Review: When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Levi Joseph Paige
Heroine: Parker Joy Cruse
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 03, 2017
Started On: July 17, 2021
Finished On: July 23, 2021

When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann, published in 2017, is going to be tough book to review. Not because the book was bad, but because it was exceptionally good and held me spellbound from start to finish. This is going to be a book tough to read if you are the judgmental sort, but if you believe in the fragility of human emotions, if you believe that we are all bound to make mistakes or even find love through those mistakes, then this book is for you.

26 year old Parker Joy Cruse needs independence from her family, even if it means moving a short distance from her parents place – freedom meant freedom. But Parker’s new neighbours turn out to be more than she bargained for, especially when she starts developing feelings for the very married husband of the household.

Parker is the person who basically chairs the “I Hate Cheaters” club, having been on the receiving end of the heartache and pain that she nurses in her heart. Her fractured relationship with her identical twin sister is testament enough to this fact. Parker who sees the world in black and white suddenly finds herself confronting the shades of grey in the midst, having to contend with her burgeoning feelings towards the one man she should not want.

But then tragedy strikes, leaving not just Parker wounded in the wake. However, life happens, and in comes 33 year old Levi Joseph Paige who dominates Parker’s world once again. Unable to grieve openly and publicly over the loss, and when Levi offers her the chance to break free from the circus that is her hometown and well-meaning parents, Parker decides to take Levi up on his offer and travel to Arizona with him.

Thus begins the journey on which Parker comes to terms with the love that she found and lost in such a brief moment in time, and once again confronts the feelings that comes to life with the merest touch from Levi. In Levi, Parker finds the love that she has been waiting for, for the past 26 years of her life. However, Levi is a complex man who harbours his own scars, the blame he shoulders over what took place in the past keeping him in an emotional cage of life’s making. At the same time, Parker’s secret is one that could destroy the fragility of the relationship between them, unless both of them are willing to look beyond and have the courage to face the consequences, bitterness, and the beauty that life is in its glorious complexity.

Needless to say, I loved this story to pieces. Jewel E. Ann is an author who knows how to draw out the intricate emotions of readers; you can love or hate what she makes you feel – I choose love because I read for the pleasure that stories bring, especially how they engage all my emotions and leaves me wanting more. When Life Happened is that kind of book, and I would not have it any other way.

The title of this book aptly describes what the story would deliver – but don’t be fooled into thinking you would be able to predict what would happen. I for one have never come across an author who dared to do what she did with this story, and boy, did she deliver it well. I was sucker-punched and left to gasp in the wake of the immensity of the feelings that were coursing through me. I was expecting a miracle to happen at any moment, but then again, that is not what life is about, is it?

I kept asking the what-if questions, even towards the latter end of the book, but I guess that is also in reality what life is like. Some people prefer to live in the what-ifs, and let life pass them by, while those that prefer to be grounded in reality move on and make peace with their lot in life.

When Levi stepped into the pages, I was once again shaken up by just how quickly he laid claim to my heart. Parker who lost her self worth at one point in time, finds not one, but two men in a short span of time, both who recognizes the value of Parker and wants to lay down the entire world at her feet.

The angst and heartbreak towards the end broke my heart, but I believe it was pretty much needed to bring the collective emotions of Parker and Levi full-circle. They both needed to accept, heal, and move on individually to be able to love each other and sustain their love through life’s curve-balls that would come in time.

Recommended for those who want to read a romance that would sweep you off your feet and engage all your emotions. This one delivers in spades!

Final Verdict: When Life Happened teaches us of life’s unpredictability, about the shades of grey in the midst, and about the endless possibilities that is life! Loved this in a way that is indescribable!

Favorite Quotes

“Out of control hormones are no excuse.” She rinsed the plates and set them beside the sink.
“Desire is very powerful.”
Parker reached for the handle to the fridge. “I don’t buy it.”
Before she could make sense of what was happening, Gus whipped her around and pinned her to the refrigerator door with his body, chest to chest. He pressed his hands flat to the door on either side of her head as she flattened hers to it just below her hips.
She tried to speak as his eyes stripped every ounce of her confidence. His warm breath touched her lips as he licked his, hovering an inch above hers. When her mouth opened to protest or scream, nothing came out.
“Parker,” he whispered in a deep, throaty voice.

“You’re what?” His hand moved up her shirt, stopping at the edge of her bra as his knee moved a fraction.
So. Fucking. Wrong.
“Confused,” she whispered.
“And?” His fingers caressed her abdomen.
Her muscles clenched. “Gus …”
She looked up at him and blinked, sending tears running down her cheeks.
He pressed his knee into her until her hips involuntarily bucked against it. She grimaced and more tears filled her eyes as her body betrayed her again.
“Tell. Me.” He gritted his teeth and stroked her again with his leg, and again her pelvis rocked into it.
As she squeezed her eyes shut, her hands gripped his shirt, warring between the need to push him away and something else too terrifying to admit.

“But, Parker?”
As she turned toward his voice, he grabbed her arm, yanked her into the garage, and pinned her against the wall.
“If you’re going to tell Sabrina about our kiss, it sure as fuck isn’t going to be the lame, drunken kiss at the bar.”
“Wha—”
He silenced her by smashing his mouth into hers, delivering a kiss that obliterated every thought in her head. When his tongue probed into her mouth, sliding against hers, she tried to push him away. He cradled her face to deepen the kiss even more and when he moaned, she did the unthinkable—the unforgivable: she laced her fingers through his hair and kissed him back.
Gray. A terrible color. The murky water where sinners thrived. Parker Cruse was a hypocrite. A cheater. And in need of another change of underwear.

“Parker …” He kissed her hard again. She released her breasts and threaded her hands through his hair. His hands began to unfasten his navy cargo shorts, exposing the hard bulge barely contained by his briefs.
“N-no …” She broke their kiss. “Not sex.”
Gus’s hands gripped the counter on either side of her as his forehead rested against hers. “Jesus, Parker … o-okay.” His ragged breaths washed over her face. He nodded against her. “No sex.”
“No sex.” Her voice quivered as her hands clawed at his back.

Her arms and legs pulled him closer as her heels dug into his backside—every move greedy and mindless. Gus released the back of her head and slipped his hand under her bottom so he could thrust harder against her, each vying for more friction.
“I’m going to … stop …” She dropped her head to his shoulder and her teeth dug into his firm flesh.
He growled as she bit harder, returning the favor as he sucked the sensitive skin along her neck, rocking their bodies together over and over.

Parker saw Levi, but she felt Gus. Pieces of him lingered everywhere. She could close her eyes and taste him on her lips, smell the hint of leather and spice cologne in the crook of his neck, feel every muscle of his back beneath her fingertips, and hear his “I love you” echoing over and over.
He was the wind. The moon sketching shadows. The shiver along her skin at night when she shut off the lights and whispered his name. He promised her everything and left her with nothing. How could nothing—a deep, hollow hole—feel like something so tangible, like her pain had its own pulse.

He jabbed her entrance with the head of his cock.
“Jesus…” she gasped “ …Christ …”
He pressed his hand to her back, pushing her forward until her hands rested on his legs.
“Flub up?” He chuckled. “I’m not that drunk. Hold on, this could be a rough ride.”
He lifted her up a couple inches and jerked her back down onto him.
“Fuck!” Her chin dropped to her chest and the second his right hand slid between her legs, she saw the stars.

Levi toed off his sneakers while he removed his shirt dropping it to the ground next to her bra. Parker’s breath caught when he feathered his fingers down her arms.
“How do you do that?” she whispered.
“Do what?” He clasped her hands slowly bringing them above her head and then back behind his.
“Make me feel like you’re the first man to ever touch me?” She fisted his hair and arched her back as he ghosted his hands back down, under her arms, around to her belly, teasing them just below the waist of her panties before inching up to her breasts. She moaned when he cupped them, and then she pushed them even more into his hands.
“Because…” he dipped his head and pressed his lips to her shoulder “…my touch is the only one that will ever matter.”

Levi crawled between her spread legs, kissing his way up her body. She played with his hair again like her fingers couldn’t get enough as he tasted his way up her abdomen. Her lips parted, eyes locked on his. He hooked his arm under her knee as his mouth covered her breast. Watching her eyes the whole time, he pushed inside of her.
She sucked in a sharp breath, eyes heavy but still focused on him, as her hands curled into his hair.
Pulling back slowly, he plunged into her harder.
“Levi …”
The bed jerked beneath them.
He kissed his way along her neck up to her mouth. “I think it’s pretty clear,” he whispered.

