Review: Tied by Carian Cole

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: All Torn Up, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Tyler Grace
Heroine: Holly Daniels
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 2017
Started On: March 19, 2021
Finished On: March 24, 2021

Holly Grace is five years old when she is kidnapped. Forced into captivity by a man who is the worst kind of predator, Holly is rescued by none other than Tyler Grace the town recluse, who kills her captor and sets her free. Holly sees Tyler as none other than her prince charming, the knight in shining armor who rode to her rescue. Even though Holly does not get to see Tyler for two years after, she waits patiently for their union – because even if Tyler knows it not, he is hers and she is his.

Assimilating back to society takes its time and Holly feels out of place with everything, even when it comes to her family. Being in captivity, solely relying on her captor for eleven long years had left its mark. Holly is determined that one way or the other, she would find Tyler, and it is her quest to find her faithful companion when she was held in captivity which leads her to yours truly, who lives in a cottage in the forest, where Holly finally feels like she has come home.

Tyler has his scars from the past, having gone through a lot of rough patches when his life had changed irrevocably that one fateful night. I found myself thoroughly enchanted by the story as Holly and Tyler found their way to each other even amidst all of what stood in their way. They are two souls fated to be together, something which readers come to know as the story reaches its climax.

I loved Holly for how brave she was through everything, in spite of everything. She goes through the worst kind of tragic experience which had robbed her of the most formative years of her life, and yet she holds onto her hope that her prince would come to rescue her. Some people may find that to be an odd notion for a young girl who is kidnapped at the age of five, but I found it to be what gave her hope that someday she would be freed from the evil clutches of the man who held onto her.

Tyler was just as endearing in many aspects. He is someone who hides himself away because he too is on the fringes of society, on the outside looking in. His regrets are multiple when it comes to his past, and he believes that he would continue to pay penance for it for the rest of his life.

What I had problems with was how the story ended; the epilogue was bittersweet in the way it cheated readers out of a more wholesome look into their shared future together. But having gone back to re-read the epilogue once again makes me think perhaps it was the most fitting epilogue for two individuals who had suffered so much pain to finally find their home in each other.

While Holly’s parents were callous for the most part when she is finally found, realistically speaking, I do believe that her parents were right in getting her the help she required. But it would have been better had they rallied around her and provided better emotional support than they did. But I also understood how Holly’s abduction had destroyed the family as well – and human emotions being what they are can often be messy and chaotic when they somehow find a medium to survive in the aftermath of a tragedy.

There was also the point where the readers do not get to see Tyler embrace his darker side while with Holly. I understood the need to take things slow when it comes to Holly, but at the same time, Holly is someone who wants her prince wholeheartedly, the good and the bad that is within him. And I would have loved to see even one scene, maybe a couple of months into their relationship as they figure things out in terms of physical intimacy and gets comfortable to a point where Tyler could have shown Holly that side of him.

I also felt that the story was a bit rushed from a certain point onward, which is perhaps why the effect that I had hoped for when I picked this up to read did not materialize fully. But even with all that, I still enjoyed Ms. Cole’s voice which stands true to delivering emotional goodness in dealing with difficult subjects such as trauma of the kind that leaves its deep abiding scars on your soul forever.

Recommended for fans of the series, fans of Ms. Cole, and fans of romances of the beauty and the beast theme.

Final Verdict: Holly and Tyler are two halves of one soul, tied together by the invisible thread of fate which propels them towards each other in defiance of everything that may stand in their way!

Favorite Quotes

“Your heart is like a little hummingbird.” He breathes. “It was beating like this the day I found you…” He kisses the valley at the center of my chest, his tongue slowly sending a warm shiver up my spine. “I could feel it against my chest. And it made me want to hold on to you forever.”
I reach up to run my hands across his back, my mind growing fuzzy, drunk on his words and his touch.
“I’ve always wanted you to.” My whispered words invite his mouth to mine, and he kisses me softly at first, then unapologetically rough and deep, pulling me further into a woozy haze.

His mouth comes down on mine again as his hand gently moves over my breast, pushing the fabric aside. His rough palm grazes over my nipple, and a small sound of surprise escapes me at the sensation jolting through my body from that tiny touch.
“I fuckin’ love that sound…” he growls, and he roughly yanks the fabric up to expose my breasts, his mouth and tongue dragging over skin that’s never been touched. Surprise and fear are chased away as he sucks a nipple into his mouth, his tongue flicking over the hard tip, and my entire body responds, craving more of this, more of him, more of everything that feels so incredibly good.

“Can I ask you something?” she asks.
“Of course.”
“If I asked you to, would you stop doing the fighting?”
That’s the last thing I expected her to ask me. “Maybe. Why?”
“Because I love your face. And I don’t want it getting hurt anymore.”
You skeeve me out.
Her words rock me, right into my soul. Right now, she doesn’t know how much her words mean to me, but I know she’s the only person I’ll ever meet that has the true capacity to understand. We’re kinda made of the same ripped-up cloth.

“Holly…” My voices catches in my throat.
“I want to.” Her gray eyes lock onto mine as she pulls my shorts down, and I’m powerless under her sweet, sultry gaze and the sudden warmth of her mouth descending on my rock-hard cock.
All the way down.
My eyes literally roll back in my head as she expertly deep throats me, her lips touching my balls as she takes the full length of my shaft.
Oh, fuck. Nothing has ever felt so fucking amazing.

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

Review: Torn by Carian Cole

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: All Torn Up, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Toren Grace
Heroine: Kenzi Allyster Valentine
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 12, 2018
Started On: March 17, 2021
Finished On: March 19, 2021

My love, Walk in the rain with me. Kiss me in the misty fog. Let me hold you all night under the hush of the wind. I’m waiting for you. Throwing pennies…making wishes. I’m wishing only for you. Always for you. Come back to me. I’ll fight for you. I’ll fight for us. Wish for me, too…and I’ll make it come true.” ~ Toren Grace

Having experienced the beauty of the written word from Carian Cole, I decided to take the plunge and read some of the books from her backlist which appealed to me. Of course it certainly helped that a pivotal character from this series ended up being featured in Don’t Kiss the Bride, which helped propel me in this direction.

Featuring the May-December trope once again, Ms. Cole pushes things a bit further in Torn by putting in an additional layer which makes the romance between the main protagonists further taboo – the hero being the best friend of the heroine’s father around whom the heroine grows up. With a 15 year age gap between 37 year old Toren Grace (Tor) and 17 year old Kenzi Allyster Valentine when the story begins, Toren is just 16 years old when Kenzi is born.

