Review: Between the Devil and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Format: E-bookbetweenthedevilanddesire
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scoundrels of St. James, #2
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Jack Dawkins
Heroine: Olivia Stanford
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 06, 2009
Started On: December 31, 2018
Finished On: January 02, 2019

Having finished In Bed with the Devil, the first book in the Scoundrels of St. James series by Lorraine Heath, I was intrigued enough to begin the second title, Between the Devil and Desire. This is the story of none other than Jack Dodger, the infamous best friend of Lucian (Luke), who entices readers on so many levels even as a secondary character.

Jack is a man who has long accepted the fact that he would do anything to get his next coin, to ensure that he would always remain in a place where no one else could have power over him. Jack had been five years old when he had been sold by his mother, something that his young and older self “understands”, because Jack believes that hunger could drive any human to do even the most despicable of things.

Falling in with a notorious den of thieves, Jack had quickly mastered the art of thievery, learnt that practically anything could be stolen, if proper preparations are done in advance. Even though Jack believes himself to be someone who couldn’t care less about another person, meeting Luke, the role Jack plays in Luke’s fate, and how their lives become entwined, places Jack in the role of playing the responsible “adult”.

At the age of nineteen, Jack had come into a lump sum of money through an anonymous benefactor. Jack hadn’t looked twice and asked no questions. He had turned that into his fortune by building and opening his exclusive gentleman’s club. Rich, independent, and revered and disliked in equal doses by polite society, Jack couldn’t care less about ant of it, that is until he is summoned to the reading of the Duke of Lovington’s will by the late Duke’s solicitor.

Olivia Stanford, the Duchess of Lovington, is someone who has always been about duty. Which is why she had married someone 25 years older than her, because her father had arranged the marriage, and that is what respectable women do. Even though Olivia hides a deeply passionate nature inside, she is the modicum of propriety itself, leaving many to believe that Olivia is as cold and haughty as aristocrats come.

When Olivia’s late husband appoints none other than Jack as the guardian and protector of his heir until the child reaches of age or Olivia marries another, that is when true horror dawns on Olivia, leading her to take drastic steps to “save” her son from the clutches of a man who could turn the most respectable of society into the most depraved.

Jack is lured by the promise of a final item that the late Duke dangles in front of him, its value immeasurable according to the solicitor, who remains tight-lipped about what it could be. Even though from the onset, Jack knows that Olivia seethes with anger at the mere thought of sharing anything with him, and even though Jack knows he can charm Olivia if he sets his mind to it, he cannot help himself but irritate Olivia given the chance, all because he likes igniting the slow burning fires deep inside of Olivia which she hides from the rest of the world.

While the Duke’s reasons for leaving Jack as the guardian of his son remains a mystery, and Jack certainly does not like things he cannot add up together, all of that is revealed through the various events that lead up to the culmination of this story. Even though Olivia would rather die than depend on the likes of Jack, as these two are “forced” to spend time together, both of them find in each other aspects of their characters that they are drawn towards. The explosive secrets that come to light towards the end was one of the best parts of the story.

I liked the story. I truly did. Jack was after all, nothing short of fabulous, everything I desired him to be, vulnerable from past atrocities inflicted upon him at a most tender age. His uncaring attitude as most would see it, an image he cultivates with calculated effort, makes him the person every woman would like to blame her husband’s less than savory need to visit his establishment upon.

I had bit of a harder time liking Olivia. Not that she was any less as a character in the story as it unfolded. But because there was a time or two towards the latter part of the story where she was still in doubt over Jack and his intentions. Olivia was also a trifle bit tiresome at the beginning, with her deep distrust of Jack (which was also understandable to a certain level), her inability to really commit to her feelings towards Jack – which at a certain point she finally did make up her mind and did get going.

I also felt that given all the build up of sexual tension between Jack and Olivia, the culmination of it all was just a bit anti-climactic. The way I see it, there is a deep wealth of passion hidden inside of Jack’s projected attitude. Fires banked over what he considers would make him more vulnerable by exposing own needs and weaknesses. I wanted that passion to tumble free, for it to take a hold of both himself and Olivia, who herself dreams of being possessed and dominated by someone as virile and undoubtedly decadent as Jack. Aside from the scene in the garden, which was pretty explosive, the rest of the scenes of passion seemed pretty mundane in comparison.

However, I enjoyed the overall story, the villain and his role in Jack’s life, meeting Feagan who had shaped the live of the main protagonists in the series, and the way Olivia finally accepted the true worth of the man who loves her without hesitation or condition.

Final Verdict: Jack’s smoldering passion meets the reserved and unstoked fires hidden beneath all the propriety that is Olivia. Enjoyed this succulent delight in many ways.

Favorite Quotes

“I’ve warned you not to forbid me,” he growled.
Before her next heartbeat, he’d slid his hand around her neck, holding her still, as he slashed his mouth across hers. He was not gentle or polite. He was almost savage with his desire to deliver what she’d requested. She relaxed into him, offered up no objections when his tongue urged her lips to part and slid smoothly into her mouth. Heat spiraled through her, melting her bones as though they were little more than tallow. He touched her with nothing except that one hand and his mouth, yet it seemed as though he caressed her everywhere, inside and out, shallow and deep. How could a kiss be this powerful, elicit such yearnings?

Suddenly changing the angle of his mouth, he deepened the kiss, his tongue leisurely exploring, enticing her to do the same. As he drew her nearer, held her close, she was not hampered by layers of petticoats or skirts. Quite frankly, there was little more than a few pieces of fabric separating her skin from his. His body responded with a fierceness that she needed no imagination to envision. She knew exactly what he looked like, images of him in the dressing room bombarding her, igniting a fire low in her belly.
She heard a harsh plea and feared it came from her.
Breathing heavily, he tore his mouth from hers. Only then did she realize she’d fairly wound herself around him. She immediately dropped her arms, stepped back.
“You do bewitch me,” he rasped. “Fair warning, Duchess, I fear this is the last time I can settle for only a kiss.”

They walked to the library without touching. As soon as the footman closed the door in their wake, Jack had her in his arms, holding her close, as his mouth swooped down to claim hers. She wanted to laugh from the joy of his eagerness. She’d never felt desired, and with him, it was as though he was hungry, hungry for her alone.
His mouth blazed a trail along her throat. “I was going mad sitting at that table making pleasant—and utterly boring—conversation, when all I could think about was how much I wanted to taste you instead of the chicken.”

“I’m not quite sure how to do this,” she said quietly. “I’m not sure how to go about seducing you.”
“Seducing me?” He released a bark of laughter, saw the hurt flash over her features, and closed the distance separating them in four long strides. He took her soft face between his roughened hands. “Livy, you’ve been seducing me since that first night.”
He kissed her forehead. “I find your defiance exciting.”
He kissed her temple. “I find your temper thrilling.”
He kissed her cheek. “I find your love for Henry humbling.”
He pressed his lips to the tip of her nose. “I find your laughter enchanting.”
He kissed the corner of her mouth. “Your eyes mesmerize me and your kisses have the power to bring me to my knees.”