“How I feel about you, it hurts in here.”
The slightest flinch flashed across his face. Then he pressed his lips to her hand. “I’m going to take the pain away … you’ll see.”
He plunged into her the rest of the way.
“Levi …”
“How does it feel?” He kissed her neck.
“Levi …”
Gripping her hips, he set the pace.
“Like a drug,” she whispered just before her mouth crashed to his, catching the ultimate wave of addiction.

“Tell me, Mister World Traveler, what is your greatest memory, the one you’ll never forget?”
He squatted down in front of her, resting his hands on her legs. “That’s easy. Overcast sky. Barren field. Blue pick-up truck. Pizza. Twelve-pack of beer. And the woman who owns my world.”
“Liar,” she whispered as her heart nearly exploded.
He laid a sound kiss on her lips then grinned. “No Lie Levi.” Standing, he walked to the door. “I love you. Don’t you ever fucking forget it.”

“Don’t tease me again, Levi.” Parker blinked open her eyes. The games were over. She saw nothing but love in his eyes. “Make love to me, Levi, but do it like—”
“Like you’re the last woman I’ll ever want for the rest of my life.”
Parker couldn’t breathe from the impact of his words. She was going to say “like we usually do,” but he had to step in and remind her one last time that after twenty-six years, her heart had found its rightful owner.

As soon as her dress fell below her breasts, he gripped them, kneading them until she arched her back, breaking their kiss. “Levi …”
She released him from his briefs and stroked him. He hissed in a breath, leaving one hand on her breast. His other hand grabbed the crotch to her panties and pulled it to the side as she guided his erection to that very spot.
“Stop.” He pulled back a fraction. His hand on her breast moved to the back of her neck, and he rested his forehead on hers. “I love you back,” he whispered through ragged breaths. “I love you back so fucking much I’m certain it’s the only thing I have ever done in my life that’s one hundred percent selfless. But this isn’t us. I don’t want to have pissed-off-at-the-world sex with you.”
“Levi …” She panted, holding tight to his cock. “I kinda need this to happen.”
He nodded, still leaning into her forehead with his. “Agreed.” He laughed a little. “But it’s I-love-you sex. I-need-you sex. My-whole-fucking-world-revolves-around-you sex.”

“Levi …” she whispered breathlessly as her heart pounded in anticipation.
“Shhh …” He eased off her panties, ghosting his lips along the back of her legs and over the curve of her ass.
“Fuck!” Her muscles clenched. “Did you just bite my ass again?”
He chuckled while his tongue glided over the spot. As he stood, he lifted her right leg and plunged into her. Bending over her back, he whispered in her ear, “My whole … fucking … world.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Re-Read Review: The Unfaithful Wife by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequi
Hero: Nik Andreakis
Heroine: Leah Andreakis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1995
Started On: June 02, 2021
Finished On: June 07, 2021

When it comes to The Unfaithful Wife by Lynne Graham, the title itself indicates that this would be a stormy, angst-ridden read in every sense. That is exactly what Ms. Graham delivers, and I enjoyed every single heady sensation that this number brought to the forefront at every turn.

The story begins with Nik Andreakis and Leah’s marriage having reached its five year mark. Leah is the classic definition of the abandoned wife, the lonely years she has spent without any emotional support from her spouse or otherwise leaving its mark on her. Leah agreed to the marriage because of her father, who had basically emotionally blackmailed her into tying the knot with a man she had wanted from the start.

Leah knows that Nik despises her for reasons unknown. But when Leah is just about ready to move on with someone else and gather the courage to ask for separation from Nik, the inevitable happens – Nik comes for her, and states his intention to claim her as his.

I have no memory of having read this title before, but looking up my Goodreads reading history indicates that I have indeed read this in 2010. While my rating was considerably lower back then, reading this once again after 11 years proved to be more eye opening. I was better able to understand the undercurrents in the story and appreciate how Leah stood up for herself even though she had been brought up to be submissive all through her life.

While Nik’s cruelty did not win him points for him at the beginning (but then again where is the fun in the hero who is saccharine sweet), I could understand where he was coming from as well. For someone like Nik who had wanted the freedom to choose his bride, being forced and blackmailed into a marriage had been a pill bitter to swallow. When Leah learns of Nik’s side of the story, she finally understands how Nik could have misunderstood the machinations behind their union and despised her for what had taken place.

However, even though Leah and Nik may want to ignore each other, the passion that flares to life between them (which had in reality drawn them together when they had initially met, which kick-started the chain of events leading to their marriage), is hard to ignore, especially when Nik is determined to claim Leah as his, once and for all.

Insane jealousy, a whole host of arguments which clears up the misunderstandings, crazy heat and intense sex brings Leah and Nik together in a way that makes for combustible reading. Unlike most stories from Ms. Graham, I loved this more so because of Leah – how she basically lays it out for Nik to make him see the despicable manner in which he had destroyed her for the past five years. I felt like bringing out my nonexistent pompoms and doing a cheer dance for Leah, just because.

This novel has the hero groveling, with Leah having the courage to walk away from Nik and making it on her own. She would have been just fine even if Nik had not come after her, but then again, where is the fun in that? Nik had to eat humble pie, understand the worth of the woman that he loves more than life itself, and do a bit of groveling just to experience the bliss of their happily ever after.

Definitely recommended – don’t let the first couple of chapters fool you, this novel surprises you in a way that is heartwarming when all is said and done.

Final Verdict: The Unfaithful Wife is chock-full of goodness – heartbreak, heat, and intense emotions from all ends. If you love angst-ridden romances, this is a must read!

Favorite Quotes

‘Nik…’
His mouth came down on hers with mesmerising expertise and prised her soft lips apart. She stopped breathing. He gathered her closer, sealing her to every abrasively male angle of his taut body. Her back arched without her volition, increasing that contact. His tongue drove into the moist, tender interior she had yielded and explored. A river of fire flowed through her and she quivered, leaning against him, winding her arms sinuously round his neck. Darkness beckoned behind her lowered eyelids, the heat in the pit of her stomach twisting like a hot wire through her trembling length.

Before she could move, Nik caught her up in his powerful arms and dumped her down on the divan behind her. He came down on top of her so fast that she hadn’t a hope of evading him. Waves of shock coursed through her.
‘You’re my wife,’ Nik growled down at her, as if that were sufficient justification.
‘Let go of me…you’re flattening me!’ Leah slung back at him in fury.
‘Maybe you’ll get to like it.’ Nik shifted sinuously above her and meshed one hand into her tumbled hair. He stared down at her for a long, timeless moment. ‘Theos, I am so hungry for you, I ache,’ he muttered raggedly.

He rolled over, carrying her with him, and dispensed with her T-shirt by whipping it over her head. He uttered a savage groan as her unbound breasts rubbed against his hair-roughened chest and a split-second later she was lying flat again, his hands shaping the pouting mounds he had discovered.
She shut her eyes, gasping for breath, all reasoning power wrested from her. He found a distended pink nipple with his mouth and she dug her hips into the mattress, her back arching, a wildness she had never known tearing at her.

‘You are mine,’ Nik grated in a voice so tortured that she didn’t initially realise that he had spoken in English.
She wasn’t listening anyway. He was apart from her. She didn’t like it. She lifted her head and touched his sensual mouth with her lips and then, more daringly, with the tip of her tongue, unconsciously imitating what she had learnt from him. He shuddered and accepted the invitation with a raw passion that consumed her, his arms banding so tightly around her that she could barely breathe.

Wonderfully warm and relaxed, Leah gave a sinuous little wriggle and the hard heat of the body next to hers tautened. Her lashes lifted. She looked up into smouldering black eyes, fringed by ebony lashes. The impact of those eyes was mesmerising. Her blood leapt in her veins and her heat raced. She felt dizzy, breathless and utterly dispossessed of all rational thought.
A fingertip stroked along the lush ripeness of her lower lip. ‘Open your mouth for me. I want to taste you,’ Nik urged huskily.
Held fast by his searing gaze, she instinctively obeyed and with a stifled groan of satisfaction he crushed her slender form to him, his hands sweeping over her hips and her back as his hard, demanding mouth took hers with savage intensity.

Leah felt her body stretch to accommodate his raw invasion, the sensation still new enough to shock, and then he moved inside her, creating an insatiable need that burned through her entire body. Unconsciously her fingers dug into his smooth, muscular back, her breath sobbing in her throat with every urgent thrust. Ecstatic sensation took over as he possessed her so thoroughly that she was driven out of her mind with sheer, splintering pleasure. And when release came it consumed her utterly for long, timeless moments and then dropped her down gently into sweet, drowning languor.
‘Heaven is said to come to he who waits,’ Nik murmured silkily, curving her confidently into the damp, hot heat of him. ‘But I was always a speculator…and patience is not one of my virtues.’