From the moment Kenzi enters the lives of Tor and his best friends (parents of Kenzi), a monumental bond is formed between Kenzi and Tor. Taking the reader back and forth through the formative years of Kenzi’s life to present day when the romance between Tor and Kenzi buds to life, Ms. Cole certainly does a swell job in terms of building Tor’s character as he materialized in the story.

Tor is rough around the edges, ruggedly handsome, and tired of all the meaningless relationships that has ruled his life up till that point. He had played second fiddle to the woman who holds his affections for far too long. Wanting to settle down and live a simple life is what Tor dreams of, however elusive that dream maybe for him. The one constant in his life throughout has been Kenzi, and at the cusp of womanhood, Kenzi scares him with the at times stray thoughts of illicit nature that enters his subconscious where she is concerned.

Tor is a major part of Kenzi’s life as she grows up. Having parents who became famous musicians a year after she was born had meant that Kenzi too had spent her toddler years on the road on tour with them. When tragedy strikes and Tor is called back home, Kenzi too is left with Tor for the most part when her parents go about their lives, wanting to give Kenzi a more wholesome and grounded experience while growing up. And when tragedy strikes the lives of Kenzi’s parents, it is Tor who picks up the pieces and becomes the grounding force in her life, while her father puts his sole focus on dealing with the aftermath.

When things start changing between Tor and Kenzi, it is mostly to do with Kenzi pushing Tor beyond his limits. Tor resists at first, and puts up walls to keep her at bay. After all, no man in his right mind would say yes to what Kenzi wants, no matter how much Tor too may want the same thing. The conversations between Tor and Kenzi brings to light just how beautiful their bond is. Tor is Kenzi’s confidante, the person she feels safest with.

Resistance by Tor however is futile as Kenzi chips away at the walls and embraces the man who has loved her in every single way throughout her life, showing him that the kind of life that Tor has always wanted for himself could be a reality with her. Tor is love in its purest of forms, there are no two ways about it. He is a contrasting mix of gentle and rough which is so appealing. His love for Kenzi shines through in every single sentence of this book that deals with the couple and I have no words to describe just how perfect it all was.

Kenzi obviously being young does not care overly much about what people may think. But Tor of course does. Kenzi is the one who pushes Tor to give in, promising that they would weather whatever storm that may come, together. This is where my problems with this story began; at first I loved Kenzi for promising Tor that she would be by his side, no matter what. In the end, her words rang hollow as she leaves for an extended period of time given the situation that unfolds as Kenzi’s father finally finds out about Tor and her relationship.

That is where my confusion as to how to rate this book too arose. On the one hand, I loved everything to do with Tor, the relationship between Kenzi and him from years back which had developed into love of the kind that is fulfilling in every single aspect. While I understood why Kenzi takes the advice given by her closest friend to put distance between herself, Tor and her father for things to cool down, the extent of the time she stays away made me feel sad for Tor on many levels.

While I appreciated the fact that she does find firmer footing of her own path in life during the time spent apart, I still felt that Tor was cheated out on some level; how would we readers have reacted had Tor promised the same and ran with his tail between his legs quoting the same reason, and then tries to see whether he could move on or rather tests the waters to see whether what he had with Kenzi was in fact real? I think we would not have been very happy with Tor either, if that were to be the case.

I also felt that at times Kenzi was just a hidden shadow in the story for the most part. While her love for Tor was a tangible thing, I felt that her parents were just too focused on each other and furthering their career as musicians to care overly much for Kenzi; they left the parenting to Tor for the most part. If Kenzi had been more fleshed out in other ways perhaps, I guess her character would have been more wholesome.

Recommended for fans of Ms. Cole and fans of taboo romances featuring a significant age gap between the main protagonists. Ms. Cole definitely does the subject matter justice when she delivers her stories.

Final Verdict: Tor is the definition of love in its purest form, a beautiful manifestation of what most women want their significant other to be. Sign me up for the next Tor please!

Favorite Quotes

“You’re bleeding.” My voice cracks as I choke back new tears and dab at his hand with the sleeve of my sweatshirt.
His hand closes over mine, on top of the big furry dog’s back, and his gaze drifts from our joined hands, up to my face. For the first time I don’t recognize the deep, dark eyes staring back into mine, but I fall right into them willingly as our lips meet. My eyes flutter closed as I tumble further into him, but he quickly jerks away, and we simultaneously suck in a startled breath, staring at each other with wide-eyed shock.
Dropping my hand, he grabs the back of my neck, yanking my mouth back to his hungrily, and I clutch his arm to keep from falling backward onto my ass. His lips are warm and demanding, his tongue pushing past my teeth, coaxing my mouth open. My heartbeats turn into soaring butterflies. Nothing has ever felt like this.

Holding her gaze, I yank off my worn T-shirt and toss it to the floor, watching how her eyes take in my bare chest and then drift hungrily to my abs. I want her to run. I want her to stay.
“Well, here I am. Show me.”
I know every single one of Kenzi’s expressions for every feeling she has ever felt. But I’ve never seen this look of sheer smoldering desire on her face before. Her eyes stay on mine as she steps towards me with zero hesitation, zero doubt. She completely owns her determination to do exactly what I asked – show me.
The space between us disappears quickly, and she backs me up against the adjacent wall, her hands coming up to hold my face as she goes up on her toes to kiss my lips.
“You,” she says softly. “You are what I’ve always wanted. And yes – way before I even knew what that meant. But I know what it means now.”
She lowers her head and kisses my bare chest, right above the tattoo of her words, her lips soft, wet, and warm.
“I want all of you,” she continues as her lips move across my flesh. “Your love, your body. Your past, your present, your future. Everything.”

“Make me stop, Kenz. Please…” I beg, knowing I’ll never let her go if she doesn’t stop this. She’s got me too far gone to turn back and her new level of sensual confidence is throwing up way too many green lights.
“No,” she says simply, wrapping her arms around me, kissing me just as hungrily as I’m kissing her.
“Push me away.”
“Never,” she whispers, pulling me even closer.
“What’s gotten into you today?” I demand, moving my lips down to suck her neck.
“I don’t know…” she breathes, tilting her head back, letting me suck the delicate flesh of her throat. “Being so close to you all day…touching you…I don’t want to stop.”