She felt his mouth brushing over her shoulders and only then did she remember that he had a pickpocket’s fingers and light touch. He’d worked her buttons free from throat to stomach and she’d not even noticed. And now the gown was sliding off her shoulders, gliding to the floor.
She had a second to consider that she should feel a need to cover herself and then she was considering nothing at all except for the wondrous sensations of his mouth playing over her breasts: tasting, licking, suckling. All the while, he murmured that she was “beautiful. So beautiful.”

She gasped as the pleasure spiked.
He lifted his head, studying her. He glided his finger over her, eliciting another cry, her legs squeezing together as though to hold him there or perhaps to urge him on.
“I want to watch you, Livy,” he whispered roughly. “I want to see what the darkness of the garden kept from me. Let go, Livy. Let go.”

Then she felt him pushing into her, inch by delicious inch, the fullness of him stretching her further, increasing the pleasure tightening low in her belly. When she thought she could take no more, he lifted her hips slightly, shifted his weight, and buried himself completely into her, bowing her back with the exquisite sensation of feeling his weight pressing against her.
“Oh, God,” she whispered.
Threading his fingers through hers, he moved her hands so they rested on either side of her head while he rode her unmercifully, mercifully. Her body sang to his tune, pleasures rippling through her, increasing in intensity as his powerful thrusts moved not only her, but the bed.

He rode her hard, the motion of the train whispering at the back of his mind, giving him a cadence that he matched. For some reason, he thought of the people in the open railway car. He covered Livy’s mouth, absorbing her scream as her body tightened, pulsed, and throbbed around him. It was all he needed. His body bucked, the pleasure intense, almost painful. It was always more with her, more than he’d ever had, ever known.
Everything with her was different. Everything was better.

“I want to hear you,” he rasped.
And hear her, she was certain he did. Writhing beneath him, she heard her cries echo low and breathless, hardly aware they were coming from her. She held him close, dancing at the edge of intense pleasure. He knew when to stroke, when to suckle, when to pause, when to thrust with his tongue. He tempted and teased. He of the nimble fingers had a more nimble mouth. It stole her strength, her resistance.
Then she was screaming out his name and before the last of the shudders had wracked her body he was buried deep within her, his gaze holding hers as he rocked his hips against hers, his powerful thrusts causing the sensations to begin building again. She skimmed her hands down his back, cupped them around his buttocks, urging him on.

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

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Review: In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine Heath

Format: E-bookinbedwiththedevil
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scoundrels of St. James, #1
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Lucian Oliver Langdon
Heroine: Catherine Mabry
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 2008
Started On: December 29, 2018
Finished On: December 30, 2018

In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine Heath is the debut novel in her Scoundrels of St. James series. Lorraine Heath is an author who writes evocative tales of romance, that basically punches you in the gut with the depth of emotions they invoke from the reader. In Bed with the Devil seems to be a favorite amongst readers, which is why I picked this number up to read, after having read When a Duke Loves a Woman and the book having failed to deliver on all those things I expected from a Lorraine Heath.

The hero Lucian Langdon, the Earl of Claybourne (also known as the Devil Earl) is a man who believes himself to be a fraud owing to his childhood, having escaped a life of being part of a gang of ruffians in the London streets. Having no recollection of the events that preceded his life to a certain point, Luke might have grown up by all appearances to become an aristocrat, but beneath the surface, he has remained a scoundrel at heart.

Lady Catherine Mabry seeks Luke’s services for an act that would be considered nefarious by society’s standards. But Catherine is a courageous woman who has single-handedly being taking care of her bedridden father in the absence of her brother who had left and never returned. For Catherine to watch her friend live a life of abuse is something she cannot take anymore, the reason behind her seeking the services of a man who had tempted her senses since she had been an impressionable seventeen year five years past. She cannot explain what it is that had beseeched her to invite him to events since then, invitations that Luke had never acknowledged, and five years later, Catherine finds herself at the doorstep of the man himself, propriety of society be damned.

To find Catherine in his home is the last thing Luke would have expected, especially having returned home after another night of delaying the inevitable; asking Frannie Darling for her hand in marriage, something Luke believes to be his destiny given how their pasts entwine so deeply. Catherine seems to invoke in Luke a torrent of feelings that Frannie does not, but Luke is determined to stay true to his course, even if his heart might say otherwise.

Through the events that takes place in the story, a bond forges between the two, something Luke tries to allude to the fact that they spend so much time together. Catherine’s strength of character is immense throughout the story, the one defining factor in the novel that made me fall so completely in love.

I so adore a heroine who is not constantly trying to prove herself in the story, someone who is comfortable in her place, and shows bravery and courage where it matters. Catherine was that sort of heroine for me. She has no qualms about who she is, what she wants, she has no artifice when it comes to the opposite sex.

Even though Catherine knows that her reaction towards Luke has always been out of the norm, that does not stop her from seeking him when there is a need for it, and even when Catherine knows that her heart is in danger, that doesn’t stop her from giving all the love she has in her heart to Luke, all the while knowing that Luke has a different destiny in mind for himself.

Luke himself was admirable in so many aspects as well. Simply put, I loved him. There was a vulnerability beneath that cool demeanor of his, a soul that needed to belong under that facade of indifference. When the truth comes to light in the final couple of chapters in the book, this is where once again Catherine’s remarkable character shines through.

I so did love the ending, seeing Heath’s evocative and gut wrenching writing emerge.

Final Verdict: Realistic, evocative, and beautiful in prose; In Bed With the Devil was just wonderful.

Favorite Quotes

“Catherine?”  
A warm hand cradled her cheek, turned her head. She gazed into eyes so silver, so filled with concern. “Think about something else,” Claybourne ordered.  
She shook her head, trying. To her mortification, she flinched and released a tiny squeak when she felt something sharp being jabbed into her flesh.  
Claybourne leaned near and then his mouth was blanketing hers, skillfully plying her lips apart. Oh, the fool, did he not fear that she might bite down—
He tasted of the whiskey that he’d ordered her to drink, and she wondered if he’d needed some to fortify himself for what she was about to endure.

He’d covered her mouth with a blistering kiss before he’d thought it through. He could tell himself that he was bored with the dinner, bored with the conversation, but the reality was that it was driving him mad to watch her sip wine, to gaze at her slender throat and shoulders, to see her smiling at Bill when Luke wanted her to smile at him.
As he swept his tongue through her mouth, he knew it was wrong, but he wanted her, wanted her in a way he’d never desired Frannie. He wanted Catherine rough, he wanted her tenderly. He never thought of taking Frannie to his bed. He thought of marrying her, he thought of having her as his wife, but carnal images of them together never filled his mind. With Catherine, he saw a kaleidoscope of their contorted naked bodies.