And she did forget, the same instant that he brought his mouth swooping down into explosive connection with hers. The smooth control she was accustomed to was absent. Nik unleashed a passion that devastated her. It was no slow, gentle seduction of the senses but an erotic assault in which clothes were thrust aside rather than removed. Excitement took over, blanking out everything but her body’s insanely instinctive need for him.
She gasped and threw her head back as he drove into her, rejoiced in his answering groan of satisfaction and from that point on there was nothing but wild sensation, rising to ecstatic heights she had never touched before and finally throwing her over the edge into a shattering release.

‘Yes,’ she moaned, arching her back in sudden delicious torment as he skimmed his knuckles down over her taut stomach and then spread his hand, holding her where she most needed to be touched but denying what every skin cell longed for.
‘I don’t know where to begin,’ he muttered thickly against her swollen mouth, and she could feel him, hard and hotly aroused against her thigh. ‘I want…I want everything you have to give.’

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | eBooks | HQ | Apple | AbeBooks | BookDepo

Review: From the Embers by Aly Martinez

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Eason Maxwell
Heroine: Bree
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 28, 2021
Started On: May 15, 2021
Finished On: May 17, 2021

From the Embers by Aly Martinez is one of my favorite reads from 2021. Discovering Ms. Martinez through her book Release has been a godsend. Stumbling across authors like Ms. Martinez is why I spend countless hours sometimes, looking through title blurbs of authors I have never read before. Books like From the Embers makes all the bad books you come across worthwhile in the long run.

The story begins at the point where the main protagonists, Bree and Eason Maxwell are married to each other’s best friends. Bree a businesswoman prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom of two when their family’s finances had given her the freedom to do so, and Eason, a songwriter whose marriage seems to be on a perilous path all because he was just not doing enough to keep his wife satisfied on all fronts.

All that changes in a heartbeat when an explosion takes the lives of both Bree’s husband and Eason’s wife, leaving them both bereft, hurting, and bewildered in the wake of the heartbreaking loss. Eason might have carried Bree to safety from the explosion, but it is Bree who finally sees him for who he is, as they are both forced to rely on each other to get through the days ahead. However, as these two navigate the circumstances of the new reality that they have been thrust into, dark secrets come to the forefront, threatening to crumble the foundations upon which the bond between Eason and Bree is forged to life.

Bree had never been Eason’s fan – she had always found Eason lacking, all owing to the fact that she had viewed Eason through the lens of her best friend’s viewpoint. All of that changes when Eason becomes her rock in the turbulent times that faces them both, the family they become as they leave the painful night behind them and starts the slow and painful process of moving on.

Both Bree and Eason are wonderful characters; every single character that you come across in the book is special. Kids often have a tendency to annoy me in books – but Ms. Martinez makes it all work, bringing the right mix of cuteness and wholesomeness to the mix. The plot was well done; at first I was a bit skeptical thinking that what comes to the forefront was just too easy – but in the end Ms. Martinez surprised me with the plot twist that brought a different edge to the story as it reached its climax.

Eason was perfect. Bree was perfect. The secondary characters were perfect. This story was nothing short of perfect. Recommended for those who want a story that would sweep them off their feet on a journey that is all consuming!

Final Verdict: Beautiful, surreal, and utterly spellbinding, From the Embers makes for an explosive read in every single sense!

Favorite Quotes

“I don’t hide anything from you.”
“Good,” she said. “Let’s keep it that way.”
My throat got thick, and as hypocritical as it was, I hoped the sweat breaking across the back of my neck and the tempo of my racing heart were both hidden. Her proximity suddenly felt suffocating, which was almost as confusing as it was intoxicating.
Together, we stood there, surrounded by white lights and unspoken emotions. There were gratitude and respect, but most of all, there was love. Maybe not the conventional or romantic variety, but it was there all the same.

“Look, I know this is going to complicate the hell out of things. But being with you is the only thing that feels right in my life. I’m gonna be real honest: I’m mad at them. I’m hurt. I’m embarrassed. And I can’t even begin to imagine the agony that’s going to follow over the next few weeks as we sort this shit out with Luna. But there are two things I know for sure: I want you, Bree, and I’m not waiting one fucking second longer to make my move.”
In one swift motion, I rolled over and tucked her beneath me. Smoothing the wisps of hair out of her face, I added, “I can’t wait any longer to kiss you from head to toe, to make you feel good and know for sure it was because of me.”

After unwrapping her like a candy and sampling the sweetness between her legs, her hands balling the sheets beside my shoulders, I nearly lost my mind.
Just before I tipped the scales out of my favor, she annihilated them altogether by rolling on top of me. “In my dreams, you said I wasn’t ready. But I’m ready, Eason. I’m so damn ready for you.”
She’d had dreams.
About me.

Every day, Eason was easygoing and laid-back, but in bed, he was a completely different animal. He was powerful and strong, almost unyielding in the way he ravaged my body with his. He was bold and sure, confident in knowing everything I needed even before I could anticipate it myself. He was demanding and gentle, but above all else, he didn’t hold back.
Eason gave. I took.
He went harder, faster. I begged for more.

“I swear to God, Bree, your fucking body was made for me.” His hips twisted as he pushed deeper. “I can’t go much lo—”
I silenced him with my mouth on his. “Shhh. Then don’t. Give it to me. Give me everything.”
Breaking the kiss, he went up onto his arm, looked down at where our bodies were crashing into each other, and then pressed his forehead against my shoulder as the most erotic moan rumbled through his chest. “Fuck.”
His heavy weight collapsed on top of me as he pumped and twitched his release. For as ugly and tainted as the world could be, the sight of Eason losing himself in an orgasm would forever be one of the purest and most beautiful things I could experience.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo

ARC Review: Beneath the Devil’s Bridge by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake
Hero: NA
Heroine: NA
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: June 01, 2021
Started On: March 13, 2021
Finished On: March 15, 2021

Beneath the Devil’s Bridge by Loreth Anne White is another spellbinding novel from the master storyteller who has the uncanny ability to push just the right set of buttons to keep the pages turning. I continue to be in awe of everything that Ms. White publishes, and it is a foregone conclusion at this point that she will continue to take readers where their comfort zones are pushed in the years to come.

The year is 1997, when 14 year old Leena Rai is found brutally beaten to death with indications of rough intercourse having happened prior to the murder. Investigators in the small town of British Columbia where the story takes place, are hard pressed to solve the case quickly. The investigation speedily concludes with the confession from Clayton Jay Pelley, the school’s guidance counselor.

When Clayton breaks his silence 25 years after he is incarcerated in a podcast series focusing on true crime, retired detective Rachel Walczak who was lead on the case is haunted and taunted by the fact that in their haste to bring a conclusion to the investigation, they may have overlooked many aspects of the case that did not particularly make sense even at the time. But in a small and tight knit community such as theirs, it is a challenge to overlook the ties that bind them, and see each individual as they truly are – where monsters may breed without one acknowledging the fact.

From beginning to end, this story is profound in the way it is told, taking readers between the year of the murder and how it had impacted the lives of all that were affected, to present time when the deep lingering effects of what had taken place still continue to fester in the wounds unhealed.

In the murder victim, we find the typical outcast in a high school setting where teenagers can be brutal in the way they form groups and bully those that do not fit in. A daughter of Indian immigrants, Leena had never had it easy, with a strict father and a mother who had followed wherever her husband led her. Patriarchal households in South Asian settings can be extremely difficult for daughters, especially when you move to a country that upholds more modern values and norms clashing with the traditional ones. Leena is the daughter that is torn between wanting freedom and popularity, between wanting to feel needed and acceptance, and ultimately the one who finds consolation and comfort in a place that she rightfully should not have.

In the alleged perpetrator, Ms. White has forged to life one of the most thought provoking characters she has written of late. A man who society would find it easy to blame and cast aside, whose own demons haunt and taunt him to a point where he was willing to give up everything to control his baser urges. It is difficult to remain detached from his character as Ms. White explores the psychology involved and takes readers on a journey where most may not be willing to be pushed. But I for one reveled in it and admire Ms. White for writing his character as it was told; raw and unadulterated in a way that refuses to give you any reprieve from who he is.

The most shocking elements of the story of course, lies in the “mundane” details of the lives of those in the community as the tale undfolds, traversing through the course of individual and collective lives that had been changed by the events that had unfolded that fateful night two and a half decades back. Rachel, in her bid to find the truth at long last, finds that often, a high price must be paid in the pursuit of it, secrets that many would go to extreme lengths to keep buried for eternity.

I also found myself astounded by and questioned how someone with such a violent streak within them managed to hide in plain sight for so long – after all, the character’s actions at certain points in life must have pointed to that villainous and extremely unhinged aspects within. I guess we would never know. But then again, that is what is so gripping about Ms. White’s work – you can never accuse her of taking on tried tropes and leaving you with the feeling that you have been cheated out on.