Reaching up, she pulls the hair tie out of the back of my hair and smiles when my hair falls down into her face.
“You like that?” I ask softly, stroking her cheek with the back of my hand.
“I’ve dreamed about you on top of me like this, with your hair in my face.”
I suck in a quick breath. “You never told me you dreamt about me.”
Her hands skim up my chest, over my shoulders, and clasp behind my neck as she stares up at me. “I was afraid it would make you pull further away from me.”
“I don’t think I can pull away anymore. It’s a battle I just can’t win.”

Her body is engulfed by mine as I climb back on top of her, and I can feel her trembling beneath me now, either from fear or excitement or probably a mashup of both. My mouth is hard and demanding on hers as I move my body over her, the feeling of flesh on flesh making my cock like a rock between us, pressing against her, seeking her heat. Reaching down between us, I slide my hand between her thighs to gently stroke her pink lips and she’s so fucking wet already that it obliterates any ideas of patience and gentleness I may have had. I want in, and I want it now.

“Are you still on the pill?” I ask against her lips, my fingers expertly strumming over her clit.
She nods and moves her hands down to my ass, trying to pull me between her legs. “Yes…” she says breathlessly. “For you.”
“Good,” I growl, moving between her thighs. She doesn’t waver at all when I grab my cock and rub the head up and down between her wet lips and over her clit, coaxing her into that crazy place of wanting nothing but sweet release. Of wanting nothing but me.

Time stands still as we rock against each other, our bodies slippery with sweat, her lips pressed against my chest, kissing that spot over my heart that’s forever marked with her words.
And now, her kiss. Her touch. Her love.
After today, I can never deny the truth again. She completely owns me.

Spreading my folds with his fingers, he gently pushes me down until I’m flush against him with his cock wedged between my lips.
“Keep your legs spread and slide yourself back and forth over me,” he coaxes, grabbing my hips and moving me so my sex glides from the base of him all the way up to the head, and then back again. And he’s right, even though he’s not inside me, rubbing along his hard length feels incredible.
Leaning back against the pillows, his gaze drifts up my body, not stopping until he reaches my eyes.
“That feels so good…” he groans softly, cupping my breasts in his hands again. “Don’t stop, just let yourself go and get off on me. I want to watch you come.”

Grabbing the back of my neck, he gently pulls my head down and kisses my lips. “You’re perfect, Kenzi. Every single inch of you, inside and out. You’re turning me on like fuckin’ crazy.” He kisses me again, always knowing exactly what I need to hear and feel, and I continue to ride along his shaft, arching my back to press my clit against him.
“There ya go,” he whispers, his fingers grazing over my nipple, sending more sparks throughout my body and down into my core. “Feel how hard I am for you? For months I’ve been hiding that from you but now I want you to feel every inch of what you do to me.”

He growls against my lips when I let the tip of his cock press against my wet entrance and I get my first taste of real sensual power. He wants me. Maybe even needs me.
Angling my hips just the right way, I lower myself down onto him and he inhales sharply, pulling me down hard on him, his cock plunging deep. A small cry sounds in my throat but again, the sensation of pain and want is intoxicating for me, intensifying when he whispers my name and shudders, losing himself in me completely just as I am with him.

I wait at the front door for him with a pounding heart, holding myself back from running to him just in case a neighbor might see me. His long jean-clad legs carry him up the walkway quickly and he shuts the door behind him, his eyes locking onto mine with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on him as he immediately reaches for me, cupping his hand on the side of my throat and bending down to cover my mouth with his, slow and deep. Possessive. I wind my arms around his neck and hang on to him as my legs turn to jelly, threatening to let me melt into a puddle at his feet.
This is the best hello of my life.

“Do you want me?” His teeth graze the back of my neck as his finger slowly pushes into me, a small moan escapes my lips.
“Always.”
“Tell me.” His lips curve against my neck in response and he pushes his palm up against my sex, his middle finger pressing perfectly against my sweet spot. “I want to hear your sweet voice say something dirty.”
Without hesitating, I say exactly what I’m thinking. “I want to feel every inch of your cock rammed in me right now.”

“Tor…” Orgasmic delirium has me liquifying under his touch, as if my bones are melting. Dropping the showerhead, he spins me around and grabs my ass, lifting me up and pushing me back against the tile, his stiff cock finding home again as I wrap my legs around his waist. He kisses me with wild hunger, pumping into me while the dangling showerhead spins around, spraying water everywhere. He moans against my mouth and stills, buried deep inside me, his kisses halting to slow, deep, and soft, and I feel him surge and pulse as he comes. I move my pelvis in slow circles against him, milking and caressing him with my tightening walls. Exhaling deeply, he stares into my eyes and loosens his grip on me.
“Damn…I love you,” he says, his voice filled with raw emotion.
“I love you back,” I say breathlessly, raining kisses over his face and smoothing his wet hair back.

Rolling over onto my back, I pull her on top of me and she’s already a step ahead of me, knowing exactly what I want and need. Her body moves tantalizingly slow on top of me, like she’s savoring every inch, every breath, every touch. She takes my cock into her with a long, smooth descent, then lifts herself up even slower ’til she reaches my tip before lowering down onto me again, repeating this over and over. There’s no rush, no crazy bouncing up and down, no slamming of bodies. Her body dances effortlessly with mine, like we were made to be one since the beginning of time. There’s no rush to reach an end because there is no end. Her eyes fall closed, her pouty lips parting with the ecstasy of my body filling hers as she makes love to me like we have forever.
And she made me believe that we did have forever.

He sucks in a breath and watches with dark lust-filled eyes as I slowly slide myself down the wall until I’m kneeling in front of him, holding his gaze as I slowly unzip his jeans and pull them down along with his boxers. His hard cock thrusts out, and I eagerly wrap my lips around the head and slide my mouth down his shaft, filling my mouth and throat with him. He leans one arm on the wall above me and his other hand cups the back of my neck, his thumb slowly rubbing over my cheek as I move my lips up and down the hot length of him.
“I love when you suck me.” The deep, breathiness of his voice sends tingles up and down my spine as he thrusts his salty crown against the back of my throat.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

Review: Don’t Kiss the Bride by Carian Cole

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Jude Lucketti
Heroine: Skylar
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 31, 2021
Started On: March 15, 2021
Finished On: March 17, 2021

Carian Cole is a new to me author that I found through my Kindle Unlimited recommendations. Being the huge fan of May-December romance tropes that I am, Don’t Kiss the Bride seemed to be right up my alley, with a marriage of convenience theme in the mix.

18 year old Skylar who is going through her last year of high school, is someone who has it tougher than most in life. Skylar makes ends meet by working after school and suffers from an eating disorder brought on by neglect. Her father having left Skylar and her mother to their own devices, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to even taking care of her own health, both physical and mental.