A fine sheen of sweat coated his throat. Sweat belonged to laborers, not gentlemen, but she kissed his throat anyway, felt his pulse jump beneath her lips. Felt her own pulse leap when he buried his fingers in her hair and blanketed her mouth with his own.
She didn’t know what she’d expected. Something quick, painful, but still somehow exquisite. But this was more than she’d ever imagined. Beautiful in its intensity, frightening because she didn’t know how she’d live without it when it went away.

“Does it hurt?” she asked.  
“God, no.”
She slid down, enveloping him in her silky wetness. He almost spilled his seed then and there. Instead he clenched his jaw, fought for control. He ran his hands up her slender back, slid them back around to her breasts, and began to knead her soft flesh.
Dropping her head back, she moaned. Then she began to ride him as though her life depended on it.

But his body wouldn’t be held back. He bucked beneath her, his deep feral groan nearly drowning out her cry of satisfaction, her back arched, her face carved in an expression of awe and wonder. Shudders wracked his body as the pleasure coursed through her.
She went limp, falling to his chest, spent. He wasn’t sure where he found the strength to wrap his arms around her, but he wanted to hold her close too much not to find the energy. He thought he could lie there forever. If he died this moment, he’d die content.

“Why do you have to be so damned courageous?” he asked as he kissed her neck, her ear, her throat, her chin.   She wondered if he’d want her if she weren’t, but she wasn’t brave enough to ask, so perhaps she wasn’t as courageous after all.  
“Don’t talk,” she murmured as she kissed his temples.
He took her slowly, as though he realized this would be the last time, savoring each thrust, creating memories with each touch. There was nothing frenzied about their joining. Rather it was simply an appreciation that they’d escaped the fire, a celebration of survival, and perhaps in a way, a farewell.

His mouth was hot, desperate, eager. She was more than ready for him when he drove himself into her, like a man possessed, a man running from his past, a man unable to see his future. He pumped fast and furious. She met his eagerness with her own, digging her fingers into his firm buttocks, riding him as he rode her.
His powerful thrusts had the headboard knocking the wall, the pleasure rippling through her in undulating waves. There was madness here, and she didn’t care. She cared only about him losing himself in her, and her losing herself in him.

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

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Review: Raid by Kristen Ashley

Format: E-bookraid_ka.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Unfinished Hero, #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Raiden Ulysses Miller
Heroine: Hanna Boudreaux
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 25, 2013
Started On: December 27, 2018
Finished On: December 28, 2018

It has been a while since I read a Kristen Ashley novel, Dream Man being my introduction to her work, a book that has remained on my favorite shelf since then. Raid is the third book in the series entitled Unfinished Heroes. I skipped the first two books and jumped straight into this one, mainly for one reason. I was looking for an angst-filled read of the variety where the heroine has been in love with hero, without him even acknowledging her existence. I found this title on a recommendation thread somewhere, and knowing that Kristen Ashley’s series’ usually allows a reader to skip a couple of books and wade right in, I went ahead and did just that.

Raiden Ulysses Miller (Raid) is ex-military, having moved back to Willow, Colorado, after returning from war a scarred man, a man who keeps his dark secrets hidden well. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the heroine Hanna Boudreaux (Hanna) has been in love with Raid for a long, long time. She has watched him and admired him from afar as he went from being the most popular boy in school to the young adult who had taken on the responsibility of his family after his father had left, and how he had joined the Marines afterwards. His return as a war hero had been a big deal for the town, and all the while, Hanna had watched from the sidelines, hoping that someday, he would notice him.

However, there comes a point where Hanna realizes that her dreams are nothing but castles built in the air. Things take a radical turn when Hanna, determined to get over the funk in her life makes some changes which brings her in contact with new people, and ultimately becomes the focus of Raid, the man who Hanna never ever thought would even glance her way.

From the onset, the chemistry between Raid and Hanna are off the charts steamy, and while at the beginning there seemed to be an awkwardness on the part of Hanna where Raid was concerned, that quickly dissipated in the face of the truth Hanna has to face when it comes to what exactly had brought Raid into her life.

There is a continuing story that ties the books in the series together, which plays a pivotal role in determining the direction of Hanna and Raid’s story as well. While I enjoyed the magic that Kristen Ashley undeniably weaves in her stories, this one being no exception, there were certain elements in the story that I found to be a bit difficult to take in.

For instance, how Raid completely loses it and does something that I thought no hero would dare to do in a story written in an era which is so politically correct as ours. But then again, I understood the aspect from which that scene came up, how PTSD could realistically contribute to something of the nature. I believe the saving grace under the circumstance was how Hanna reacted, taking back control of the relationship when it mattered, and where it mattered.

There was one another aspect to the story that kept nagging at me; having read two Kristen Ashley books prior to this, I cannot help but feel that all her characters have the same “voice” to them. The heroes, of course, are all very hot – sexy, brooding, take your breathe away kinda hot – but when they start talking, it is as if you are reading about the same character, different name, different context.

However, this does not mean that I am not going to continue picking up a Kristen Ashley every now and then to immerse myself in. It is because of the fact that even with all that did not work for me in the book, Kristen does manage to tell a helluva story, which is why I can safely say that her books are an enjoyable form of escape, every time.

Final Verdict: Raid is explosive in a way that leaves you gasping for breathe, wanting more. Always wanting more.

Favorite Quotes

I lifted my hand, wrapped my fingers around his bicep, leaned in and went up on my toes.
I pressed my lips to his.
They felt great.
So great, I couldn’t take more. That was all I was could do. That took all the courage
I had left. I didn’t want to know how good it could be and never have it again, even if it was fake.
So that was it.
But Raiden…
He was good at faking.
The master.

Whatever it was, it was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Nothing I even knew existed.
And something I wanted never to end.
It was huge. Consuming. The world melted away and there was just Raiden, his arms, his big, hard body, his mouth and his tongue.
I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t give enough.
And Raiden felt exactly the same.
I knew this when he arched me into the car, pressing close, hips, chest, lips.
I knew it more when his hands slid down over my bottom and he jerked me up.

I didn’t notice this mostly because we left town behind in a blink, and we no sooner did that when his hand wrapped around the back of my neck and he roughly yanked me his way. Shoving my face in his neck, his other hand quickly captured my wrist and pulled it to him, then smoothed my hand over his hard crotch.
It was so hot, so forbidden, so dangerous; it felt like fireworks exploded in the car, their sparks landing everywhere, all over me, dazzling me at the same time making me burn.

I twisted back just as Raiden’s hand slid between my legs.
That felt so good, all my concentration centered on that feeling. I dropped the condom and my back left the bed as my lips parted on a silent moan.
“Thank fuck, soaked,” Raiden growled. I forced myself to right my head and look at him. “Spread, baby.”
I didn’t hesitate.
I spread.

I felt it building. My hand dipped under his tee, my head jerked up. It was going to be so huge it was going destroy me.
“Raiden,” I gasped, my voice harsh with passion and edged with fear.
“Give in, baby,” he grunted, still driving me down as he thrust up.
“Sweetheart, it’s—”
His mouth came to mine. “Give into it, honey.”
I gave in. I had no choice. And when I did, my fingernails dug into his back, scoring up; his hips ground deep into mine as his back arched. A hot, amazing groan rolled up his throat and he came with me.

