Requested ARC Review: Fatal Hearts by Norah Wilson

Format: E-bookfatalhearts
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Boyd McBride
Heroine: Hayden Walsh
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 19, 2014
Started On: August 26, 2014
Finished On: September 4, 2014

Boyd McBride turns up in Fredericton to solve the mystery behind the sudden death of his twin Josh who had been pursuing the truth behind their adoption years ago, which seemed to have been carried out seemingly under the most shadiest of circumstances. Boyd doesn’t accept that Josh died of natural causes like everyone else is inclined to believe. Digging into the everyday life that Josh had led brings Boyd up close and personal with Dr. Hayden Walsh, Josh’s best friend.

Given that they were identical twins, Hayden would never have thought that she would respond to Boyd McBride on an intrinsic level that she had never responded to when it had come to Josh. Though Hayden tries to hide behind her walls of self preservation, she has a hard time sticking to her guns when it comes to Boyd and the grief that they share over Josh whom they both had loved so much. As Boyd starts digging and begins to uncover clues that would lead him to the eventual truth, Hayden realizes that there is more to the no strings attached affair that she and Boyd embarks on after giving into the tumultuous desire between them.

Norah Wilson is an author that has always worked for me. Her books always have a lot of heart, depth and emotion, not to mention the heart thumping variety of heroes that you can never get enough of. Her books like The Mezeretti Effect and Lauren’s Eyes, later published under Montlake as Every Breathe She Takes testifies towards the immense amount of talent she has. And it pains me to say that Fatal Hearts didn’t do it for me.

At first, when Boyd walked into the book with his brood and heart stopping good looks, well you can imagine what I would have gone through. But as the story progressed, I felt that Boyd didn’t live up to his potential, perhaps the reason being the narrative was a bit too dry and procedural in the story. I love books that go into depth with the crime solving aspect but I felt that this book could’ve removed a 100 plus pages and still would’ve managed to tell the same story.

I don’t like writing reviews that sound negative, but as a reviewer it is my duty to be honest about how I feel about a book. I believe with my whole heart that Fatal Hearts had the ingredients that would’ve made a helluva romantic suspense. Boyd could’ve turned into the hero that could’ve made me weep for thousands of reasons and Hayden though I did love her as she was, I felt she too could’ve shined just a tad more. While the mystery aspect was predictable, that still gave the story a bit of an edge that kept the pages turning.

Having felt all out of sorts after reading Fatal Hearts, I did look up a couple of reviews on Goodreads to see how other readers have felt. Surprisingly, a lot of them have given Fatal Hearts 5 stars though a couple of readers like myself have stated feeling the same way I felt when I read the story. In the end I would have to say that it was my love for Norah as an author and the warm, beautiful person behind the name I’d gotten to know through social media, is the reason I gave my every effort to finish the book.

Honestly, if this is where you aim to sample Norah Wilson, I would caution you to stop right there. Pick up any other book, preferably either The Mezeretti Effect or Every Breath She Takes. Those are the stories that would blow you away and make you fall in love with Norah’s ability to spin a wondrous tale that entertains and excites and that’s what you should be reading.

Final Verdict: For those who love reading procedural romantic suspense.

Favorite Quotes

There was the slightest hesitation on his part, long enough for her to wonder if she’d made a horrible mistake. Before she could retreat, he lifted his hands to her head, holding her in place as his mouth crashed down onto hers.
The thrill that forked through her was almost painful, leaving her nerve endings feeling singed. Her heart thumped so hard, she could feel her pulse throbbing in her fingertips.

“Touch me,” she commanded.
He didn’t need any more encouragement. Or a road map. He released her hair and dropped that hand to clasp one of her breasts. His thumb found the stiffened peak through the thin fabric of her bra and T-shirt, and she gasped softly.
Then his lips were on hers again, as though he wanted to take the sound into him.