As luck would have it, Skylar’s run in with 34 year old Jude “Lucky” Lucketti brings her the fortune of a lifetime. Jude, a sexy, broody construction worker, from the first time he meets Skylar, there is something about her that tugs at his heartstrings and makes him want to protect her. When Jude becomes privy to the extent of Skylar’s plight at home, he offers the seemingly perfect solution: to enter into a marriage on paper only, so that Skylar would be under his care which would get her the help that she needs. They would just be roommates or rather housemates, nothing more, nothing less.

Jude himself comes from a broken family, his father having left their home when he was seventeen. Jude blames himself for the black hole into which he had sunk at that point, running around with the wrong sort of crowd and losing his way. He blames himself for how his sister went missing and it is perhaps one of the reasons why he is so driven to help Skylar by moving her into a better environment where she could recover in peace.

What Jude does not factor into the equation is how he is drawn to Skylar on a level that would be frowned upon by many and shunned by society at large. The fact that Skylar seems to be drawn to him just as much only makes him more determined to stay firm and true to his original plans when they initially said their I do’s. But fate has a way of bringing two halves of one soul together and there is no fighting the tide when the need is as ferocious as the waves that break ashore during the violence of a summer’s storm.

I loved this story for so many reasons. Carian Cole’s writing is beautiful and draws the reader in like an old friend whom you have come to call on after years. Within the pages you find the comfort of the words spoken by that friend, which both ravages and soothes your inner being.

I loved Jude in all his glory. He is charming, sexy, broody, and kindness itself when it comes right down to it. Haunted by his sister’s memories, Jude is someone who is torn between being the platonic husband on paper only to being Skylar’s husband in its truest form. The struggle is only too real when the desire between them pushes all his buttons. Once they give in, there is no stopping where it takes them in their relationship, as fragile as the bond maybe when they start out. When Jude’s past comes calling, it is then and only then the reader is exposed to the darker elements of Jude’s soul which I absolutely loved!

I loved Skylar; who wouldn’t? She is a survivor amidst everything else. She is strong, beautiful on the inside and out, and an old soul at that. She finds affinity with Jude on many levels, desires to be his above everything else, and is willing to understand that the lifeline he offers is the only way she can get herself onto the road of recovery. When Skylar embraced the darkness within Jude, that was when I knew that they would be able to weather any storm that may come their way.

I admired the fact that Ms. Cole did not make light of the recovery of the mental health aspects explored in the story. Skylar’s mother was beyond help – her husband had tried and so had Skylar. There is a point at which those around you can no longer offer you the help you need; when you refuse to acknowledge the need for that help. That is a message that we all need to understand as the world increasingly battles with rising numbers of mental health patients.

Getting over mental health issues is a tough and lonesome journey for the one that suffers from it – no matter how much those who love you may surround you, there would always be aspects of it that you would have to suffer through on your own. Which is why I found Ms. Cole’s take on Skylar’s journey to recovery something I could relate to – there was no magic pill nor therapy session which was the hallelujah moment – but rather it was a process as it should rightfully be. There were triggers which made it difficult for Skylar to push past her fears and those were the moments Jude’s understanding mattered the most, and I loved Jude for being sensitive a soul enough to know when those moments presented themselves.

Society would judge the relationship between Skylar and Jude to be an uneven one; after all, Jude is the one who has the financial independence that allows him to look after Skylar. He is also the mature adult in society’s modern definition, and it was with sensitivity that Ms. Cole handled those aspects of the novel as the story progressed. I found the relationship between Skylar and Jude evening out as Skylar came to her own self when she started to make progress in her recovery. The fact that she is as fiercely protective of him as he is of her made my heart full in ways I cannot express.

During one of Skylar’s inner monologues regarding Jude, she thinks along the following lines, “I’m captivated by the hard and soft sides of him—rough in just the right moments, but so incredibly gentle in the perfect moments, too. Jude may not talk much, but his touch speaks a thousand words.” I was right there with Skylar and found myself nodding along with her sentiments of who Jude is. I don’t think I can sum up his character better even if I tried.

Highly recommended for fans of Carian Cole, those who love age gap romances, marriages of convenience, and heroes whose contrasting sides makes you melt on the inside.

Final Verdict: Don’t Kiss the Bride carries such a surprising mix of sweet tenderness with darkness of the kind that speaks to your heart!

Favorite Quotes

I put my hands on his chest and slide them up to his shoulders. As he bends toward me, I close my eyes and lift one of my feet up into that flirty flamingo pose we see in movies.
Our lips touch softly, until he tilts his mouth over mine, capturing my lips with his. A barely audible gasp escapes me and he inhales it with a slow, sensual suck of breath. His hand squeezes my cheek, and then he pulls away, slowly dragging his thumb across my jawline before he turns to Carol and walks off to speak to her.

Neither one of us makes an effort to move. We stay there, quietly breathing together. Our entwined fingers slowly dance against each other. Hers long, soft and thin. Mine thick and calloused.
Resistance crumbles, and I turn toward her face, just inches from mine.
I don’t know who kissed who. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was her.
Doesn’t matter, because my mouth is on hers when it shouldn’t be. But fuck, her lips are soft and sweet, and I can’t resist one more taste of her.

“Is that what you want?” His lips touch my nose, then wait, hovering just a breath away.
I nod as we breathe against each other. “Yes.”
My answer is a subtle invitation. If he chooses to accept it, then any touching or kissing from this point forward won’t be an oops or an accident.
It’ll be a conscious choice. A decision we made together right here on my bed.
Fisting my hair, he gently pulls my head back, angling my neck up toward him. My eyes fall closed as he presses his lips to my throat and holds them there, warm and soft, before lightly sucking. My breath catches when he slowly drags his mouth up to briefly touch mine—whisper soft and gentle—before lifting up and bringing his lips back down to the base of my throat. Open-mouthed, teeth grazing.

When I reach for his pants, he nudges my hand away.
“No,” he whispers with his mouth against my ear and his fingers buried inside me. “Tonight, I just want to fuckin’ devour you.”
In a blink, he disappears under the blanket and quickly lowers my sweatpants. His mouth joins his hand between my thighs. His tongue laps at my throbbing clit, his lips cover me, so warm and wet.
I turn into a quivering, wet, orgasmic, lovesick mess.
Closing my eyes, I let go of everything, cling to him, and let myself get lost in us.