I continue to be amazed by how well Ms. White writes, how unique each of her books are, how powerful her characters and villains alike are, how difficult it to cast one character in the role of purely being a hero and the other a villain, and how unforgettable her stories are. Ms. White truly humbles me by pointing out time and yet again that life does not happen in black and white, but in the shades of grey within.

I marvel at the fact that she dares broach sensitive topics and does them justice, her innate ability to dig deep into the psyche of her characters from multiple perspectives. It is truly remarkable the diversity behind her books and I at times do not think that I am even worthy of reviewing such splendor that lies within the pages.

Definitely recommended for readers of all variety of fiction – if you like thrillers with in-depth characterization, Ms. White is a must read!

Final Verdict: Beneath the Devil’s Bridge is magnificent in the way it unfolds, crisp writing & page-turning suspense lending clarity to the shades of grey that rules our lives.

Favorite Quotes

We spend most of our lives afraid of our own Shadow. He told me that. He said a Shadow lives deep inside every one of us. So deep we don’t even know it’s there. Sometimes, with a quick sideways glance, we catch a glimpse of it. But it frightens us, and we quickly look away. This is what fuels the Shadow—our inability to look. Our inability to examine this thing that is in fact our raw selves. This is what gives the Shadow its power. It makes us lie. About what we want, about who we are. It fires our passions, our darkest desires. – Leena Rai

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

Review: Beautiful Sinner by Sara Cate

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Callum Moore
Heroine: Cadence
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 26, 2020
Started On: February 12, 2021
Finished On: February 13, 2021

Our love is not a sin; it’s salvation.

Loosely tied to the novel Beautiful Monster, Beautiful Sinner by Sara Cate is an absolute gem of a romance of the forbidden variety. 44 year old Callum Moore is a priest in an Irish town, who is left blindsided by his encounter with the 24 year old Cadence, a young American who happens to come to stay at the Ennis Bed & Breakfast that is owned by Callum’s sister.

Cadence comes to the B&B with a group of youngsters touring Europe, the guy she is with whom she considers to be her boyfriend when he is anything but. Waking up the next morning to find that they had all left her behind, and that her “boyfriend” had taken her passport, credit cards, and any valuables she might have had along with him, needless to say Cadence feels like the worst screw up ever.

Having to wait two weeks for everything to be resolved, it is Cadence’s sister that tells her that this could be a good thing, that being alone is perhaps what is right for Cadence to sort out her priorities and just enjoy her ownself. But the mere thought of being alone sends Cadence into a state of panic, especially when she finds herself attracted to none other than the priest of the town, the man who looks upon her so disapprovingly from afar.

Callum is a man who found his calling towards his late twenties, firm in his belief standing true to it all. Cadence presents the first real temptation to ever cross his path since he took his vow of celibacy and that presents problems of the kind that he never thought he would have to deal with. It certainly does not help matters when Cadence proves herself to be made of stronger and sterner stuff than he gives her credit for.

It is only logical that two opposites such as Callum and Cadence, the former being a stickler for what is right and the latter being someone who is free with her affections in a way that does not create a favorable impression of her, would totally clash. And clash they do at first, until they both come to see more in each other and that perhaps in each other lies their future, rocky as the road maybe in the journey towards their ultimate destination.

There is an interesting psychology to Cadence, which Ms. Cate reveals layer by layer. The picture that emerges is of a child who never had a mother figure, who held the roles and responsibilities of acting like the adult in the family even when she was merely a child herself, and later on lost her way somewhere in the middle. Her fear of being left alone makes sense when all of that is put together, the resulting effect being someone who is too free with her love and affection when it comes to those unworthy of it. It takes a whole lot of soul searching and pain for Cadence to understand the same and it was a rewarding journey for the reader as well when she finally achieved the insurmountable.

I find that Ms. Cate has a unique way of writing hugely flawed characters that gives reader deeper insight into what they are, which makes for really intriguing reading. It is easier to judge a character at the surface level; Callum being the priest and the person who gave up his whole life to serve God as the righteous one and see Cadence as just the opposite. Almost always, there are reasons behind why we act the way we do. No one is born a sinner, nor are we saints. We are human, and how we are brought up, the psychology of those around us, the values we are instilled with, all of that and more charts the course of our lives for the most part. Deviating from all of that takes courage, and that is what I found in Cadence as her character grew out of what was holding her back in a big way.

Callum is a super sexy hero – no two ways about it. There is of course, the forbidden lure to him, but at the same time it is the way Ms. Cate has created him, giving him that rough edge with an inner core that is gentle at the same time. Callum is a man who chose his path because he believed it was his calling, but when Cadence comes and puts it all into disarray, he is flummoxed and resistant at first, but there is no stopping the heart from wanting what it wants, especially the forbidden fruit.

Callum also has a take charge attitude in bed that leaves the reader wanting more, and I loved every sizzling second of it. When Callum gives in, he does so spectacularly, and I am pretty certain that no reader would have been left unmoved by what he represents at that point.

The epilogue three years down the line clinched the deal for me with this book, to witness Callum and Cadence living their happily ever after, having reached their destination after all that heartache and angst. Callum teaches Cadence that she is worth everything, and Cadence in return understands that their love is worth it. Nothing puts a bigger smile on the reader’s face than that!

Recommended for fans of forbidden romances featuring two protagonists who are the direct opposite of each other. Ms. Cate has outdone herself with this number!

Final Verdict: Beautiful Sinner is one of those books that as a reader you can never get enough of. Callum makes you yearn for your own forbidden romance and Cadence leaves you with the understanding that your deepest flaws could well become your biggest strength!

Favorite Quotes

With my fingers still at the base of her spine, I lean down until my mouth hovers just above her shoulder. Her hands wrap around my body now, and I know she wants more. I can feel her desire radiating off her skin, and I feel terrible that I won’t be able to give her what she wants. But I’m taking this anyway, this one kiss.
With my lips parted, I press my mouth against the crook of her neck. She lets out a sweet little gasp, and I pull her body closer. Maybe I want her to feel what she’s doing to me or maybe I just want the friction against my aching hard-on, but either way, I know what I’m doing is fucked-up.

“So you’ll let those assholes fuck you instead? Is that what you want to be, Cadence?”
“Unlike you, Callum, I make my own decisions. I say what I do with my body.”
“Not anymore,” he snaps as he crashes his mouth against mine.
“You can’t,” I manage to gasp out before his tongue is in my mouth, and I become water, dripping through his fingers. I catch a glimpse of the white square at the collar of his neck just before I open myself to him, and my fighting hands turn into passionate grabs for his shirt and skin.

Her head hangs back, her lips open and her eyes clenched shut. Her cheeks are tinged pink, and my God, the sounds she’s making. I could record them and listen to them every second for the rest of my life. It’s exquisite.
Too fucking beautiful to feel bad about.
“Don’t stop,” she moans, and I pick up speed. I feel like an animal, overcome with lust and greed. The filthy fucking thoughts in my head are anything but righteous.

Slamming my fingers inside her one last time, I grip her tightly and feel her body explode with her orgasm. Every muscle tightens, and her thighs close on my hand, squeezing them in a vice grip as she stops breathing altogether. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful in all my life.

In just a few long strides, he’s standing right in front of me, and I barely have a moment to register anything before his lips are on mine. The kiss is ravenous and desperate. It’s vindication. It’s everything we’ve been hiding and torturing ourselves with for so long.
His lips devour me, trailing down to my neck, my shoulder. His moans are hungry and soon they turn into words. “I’m sorry,” he mutters over and over as he worships my body with his mouth
.

I feel the head of him against my core, and I hold my breath, my eyes not leaving his. He enters me with a force that makes me gasp and want to scream. Once he’s buried inside of me, we melt together. My legs wrap around him and his spine curls around me, his head buried in my neck. For a moment we stay still, enjoying this first bonding our bodies, like it’s some ancient ritual.
He groans into my skin, and I know the Callum that holds back and plays it safe is gone. The Callum I know, the one who takes and commands and doesn’t apologize is about to take over, and my body p
ulses in anticipation.

He does it again and again, keeping his eyes on me the whole time. I don’t bother keeping it quiet anymore. When he pulls my leg over his shoulder, I almost fall apart. My moans of pleasure vibrate across the walls of this church set to the perfect rhythm of his heavy grunts.
His hands grab my hips as he rockets his body against me, building speed and momentum. My back slides against the floor, and he yanks me back, slamming himself even deeper.