She moved with him, meeting his every thrust. He felt the tension rising in her as the tempo increased. Going down on one elbow, he reached between them to part her folds wider, moving higher to hopefully give her more friction. That tipped her over the edge she’d been striving for. Her words were broken, sobbed out of her, as her orgasm rose, peaked, and rolled over her. It was all he could do to hold on and let her ride it out before his own need took over.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Requested ARC Review: Convicted by Dee Tenorio

Format: E-bookconvicted
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Entangled: Ignite
Hero: Cade Evigan
Heroine: Katrina Killian
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 18, 2014
Started On: August 13, 2014
Finished On: August 26, 2014

Convicted was first published as part of the anthology Undercover Lovers back in 2010. Story takes place in Marketta, California where DEA Agent Katrina Killian has been working undercover in the motorcycle club Wheels of Pain when the newbie Sheriff’s Deputy Cade Evigan comes into the picture and stirs things up in more ways than one.

Katrina is determined to get her job done and get it done right, no matter how mouth-wateringly tempting the tall, broody and sinfully good looking Sheriff’s Deputy might be. However, Katrina finds out the hard way that when it comes to Cade, even his don’t-get-close-to-me tough vibe is enough to keep her away, more possibly it acts as the magnet that draws her nearer to him, even if it means earning his well founded wrath when he finds out her true reasons for insinuating herself into his life.

Convicted when it was a short novella was explosive in the way the story unfolded, with the story and the characters practically leaping out of the pages to lay claim on your heart. The lengthier version however is a bit slow on the uptake though Cade and Katrina turned out to be as interesting. Katrina and Cade both slowly grows on you until you can’t help but root for them. The passion between them singes through but sometimes I felt that the lengthier version was a bit hard to follow with events taking place over a span of months.

Convicted is a novel for those who love a sassy heroine because Dee has done a splendid job out of creating Katrina. She has the sort of acerbic humor that I dig and I couldn’t help but love her gutsy self to bits. Cade is a hero who’d make your heart melt, but I felt that the story didn’t focus as much on Cade as it did on Katrina and her life that is embroiled with that of the criminal elements that Katrina’s small town is embroiled in. I’d have loved knowing more of Cade and see him work through his issues as an individual and together with Katrina as they proceeded in their non-relationship relationship.

Even with all the minor issues that I had with the story, Convicted still managed to offer a good read which I enjoyed as it unfolded. Recommended for fans of Dee Tenorio and fans of sassy heroines and broody heroes. The one thing that I’d love to read now would be Rick and Shana’s story. After all they’ve been through, they both definitely deserve a happy ending!

Favorite Quotes

Just when he was about to open his mouth—and say what, exactly?—she faced him with a thoughtful frown. “What do you think of donuts?”
That was when it finally dawned on him.
It didn’t matter what group he put her in or what phenomenally stupid thing he said to her.
He wasn’t getting rid of her.

Not wanting him to get his wits now that she’d firmly discombobulated him, she made the only move she had left. Lifting her face to his, she closed the gap and kissed him.
At first there was nothing. Those firm lips might have been steel against hers. And then she licked him, running her tongue over the seam. Surprise had him parting for her, and she finally tasted the heat of the man himself. She moaned at the flavor, her hunger for him surging in an instant. He must have felt the same because everything changed.

“Just for tonight,” she repeated, rising to press her lips to his jaw, slowly stroking him between their bodies. “Just us. Nothing else.” She kissed the underside of his chin, adding little nips of her teeth along his neck. He growled, a low, sexy sound that made her smile against his skin. “Come on, Cade. Make me respect you in the morning.”
She lay back as he tilted a sideways glance at her, then the most unexpected thing happened. He smiled. The white of his teeth gleamed and dear God, the man had dimples. She shuddered in a breath, losing her rhythm below.

They crashed down over the hood, mouths fused, struggling to get impossibly closer. She shoved at his coat, he yanked her up higher onto the car. When she hissed at the heated metal beneath her, he helped her get the jacket off so he could shove it beneath her.
They clung roughly, pulling at each other, tugging at clothes. Her fingers speared into his hair, demanding even as a feminine growl of pleasure emanated from her throat. Like a purr…

Before she could complain about who was pushing whom, his body pinned her to the car and his hand came around her waist, plucking at the button on her jeans. Her zipper came down with a jerk and then his hand snaked in under her panties to the heart of her.
She almost came right then.

He glided into her tight channel. There was no pain, she was too wet for that. Only fulfillment as her muscles welcomed him and grasped him tight so he’d never leave again.

