean Streak is a novel that hits all those spots. Dr. Emory Charbonneau is a pediatrician who shares a practice with two other OB-GYNs, a philanthropist, a general do-gooder and a marathon runner. Her three plus year marriage had been going downhill for quite sometime and Emory’s latest planned run in her quest to challenge herself up in the solitude of the mountains couldn’t have come at a better time when she needs to get away and sort things out. However, rather than clearing her head and getting a timeout from her life as Emory planned, she ends up waking up in a strange hut, with a man who frightens her with his size, intensity and the sparkle of something inside of her that she dares not name.

Forced by circumstances, Emory stays with the man who remains secretive about his name and elusive about anything to do with him that might reveal who is. Fearing the worst, Emory would like to believe that she is immune to that gentle touch and the calm and quiet that exudes from a man who should really be menacing rather than making her feel sheltered and protected in a place where there seems to be no one else but just the two of them. And without Emory realizing, she does the worst thing possible under the circumstances; she falls for the man whose name she knows not, but whose merest touch has the power to melt her on the spot.

Sandra Brown’s mastery with storytelling is evident in Mean Streak. For 3/4ths of the story, you never know the name of the man up in the mountains who shelters a woman suffering from a concussion, yet unleashes his ferocity on those who deserves it. Emory who has led a pretty “normal” life on the scale of things up till then can’t decide whether she is attracted to or afraid of the man who makes her feel so many emotions that it becomes difficult for her to identify which one is the strongest.

Hayes Bannock, the hero turns out to be quite the surprising character in the story. Surprising in the sense, you are as stupefied as Emory when it comes to him. The different facets to his character though he reveals nothing of himself is what makes him such a fascinating character. And in the end when Sandra reveals his full character to you, you are left with the feeling of how totally wrong you could be about a person and how easily you could be led to believe a totally different “truth” about a person. And that was unsettling and brilliant in itself. Hayes is the type of hero that has faded away from the genre as authors strive and write heroes of the variety that pleases “feminists” in general. And because of this rarity and because I am a sucker for a ruthless and dangerous man as Hayes, I loved Sandra’s unapologetic portrayal of him as a hero that defies the accepted norm when it comes to creating heroes. A man who asks to make dirty memories with him; well that’s a hero you can’t ever go wrong with.

The explosive attraction between Hayes and Emory was of the shiver worthy kind of the good variety. Hayes is all male; confident, dominant and totally unapologetic in the way he takes, possesses and destroys every single notion that Emory has about sexual attraction and love. Hayes though he doesn’t show much of how he feels, the words of passion exchanged between Emory and himself during long and dark hours of the one night they spend together reveals just how much Emory changes Hayes’ stance and perspective on the life he has been leading up till then. Those flashbacks that Emory has of the time they spent together? Erotic, compelling and definitely ties you up in knots.

The end when it came encompassed everything I could have wanted for the story. Emory’s life that is in danger, which is revealed as the story progresses gives you the most shocking twist of all, and that ladies and gentlemen, is how you write suspense of the variety that keeps the pages turning. I was a bit apprehensive towards the last pages of the book thinking that Sandra wouldn’t deliver the happily ever after for Hayes and Emory as I had been craving. If you have read Lethal by Sandra Brown, you’d know exactly what I am talking about. But thankfully, there was a wonderful ending to Mean Streak that I believe did the story justice in all the ways possible.

Combining masterful suspense and heated passion, Sandra delivers one of the best novels of the year. Most definitely recommended! And now I have to contemplate on how to resign myself to books that would fall short in comparison and send me into despair until the next book that would deliver on all fronts, which seems to happen less and less as I read more.

Final Verdict: Oh dear Sandra Brown, thank YOU for this one!

Favorite Quotes

Her attempt to be a femme fatale had ended on an ironic twist: it was she who’d been seduced. She had put on that mortifying display, but when he began caressing her, she stopped playacting. He’d pulled her to him, and she’d felt him hard and insistent against her, and the truth had been undeniable. She’d wanted him.
Every feminine urge had sprung to life, and it wasn’t just the long dormancy that had made her sexual desire so acute. It was him. She wanted to experience him, every rough surface, every gruff word, his outdoorsy scent, the whiskey taste of his breath, the arrogant jut of his penis. She had wanted the totality of him with a reckless disregard for what was right and proper for Dr. Emory Charbonneau.