“I’m gonna guide you on me then you’re gonna take over, and when you do, you’re gonna fuck me slow.”
I held his eyes and my voice trembled when I told him, “I don’t know if I can do slow, Raid.”
When I said his name, his eyes flashed, but his lips said, “Slow, Hanna.”
“I—”
“Trust me.”

“Fuck, but my girl is fucking magnificent,” he rumbled. “Harder, baby, fuck me.”
I fucked him harder, gasping, whimpering, moaning. One of my hands slid into his hair and just like his at mine, it fisted. Hard.
“That’s it, baby, ride me,” he grunted as I moved. “Fuck. Magnificent. You gonna give it to me?”
“Yes,” I whispered, and his hand left my breast, traveled down and shot between my legs.
“Then give it to me,” he ordered.
His thumb tweaked my clit and that was all I needed.
I drove down and grinded in. My head flew back, my back arched and I cried out as
I flew apart.

No sooner was I in place then his cock slammed into me.
My head flew back and I came.
I wasn’t close to finishing when he pulled out, turned and lifted me and impaled me on his cock. Then I was back to the bed, taking him until he thrust to the root, grinding, and he came for me, his face in my neck, his teeth sinking sharp into my skin.

Then get my tee off and position for me. Your choice, baby, show me how you wanna take me.”
I instantly pulled his tee off and threw it to the side. I got on my back, opened my legs and he was there, slamming into me.
I rounded him completely with my limbs, lifted up my hips, glided my nails up his back and pleaded, “Harder, Raid.”
“Fuck. Wild. Wet. Mine,” he groaned, his face in my neck.

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

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Review: Love in the Valley by Susan Napier

Format: E-bookloveinthevalley_susannapier
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Marlow Family, #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Hugh Walton
Heroine: Julia Fry
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1985
Started On: December 26, 2018
Finished On: December 27, 2018

Love in the Valley by Susan Napier, published in 1985 is a novel I picked up after encountering a list of lackluster reads and wanting something that would overtake all my emotions. Susan Napier is one of my favorite Harlequin authors that I love to read. Some of her titles have been absolutely riveting, while others have been tedious in a way that only authors who want to project “strong” heroines can make a book tiresome.

Love in the Valley is a book that fits neither category I suppose. It is a book that stands out in some ways and had me wishing that the author had explored the possibilities in her characters, especially the hero who was crafted so well in so many aspects.

Qualified Cordon Bleu chef Julia Fry meets top New Zealand lawyer Hugh Walton when she takes on the job of being the personal chef for the Marlows at their holiday home on the Coromandel Peninsula. Having never met Hugh before, Julia is stunned by the emotions that he invokes in her from the very first encounter itself, whereby she understands that when it comes to their temperaments, they are both different from each other as night and day.

Julia and Hugh’s “relationship” develops through a lot of mishaps that follows their encounters, with Hugh bringing the classic deflection tactic into play that serves as the much needed angst in the story. While Hugh turns out to be cold, distant, aloof, and controlled in the way he carries himself, the passion that I knew lurked beneath the surface remained untapped. But that aspect of his character remained largely unexplored. Of course, there was humor in the story, the kind of snarky-natured humor that Susan Napier is famous for in her stories.

Julia turned out to be an okay heroine for me. I didn’t hate nor did I love her. I guess partly because her character also seemed to lose focus along the way, to regain it towards the latter part of the story. Given Hugh’s past, I understood his nature, why he keeps to himself, and why he in most likelihood would never have gone after Julia in the end. But had the author taken on development of Hugh’s character differently, tapped into the deep hidden reservoir of passion in him, I bet this could have ended up being the kind of story that romance lovers like myself would have adored over and over.

Recommended for those who love Harlequin romances.

Final Verdict: Love in the Valley though enjoyable, is a story that had so much untapped potential.

Favorite Quotes

Julia put her hands on his shoulders, feeling the shifting strength, the smooth, slick wetness of curving muscle. His lips and teeth and tongue were excitingly active, tugging gently at the soft inner skin of her mouth, exciting her taste-buds, drawing her own small tongue into the depths of his dark mouth with gentle sucking motions that were incredibly erotic.  All sensation was centred on her face, but she was gradually becoming aware of his hand splayed on her spine, the hard stomach pressing against the ridge of her hip.

‘What are you going to do?’ she asked breathlessly, with conscious challenge, knowing already what he was going to do, and wanting him to do it.
‘Something I shouldn’t,’ he muttered, lowering her against his mouth, sending sparkling streaks of exhilaration through her body as his limber tongue invaded her mouth, punishing with pleasure. He held her easily, as if she weighed nothing, as he kissed her, tilting and turning her small body with his hands so that he could explore her mouth from different angles. Julia’s hands left the rigid tendons of his wrists and clutched at the solid warmth of his neck as she felt him move, carrying her backwards, hard thighs bumping between her dangling legs.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booknotthedukesdarling
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Greycourt, #1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe
Heroine: Freya Stewart de Moray
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 18, 2018
Started On: December 20, 2018
Finished On: December 26, 2018

Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt is her debut novel in the Greycourt series. Having expected great things out of this series after Hoyt was done writing Maiden Lane (one of my favorite historical romance series ever), it would be an understatement to say that I was excited to pick this number up.

Not the Duke’s Darling takes place in 1760 in London, England. The heroine, Freya Stewart de Moray is 27 years old, and working as an agent of the ancient secret society of Wise Women. She is on a mission when she crosses paths with the one man she has told herself she would never forgive, i.e. Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe.

For Freya, even though Christopher is the man whom she had built her childhood fantasies of love around, life had taught her the bitter lesson of what happens when you build castles in the air. Christopher had been the man who had nearly gotten her brother (his best friend) Ran killed, and turned his back on the family when scandal had come raining down on them.

When Freya crosses paths with Christopher, he surprises her by helping her out, without even stopping to ask what it is she is running from. Even though this very fact is jarring for Freya who has nothing but hatred in her heart for Christopher, it does not stop her from planning to exact her revenge when the opportunity to do so lands in her lap.

Christopher is a man biding his time until his time on Earth is up and his life is taken from him. That is basically his very existence until a mysterious woman lands in his carriage, fleeing from suspicious circumstances, bringing a vitality into his life that had been missing for so long.

In the meantime, Freya is being hunted, for her part in the secret society she belongs to. Even that does not deter the woman she is, as she is determined to uncover what could potentially end up risking everyone she is associated with. Plus, the more time that she spends with Christopher, she realizes that she is as vulnerable towards him as she had been when she was a young girl mooning over her first childhood crush. No matter how hard Freya tries to tell herself that she remains unaffected, she knows deep in her heart that Christopher is slowly getting under her skin and into her heart.