He crashed into her, giving her no time between one wave of pleasure and the next. The wind on her face disappeared. The sun on her skin, the unforgiving jut of the fender. None of it existed. He powered into her, holding her in place for his possession. All she felt was him. Taking her over.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” She let him go, her hands fumbling between her breasts for half a second before the straining blue material popped open and she peeled it away.
His brain stopped short.
Full, round globes, just the right size for his hands, each one topped by pale pink tips, completely derailed his thought processes.
“Now that we have that settled,” she growled, pulling the fabric closed again and reaching for the shirt he’d dropped in his haste to reach for her. “Gimme the goddamn shirt.”
Damn it, his hands were empty, his fucking sweatpants were strangling him, and those fabulous breasts were covered under the folds of his own shirt. He glared at her. “That was cruel.”
She smirked as she tightened her hold on the crisp cotton. “My tits, my rules.”

His hands held her legs open while his hot tongue lapped at her entrance, working slowly up to her clit. Within seconds he wrapped his lips around it and sucked.
She may have screamed.
He definitely growled.

His urgency didn’t fade, but for an endless moment, he could only stare at her. Passion-stained cheeks, lips still wet from sucking him, her hair falling wildly around her shoulders… She might be battered, but she was the most beautiful thing in the world and for this second, this single breath in time, she was his.

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

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Requested ARC Review: The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera

Format: E-bookthedeepestocean
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden, #2
Publisher: Samhain Publishers
Hero: Darok Juell
Heroine: Yerena Fin Caller
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Started On: May 19, 2014
Finished On: July 2, 2014

The Deepest Ocean by Marian Perera is the second book in her Eden series, and what a book this turned out to be. For someone like myself who doesn’t read much of fantasy novels, to be drawn into the world that Marian creates tells a story in itself. I am quite selective in the authors that I read when it comes to fantasy romances, perhaps because my imagination falls short of what the author is actually trying to convey with the worlds they create. But with Marian’s illustrious words, lets just say that there was a moment or two where I questioned myself on why I do not read more of the genre.

Darok Juell is the captain of the warship Daystrider who is instructed by the Commander of the Guardian Fleet of Denalay to take on board a woman whose identity remains a secret even to him until Yerena Fin Caller turns up at his ship right before it is supposed to depart. Darok finds himself fascinated by the Seawatch operative who informs him that her only duty is to guide and guard the ship in its journey. The tattoo that completely surrounds Yerena’s left eye tells a story in itself, a direct contrast to her otherwise nondescript nature and appearance.

Yerena is considered a weapon of Denalay, one of the countless men and women trained to serve the Unity the whole of their lives. Reared from a very tender age to become the weapon she is, Yerena commands a great white shark that is the closest to anything the she considers as hers. Her “unconventional” bond to the shark had gotten her many a thrashing, the result of which is the cold, aloof and controlled operative that is presented to the rest of the world.

The mission ahead is a perilous one, the impulsive and at times brash Darok paired with a Seawatch operative that is the furthest thing from brainish. Darok enlists Yerena’s help in crossing the Strait of Mists into the Iron Ocean in order to outrun the Turean pirate ships whose one sole mission is to destroy the Daystrider before it reaches shore. Yerena hides one aspect of her mission from Darok even though he makes Yerena question all the rules by which she has lived her entire life. Darok entices Yerena into giving herself into his caresses, kisses and  touches powerful enough to move her into giving him everything she has to give. And in the midst of it all rages a battle of megaly proportions that seems to challenge the combined experience and talent of Yerena and Darok, delivering a tale that stays with you long after you are done.

Having read Marian’s first book, I was surprised and delighted with the thread of sensuality that is interwoven into the fabric of the story. Yerena being seduced by Darok and the tables being turned added that sensual edge to the story which truly made The Deepest Ocean stand out when compared to Before the Storm, the first book in the series. With a few surprises up her sleeve, Marian definitely keeps the reader guessing, the pages turning and most of all the action almost going on nonstop in this tale that totally blew me away! Definitely and most highly recommended for lovers of the fantasy genre.

Final Verdict: Epic storytelling from start to finish. Marian is a voice not to be missed in this genre!