My hands grip the bed sheets as I wait for him to take over. I’ve already memorized his rhythm.
With a tight hold of my hips, he fucks me hard until I’m practically lifted off the bed and coming with the force. Just as my climax hits, he lifts my body so I’m flush against him and he pinches my clit until I’m splintered in two, undone with ecstasy.

“Come all over my hand,” I whisper in her ear, and her jaw hangs open like she’s fighting for breath. I’m striking hard now, slipping in a second digit as she writhes. My heavy dick grinds against her just as the conversation outside stops. Any moment, someone will round that corner and see me finger banging my young American employee. The secret will be out, and we won’t have to hide anymore.
But then again, I know it’s this filthy thing we’re doing that makes her seize up in my hands, biting back her cries as she soaks my hand. I love the way her thighs clench together as she comes, a vice grip on my wrist like she never wants me to pull it away. We’re both high on the forbiddenness of it.

As I stand up, I stare down at her, and I unbutton my pants, dropping them to the floor. With my hands under her legs, I yank her body to the edge of the bed and enter her in one fluid motion.
She barely has the chance to come down from her last climax before she’s writhing again. Watching her beautiful body on the bed, her legs wrapped around me, my chest aches. I love her so fucking mu
ch it hurts.

Grabbing her hand, I pull her up, and without pulling out, I lift her body in my arms. She has a drunk, ecstasy-laced smile as I carry her to the bathroom counter. With the large mirror behind her, I see myself as I fuck her.
For the first time in a long time, the reflection doesn’t repulse me. It feels right.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Damian Caballero
Heroine: Skye Sedgewick
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 04, 2015
Started On: January 28, 2021
Finished On: January 29, 2021

With The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar, my second book by Ms. Attar, I am finding out that her books are no walk in the park when it comes to engaging your emotions and the full frontal assault that she wages on them with her stories. That is how I want my stories to be, but alas, not every writer is as talented, or goes seeking darkness of the variety that Ms. Attar brings to readers with this number.

The story begins when 24 year old Skye Sedgewick is kidnapped and held in captivity by a man who seems to be willing to leave no stone unturned when it comes to the vengeance he seeks to achieve. Damian Caballero’s character is fascinating from the onset, his ruthlessness one that should rightfully turn you off, but I ended up liking it all way too much given the lover of darker themed romances that I am.

Damian is hauntingly familiar to Skye, bringing forth memories that she had long buried in her past. However, life has other plans in place for these two even when the truth comes to light, and the hatred that defines Damien’s very existence proves to be the detrimental factor in the relationship that burgeons to life between the captive and captor.

This book was so overwhelming in many ways, but I loved every single minute of it and would not change a single word in it for anything. The main concept that Ms. Attar explores in this novel is that broken hearts and blackened souls, they can heal. It is not easy as some books and movies make it seem; it is a difficult and heartbreaking process in itself. There are no easy answers to be had when your past is filled with unforgivable acts of violence brought on by the thoughtless actions of those who live life as they damn well please, sparing little thought for anyone else.

I am glad that both the protagonists were strong in their own unique ways, which helped make the story as outstanding a read as this was. At first, I hated Skye for not understanding where Damian was coming from, but later on I realized that I was being wholly unfair to Skye because she had been caught in the middle of a war of not her own making nor choosing.

The story is as realistic in terms of human emotions, what it can mean, what it can make you do, the time it takes to heal fractured hearts and souls, what love in its truest form can mean, and I loved the fact that both Damian and Skye grew individually and together to reach their happily ever after.

Highly recommended for fans of Ms. Attar and those who yearn for a breathtaking tale of love that is all encompassing.

Final Verdict: Ms. Attar deserves all the stars for this one. There is no stopping fate when two halves of one soul are determined to be together, and that is in essence what The Paper Swan is about!

Favorite Quotes

I took one step back for each one he took forward, until I was jammed up between him and the wall.
God, he was intense. And deliberate. And he could say things with his eyes that made my knees tremble. One side of his face was bruised and distorted from where I’d hit him. He grasped both my wrists in one hand and pinned them above me. Every part of me felt flush with the heat emanating from his body, even though that was the only point of contact. He hooked a finger in the ‘V’ of my blouse, tracing the dangerously low cleavage. His touch was so soft, it was barely discernible.
“Skye?” He seemed hypnotized by the rapid rise and fall of my chest.
I swallowed.
“Don’t play with scorpions unless you intend to get stung.” He yanked the neckline apart.

Damian grabbed my hands and pinned them behind my back. His lips found mine and he latched on with a hunger that left me breathless. He was an ocean of want and need. All the raging, submerged currents that he’d kept at bay unleashed themselves on me. I tried to keep afloat, clutching at him, but I didn’t stand a chance. My hurt, my anger, my tears were tossed aside by something deeper, something vast and true and powerful and endless.
It was a kiss that had sneaked in through an open window, a kiss that lay folded in a paper giraffe, in the silences between 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, in the pits of mini mangoes and here, now, at last, it was set free. And the rightness of it, the feeling of longing and belonging, made me want to hold on to it forever. I wanted Damian to keep kissing me, keep kissing, keep kissing, until every other kiss had been erased, until this was the only ki
ss.

“My turn,” he said, flipping me over.
It was oddly tentative, his lips on that most private part of me. And I realized that this was where it was different for Damian. He might have fucked a lot of women, but he’d never made love before, never thought about giving the same pleasure he received. And his baby steps—his hot breath, his tongue, his mouth—nudged me towards the sweetest release. When he slipped his fingers inside, first one, then another, I thought I was going to lose it.
“Damian.” I grasped his shoulders. I wanted him inside. “Stop.”
He paused, taking in my flushed face, the rise and fall of my chest, my taut nipples, begging for his touch.
“If you can’t take, don’t give,” he said, sucking on my hot little button like I’d sucked on his thumb.

The fucking tease. His fingers continued their maddening dance, and just when I thought I was about to explode, his cock slid into me, full and hard. It was pure possession, unbridled and complete. The pleasure came, swift and explosive. I clung to him, unable to suppress the cry of delight as wave after wave of electric fire scorched through me. He held still, one hand cupping the back of my head, the other on the curve of my hip as I came in tight spasms around him.
“Again,” he said, when I lay replete and breathless under him. “With me this time.”

“Take me. Take me now,” I whispered.
I exalted in his possession, writhing as our bodies found a tempo that bound us together. We were pressed against each other, flesh-to-flesh, so close that I could feel Damian’s heart pounding through his chest. He was rotating his pelvis clockwise then counterclockwise, then quick, shallow thrusts. I pulled on a fistful of his hair and kissed him, open mouthed, wild with need. He bucked, grabbed my ass with both hands, and drove deep into me. My thoughts fragmented; I gasped in sweet agony as fiery sensations ripped through me. Damian clutched my body, a tormented groan escaping him as he gave in to his release.

The roughened pad of Damian’s thumb found my clit and he flicked it, on, off, on, off, like a switch that allowed me sharp, spiky peaks of pleasure, and then took it away. Each time I moaned, his mouth fell open, as if we were connected by some invisible thread. Damian was focused on my face, my body, like he was recording every moment, every movement. His strokes pushed me closer and closer to the edge. I rocked against the hard length of him, driving him just as crazy, reaching, reaching, reaching, until we exploded in spirals of liquid fire.

“It’s very simple. You want the deposits to stop. I want you and Sierra,” he said. “Marry me, Skye.”
“Marry you?” I blinked. It was the last thing I’d been expecting. Proposals were supposed to be epic—grand moments that swept you off your feet, not negotiated like some business transaction. “You’re out of your mind.”
“Am I?” He swept one arm around the small of my back and pulled me in. “Tell me you haven’t missed me. Tell me you haven’t stayed up nights thinking of how good we are together. Because right at this moment, all I want to do is push you up against the wall and take you so hard that I can’t tell where I end and where you begin. I ache where you’re supposed to be, Skye, and I’m not going to stop until you’re mine. So we can draw this out or we can quit wasting more time. Either way, we’re going to end up right here. Me about to fuck you.”