While there were elements in the story that worked for me, for the most part, I found the whole story tiresome. I wanted that magic that is strongly present in every single book of Elizabeth Hoyt’s that I have immensely enjoyed. A very few of her titles have been “misses” for me, and I am sad to say that this one belongs in that particular shelf.

There was something elemental that was missing between the hero and the heroine, a connection from which I wanted so much more. I wanted the hero to make an equal impression on me as the heroine did, who was all about her revenge and nursing the grudge from a scandal that had marked her life in a big way.

Freya’s passion for her role as one of the Wise Women was something that perhaps was characterized so broadly to make her stand out, to show the strength of her character. Yes, it does paint Freya in that light, but I wanted to see a softer side to her character, the side that yields to the passion that Christopher unleashes in her.

Perhaps it is because this is the debut novel in the series, but I wished for resolutions and explanations on what had taken place when it comes to the scandal that is such an integral part of Freya’s character. Even though I know that an author would never reveal the full details of a scandal that is to be interwoven throughout a series, I wanted some answers to questions that would have been plaguing me once things started picking up in the story.

When the story began, Christopher made a good impression, made my heart flutter and all that. But all of that headed downhill when it began to feel as if there was no particular aim to his life, no drive to him, except when it came to Freya. Just like I want the heroine to have a life and passion outside of the hero, I want the hero to be driven and capable in his own element as well.

I also wanted more excitement in the suspense plot line in the story. I actually thought that the villain would turn out to be someone rather shocking, but sadly that was not the case. The plot involving the “villain” whose wife had “died” – that was pretty much anticlimactic too.

Given all that turned out to be a disappointment in the story, I am still happy to note that there were several intriguing secondary characters who seem like they would deliver stories worth my while. The one thing that made me glad about the story was the ending; the fact that Freya made the grand gesture and went after Christopher towards the end.

Recommended for fans of Elizabeth Hoyt. Here is hoping that the second installment wows me in all the ways that matter!

Final Verdict: The debut to the Greycourt series hopefully signals better stories in the making. This number paled in comparison to what I expected from Hoyt’s mastery over the genre.

Favorite Quotes

His eyes began to narrow, but she rose on tiptoe, wrapped her hand around his fingers, and jerked him toward her in a single movement.
She ground her mouth against his.
His lips tasted of betrayal and wine. Night and childhood memory.
Love and loss.
The emotion he aroused in her was so profound she almost lost herself in the embrace.
She opened her mouth, licking across his bottom lip until his own tongue came out to tangle with hers.
Then she bit him.

She lunged again, past his guard, the tip of her sword at his throat. He felt the needle prick of pain.
She stood, panting, her hair wild about her shoulders. Her red hair—not dusty brown at all. Red, fiery curls, waving in the breeze as if they had a life of their own, and he saw her as if for the first time.
“Yield,” she demanded, an avenging fury.
His world tipped upside down. “Freya?”
Her eyes widened.
He knocked her sword tip away from his throat. Caught her wrist and twisted.
She yelped and dropped her sword.
Her lips parted—most likely to curse him.
He didn’t care anymore. He yanked her into his arms and kissed her.

She was a lioness—fierce and brave.
She took hold of his shoulders and pulled him toward her. “Now. Please, now.”
He lowered his hips, his cock skidding across her thigh. He nudged between her legs, making her widen them still farther, and his penis caught at her entrance.
She looked at him, memorizing his features in this moment. Feeling wild with expectation and triumph.
He speared her.
There was a burning pain, but she made no sound, and he retreated and drove into her again.
Spreading her.
Filling her.
Marking her.

She fell. Sparking, bursting, filled to overflowing with pleasure.
With feeling.
For this man.
For Harlowe.
She opened wide her eyes and watched him fall, too.

He turned into a small passage, less well lit than the one his own rooms were in, and tapped softly at the last door.
Freya peeked through the crack in the door and then opened it wide, letting him in.
She was wearing only her chemise.
His vow to himself to guard her without touching her fled.
Her breasts were unbound, round and full, the indentation of her waist a curve to incite a man to violence.
To ruin.
He stared at her, his higher reasoning having conceded rule of his brain to his prick. He wanted to touch. To hold.
To devour.
She was a goddess.
She stood still, watching him, her eyes mysterious and knowing.

She took off the chemise and threw it aside.
Freya stood before him proudly, like a Rembrandt nude come to life. Pink and white and red orange. And her flaming hair fell about her shoulders, wild and curling and free.
Like her.
Like Freya.

She rose up on her knees. Placed her hands against his chest and rubbed harder.
His penis slipped to the side and she whimpered at the loss.
“Here, darling,” he said, his voice rough. “Just…”
She felt his hand between her legs, the backs of his fingers brushing against her wet folds, and then something thicker.
He’d placed the head of his cock at her entrance.

His fingers had gone lax as he was suddenly seated, and she looked at him with a whimper. “Please. Please touch me.”
His nostrils flared. “Like this?” His voice was both rough and so very tender as he pinched her nipples—hard.
She arched at the pleasure mixed with pain. “Again.”
He smiled dangerously and squeezed her nipples.
She leaned forward on a moan.
“Hush,” he growled.

He pushed his hand between them and tore his falls open, uncaring at the sound of ripping fabric. His cock throbbed with pent fury and he trailed his fingers down her soft belly, rejoicing when he reached her curls and found them soaked with her desire.
He lifted his hips even as she whimpered in protest and tried to pull his shoulders back down.
His cock slid against her thigh, the touch almost enough to undo him, then prodded at her opening.
So wet.
So hot.

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

mediocreread

Review: Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookdisturbinghispeace
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Academy, #3
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Greer Burns
Heroine: Danika Silva
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 24, 2018
Started On: December 18, 2018
Finished On: December 19, 2018

Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey is the final book in The Academy series. From the moment Lieutenant Greer Burns entered the scene in the first book, I was a goner. He is the kind of character that I love to fall in love with. The broody and controlled heroes who when they unravel, do so so spectacularly that you cannot help but lose a chunk of yourself to them. Needless to say, I was impatient for Greer’s story (as I believe most readers would have been), and to finally read it and reaffirm the faith I have in Tessa Bailey’s ability to create stupendous stories that makes you laugh, turns you on so much, and delivers such emotionally grappling reads, is why I love her books so damn much.

Lieutenant Greer Burns is a man who is defined by his job. A hard-ass to the recruits, a man who is as by the book as they come, for whom the law exists only in black and white, and one would think that Greer to be so straitlaced that he would be boring. He is the farthest thing from that however, and it comes to light when the cracks appear on his demeanor with each encounter that takes place between him and recruit Danika Silva. There are tantalizing bits and pieces indicative of how Greer’s feelings are when it comes to Danika throughout the other books, something he tries his best to hide from.

Danika herself, even though she is drawn to all the intensity that is Greer, denies her feelings because she does not have a very favorable opinion of him. But all of that changes when she turns to Greer for help and discovers that there is more to Greer than that gruff and seemingly uncaring exterior of his. Help from Greer however comes at a price, which means that Danika is “forced” to spend more time with Greer, which of course leads to very interesting encounters between the two.