Favorite Quotes

For a moment she said nothing, but then her lips twitched. “No one’s compared me to a crab before.”
Darok grinned. “If it helps, I think you’re a lot prettier than most crabs.”
She laughed, and Darok drew his breath in. He hadn’t known until then how the warmth and lightness of laughter could change her face. The reflections of fire danced in her eyes, and the relaxation of her usual control made her mouth so different, lovely and sensually shaped. He only realized he had stepped forward when her lips parted in surprise, and he only knew he was holding her when he felt the softness of clean linen and the taut muscles of her arm beneath his hand. But he knew exactly what he was doing when he bent his head and covered her half-opened mouth with his own.

Darok’s senses were swimming when he lifted his head with an effort and looked down at her face. Her lips were full and moist, still open as she caught her breath, and he hardened at the sight. Wrapping an arm around her waist, he pulled her against him and bent to kiss the pulse pounding in her throat.
“Darok—” The word was a gasp, and he wanted to hear it again, wanted to hear it as he drove into her. He bit her throat just hard enough to wring a moan from her, then gently licked the mark he had made and blew on it. Yerena’s body swayed, her knees buckling, and Darok pushed her up against the wall as he lifted his head to kiss her again.

“Yerena.”
His voice was low and deep, turning the consonants of her name into a purr, and it was the only warning she had before his arm went around her waist, pulling her against him. His fingers were splayed against her hip, but his other hand cupped her face, lifting it. Yerena felt the warmth of his breath on her lips and held on to him for support as her eyes closed involuntarily.

She licked the pad of her thumb and rubbed his nipple. His eyes opened at once, and her smile was no longer secret as she reached down. She wrapped her hand around the throbbing length of his shaft, and he groaned.
“This is how much I want you,” she said, and rose up on her knees just enough to guide him into her.
The first touch of iron heat against the wet folds of her sex made her jolt as if the ship had struck a sandbank, but she recovered and began to impale herself slowly. She wanted him in her, wanted them joined so deeply that nothing would be able to tear them apart…at least for that night.

Darok released her and reached for her braid, which had fallen over her shoulder. The ribbon tying the end came off, and he drew his fingers through the mass of her hair, letting it fan over her shoulders and fall across her breasts.
“You’re beautiful, Yerena.” His voice was hoarse. “And wet.” He claimed her other breast, fondling it with his palm before his thumb rubbed the nipple. “I’ll make you wetter.”
That time she didn’t gasp when he pulled her forward, when he sucked on her. She groaned instead, and Darok made a rougher, lower sound that vibrated up from his throat into her skin.

“Darok!” Her voice was a raw whisper, shaking. “Now, please, now—”
He entered her with his tongue that time, as deep as he could, and her flesh tightened around him. She made no sound other than a wrenching sob that was nowhere near enough for him. He pulled away and rose as the hazel eyes were opening in disbelief, and when her legs closed around him to pull him back, he went with her and sank hilt-deep into hot convulsing flesh.

He bent his head and covered her mouth with his in a kiss so thirsty and possessive that it made her sway against him, trembling with need as her body caught fire from his. Her free hand clenched in his shirt. His tongue slid over hers, and she softly sucked on it until he moaned, low in his throat.
He tasted of rum and limes, strong and bitter and intoxicating at once.

She lay with her eyes closed, still breathing hard. The light sheen of wetness across one breast felt cool, but Darok’s upper arm lay across her other breast, warm and heavy. Aftershocks pulsed through her flesh, and she knew he felt those just as intensely although he lay quiet and sated beside her, motionless except for his breathing. They were joined in an intimacy that went far beyond the physical, and she acknowledged it with a cold despair settling over her heart.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Samhain | ARe

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Requested ARC Review: The Return of the Rebel by Jennifer Faye

Format: E-bookthereturnoftherebel
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jax Monroe
Heroine: Cleo Sinclair
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: July 1, 2014
Started On: June 30, 2014
Finished On: July 1, 2014

Cleo Sinclair is in for the surprise of her lifetime when her newly promoted position brings her face to face with her one time childhood crush Jax Monroe. Any hope that Cleo would be immune to the man Jax had become is crushed from the minute his very presence sets her senses on high alert, even when on Jax’s part the feelings do not seem to be reciprocated.