The bed shifted when he slipped in beside me. One arm slid around my shoulder, cradling me to his chest. His skin was warm and smooth under my cheek. God, I’d missed the way he felt, his scent, his touch, the steady beat of his heart.
“Sleep.” He kissed the top of my forehead, stroking my hair like it was made of the finest gold.
I must have registered surprise because he chuckled. I had been expecting a fiery reunion.
“Just this,” he said. “This feels so, so good.”
The last time we’d been together, when Sierra interrupted us, he had been like a raging bull coming out of the pen, and although I could feel his undeniable arousal, I could also feel something else. Damian was content. For the first time, no one was closing in on us, no one was tearing us apart. We had found our way back to each other. We were finally free to be.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” he growled, tossing me on my back. “Because now, I have to do this.” He filled me in one hard, powerful thrust. My body protested, but I was so lubed up, so hungry for him, that the pain gave way to a hot, aching fullness.
“There’s been no one here.” He knew. He fucking knew. He picked up the tempo, carrying me with him. “I’ve missed this. I’ve missed you. So fucking much.” His breath was hot and labored.
It started at the base of my spine, electric tendrils reaching out from my pelvis, building, building, to a white-hot explosion that buzzed through me in waves of sharp ecstasy. I clutched Damian as it rolled through me and felt him stiffen as it hit him. Our bodies were momentarily fused, the same current flowing through both of us. I held on as Damian convulsed into me.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo

Review: Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Flint Hopkins
Heroine: Ellen Rodgers
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 27, 2018
Started On: December 26, 2020
Finished On: January 02, 2021

Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann is the kind of romance that reaffirms the romance reader’s belief in the genre amidst too many lackluster reads pushing different agendas that are the popular norm of the times we live in. It is the kind of story that echoes in your heart long after you are done, memories of how you felt when you were deeply engrossed in the story, the kind you cherish months and years later, the reason why it lands in your favorites folder, to be revisited somewhere down the line.

32 year old Ellen Rodgers is a music therapist who signs a new lease for an office space, and her landlord turns out to be Flint Hopkins, who is a lawyer, who requires absolute silence to get his work done. From the get go, sparks fly between the two, reluctant as Flint maybe to acknowledge the fact. He wants to cancel the lease and get back his peace of mind, not just from the music or the “noise” that comes from his tenant’s floor, but from the way Ellen has a habit of ruffling his feathers, touching him, and making him want, testing his very resolve.

Ellen is more stubborn than Flint gives her credit for, and things become “messier” when Flint’s son Harrison finds an affinity with none other than Flint’s enemy number one. In the end, every single second spent in each other’s company drives them inexorably closer to that tipping point from which there is no turning back. But it is no smooth sailing for these two when each carries enough baggage and heartache to last them a lifetime. It takes a lot from both of them to find equal footing on their journey towards happily ever after and every excruciating minute I would say, was worth it.

I loved, loved, loved my first book by Jewel E. Ann to pieces. This book had everything going for it; main protagonists who are both lovable in all the ways that matter. Flint *fans self*, is the kind of hero that makes readers swoon with effortless ease. He steps into the story and your eyes just start shooting hearts all over the page. He has the kind of confidence that turns heads, the looks to go with it, and a demeanor that may keep most at bay, but not Ellen.

I loved the broken pieces within Flint that needed healing. He needed to forgive himself more than anything else, the guilt that keeps eating him from inside out being the biggest factor that keeps him from moving on, ten years since the fateful event of his wife’s death. He is a man grieving and at the same time stuck in a moment in the past, and he has no intention of budging from where he is for anyone.

Ellen is the antithesis to what Flint is in many ways, but the sorrow that fills every crevice of her broken heart is no less significance. A failed marriage has left its mark deeply ingrained, and she cannot help but want Flint with everything she is, even when she should know better. Touching Flint is Ellen’s way of reaffirming the essential bits and pieces to her, and Flint certainly does not make it easy when every delectable inch of his is laid bare for her taking.

I also loved the secondary characters in the novel that gave the story the wholesome edge it needed from at times the darkness that loomed in the story. There is so much angst interwoven that it sometimes felt like there was a football field lodged in my throat – but I reveled in it, loved it, and craved the feelings that were coursing through me with every fiber of my existence. There was guilt and yearning. There were broken hearts and fractured souls. But amidst it all, there was love and healing that went hand in hand which made this story stand out!

Recommended for fans of unforgettable romances featuring heroes that makes your hearts beat just a tad faster and heroines who make you smile through happy tears!

Final Verdict: Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann takes the reader on an incredible journey that demands nothing less than total surrender. There is nary a word nor character that I would change in this book!

Favorite Quotes

I jerk the button and zipper to his jeans, humming against his mouth. He shoves my shirt off my shoulders and yanks my bra down, palming my breasts as my hand slides down the inside of his briefs.
A low growl vibrates his chest. When was the last time I unraveled a guy with the touch of my hand? I don’t remember and that’s just sad.

“Let’s go.” She slides out of the booth.
I toss cash onto the table and follow her out the door, feeling guilty for the lack of any conversation over the past hour. “I’m sorry for not saying much—”
She whips around and grabs the lapels to my jacket, pulling me around the corner to the alley. She kisses me. Her hands take mine, and she guides them to her waist. “Touch me,” she whispers over my mouth.
“Where?” I take a step forward until her back presses to the side of the brick building.
“Anywhere …” Her breath is labored and desperate as she licks and sucks the skin between my ear and the collar of my jacket. “Everywhere … just … touch me.”

If I lean in three inches, our lips will meet. I like his lips, and the way he’s looking at mine leads me to believe the feeling is mutual.
“Thank you for bringing him home.”
He smells like herbs, like I imagine a chef might smell. I’m hungry. I’d settle for him, but I don’t think he’s on the menu tonight. I don’t know if he’ll ever be on the menu. He’s that dessert on the dessert tray that no one ever gets to eat because it’s just a display.

“Flint …”
“Shhh …” I nip at the skin right below the perfect curve of her ass, warning her to be quiet. She smells like the forbidden and tastes like my newest addiction. My hands work her skirt up her torso and over her head. With a firm yank it releases her arms, taking her shirt with it. I discard them behind me as well.
She turns. I take a step up, putting my face level with her perky tits. Glancing up to meet her drunken gaze and parted lips, I grin, unfastening her bra and tossing it over my shoulder.
Fucking perfect.

“I may have planned on sex … but I sure as hell never planned on you.” I ease her to her feet, and she sits on the bed, unfastening my pants with way more patience than I have at the moment. My hands take over, discarding the rest of our clothes before claiming her mouth again, pressing my body against the soft, warm curves of hers.
She tastes like forgiveness and feels like freedom. And she sounds like a prayer, humming against my mouth—not a moan, an actual tune that I don’t recognize.

I hop off the counter and take the pan to the drawer under my stove top. “Ouch!” I drop the pan in the drawer with a clunk and straighten my back, my hand reaching for the back of my leg, just below my butt cheek. There’s a stinging welt.
Flint holds the end of the twisted damp towel in his hand like a whip.
“Oh my gosh! Did you seriously just whip me with a towel?” I say in a loud whisper. “There’s a welt. You marked me.”
“Your skirt is too short. When you bent over to put that pan in the drawer, I could see black lace.”
“So you whipped me?”
He stalks toward me until I’m forced to crane my neck to maintain eye contact. “No,” he whispers. “I whipped you because you’re a fucking tease.”

“Which finger or fingers of yours should I be jealous of tonight?” he says in a low, deep voice.
I hide my gasp, but it’s there. Apparently shockingly crude remarks are the theme of the night. I can play this game. Making a quick glance over my shoulder for young ears coming, I turn back and hold up my index and middle finger. “These two up front…” I add my ring finger “…this one in the back.”
And there it is … Flint Hopkins expressionless and speechless. It’s an oddly beautiful sight.

For the rest of the night we pay homage to each other—physically, emotionally, spiritually. I refuse to stop until my mouth and hands have touched him everywhere and his have possessed every inch of me. I memorize the look he gets at the exact moment he loses himself to me. His back arches. My hand splays over his taut stomach muscles; my fingers curl into his tight flesh like I’m claiming him—Every. Single. Piece.
It’s sensual.
It’s vulnerable.
It’s beautiful.
It’s mine. I want that look to be mine and only mine forever.

“Ms. Rodgers.” He takes two short steps before the door closes behind him and he pins me to the wall.
We turn into a flurry of hands ripping at clothes, deep kisses, playful bites, and soft moans.
Between labored breaths, I stab my hands through his hair as he licks and bites his way down my neck. “You didn’t bring lunch, did you?”
“Elle …” He hums in pleasure as his lips feather across the swell of my breasts. “You are lunch.” Flint drops to his knees, taking my leggings and panties down with him.
My head thumps against the wall as my eyes roll back into my head.

Alex steps toward me, giving me that look of adoration that he used to give me, as he lifts his arm up, touching my cheek with his cold, prosthetic fingers.
I stiffen as Flint’s hand wraps around Alex’s forearm, pulling it away from my face. “But just to be clear … if any man were going to put something inside of Ellen and lay claim to her … it would be me.”
Just to be clear … I just fell in love with Flint Hopkins again.