It should be no surprise that Disturbing His Peace turned out to be my favourite from the series. Greer is intense; no two ways about it. He is known as lieutenant hard- ass for a reason. He takes his job all too seriously believing that putting oneself out there makes one more vulnerable. After all, his childhood and abandonment issues has taught him that and more. The secret he harbors inside of his heart is one that he keeps even from his brother. And even though his brother found his happiness, Greer is certain that he himself is meant to spend his days by his lonesome self without subjecting himself to heartache and pain along the way, which is certain to come the minute he gives his heart to another. He lives by a strict code of ethics and rules, and nothing has deterred him from his chosen path until Danika shows up in his life.

Danika changes everything. She tests the limits of his self control unlike any other. Her opinion of him matters more than it should and for the very first time Greer finds himself in uncharted waters, navigating through the unknown for a woman who stops his very breathe. As much as Greer might tell himself that he does not need anyone, the course his life had been taking of late tells its own tale. Danika’s presence is one that takes away the unease and makes him content, if that were an emotion he was familiar with.

That takes me to the more serious matters such as how fantastically hot and out of the charts hot Greer is. Did I mention that he is hot? Yes, he is. There were moments that I had to remind myself to breathe because I kept forgetting how to, all because Greer was that intense. There is something about a controlled hero that lets loose. Every sexual encounter between Greer and Danika, from the shower scene to the round in the patrol car was insanely hot. And of course, Greer does dirty talking so very well that it is hard not to swoon during certain heated moments.

Danika was the kind of woman Greer needed. Definitely. She is snarky, has a big heart, and doesn’t know when taking on too much responsibility for her family becomes unhealthy. It is the way Greer looks out for her in the midst of everything that happens that lets the reader know that it is just much more than scorching hot sex that is between the two. The cuddle scene that happens on the couch, especially when there is so much tangible sexual tension between the two thick enough to slash through with a knife; that was cute and wholesome in a way that just made me fall that much more in love with Greer and Danika.

Definitely recommended. Fans of Tessa Bailey certainly would not be disappointed.

Final Verdict: Greer is sheer perfection presented to readers; a tightly controlled hot mess unraveling in a way that makes your insides heat up and your heart melt! Tessa Bailey’s magic knows no bounds.

Favorite Quotes

I allow my mouth to brush those curls at her ears, the sensation dropping my voice to a scrape of sound. “I’m talking about fucking you, baby. You know I am.” My tongue must have a mind of its own, because it licks along the rim of her ear, my memory collecting the whimper she makes and locking it away in a safe. “Tucked back in the showers, your legs open for my thrusts, blood running down my back from where your nails are digging in. Bet that would warm you right the hell up.”

Resolving to walk slowly toward the pizza place, I open the door—
“Oh my God,” I gasp, my walloping heart sending me back a step. “What . . .”
Greer is standing in the hallway, watching me with shadows in his eyes.
Rain drips off the folded edges of his NYPD beanie and fingertips. He’s so still I almost think my imagination is putting
him there, but then he speaks in a clipped tone.
“Cancel it.”
My . . . date? Oh yeah. He’s talking about my date, and there’s no denying the indignation that fires to life inside of me.
I don’t care if I’m attracted to this man. He doesn’t just get to show up and order me around. On a Saturday night, no less.
We’re not in the academy gym right now—we’re on the threshold of my house.
Then why am I so excited?

“Yes or no. Do you want to be convinced?” Finally, just a hint of his lips brush mine, and the answering, down-low clench
is so intense, I almost hit the deck. “Understand this. I’m going to do it my way, Danika. And I’m only figuring out what
this way is now—with you—because I think you love it. Need it.” A single blunt finger lifts and traces my right hip, moving
up my rib cage and detouring toward my breasts, raking over each hard nipple slowly. “Think you’d love some rough goddamn
convincing, wouldn’t you, baby? Yes or no?”
This new need he stirred to life isn’t my secret. He’s known. “Yes.”

“Move your knees apart,” I growl, pushing my middle finger inside her, pumping it a few times, as she follows the order. Then
a few more times, because I can’t believe the tightness waiting for me. “This has been mine for months, hasn’t it?”
Her choked cry, the tilt of her hips, is the only answer I need.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t know, baby, or I wouldn’t have been able to help myself. All those times you showed up early would
have been spent in my office, riding my cock.”

Something about my question upsets him. His eyebrows draw together, his grip tightening anew on my wrist. “Get back in your
goddamn seat.”
“No.” Whew. I must be out of my mind. Anyone with working brain cells can see he’s about to get tough with me. Reject me.
Hurt my feelings out of necessity. But something tells me I’ll never get another chance to see under his exterior if I don’t
rip it down right now. So before he can open his mouth and deliver whatever lie he’s thinking, I kiss him.
And we go up in flames.

I decide to stop exploring it when she flicks her hips back, grinds back down. Does it again. Does it again. Until my fucking
thighs and hands are shaking, my mouth open and growling at her neck. Every ounce of my focus goes into hunting a condom down
in my pocket and covering myself, before reaching down between our bodies and guiding my cock to her heat. “Wet girl. Nice
wet girl.”
She arches her back and spreads her legs, allowing me to slip myself inside her inch by inch . . . and as she sinks down,
I barely recognize the sensation because nothing that came before her compares. Made for me. I’m made just for her. All of
the above.
“Oh God,” we both moan at the same time.

On my shoulder, she shakes her head no. “Greer, oh, I’m going to—” She breaks off on a closed mouth scream, her thighs trembling
around my hand. “Greer.”
I think I can hold it together long enough to give her another orgasm, but as soon as her pussy cinches around my dick like
a belt, I know resisting the rush of pleasure is a pipe dream. “Goddammit, baby. Ripping it right out of me, aren’t you?”
There’s a scraping feeling deep in my belly, then I’m shouting into her hair as the most phenomenal relief grips me. I’m coming
inside her. Finally. Finally. It hurts, but it’s happening . . . and then it doesn’t hurt anymore, because the worst of the
lust is leaving me, shooting up the stalk of my flesh. “You’re killing me. Don’t stop. Move. Move. Don’t stop.”
My body continues to ram up, up into her snug, clenching cunt until my fucking vision goes black. Mine. The word echoes in my head, but my teeth snap down on my lower lip to keep from saying it out loud.

I slide between Greer and the coffee table, intending to park myself beside him on the couch, but he snags me by the waist
and draws me down on his lap. There are a few charged seconds where neither one of us moves, but the pace of our breathing
goes haywire. I struggle not to moan when he plants his open mouth against my ear and hums, the vibration going straight through
me. “I figured we could find out what all this cuddle talk is about.”
“Is there a lot of talk?” I wheeze the question, and I don’t even blame myself. Who could think straight with the hot muscular
flex of his thighs under their butt?