Jax might want to be indifferent where Cleo is concerned but the childhood memories of both of them together had always stayed with him. Having always been off limits, Jax’s mind would like to continue thinking along the same lines where Cloe is concerned but her beauty and kindness even back then doesn’t make things any easier.

A little bit of danger and mayhem sets the ball rolling and sets the course for the journey of discovery that both Cleo and Jax take towards finding the love of their lives in each other. Low on sensuality, The Return of the Rebel is recommended for those readers who likes “clean” romances with a dollop of an ex-bad boy hero!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Book Depo | B&N | Kobo | HQ

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Requested ARC Review: Cold Pursuit by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldpursuit
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Jed Brennan
Heroine: Veronica Vincent
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 2, 2014
Started On: May 29, 2014
Finished On: June 1, 2014

Cold Pursuit is the novel that follows A Cold Dark Place, the second book in the Cold Justice series by Toni Anderson. It tells the story of single mom Veronica Vincent (Vivi) and her eight year old son Michael who get caught up in the crossfire of a terrorist attack at a shopping mall. With an eidetic memory, Michael who doesn’t speak poses a serious threat to the plans of the terrorists, whose bigger agenda supersedes that of any usual terrorist attack.

FBI Special Agent Jed Brennan who is on enforced leave finds himself a crucial part of the investigation launched to find the remaining terrorists and to prevent any further attacks. There is also the untimely attraction that flares between Vivi and himself way before the case begins, throwing the detachment that should be when it comes to her nowhere to be found. Unlocking the clues in Michael’s head is the break that practically every law enforcement agency in the country needs but with Vivi protecting her son as fiercely as any mother should makes the task doubly harder when Jed himself becomes protective of the little boy who tugs at his heartstrings.

Too many close calls finds Jed, Vivi and Michael going into hiding, to give the agencies the time to do what they do best and to give Michael the time to recuperate so that he might give into the need to put pen to paper and give a face to the people that were being hunted relentlessly. Add to the mix the volatile sexual attraction between Vivi and Jed together with the baggage Vivi mostly brings to the equation, Cold Pursuit definitely has the elements of a high roller coaster ride.

Reading terrorism themed books and watching related TV shows is a bit of a touchy issue with me, considering the fact that I am a Muslim myself. Not that I would ever believe that our religion calls for the slaughter of millions of innocents in the name of a religion that propagates peace above everything else. But the fact that Muslims at large are portrayed as terrorists by the fact their name ends or begins with Muhammad is a cause of concern for me, stereotyping that actually adds to the problem in my opinion. In my eyes, violence is wrong whether its state sanctioned or endorsed by a terrorist organization looking to make the headlines. But I guess it is rather easy to make that call while you are sitting in the comfort of your own home, reading on your iPad or watching what goes over in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan for that matter on TV with a detached air about you because those things have become practically the realities of everyday existence.

I’d say Toni handled the terrorism aspect of the story really well, giving voice to the villains as well as the heroes in the story. The villains aren’t as clear cut as some people might like them to be and I understood where they were coming from – survival being the reason behind the consequential actions. However that doesn’t mean I agree with the killing and senseless mayhem that went down, but becoming pawns in a mindless game planned and executed as a nefarious means to an end by the power hungry is something that happens across the globe every single day. Kudos to Toni for giving a voice to the killers and the victims; it is not easy to make a reader empathize with a villain on a level such as this and she has achieved it remarkably well in my opinion.

The sexual tension in the book kept the sizzle factor always at the forefront, no mean feat when there’s killing and mayhem surrounding you at every turn. Jed was such a dreamy hero, sexy enough to melt your panties, charming enough to knock your socks off and with the kind of gentle soul that you don’t come across every day. Toni creates splendid alpha heroes that are sweet on the inside and yet manages to give just enough angst to keep things real between the hero and heroine. That is what I call good writing, the kind that keeps you coming back for more.

Vivi and Michael each have earned a place in my heart; Vivi for her sheer bravery and the protectiveness that she displays towards her son. It is not easy to move past the scars left behind by an emotionally abusive spouse and Vivi earned my wholehearted approval by being brave enough to seduce Jed out of his goody two shoes belief that he is no good for the long run where relationships are concerned. Michael on the other hand tugged at my heartstrings; his uniqueness something Toni created beautifully well. The struggles that Vivi undergoes added to the burden of being the sole caregiver of Michael increased the respect I had for Vivi as the heroine.