“Kiss me,” she whispers, pulling on the chain of my necklace.
I can’t resist anymore.
Grabbing her waist with my free hand, I pull her hard against my body and crush my lips down on hers. Her gasp of surprise fuels the fire she’s already stoked with her inviting touches and perfect words. I move my hand over the curve of her ass and down to the back of her bare thigh, lifting her until she hops up and wraps her legs around my waist.
Kissing wildly, I kick the bedroom door shut with my foot, then push her back up against it. Breathless, she snakes her arms around my neck.

Effortlessly, he lifts me up and lays me down on top of his puffy charcoal comforter. I lie back and watch him as he removes my shoes, then stands between my legs as he unzips my shorts and tugs them down, along with my panties.
“I think I just want to stand here and look at you all night,” he says, inching his hand languidly up my thigh like he’s got all the time in the world. His eyes sweep over me and he gives his head a little shake. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”
I peek at him through my lashes. “I could say the same about you.”

“Touch me,” he says, his voice hoarse with desire.
I stroke him slowly, gripping him in my palm and caressing the hot, damp tip. His head bows down, his hair falls over his face, his eyes close. My heart swells with adoration and lust for him. Leaning forward, I put my lips against his flat stomach. His ab muscles flutter deliciously as I rain a slow trail of kisses from hip to hip. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning, getting an amazing gift in the form of sexy tats and an incredible body all wrapped up with a big red bow of sweetness on top. He groans and grabs my shoulders, pulling me up to meet his lips, kissing me with such hunger I can’t breathe
.

“I want you,” I whisper with my lips against his ear.
“You’ve got me,” he whispers back.
The tear of the foil packet permeates the silence of the dim room, and a few seconds later his hands are on my outer thighs, his fingers digging roughly into my flesh. He pulls me closer and thrusts into me balls deep, stretching me to take his full length. I let out a gasp that’s half-pain and half-pleasure. I don’t even care that it hurts a little, because watching him lose himself inside me is like watching art come to life. The way his tattoos, shiny with sweat, flex with his muscles. The way his long hair flies around his head with every thrust. The rivulets of sweat dripping down the center of his chest. The bite of his teeth into his lower lip as he drives into me.
Pure. Hotness.

“Don’t mess with me, Skylar. You’re not gonna like it if I put my hands on you like this.”
I reach up and touch his cheek, running my finger over the dark stubble. He stares at me through half-closed, dark eyes.
“Try me,” I whisper.
Without wavering, I hold his gaze. Whatever he needs right now—I’ll do it. I’ll be it. He’s been my rock since the day we met—never wanting or expecting a thing in return. He’s not drowning his feelings in the bottom of a bottle on my watch.
Suddenly, his hand flies up and grabs the back of my neck, pulling me hard to meet his lips. He kisses me ferociously, his tongue carrying the bite of whiskey. He palms my breast, twisting, pinching, and tugging my nipple between his fingers until I cry out.

“I don’t want you looking at me.” The anguish and self-hatred in his voice and in his eyes rip my heart in two.
Turning on my side, I reach for him, wanting to kiss all the hurt away. “Lucky—”
“Do it or get the fuck out.”
With a quiet nod, I flip back over onto my stomach, and he grabs my hips, pulling me up onto all fours and yanking me back to meet him at the edge of the bed. His hands grip my waist and he drives into me hard, fast, and unforgiving. Moaning his name, I clutch the comforter in my hands, head down, as he slams into me, his balls slapping against my wet pussy with each pounding descent. I’ve never had sex from behind, and it’s painfully primal but so intensely erotic. I don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud of myself for enjoying the raw, animalistic sensuality of it.
And him.

When I arch my back, pushing to meet his thrusts, my walls clench around him again and again as wave after wave of orgasm rolls through me. As I’m reeling from the last of the lingering shudders, I cry out when he suddenly pulls his cock out and pushes me flat down, covering my entire body with his. The length of his stiff shaft wedges between my ass cheeks and spurts hot cum onto my lower back. He bows his head down into my neck and kisses my shoulder blade, biting my flesh and panting heavily, whispering words like wet and tight and so fuckin’ perfect. A shiver of ecstasy cascades down my spine. He stays there for a long time, with his sweaty chest pressed against my back, and I revel in being entirely enveloped by him, trapped in his powerful embrace.

My head falls back against his shoulder and I turn to kiss his neck, nipping at him with my teeth. Water splashes as his hand dives between my thighs like a shark. Two thick fingers zero in on my G-spot, curving upward with precision and rubbing rhythmically. Whimpering, I grip the sides of the tub to steady myself as I rock back and forth, thrusting up into his hand, then back against the ridge of his cock.
He grasps the side of my face and turns me to him. Our lips clash, breathless and needy. He crosses his legs over mine, pinning me down. My body is buzzing, my hips rolling up and down, back and forth. The tip of his thick cock pushes between my ass cheeks, nudging my pulsing entry.

He untangles his legs from mine, grabs me beneath my knees, and bends each of my legs up over the edge of the tub, spreading me wide over him. I grasp the slippery sides of the porcelain as he lifts me by my hips, positions me over his cock, then lowers me down onto him.
“Holy shit,” I gasp as he spears my pussy hard and deep.
Cupping my ass with one hand, he guides me up and down his shaft while his other hand reaches between my thighs, circling and lightly slapping my clit.
I feel his lips on my wet back, kissing a trail up my spine to the curve of my neck. His breath is ragged, matching mine, as we move faster and harder, splashing hot water around us in waves as my body plunges deliciously down onto his.

Grabbing her throat, I pull her up to me and kiss her deep, delving my tongue into her mouth until I own her every breath. She pants against my mouth with her small hands splayed across my hips.
I pull out almost completely, and she gasps in frustration. Resting the tip of my cock against her entry, I cup her face in my hands and kiss her lips softly, then pull away, hovering just millimeters from her mouth. Slowly, I push into her just a fraction. Her wet lips envelope me, deliciously tight and hot.
“Give it to me,” she begs.
“Look at me,” I whisper. She opens her eyes and stares into mine, and I watch her eyelids flutter half-closed when I feed my cock into her inch by inch. She looks so fucking beautiful and sensual, it takes all my self-control not to cum instantly.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo

Review: The Land Where Sinners Atone by V.F. Mason

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Zachary King
Heroine: Phoenix Hale
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 14, 2020
Started On: February 14, 2021
Finished On: February 19, 2021

“Sex is phenomenal. Love though? Love is scary as fuck.” – Zachary

The Land Where Sinners Atone by V.F. Mason is another dark, anti-hero romance from the author whose books answers the need in me to read stories featuring heroes that most would not even think are worthy of redemption. But I love them more so for the fact. I am no fan of overly sweet romances – I like the darkness, that raw edge, and the tension that courses through you, until you are on tenterhooks unable to turn away from the disaster that is imminent. And for that reason alone, I would always continue to read titles from Ms. Mason, as long as she continues to deliver the variety of heroes that speaks to my heart.