I lay my head down on his shoulder and take a deep inhale of his skin. No-nonsense soap, sweat, spearmint gum. It doesn’t
feel like our first time cuddling in terms of how our bodies curve together. But the beating of his heart against my shoulder,
the steady rise and fall of his bare chest, is so new. Up close, I can see all the individual hairs on his chest, the dark
whorls of them that grow concentrated at his belly button and vanish below my hip. His erection is tucked between the cheeks
of my ass, but he seems determined to pet every inch of me, and I’m totally content to let him. He’s so warm.
A yawn catches me off guard, but I shake myself to keep my eyelids from drooping. “What’s your verdict on cuddling?”
His sigh shifts my hair around. “I think I’m fucked.”

“Get that tiny fucking thong off,” I growl, even though there’s no way I can wait that long. No, as soon as I drag my dick
out of her mouth, I’m yanking those panties sideways and thrusting into her soaked pussy. She screams in my ear, her nails
sinking like razors into my back. My heart stutters at the possibility that I hurt her with my aggression, but I’m reassured
when her knees dig into my sides. Like a rider spurring on a horse. Only I’m the one riding her. And I do it hard. “When you
got into a cab and rattled off my address in your little, pink shirt dress, you knew this is what you were going to get, didn’t
you? A hard cock between your thighs. Didn’t you, baby?”
“Yes. Oh my God. Yes.”

Stop moving,” I rasp, my stomach tightening. “I’m too goddamn close.”
“It’s okay,” she whimpers, definitely pulling me deep again and grinding her hips up, her heels finding a home at the small
of my back. “I never miss my pill. Please.”
Relief blinds me like two headlights, along with the impulse to fuck her until the pain is gone. “I’m clean.”
“Me, too.” She sobs, those nails burying in the flesh of my ass. “Greer.”
“Hold on to me.”
In the end, I can’t tell who is holding on to whom. Our bodies are flush, sweaty and racing to the finish. I bury my face
in the crook of her neck with a guttural groan, my hips pump hard, fast, almost angrily. I’ve never moved in such perfect
rhythm with anyone. Not even myself. I’m better with her. We’re better together.

His low growl makes me shudder. “My girl.” That open palm zings against my backside. “Mine.” The next strike is harder, and
he massages the spot afterward, his touch gentle, and the contradiction is so perfectly Greer, I hear myself asking for more.
More Greer. “Show me some pussy,” he rasps. “Before you go strutting what belongs to me around, give your man a nice look.”
Lord. Oh Lord. My vision is a blur now, but my muscles are still functioning for the most part. Keeping my cheek pressed to
the table, I loosen my back and angle my hips. And that most sensitive part of me gets the next slap. Whap. I’m so shocked,
I release a cut-off scream that gets louder when his huge erection rams home inside of me. Pleasure explodes in my middle.
My orgasm is an earthquake, sending cracks down the center of my foundation. Beneath me, the table vibrates, thanks to my
juddering body.

“I’m fucking yours, you know that?” He drops hot, panting kisses beneath my ear. “I just want to be yours, Danika.”
“You are.” I clench my teeth and sail over the edge again. “Greer.”
“God, baby. Fuck.”
I’m hurtling so fast and hard into pleasure, I’m barely aware of his mouth leaving my neck, but when I hear him shout a broken
curse, when I feel heat inside me and that final, rough thrust, something primal comes alive inside me. Something I think
Greer woke up.
Damn right I satisfy my man.
I love it. I love me with him. Us together.

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

amazingread

Review: Indecent Exposure by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookindecentexposure
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Academy, #2
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Jack Garrett
Heroine: Katie McCoy
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 30, 2018
Started On: August 27, 2018
Finished On: December 18, 2018

Indecent Exposure by Tessa Bailey is the second book in The Academy trilogy. When I was done with Disorderly Conduct, I knew right away then that I wanted to lose myself in the third installment in the series. But since I have a level of OCD of my own when it comes to reading books in order in a series, I decided to go with the flow and read Indecent Exposure first.

Jack Garrett is the kind of hero that is hard not to notice, even when he is lurking in the background. It was Jack’s voice as described in Disorderly Conduct that stuck with me when I picked this number to read. Apart from that, Jack is known as the one out of the trio (Charlie, Jack and, Danika), who is not serious about his training at the police academy.

Jack had grown up at a brothel where his mother had worked to make ends meet. That had exposed Jack way too early in his life to the realities and the ugly side of sex and what it could mean. A man who could practically charm the panties off of any woman he chooses to, it surprises Jack when his obvious interest in Katie McCoy goes unreciprocated at first. But the truth is, none of the ladies he pursuits or does the pursuing of him, ever realizes that deep down inside, Jack loathes the way he feels when the act is said and done.

Katie is in New York to have fun. To loosen up. An Olympic gold medalist in the air rifle competition, and a special weapons instructor, Katie turns out to be the new arms instructor for the recruits undergoing training. Jack’s interest in Katie doesn’t even begin to show signs of abating, even with the notion that he would be skirting dangerous waters by wanting to get it on with an instructor. 

Jack has a problem with alcohol. He drowns out the blackness that is inside of him, owing to a secret that he has never confided in with anyone, something that eats at him day in and day out. Katie on the other hand, is someone who avoids watering holes altogether. She has her reasons for it, and knowing that Jack imbibes in alcohol should have been a deal breaker from the very start.

But just like Jack tries to give up his acquired habit of drinking too much because he wants to be worthy of Katie, the desire to be with Jack is is something Katie cannot ignore as well. But giving up a lifelong habit is easier said than done, and it is the struggle that both Jack and Katie go through together to come through that makes this story delightful.

When I first began reading Indecent Exposure, I am sorry to say that I was not that enamored with Jack nor Katie. But as I went deeper into the story, I started seeing fascinating tidbits into both characters that made me fall in love. That is the kind of author Tessa Bailey is. Which is one reason why I never give up on a book from her, knowing that, one way or the other, she tends to deliver the kind of emotional story that I would always fall in love with.

Even though Jack’s character did not impress me all that much in the first book, I loved what I saw inside of him when it came to his story. He has a tortured soul. I mean who wouldn’t have issues when you grow up in a brothel, watching your mother put up with men of all kinds just so she could provide for you? Returning that favor is Jack’s sole aim when it comes to getting through the training at the police academy.

While Charlie and Danika are invested and fully committed and go out of their way to excel when it comes to the training, Jack is half-assing his way through – just so that he can provide for and take care of his mother.

I would have loved to see Jack’s mother a bit more than I did in the story. It would have been good to see the kind of relationship that Jack has with her, and how it has shaped his outlook on life. That is something I did enjoy when it came to Disorderly Conduct, because both characters had issues that had stemmed from the environment within which they had grown up. We all do, some definitely more than others.