The ending definitely gave the surprise effect Toni was aiming for. And that you’d have to read to find out because in my eyes, the scenario that played out is entirely a plausible one when one considers the factors in play. The only thing I could have wished for was an epilogue. Sorely missed one in the first book and this one as well.

Most obviously I am looking forward to Killion’s story. Now if that ain’t a hint to Toni to write the story ASAP, I don’t know what would be. Definitely recommended for those who love a great romantic suspense!

Final Verdict: Toni definitely knows how to keep the pages turning & the mind whirring!

Favorite Quotes

He held her still, his gaze intent on her lips. Sexual awareness swirled between them, made her breath catch as arousal stirred low and hot in her belly. The air around them crackled and she shivered as she stared up into his face, mesmerized.
Jed slanted his mouth over hers like he had to taste her—just the way he had when he’d found them at the safe house. It was an open-mouthed, full-on assault and she willingly met him halfway. Her tongue tangled with his in a silky slick slide, the taste of him hot and very, very male. Something inside her ignited with long forgotten need.

Then he was kissing her and she leaned into him, grabbing the collar of his vest to pull him closer. She licked inside his mouth and a furnace exploded inside him. He backed her up a few paces to the shelter they’d built years ago. Hunger filled him and even though he didn’t release her mouth, his hand was pulling her shirt from her jeans, his hand cupping her breast, finding her nipple a taut, firm pebble against his palm.
How did she do this to him? Reduce him to nothing but want.

He drove his fingers into her, keeping a rhythm that made her writhe against him and lose her ability to do anything except react—and God help him he liked that. He liked giving her pleasure. His thumb found her clit and then he pressed his palm hard against the throbbing nub of flesh. He drove deeper, wishing it wasn’t so damn cold and he could strip her naked right here in the woods.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Requested ARC Review: A Cold Dark Place by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookacolddarkplace
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Alex Parker
Heroine: Mallory Rooney
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Started On: March 30, 2014
Finished On: April 2, 2014

A Cold Dark Place is the debut book in the Cold Justice series by the uber talented author of romantic suspense Toni Anderson. Few authors out there manage to keep my interest when it comes to romantic suspense and Toni Anderson is one of those authors who always manages to hit the vital spots by keeping the romance and suspense factor balanced, which is the secret to writing highly readable romantic suspense novels.

A Cold Dark Place is quite the fitting title to this novel. Alex Parker is a man who prefers the darkness to do what he is entrusted to do. Employed by an organization known as “The Gateway Project” that is so deeply hidden in the layered complexities of the US government, Alex is an assassin who enacts justice by killing the worst sort of scum. Counting down the days until he would be free of his promise that binds him to his employers, his job becomes doubly dangerous when he realizes that someone on the inside is out to make him and that someone is the deliciously enticing FBI Special Agent Mallory Rooney to whom his instant attraction makes her a more than dangerous “adversary”.

Mallory’s life mission for the past eighteen years has been to become smart enough and tough enough to find her twin sister’s abductor and bring him to justice. The pain that she lives through every single day, blaming herself for not being there for the one and only person with whom she had shared an inexplicable connection with is what drives her, even when she meets the same dead end, time and yet again. Though her experience in hunting killers and analyzing their behavior is limited, her sharp intelligence and observation skills ends her up in the BAU and in the direct sight of the man who would do everything in his power to claim her as a replacement for his lost love.

Alex doesn’t want the complication that starting anything up with Mallory would bring his way, but he is as helpless as she in the face of the strong web of desire that binds them together, that finds them entwined in the most delicious of embraces time and yet again. And when Alex finds out that the killer they are all hunting, whose violence had all of a sudden started to escalate, has his sights set on Mallory, there is no stopping him from vowing to protect her at all and any cost, even if it means continuing with the pretense and charade that would continue to keep Mallory in the dark when it comes to who he truly is.

Toni Anderson does a splendid job in telling this story; it is dark, creepy and keeps you guessing and questioning your emotions when it comes to everything that takes place in the span of this novel. Alex Parker himself is reason enough to fall in love with the story, his tortured soul was one that touched me on a deep level. Betrayal on a level that most people would never be strong enough to live with makes Alex the man he is, and though each kill chips away at his already battered soul, the honorable man that Alex is refuses to back down from paying the debt he owes to his employers.