“I haven’t been with anyone but you since the day you walked into my life.” I lift her up onto the vanity.
“Flint—”
“Shhh …” I kiss her while wedging myself between her legs.
She sucks in a quick breath as I push into her. My hand finds her breast as I find a rhythm.
“Race you to the finish,” I whisper in her ear.
Elle’s lips press to my neck, pulling into a grin. I show her how much I love her. How much I’ve missed her. How much I crave every inch of her. And then I beat her to the finish, pulling her across the line just after me.

“Crying’s not necessary—oh, Elle.” He pulls me in for a hug as I blink out the first round of tears and sob at the same time.
I knew it would hit me hard when it came time to say the words.
“There’s s-so m-much I want to s-say.”
He hugs me tightly, kissing my forehead. “Then say it.”
I shake my head, fighting back more sobs. “It’s st-stupid.”
“It’s not stupid. Just say it.”
I take a few seconds to reel in the burst of emotions so I can get all the words out before falling apart again. “I love you, so don’t die in a plane crash. Don’t change your mind. Don’t sleep with another woman. Don’t think about me getting fat or getting stretch marks. Don’t ruin your relationship with Harry to be with me. But be with me. Gah! I know that sounds impossible. But …”
He kisses me. And kisses me. And kisses me until I could faint. “Heaven and Earth,” he whispers over my tear-stained face.

He slides down my leggings and panties. I suck in a breath as a shiver jolts up the entire length of my body from his fingertips ghosting along the back of my bare legs.
His touch has had this effect on me since the first time his hand touched mine. At the time I thought it was this craving for any touch after feeling starved of that kind of affection for so long. I was wrong.
It’s Flint.
It’s his touch.
It’s me.
It’s how he reacts to my touch.
It’s us.

“Flint …” I curl my fingers into his back as this builds into something stronger and erratic. Our breaths quicken.
“Elle …” His grip on my hips tightens, and he slams me onto him as his hips rock up into me. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”
Our mouths crash together again seconds before we fall apart. I love being in Flint’s world. It’s tragic. It’s complicated. It’s filled with obstacles. But …
It’s passionate.
It’s addictive.
It’s the deepest kind of love.
It’s everything.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: In the Deep by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake
Hero: NA
Heroine: NA
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: October 27, 2020
Started On: November 21, 2020
Finished On: November 25, 2020

Loreth Anne White’s books are sometimes quite hard to review because she is so good at what she does; taking readers on a mind-twisting, stomach churning, nail biting journey that is difficult to put into words once you are done. In the Deep fits this category and takes readers into the life of the Hartley Heiress, Ellie Tyler, whose marriage and life falls apart with the tragic death of her daughter.

While her husband moves on and starts a new life, Ellie is stuck in a rut, trying to erase the feelings of guilt and inadequacy in booze and drugs, until she decides to get her act together. That is when she meets property developer Martin Cresswell-Smith, who basically sweeps her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship that leaves her reeling and a little bit stunned, and the marriage that follows, along with following her husband to Jarrawarra Bay, located in New South Wales on the south coast of Australia to start anew; things should have been fun and exciting but reality turns out to be anything but.

From that point forward, things start heading downhill once again, as Ellie finds herself struggling with the onslaught of rapid changes Martin undergoes propelling her into the arms of darkness. When Martin turns up dead, Ellie of course becomes the number one suspect in the eyes of Senior Constable Laurel “Lozza” Bianchi, not a inconceivable when Ellie expresses relief at the news of the demise of her husband.

When the big reveal happened as the story escalated and Loreth takes us back and forth the past and the present, I was blown away, even though I did have my spidey sense going on alert when this particular character came to light. After all, books like In the Deep tends to make you suspicious of every single character you come across, and even goes as far as to make you doubtful of your own motives behind your feelings of bias perhaps, towards a particular character. But alas, nothing is ever so simple when it comes to Loreth’s writing and that is where her ingenuity lies.

Ellie’s character is one that makes you sympathize and empathize with her, not just because of the tragic events of her past. But you can see how Ellie is a woman starved for warmth and love, and that her father compensates for the lack by throwing money at the problem than giving her the time and affection she rightfully deserves. At the same time, I was left feeling uneasy by who Ellie is.

The way the lead detective voices out her observations towards the end echoed my sentiments on the character that Ellie is. She is a victim, yes. The altogether too perfect a victim perhaps. There is an edge to her that leaves you feeling unsettled, as if you have been cheated in some ways or manipulated with a subtlety that only bothers you at a subconscious level.

That is how good Loreth is with characterization, which is why I ended up having a deep intellectual discussion with a colleague of mine about her character having finished the story. I talked my colleague’s ear off, expressed my fears and doubts when it came to Ellie’s character, and also ended up professing my undying fascination with Loreth’s work. Even though I finished reading this book last November and just got around to writing the review, I do not think I will ever fully be able to reconcile with what happened in the story, mainly centered around the way Ellie’s character morphs and changes throughout.

I spent many a restless night while I was reading this book, disturbed by dreams of a subconscious that wouldn’t let me dream in peace. What is more sinister than a perpetrator who actually shows their true colors when they lose out on furthering their agenda, is the one who is a chameleon of sorts that is nuanced in the art of subtleties. I found that quite insidious and more menacing.

Needless to say, In the Deep is a novel that is highly readable and enjoyable, recommended for those who love a good suspense novel. Loreth’s prowess is unbeatable!

Final Verdict: Loreth does it again, with masterful writing that keeps the reader on the edge, guessing, but to no avail. Taut and suspenseful, this will linger on in the subconscious for a long time to come.

Favorite Quotes

Women are the harshest critics of each other. I suspect this is because the flaws we see in other women are flaws we hate to acknowledge in ourselves. Being critical, lashing out at other females, is a way of attacking those traits within ourselves that we detest most.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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: Becoming His Mistress by A. E. Murphy

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Ezra Conti
Heroine: Rose Sinclair
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 11, 2019
Started On: July 19, 2020
Finished On: July 25, 2020

Becoming His Mistress by A. E. Murphy is one of those books that hits every single spot when it comes to my craving for a wholesome romance reading experience. Ms. Murphy takes on a trope that few authors dare write because it would not be well received in the romance community. Most of us would like to ignore the romances featuring cheating and/or adultery themes – some go as far as to say that books which take on this would be a definite no for them. However, I am someone who loves it when authors push those boundaries and give us books that are realistic and provide for an immersive experience in the process. Becoming His Mistress was definitely all that and more.

When 23 year old Rose Sinclair chooses to work for 37 year old Ezra Conti, it is because she believes that she can make a difference. That she brings that quality which makes her the perfect personal assistant. Ezra who is happily married and has a daughter is known as someone who has eyes only for his wife. Even as women attempt to get him to notice them, he is a man who is promised to his one and only and that is how he lives his life. Rose knows that she would have no such problems when it comes to Ezra because he is not her type, and married men would never be her thing.

Ezra is unconvinced that Rose would be the best fit for him, until she convinces him to give her a chance. Six months later, their arrangement is one that works in every single sense. While Rose starts to see Ezra in a whole new light she knows that nothing would come of it and she has no intention of following whatever nonsensical feelings that she has for him every now and then. Furthermore, Ezra has never behaved in an untoward fashion and she is content to be part of his life as things stand, that is until with one searing kiss from Ezra one night, everything changes and leaves them both at an impasse on how to go from there.

While Rose maybe strong enough to walk away from the first kiss, she is not strong enough to withstand the continued onslaught on her senses from the man that Ezra is. Against her best intentions, she gives in, and thus begins the headiest couple of weeks of her life, until the consequences of their actions comes calling. There are no easy answers to the problems that Ezra and Rosie face, and while Rosie loves Ezra wholeheartedly, she loves herself enough to understand that she should not come second to anyone, not even for the love of her life. There is a lot of heartache and pain that these two go through before the ultimate happily ever after.

I am so glad that I stumbled across this book because this was unlike anythingI have read in recent times. Love is not always found in the most convenient of places. Those who have fallen for and given their hearts to people who were not in a place to return that love or maybe act on it would understand this more than those who have never faced such temptation in life. Love is often found where you least look for it and expect it to be found. That is I guess ultimately the best and worst thing about life. The unexpectedness of love, how your feelings can suddenly change towards someone you may have never considered as a potential lover or life partner; all of these factor in when it comes to Becoming His Mistress.

Falling in love with a married man is not something any woman would want to for themselves. And I believe this would be the same the other way around. No woman (except for polyamorous couples I suppose), likes being the third wheel in a relationship; being the other woman. But it happens, a lot more often than we would like to admit. There are many reasons behind it as well, but this is not the time and place to explore the whys and hows. While cheating may never be condoned, it still speaks of the vulnerability of us as humans. The fragility of our emotions. That inherent need in us to feel, belong, and be desired. None of those have easy explanations. That is partly why perhaps this book spoke to me on so many levels as it did with many readers.