The Land Where Sinners Atone tells the tale of 32 year old Zachary King, his family being one of the most influential families in the world, who seeks revenge and vengeance on 29 year old Phoenix Hale, when she is accused of killing the beloved wife of Zachary. With Zachary out in full force to make her pay, the news that the DA cuts her a deal is the last straw for him.

It is punishment enough for Phoenix that nothing in her life would ever be the same again. Her career, the husband who promised to love and cherish her for all eternity, her friends and colleagues, all of them leave her in the dust, and there is no will left in Phoenix to fight to keep them, especially when she has to fight for the survival of someone more precious than all of them put together. But the long arms of the rich who seek vengeance reaches behind the prison walls, and it is heartbreaking what happens to Phoenix to finally break her.

At 32 years old, new evidence that comes to light sets Phoenix free, setting Zachary on her path once again, this time seeking her help to find the actual perpetrator. Zachary makes no apologies for what he did to Phoenix, and his sheer audacity in asking for her help sets Phoenix on the edge, not to mention the fact that he raises her ire in ways she would rather not define.

Ms. Mason weaves a tight plot for the most part, which entwines snippets of the past which shows how Phoenix strikes an odd friendship with a boy three years her senior, and how throughout the years that friendship is conducted via letters and emails. Phoenix at one point wants more, but that had been the first time fate had intervened, forcing her to choose a different path which led her to become an ex-convict who wants the man who put her behind bars in a way she never would have thought possible.

When the truth comes to light of what they mean to each other, of the secret that Zachary hides, and of the true intent and nature of the killer, it is a harrowing couple of chapters until we reach the finish line and turn the pages to the epilogue with bated breathe, praying with everything you are, hoping with every fiber of your being, that everything turns out to be alright.

For the most part, I loved the story that Ms. Mason delivered with this number. Zachary is the kind of hero that takes your breath away from just his sheer presence alone. There is a forcefulness to him, a ruthlessness that is enshrined in his DNA that speaks of violence if ever there is a need for it, and yet at the same time, a gentle side to him that really shakes you up in the midst. Phoenix is not the only one who is flummoxed by the many facets to his character, and as the reader I was feeling it every step of the way.

I think what detracted from my enjoyment of the story somewhat was the fact that I felt the story steered off course towards the end, and I think that it could have been much better had it been otherwise. Zachary too was perhaps not ultimately dark enough for my tastes, because lets face it, Ms. Mason has delivered much darker heroes in her stories such as Psychopath’s Prey, which was my first and most unforgettable book by her.

At the same time, I absolutely adored the bits and pieces on the entwined pasts interwoven into the story up to a point, giving the tale the lighter edge it needed. But even then, I wanted that connection to have come to light differently perhaps, while at the same time I could appreciate that the story’s fast pace meant that things were just happening and that there was no right or wrong time for it to happen. The heat between Zachary and Phoenix is off the charts hot, with their first coming together hot enough to singe the reader.

I fell in love with Phoenix from the very start – she basically makes the story what it is, her character carrying the kind of strength that makes you root for her, admire her, and want the best for her. Her psychology in terms of how she fared from a young age to her chosen career path, and her sheer brilliance at it – all of that and more makes her a heroine who is worthy of all my love and then some!

As usual, stories that depict the psychology of the depraved, the ones who lose their way because of childhood trauma left unaddressed, that is a message that resonates loudly as the story emerges from darkness towards light. We might think it is best for a child who has undergone severe trauma to ignore what happened to them, but the festering wound beneath manifests in different ways in different people. Not all of them turn out to be empathetic soul. Some of them, their souls are left too tainted for them to see the light in anyone else.

Recommended for fans of dark romances featuring anti-heroes and for fans of Ms. Mason’s work.

Final Verdict: Zachary and Phoenix’s coming together is as explosive as the need for vengeance that courses through Zachary, who sets out to destroy everything Phoenix holds dear. Adrenaline rush guaranteed!

Favorite Quotes

I pull her into me, our chests pressing against each other, but before she can dart away from me, I thread my fingers in her hair and arch her head back then whisper against her mouth, “Because of this, right?” And with that, I slam my mouth on hers, connecting us in a kiss.
One single kiss.
Yet it forever shifts the balance in our relationship and opens up possibilities I thought I’d never want again.

The minute our tongues brush against each other, we moan and goose bumps break on my skin. He deepens the kiss, tilting me back until I’m angling my head to meet every glide of his tongue, the hot, passionate kiss vanishing all traces of guilt away and replacing them with a need so strong I can’t stop tightening my thighs around him. My nails scratch the back of his head as I open my lips wider to deepen the kiss even more… if it’s possible.

One minute, he holds me prisoner, and the next, I yelp when he sends me landing flat on my back across the counter, his body covering mine. Once again, his mouth lands on me, but this time the kiss is different.
Any gentleness is gone. Instead, the kiss is passionate and all-consuming, sending waves and waves of goose bumps breaking on my skin while his hard-on digs into my core, sliding up and down, giving me a brief hint of what it can do to me. Fusing our mouths, I hope he’ll end our misery and give us both what we want
so much.

Zach steps back, straightening up, takes out a condom from the back of his pants, and lowers the zipper on his jeans before tearing the foil packet open. He easily wraps his hard-on in it. My eyes widen for a second at the thick, long, angry flesh leaking precum at the tip, and then his hands are back on my hips, pulling me closer until I wrap my legs around him and his erection digs against my core. He rubs it all over my center and leans forward, licking away the tears on my cheeks, one by one, then swallows a piercing moan tearing out of my mouth when he thrusts into me, shifting me on the counter a little and stretching me so much I wonder if I’ll survive it.

My hands slide down his back, raking my nails over it, wanting to bring him pain, the same kind of agony mixed with pleasure he evokes in me while my pussy gets tighter and tighter around him, welcoming every drive of his hips until it all finally becomes too much. I arch my neck back, screaming when it finally hits me. A hot flash spreads all over my body, hammering me with pleasure over and over again, almost making me drown in it for how strong it is—it’s nothing like I’ve experienced before.
He thrusts a few more times and then groans into my ear, biting on my earlobe. He spills inside the condom and grips my ass cheeks so hard a moan slips past my lips.