It is the pain, drive and determination that keeps Mallory doggedly working to unearth what had happened to her sister that made me respect and love her character as much as I did Alex’s. The guilt that threatens to consume her would not have been easy to deal with. Alex in her life means Mallory learns to live a little, and stop feeling the survivor’s guilt and in return she reaches out to the scarred bits and pieces of Alex’s heart and soul and puts it back together, piece by piece, without even realizing the fact that they are both headed towards a love strong enough to consume them both.

It was the killer that kept me fascinated and riveted to the edge of my seat and I think that is exactly what Toni was aiming for when she created him. I sometimes wonder at the cruelty in this world that breeds killers of the likes found in this book, the inhumanity they suffer as children and the loss of their innocence at the hands of those that should protect them from the rest of the world. It is hard not to feel sad thinking about the person he could have been otherwise, but in equal doses I found myself horrified by the extent of his depravity and violent nature together with his uncanny ability to have kept fooling people for so long. Toni also makes the reader question whether the laws and agencies that be are really enough to ensure that justice is done. Perhaps vigilantism does serve its purpose with the swiftness of with which it brings the victims the closure they seek. A book that always makes you question what you know to be right and wrong and casts you into that place shadowed by the shades of grey is in my opinion a book well done.

Though the lack of an epilogue was felt, knowing that there would be another book in the series on the way definitely helps. Recommended for fans of Toni Anderson and fans of dark romantic suspense. You’d definitely love this one!

Final Verdict: Ties you up in knots; A Cold Dark Place makes for a riveting read!

Favorite Quotes

His lips were surprisingly soft, his mouth tasting of whiskey and beer and really hot man. Suddenly he took control of the kiss, diving deeper, tongue tangling with hers with a possession that made her insides turn molten. She found herself pressed up against the glass facade of the building, Alex’s one hand still buried deep in her pocket, the other cupping the back of her head.

“Too much?” His voice sounded nothing like him. He’d heard this version before, in that prison in Morocco. His inner animal tearing loose, but this time it was from pleasure not pain.
She shook her head and her nails dug into his shoulders. “More,” she demanded. Then she kissed his neck, bit down hard enough to make him laugh.
She could put her mark on him anytime.

She shook her head, squirming to get closer. “More,” she demanded and nibbled his jaw. Her nails scratched his back, digging into his skin with the sort of pain that aroused him more than he’d ever imagined possible. He wrapped his hand around her other leg and locked them both around his waist. And then every pulsing inch of him was embedded inside her, blasted by the velvet clench of wet heat.
“Okay?” he asked. Okay didn’t even begin to describe what he was feeling. He was pretty sure the word for it hadn’t been invented yet.
“Oh, yes.”

“Condom,” he said between gritted teeth.
Crap.
She jerked open the bedside drawer, relieved to find a box. Alex scrambled out of his jeans, covered and buried himself deep. She locked her legs around his hips and then there were no thoughts, just sensation and pleasure and slick bodies, striving to get as close as possible, striving for that place where nothing else mattered.”

Sated and satisfied, she began to drift off to sleep. “You’re a good man, Alex Parker.”
He kissed the top of her head. “No. But you make me feel like I could be.”

“I still miss her.” Her voice cracked.
He put his hands on her shoulders and squeezed. He could relate. He still missed his mother and his grandfather and his friends. But he knew they were dead and never coming back. You had to move on. “We’re supposed to miss them. That’’s their gift.”
Huge amber eyes met his. “Pain is a gift?”
He nodded. “It proves they meant something to us. That even years after losing them we still feel them. Here.”

With one hard thrust he was buried deep in her heat.
She wrapped her legs around his waist, nails bit into his flesh. “Harder.”
He drove into her, again and again, nothing but an animal who needed to satisfy a primal urge.

He took the condom from her fingers and covered himself. Eased her slowly over him and shifted her panties aside. He was big, aroused. She sank down just a little bit and he gritted his teeth. She looked down, the vision of him inside her, of the lace against pale skin, was such a turn on she came with a surprised shudder.