“The brothers were fighting when I came out to get you. What was that about?”
“Me.”
“You?”
“Will asked me if I was a homo.”
“How crass. What did you say?”
He looked at her for a moment, then removed his hand from the doorknob, placed it around the back of her neck beneath her hair, and pulled her up to receive his kiss—his open-mouthed, exploratory, evocative, and unshy kiss, which started out slow but soon acquired an urgency that was barely contained.
He kissed her like he meant it, like this kiss was going to be the last thing he ever did on earth, and he was going to do it right, thoroughly, and leave nothing wanting.
But she was left wanting, and judging from the rapid rise and fall of his chest and the fever in his eyes when he jerked his head back, he’d been left wanting, too.
Roughly, he said, “I told him no.”

“Last chance.”
She placed her palms on his chest and then slid them up onto his shoulders.
“Okay. I warned you. I told you that if I ever got my hands on you again—”
“You’d put them all over me.”
“That’s not all I said I’d do.”
He covered her lips with his and unleashed the hunger he’d restrained the night before. Nothing was tempered, not the introduction of his tongue, not the need with which her mouth opened to him, not the darkly erotic words that he whispered when he finally broke the kiss and released her, but only so he could hastily undo the buttons of his shirt she wore.

He pushed into her in one, purposeful glide.
“Jesus, Doc,” he groaned, “I promised you it wouldn’t hurt.”
“It won’t.”
“It might.”
Flexing his hips, he seated himself even deeper, then stretched out above her and began moving. Mating. All raw, male power and surety. Unapologetic, dominant and possessive.

He lowered his head to her breasts, sipped at her tight nipples and flicked them with his tongue.
Her orgasm was shattering.
With a snarled obscenity he pulled out barely in time and imprinted her body with his.
Writhing and straining, they wrung out every ounce of pleasure, and when he came, the pulses were strong and intense. Then they seemed to melt into each other, spent.

His voice a sexy rasp, he said, “You’re not gonna go run screaming from me?”
In a sublime state of arousal, she smiled and shook her head no.
“Then make memories for me, Doc.”
“Memories?”
Leaving her breasts tingling, he skimmed his hand down over her belly. He contemplated the architecture of her hipbone as though it was a marvel. Then he brushed the backs of his fingers over the soft hair. “Make memories for me to take out and play with when you’re gone.”
“What kind of memories?”
Her question ended on a surprised inhale when he deftly relocated and moved her thighs far enough apart to accommodate his wide shoulders. She could almost feel the probe of his hot gaze as he slid his hands under her and pulled her closer. She definitely felt the first sweep of his tongue, then his lips moving against her as he whispered. “Dirty ones.”

[Hayes] “Sorry, Doc.”
[Emory] “For what?”
[Hayes]”Keeping you awake.”
[Emory] “I haven’t complained.”
[Hayes]”So, you don’t want me to stop?”
[Emory] “No.”
[Hayes]”Don’t stop this?”
[Emory] “No. God no. Don’t…don’t stop.”
[Hayes]”You’ll have to be the one who says you’ve had enough.”
[Emory] “I’m not there yet.”
[Hayes]”Good. Because I can’t stop.”

When she lay back, he followed her down and sank into her, pushing until they couldn’t possibly be any closer, then he settled his weight onto her and buried his face in her neck. “You’ll be the ruin of me. But fuck if I can help myself.”
He levered himself up and, eyes focused on hers, began to thrust into her.
And it was incredible, not only because she was so deliciously tight and silky. She was. Not only because she perfectly timed a corresponding motion for each short, quick jab and every long, smooth glide of his cock. She did.
Not only because whenever he all but pulled out, she worked the tip of his penis with seductive belly-dance motions until he couldn’t stand it any longer and had to again sheathe himself completely.
Not only because her hands caressed him with flawless intuition. And not only because, when she climaxed, he felt every convulsive squeeze, but also saw the tears in her eyes that attested to the overflowing emotion behind them.
All that contributed. But what made him come harder, longer, and more meaningfully than he ever had in his life, was that in those moments when he lost himself in her, she closed her arms around his head, and held it close, and said on a sigh, as though it was the dearest word in her vocabulary, “Hayes.”

Tearing his mouth free of hers, he buried his face in the ell of her shoulder and neck, his breath fast and hot against her skin. “Yeah, okay, something has changed. When I’m by myself in the night, I’ll want you.”
He dipped his head and found her nipple through her clothing, moving his mouth across it as he hoarsely whispered broken phrases. “Sleeping between your thighs, finding your breasts in the dark, listening to your breathing, and smelling your hair on my pillow. I’ll want all that, damn you. Damn you, Doc. You won’t be easy to let go.”

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

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