“Zach, please,” I whisper. However, he is relentless and removes his fingers, replacing them with his tongue again, giving my core an open-mouthed kiss that should be forbidden for how much it makes me feel.
Digging my nails into the back of his head, I place my foot on his shoulder and close my eyes, starting to slowly roll my hips back and forth, finding the friction with him moving rhythm
ically inside me.

“Zach,” I beg and warn at the same time, wanting to finally reach the blissful oblivion without a care in the world.
“I know, darling. But you’ll come on my dick and not on my tongue. Because…” He enters me with just the tip, my pussy clenching around it. He groans above me. “Exactly that. I want the walls of your pussy to squeeze around me so much you won’t ever think this is a mistake. Because no one in this world can make you feel the way I do.” Before I can protest to that, he drives into me with one, swift move. I cry out as the headboard of the bed hits the wall and my body instantly clamps around him.

I’m hot, so hot, as his cock stretches me with each thrust, as if claiming its territory even if both of us know it’s temporary.
I palm his head, searching for his eyes, and when I find them, I connect our mouths with an incoherent murmur, and we lose ourselves in the kiss. His movements speed up, the pace pushing me to the brink, then closer and closer until finally it hits me so hard I still before throwing my head back and crying out, my core spasming all over him, sucking him inside and not wanting to let go.

Desire is a weakness wrapped in all-consuming emotion with the power to rule your every single thought. And although you know you will burst into flames if you’re not careful enough, nothing in this world can stop you when it calls your name, demanding surrender and acceptance.

“You are so beautiful. How can a man resist such a beauty?” His grip on my hips tightens, his fingers digging into my skin as his voice drops a few octaves. “Others can look, but no one is allowed to touch you. Do you understand?” The possessiveness lacing his tone and the flash of anger in his eyes snap me out of the haze he created around me, and with a gasp, I move to the side, wanting to escape him when realization of the situation settles in on me. “Especially Sebastian Hale.”
Unbelievable.
Putting my hands above his, I tug on them, trying to snatch them away from me, but they stay glued on me until I huff in frustration. “Stop this. Don’t act like—”
“Like who?” he asks, biting my neck and earning himself a groan from me. “Like a man who is obsessed with every breath you take?”
“Like you have rights to this body or me.”

Licking the nipple and coating it in my saliva, I tug on it a little, biting her harshly before instantly soothing it with more licks, all while my palm slides lower and lower until it reaches the hem of her panties. Without warning, I tear them away from her, the flimsy silk barely giving any resistance. “Zach!” she whispers through her moan, but I pay no attention to that, moving to the other breast where I repeat the action while my hand cups her dripping-for-me pussy. The heel of my palm digs into her clit while my fingers rub the walls of her pussy, spreading her juices all over them.

“What do you want, Phoenix?” he asks me again, his fingers threading in my hair and tilting my head back so I can look at him, and I know he sees a challenge in them.
I’m done telling him what I want, since he doesn’t listen anyway.
I’m going to take what I wan
t.

Holding his stare with mine, I circle his neck, bringing him closer to me until my lips touch his ear, and I whisper to him, “Make love to me, Zach.” His fingers bruise my hips when he settles between them and slams into me, making me cry out. My scream reverberates around the room, and my nails scratch his back.
His hard cock stretches my pussy that clenches around him, awakening every nerve in my body as he pushes deeper and deeper and then moves back, only to thrust into me again, rooting inside me over and over again as my body welcomes every jerk of his hips.

This man.
The man who I hate and love so much it borders on insanity, but I don’t mind as long as he shares this madness with me.
My pussy clamps over him tighter and tighter until he hikes my legs over his hip higher and starts to give me faster thrusts, one after another. I feel the hot flash travel all over me before it hits me full force, sending me flying over the edge with thousands of sensations breaking goose bumps on my skin.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Lola Carlyle Reveals All by Rachel Gibson

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Maximilian Javier Gunner Zamora
Heroine: Lola Faith Carlyle
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 01, 2002
Started On: February 6, 2021
Finished On: February 12, 2021

Rachel Gibson is an author who delivers stories that are rife with humor, filled with tons of sexual heat, and love of the kind that leaves a lasting impression on you. It has been a long time since I indulged in a book by Ms. Gibson, and while I have forgotten just exactly how this landed in my TBR pile, I have not forgotten just how much I enjoyed this number and the emotions that coursed through me as I read along.

30 year old Lola Faith Carlyle is in a bit of a fix, with her naked pictures ending up on the internet, thanks to her ex-fiance’ who does so to bail himself out of financial difficulties. An ex-model who graced billboards and the cover of many a magazine, Lola is someone who dealt with severe anorexia at the height of her career. Having started her own mail order lingerie line two years ago, Lola takes a mental-health vacation to flee from the mess that had come out of the publication of her photos.

36 year old Lieutenant Commander Maximilian Javier Gunner Zamora could not be more different from Lola if he tried. Officially listed as retired from US Navy, Max owns a security consulting firm which takes him on missions paid for by the US government in ways that leaves them the luxury of plausible deniability if ever shit were to hit the fan, Max is someone who leads a life on the edge. The latest mission that Max is on goes awry and he is on the run for his life when he encounters none other than Lola, and is forced to take her hostage.

At first, the animosity between Lola and Max reeks from the pages. Max is no fan of delicate women and Lola has an aversion to everything that Max represents. But as these two face off and also work through their differences to make it out alive in one piece, the attraction that simmered below the surface from the get-go bursts forth and there is no stopping the tidal wave of desire that overtakes them both.

Max is wary of the way he reacts to Lola, being someone who hates weakness of any kind, be it towards imbibing in alcohol or women who makes a man lose his mind. But in Lola, for the first time, Max finds someone who might bring him to his knees and reform the adventure seeking soul inside of him that lives for his next mission. Max is a commitment-phobe if ever there was one, while Lola seeks to find someone worthy of investing and giving her all, and Max is definitely not it.

I loved the coming together of Lola and Max. Even through their distrust towards each other at the beginning, the reluctant conversations between the two were revealing of where they were both coming from. I enjoyed this facet of the story rather than Ms. Gibson developing their characters via narrative writing. I also loved the fact that Max tries to polish his language around Lola, just because. Max has an innate need to claim Lola for his own in a way that is all consuming, and that is one of the reasons behind the angst factor in the novel which I adored.