Katie’s character was certainly one that I enjoyed. She has an innocence that belies the formidable woman she is career-wise. There is a sweetness to her that remains unchanged at the very core, a sensitivity to her character that fits in well with Jack. She has keen insight into people, and is fair and honest, which is one of the reasons why she is not hesitant when it comes to seeing Jack’s talents for what they are, and giving Jack a chance to prove himself, in the process gain the respect of fellow trainees and supervisors.

While Jack’s struggle in terms of dealing with his reliance on alcohol is dealt with sensitivity, there are also no fairy tale solutions to his struggle, which is what I believe made this story that much more realistic. It is something Jack has to work at, continually more or less, because he believes in Katie and himself, because he believes that Katie deserves the best, and he wants nothing but to be the best there is when it comes to her.

Hopping onto see my favorite duo next. Greer baby, here I come!

Recommended for fans of Tessa Bailey and those who love a sinfully good romance! With the mistress of finely tuned dirty talk, you can never go wrong!

Final Verdict: Jack and Katie has the ability to sucker-punch you with the ferocity of emotions they invoke. Add in the blazing hot sex, and Tessa Bailey has definitely got herself a winner

Favorite Quotes

[Katie] His rough exhalation shakes out into my mouth when our lower bodies meld on a single grind, his eyebrows slashing down as though he’s in pain.
“One more, Katie. One more, one more, one—”
I yank him back down, cutting him off with my waiting kiss and his hands, they become these sweeping sources of hot want,dragging down my sides, clutching my hips and pulling me up onto my toes, sliding me side to side against his large arousal.

[Katie] One big hand invades my hair, the other slides down my back like it owns me. And very slowly, he rocks me, rocks me on the ridge behind his fly.
The flesh between my legs clenches—a hot, insistent squeeze—and it’s like Jack knows I’ve just been hit by a massive lust tidal wave. While his mouth continues to devastate me, his eyes open and lock with mine . . . and he rolls his hips. Rolls them twice, three times, dragging his bulge up and back underneath my quickening heat.
I tear our mouths apart with a gasp. “Wow.”

[Katie] His tongue leaves me, though, and I lose myself completely, locking my heels and trying to keep his mouth in that perfect place where I need it. Need it so bad. When Jack lays a kiss on my stomach and whispers my name, I loosen my muscles. Justin time for him to ease a finger into my dampness. Pumping it. And again, the storm whips. I’m looking up at the ceiling,but I don’t see it. His knuckle twists on top of my clit, his finger jiggling inside me. My pleasure is blinding me. I’m shaking.There are tears or sweat or both sliding down my temples and I don’t care. My body has a mind of its own, arching and clenching,my voice begging.

[Katie] I pull him down on top of me, just as my body wins the battle, reeling in the orgasm that ironically, sends me out to sea.A current carries me, rippling over and through my body, my eyes full of nothing but exhilarating blue. Above me, Jack grits out my name and joins me, bringing the violence of the water, his muscles jerking, his throat gasping for oxygen. My arms and legs wrap around him tight, forcing him to share his spasms with me, forcing him to accept mine. Afterwards, we lay there,too spent to move for what feels like hours.

[Jack] When I realize Katie is looking up at me, that’s when I begin to lose it. Her lips stretch as she sinks down to my root, keeping those blue eyes on me the whole time. She’s excited. There’s a light in her gaze, like she can’t believe what we’re doing.Can’t believe how much I’m enjoying it. As if . . . it’s her first suck-off. Jesus Christ. Am I a pervert for wanting to flip our positions and fuck her mouth hard now? Just like last night, when I hit this point of no return, all I want to do is claim her. Make her mine.

[Jack] “Jack!” She grinds back against my mouth, thighs shaking out of control and come shoots up my cock so fast, I groan and flick my tongue along Katie’s convulsing flesh, refusing to stop until she’s wrung out. My stomach constricts so hard with the climax,I must be dying. My body moves without any kind of mental command, writhing and bucking, trying to get rid of the liquid lust that seems to be never-ending.

[Katie] “I know you had a physical before the academy, which means you’re all clear. Have you used protection every time since then?”
“Yes. I’ve never, Katie. Never without.”
Our foreheads bump when I nod. “So tell me you’re clean, like I know you are.”
His breath races in and out. “I can’t let us do this. You’re—”
“I’m on the pill.” With lust lacing in my blood like lightning, I bring his erection between my legs, dragging it through my wet heat. “Yes or no, Jack?”
There’s no earthly description for the sensation of a man’s muscles shaking, the heat of his hands hovering above my ass,his flesh thickening in my hand. It’s the epitome of anticipation. An aphrodisiac. “Yes, I’m clean for you, but—”
He breaks off with a growl when I tuck the head of him inside me. A plump, pulsing inch that stretches me and zaps eagerness to my nerve endings. “Have me.” I raise my knee, resting it on Jack’s hip. The movement allows him to slip deeper, just a touch, but I might as well have pushed him in all the way, his reaction is so intense.

[Jack] “Drop your legs,” I order in a desperate voice. “I’ve got you.”
Confusion wrinkles her brow, but she follows my order, leaving her feet dangling down near my straining calves. A split second later, when I thrust up between her thighs, a scream leaves her mouth, the advantages of the position clearly hitting her. “Oh my God, Jack. M-more. Please, more.”
Easier said than done, shout my balls, but my mind, my heart is obsessed with the pleasure on her face. My experience isn’t something to be ashamed of in that moment, but something to be celebrated.

[Jack] “Mine,” I groan into the top of her head. “Mine?”
“Yes.”
“Mine to come inside?”
“Y-yes.” The single, incredible word splinters into husky cries, her pussy clamping around my dick. And I lose it. I bend my knees and fuck up into her in a rough push, smacking her ass against the wet wall and circling my hips, grinding into her spasming flesh, marking it as mine. The battle ends when she screams Jack, her fingernails raking down my back and burying in the flesh of my ass. My orgasm is painful in its intensity, rocking me
from the soles of my feet to the top of my head. I press my mouth against the damp marble wall and shout through the ringing
of my insides, the emptying of my lust.

[Katie] Silence thrums around us. “Are you worried about what I’ll do when you leave? Is that what this is about?”
A tank crashes in my stomach, because I hadn’t considered the obvious. But there’s no pretending when our heartbeats are pressed together. “Yes.”
“Me, too.” He tilts my chin up. “You’re the one who held up a mirror. You’re the one who brought me to the meeting.” Regret mixes with determination on his face. “But I’d be worried about slipping even if you weren’t leaving. Fixing this problem of mine? That’s on me. You’re not responsible, Katie, understand?”

[Katie] A kiss on my nape, following by a rough bite. “It’s coming, honey.”
No sooner does that bathroom door slam shut, leaving us alone once again in the restroom, than Jack drives himself inside me so hard I’m elevated several inches off the ground. I scream. I scream without attempting to subdue the wild sound, but it’s swallowed in the loud, fast-paced music and the sharp slap of Jack’s thighs against my bottom. My orgasm is blinding, tightening and loosening bolts beneath my belly button, shaking my limbs and filling my eyes with startled tears.

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