I believe that I enjoyed this novel so much because Ms. Murphy did not try to provide miraculous solutions to the challenges that came Ezra and Rosie’s way. The story was realistic even towards the very end, with frank discussions and even fights that stemmed from emotions that could not be smothered just because one may want to cease feeling a certain way. Ezra’s guilt which arose from having fallen in love with another woman plays a huge role in the story, perhaps one reason why the love between Ezra and Rosie did not feel cheap and frivolous in the end. The fact that Ms. Murphy pulled this off without vilifying anyone, that in itself I think is amazing!

Recommended for open minded readers who love sexy, tender, and endearing romances. Thank you Ms. Murphy, for being bold enough to write this.

Final Verdict: Becoming His Mistress is a one of a kind read; there are no words that can adequately describe the feelings that Ms. Murphy manages to invoke with this phenomenal story as it unfolds.

Favorite Quotes

His gray eyes linger on mine and I jump when he pushes a strand of my black hair behind my ear, a tender touch, so sweet and soft. It leaves a burning trail across my skin. “You could never look stupid.”
“I can see every fleck of color in your eyes,” I breathe, leaning closer and trying to count the shards of darker gray that cut through the ring of lighter gray.
He holds his breath and nibbles slightly on his lower lip as I stare into his eyes like a weirdo.
“What are you doing?” he asks, and I put my finger to his soft lips. He pulls it away and absentmindedly kisses the palm. “Wait… are you counting?”
I inhale sharply and immediately stop. “No. Not at all. I don’t count. Who does that?”
“You were counting.”
“Was not.”
“Was too.”
“I wasn’t.” I so was.

“I’m sorry I didn’t kiss you back,” I say quietly, and he pushes my hair back.
“I’m sorry I kissed you at all,” he replies just as quietly, and I know in my heart he means because of how he upset me and not because he didn’t want to kiss me. The look in his eyes is showing me that he still does. I wonder if the look in mine is begging him to kiss me again. I might not say no this time. “Try to sleep.”
I press my forehead to his cheek and close my eyes on his command. He tickles my arm and shoulder as I concentrate on the beating of his heart.
It lulls me to sleep, my forbidden lullaby.

“Please don’t, there are only so many times I can say no,” I whisper.
“Before what?” His own voice is intensely quiet, his eyes on my mouth. “Before what, Rose?”
My breath catches in my throat. “Before I say yes.”
He pulls my face to his, meeting me in the middle and our bodies and lips collide.
I squeak through my closed mouth, startled by the sudden assault, but he pushes me against the door and devours my mouth. His tongue tastes my own when I gasp, and I can’t pull away. My brain is a mass of the desire he projected on me and my body is pulsing with it.

His hands drag across my curves, scraping around my back and hips, grasping at my flesh and holding me tight so I can’t escape.
I’m wet. So damn wet.
He groans again, pressing his erection into my navel while still kissing me, claiming me like I never have been before.
I’ve never felt so out of control before.
When he clicks the lock on the handle of the door all bets are off and I lose all sense of myself. I lose all sense of time and what I came here to say to begin with.
I forget his life and mine. I forget my morals and his. All I can think about is having him in a way I’ve been telling myself I don’t want him for far too long.

He looks up at me again, and while kissing me softly and tenderly, he reaches for my hair, unwinding the knot so it spills down my back in a thick wave. I groan when he teases it free and starts to remove my shirt until it’s on the floor by his.
I lean back on my hands, feeling thoroughly worshipped when he dives and kisses my ribs, hands looking for the zip of my skirt but losing that battle because of how scrunched it is.
I stand and find it at the back, undoing it and letting it fall to my ankles.
There’s no going back now.
I’ve never wanted anything more than I want this.
I stand in front of him in lacy white underwear and stockings attached to a garter belt.
“Fuck,” he breathes, looking down at me, taking time to explore my flesh with his hands. I’ve never felt sexier and more beautiful than I do right now, seeing it mirrored in his eyes. “Keep your heels on.”

Pulling me to the edge of the desk, he lines himself up with me perfectly as my fingers find my clit and start to roll it in fast circles.
“No,” he whispers, pulling my hand away and replacing it with his thumb. “You touch yourself when you’re alone and thinking of me. When you’re with me, it’s my job to touch you and get you off.”
Oh my God.
He starts to sink inside and groans. I ache from his width, but it feels so good.
His thumb rolls my clit, using my own juices to make it slick.
He watches himself vanish into my body. I’ve never felt more connected to somebody than I do now.

“Kiss me,” I beg, my voice hoarse and wanting.
He obliges, fucking my mouth with his tongue as I battle to stay in control of my body.
“Not yet,” I breathe, feeling that familiar burning… except this feels more like a tsunami of crackling lava in my womb. My body feels weightless as he hammers into me, holding my body tight to him now. His thumb is no longer teasing my clit, yet I feel the tingles still, building and spiraling. There’s just something about close sex, having a body against yours as he fills you up perfectly.
I throw my head back with a moan so loud he yanks me back to his mouth and kisses me until it passes. It takes forever and my body shudders with each powerful wave of my orgasm.

“We’re not doing anything,” he replies, his tone hushed too. The way his breath fans across my sensitive flesh has me gripping the counter for support. “Nothing at all.”
His solid length presses against my ass, trapped by the fabric of his boxers. He tugs them down and I feel his skin against mine.
“Nothing,” he grits as I close my legs around it, squeezing it between the apex of my thighs.
He starts thrusting, finding grip between my pussy lips. My wetness makes him slide back and forth with ease, so he removes his hand and massages my breasts instead. He hits my clit every time and I almost scream with the ecstasy of it.
Why does sex feel this good with him? Why do we connect like this?

“Look at me.”
My eyes open slowly and find his in the mirror. His large hands massage my swaying breasts and pinch my nipples.
“What are we doing?” he asks me breathlessly, his eyes dangerous, his lips terse.
“Nothing,” I reply, crying out when a wave of pleasure hits me. I want to come so hard.
He cups my throat and pulls me back against his body. It’s a good thing my balance isn’t terrible, though to be honest he’s doing most of the work, including holding me steady.
“Exactly. Nothing.”

“Tits,” he croaks, getting closer to the edge every second. “I want to come on your gorgeous fucking tits.”
“You sure? I was totally gonna let you come in my mouth.”
His eyes fly down to mine, wide and full of longing. I don’t get a chance to take a breath before he’s pushing past my lips again and coming on my tongue with an animalistic growl. I take him all, every ounce of him, salty, sweet, different. But that’s just him, he’s different.

I kiss him deep and slow as I raise my hips and guide his cock to my entrance.
“To oblivion, hmm?” he asks, smiling until I slowly sink onto him, taking as much of him as I can. His smile vanishes at this point only to be replaced with such an intense look of complete wonder and awe. “Nobody has ever felt like you.”
I rock my hips, kissing his neck and biting his ear as his hands explore and rub every inch of my body that he can reach.
I don’t take my time because we don’t have time. I fuck him faster than I ever have, feeling it build in my womb.
We come, me first and then him, as always. He always waits until I’m done before he lets himself get there. One of the many things I adore about him.

He turns suddenly, sending water crashing over the bath and onto the tiles. His damp lips from the steam of the hot water touch mine and I almost slip under when he hooks a hand around my back and lifts me to give him easier access to my sex.
I gasp when he thrusts inside. My hands grip whatever is available to keep me out of the water. He pulls out just as suddenly so I can turn over and I rest my arms on the sloped back of the bath as he powers into me from behind. Every thrust sends more water out of the bath. He becomes feral, losing control in a way he never has before, driving into me like an animal and not like a man.

“I want you forever. I want to fuck you every single day. I want to taste your sweet lips. I want to fill your womb with my seed and create a life tied to both of us.” He thrusts with each statement, grinding his pelvis against my clit, kissing my neck and whispers the words against my skin. “You’re everything I ever want and need.”
“I love you,” I breathe. “I want to be the only woman you ever need.”
“You are.”
“Then fuck me, prove it, mark me.” I bite into his neck and suck so hard I just know there’s going to be a ring of red there when I lift my head. He cries out and pummels me with his hips, fucking me so furiously the door bangs with each thrust.

I cling to him, claw at him, grip him as I kiss him, devouring him until my lips feel sore but then I just press harder.
There’s a fire between us that flows through us both, burning for each other as we tear at clothes until there’s nothing separating us but our will. Mine is fighting for the winning team, he holds back until I hop up on the table and part my thighs. When he eases into me, all bets are off and he fucks me as hard as he did in his office that first time.
We both moan, groan, hiss, grasp, sigh…
It’s incredible as always.

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