“We’re not dating, remember.” He thrust inside her and she sucked in a moan. “You didn’t go and do anything foolish like fall for me, did you, Mallory?” he asked.
Emotion welled up inside her. She shook her head and wrapped her legs around his hips. Watched his pupils dilate. “No, sir.”
“Good.” He swallowed. “Me either.”
But as she looked into his eyes she knew they were both lying and it felt dark and dangerous and wonderful.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Requested ARC Review: Catch ‘n’ Kiss by Rhian Cahill

Format: E-bookcatchnkiss
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Are You Game, #2
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Hero: Daniel O’Conner
Heroine: Jody Walsh
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 4, 2014
Started On: March 2, 2014
Finished On: March 2, 2014

Book 2 in the Are You Game series by Rhian Cahill which is to be hit the e-book stands the 4th of this month, is a scorcher together with enough emotional tidbits in the mix to make for a great read. Though it is a part of a series, Catch ‘n’ Kiss can totally be read as a standalone without feeling like you’ve missed out on a huge chunk of the developing story.

Daniel O’ Conner and Jody Walsh are colleagues, colleagues who had gotten off on a wrong start when Dan had jumped to all the wrong conclusions about Jody when they had first made acquaintance. But nothing Dan had done since then had appealed to Jody enough for her to stop being snappy with him, something that continues to puzzle him until the kiss that he lays on Jody brings to light the singeing hot attraction that has been between them right from the start.

Jody doesn’t want anything to do with Dan except for the fact that all her wayward emotions wants to jump him the minute he enters a room. And it certainly doesn’t help matters when Dan appeals to Jody on so many levels, proving time and yet again that he is in it for more than just sex. But Jody has a lot on her plate, juggling two daughters and an ex-husband who decides to go off on a bender proving to her all over again the need to stay off of relationships even if it might be the loneliest road to travel on.

Catch ‘n’ Kiss is a highly readable romance with likable characters and of course not to mention the scorching hot scenes of passion that ups the stakes for this one. I loved Dan for his relentless pursuit of Jody, in trying to make her see that she was it for him, no questions asked. Dan knows a good thing when it comes his way and Jody and her girls are the one thing for which he is willing to fight till the very end. Even with Jody giving an inch and pulling back three, Dan sticks to his plan of wooing and seducing her into his life, even if it means fighting with the fear that holds Jody back from trusting him with her heart and emotions.

While I understood where Jody was coming from, I couldn’t understand sometimes where her need to be so hard on Dan comes from, especially when Dan proves time and yet again just how much he is willing to give and keep on giving when it comes to her. The latter part of the story however, did go a long way in making me feel better about Jody and her feelings when it comes to Dan and the epilogue definitely made me smile, which I think sealed the deal with me on this one. I’ve missed reading Rhian Cahill’s hotter than sin heroes who can literally render the reader into a puddle of goo, and while Catch ‘n’ Kiss might not have had that many full fledged love scenes to it, Dan certainly can kiss his way to any woman’s heart. Recommended!

Final Verdict: A Rhian Cahill that delivers heat, scorching passion & undying love!

Favorite Quotes

“Hey.” As he’d hoped, she spun around, putting her back to her car, and he moved right in.
“Wha—”
Dan lowered his head and slanted his mouth across hers.
Her lips parted as she sucked in a breath—his breath—and he took the opportunity to slide his tongue inside her mouth. The moan that issued from her throat had his blood racing and his balls tightening. Minty fresh, her taste exploded—saturated his mouth with memory and need. He’d wanted this for weeks. Days. Hours.
Forever.

Something snapped. In him—in her—he didn’t know, but all of a sudden they were moving together in a frenzy of need that left Jody panting in his mouth and Dan clenching every muscle in an effort to hold off the orgasm burning in his balls. She arched, her muscles stretched tight, and her breath stalled. Then it happened. She shattered.

He gripped her hips and urged her up. “I want to be inside you again.”
Her eyelids fluttered, her searing blue gaze meeting his. She didn’t speak. She didn’t have to when she sat up, rose to her knees and reached between them to grab his cock and hold it still while she lined up their bodies and slowly sank back down. The moan that left her lips matched the one caught in his throat. Heat surrounded him, engulfed him as Jody took him all the way to the root in one long slide of carnal delight.

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

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