The only reason why this did not earn 5-stars was due to the lack of an epilogue. I loved the fact that Lola was willing to meet Max halfway when it came right down to it. Love often comes with making difficult choices, which may in the short and long run mean living with and loving someone who time and yet again puts their life on the line. Asking a man to give up what they love is just as unfair as a woman being forced to give up on doing what they love, all because their partners cannot handle the total package.

What makes Ms. Gibson’s books such fun is the fact that she writes heroes who are alpha to their very core, a bit chauvinistic, and all male where they are concerned; this makes it extra entertaining when they fall so hard for the woman who changes everything!

Recommended for fans of contemporary romances that makes you laugh and squeal in delight. Ms. Gibson always hits the mark just right!

Final Verdict: Lola Carlyle Reveals All is a highly delightful romance of two opposites who clash and love just as fiercely. There is nothing left to do towards the end, but surrender heart, body, and soul!

Favorite Quotes

“I want to go home, Max.”
He stared down into her face and brushed his warm palm up her spine. “I’ll make sure you get home,” he said. Then, for the second time in less than twenty-four hours, he lowered his mouth to hers.
“How?” she asked against the soft brush of his lips.
“I’ll think of something.” Then he kissed her.
This time there was no question of his intent. The firm press of his lips to hers made his intentions perfectly clear. He wasn’t helping her breathe, and he wasn’t asking permission. His finger plowed through the sides of her hair, brushing it back from her face and lifting it from her shoulders. He held her face in his palms, tilted her head back, and took advantage of her parted lips. His tongue swept into her mouth, warm and slick, instantly po
ssessive and consuming.

The yacht rode the waves of the ocean, pitching the deck starboard before righting once again. Max spread his feet wide and let the natural rise and fall of the yacht grind his hard penis against her. The erotic rhythm drew a deep groan from his chest and left her aching for more.
He slid his moist mouth to the side of her throat, and Lola leaned her head to one side to give him better access. The tip of his tongue touched her ear, then he whispered her name, a warm caress filled with rough longing.

“Do you want to know what I thought about you that first night?”
“Honey, I think that flare gun pointed at my chest said it all.” He wrapped his hand around her lower calf and tugged. Before she knew how it happened, she was on her back and he was over her, his hands planted on the ground on each side of her head. “And despite you having tried to kill me, I want you more than I’ve ever wanted any other woman.” He lowered his face to hers. “But I think you know that,” he said right before he kisse
d her.

The languid kiss seduced and teased until her every thought narrowed and focused on the liquid warmth of his mouth. Heat flushed her breasts and stomach and pooled between her thighs. She ran her hand up the taut flesh of his arms, over his shoulder, to the side of his neck. She slipped her fingers through his short fine hair and he groaned into her mouth.
Max pulled back from the kiss and looked up into her face. His harsh breath caressed her cheek as his blue eyes burned into her. The way Max stared at her, all dark intensity, made her feel beautiful and desired and a
live with anticipation.

He sucked in his breath. “You’re not a screamer, are you?”
Not tonight she wasn’t. “I’ll control myself.”
That seemed to be what he needed to hear, and he cupped her between her legs. “Jesus,” he groaned, “you’re already wet.” His fingers slid beneath the crotch of her panties, and he parted and touched her slick flesh. She whispered his name, then turned her face into his shoulder. The tips of his fingers brushed her where she was most sensitive, and she bit the hard muscle at the top of his arm.
“Lola.”
“Hmm?” She kissed the spot she’d bitten.
“Nothing. Just Lola.” With each stroke of his fingers, he fed her intense desire and shut out everything but her need to feel him inside of her.

With unsteady hands, she brought his face to hers. Their gazes met and held as he began his entry. He pushed the broad head of his hot penis inside of her, then his hips rocked back and forth. A slow and easy rhythm, giving her time to stretch and adjust before he grasped her thighs, and with one final thrust, he buried himself fully. Lola gasped and grabbed hold of his shoulders. He filled her completely, the heat of him burning her up inside. A moan she could not control poured from her throat and she wrapped one leg around his waist.
Max sucked in a breath and held it. Beneath her hands his muscles had turned to stone. “Lola,” he whispered against her cheek. “God, you feel incredible. So hot.” He pulled halfway out, then lunged forward. “So good.”

“Lola, open your eyes and look at me.”
She managed his request, but barely. Her whole world was focused on where his body joined hers and the intense rush of sensation that had taken over and was forcing her to meet each plunge of his hips.
“I want you to look at me. I want to see your eyes when I make you come,” he said, then he got his wish as the first wave of orgasm took hold and pulled her into its fury. Her body arched and she clung to him as his body drove her into the vortex of hot, mind-numbing pleasure. She opened her mouth, and he kissed her, swallowing her long moan, taking everything she had, then demanding more.

He took her jaw between his fingers, tilted her face up, and lowered his mouth to hers. He pressed kiss upon hot kiss on her lips, then his moist tongue invaded her mouth and spread fire through her blood and warmed the pit of her stomach. She combed her fingers through the sides of his hair and held the back of his head. Standing within the partially refurbished parlor of his home, Lola felt the instant he lost control. The kiss turned hotter, wetter, feeding. He kissed her as if she alone were responsible for the breath in his lungs.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books | BookDepo

Review: Dirty Sexy Inked by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dirty Sexy, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Mason Kincaid
Heroine: Katrina Sands
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 05, 2016
Started On: January 30, 2021
Finished On: January 31, 2021

Earlier this year, I signed up on Passionflix, an application the likes of Netflix which is all about bringing the romance books that we love and adore to life as movies and series. I was following the movie series Gabriel’s Inferno, and that is how I ended up with Passionflix on my iPad and gorging on the few movies available on the application, one of which turned out to be based on the first book of the Dirty Sexy series, Dirty Sexy Saint. Needless to say, the movie intrigued me enough to want to read Dirty Sexy Inked, the second book in the series, even though there were hints that a movie based on the the story too would be forthcoming.

I have never read a book from Carly Phillips before, or if I have, I do not recall ever reading one. So Dirty Sexy Inked turned out to be from an author whose voice combined with Erika Wilde (another new to me author) made me feel right at home as the words flowed around me, taking on my most favorite trope when it comes to romance, i.e. the friends to lovers trope.

Mason Kincaid and Katrina Sands have been friends since they were fourteen years old. The story begins where the first book ends, with Mason’s brother Clay and the love of his life Samantha deciding to get married. It is as Mason and Katrina embark on the journey which takes them to Vegas for Clay’s wedding which changes things at such a rapid pace in their relationship, leaving them both reeling in more ways than one.

Katrina does not recall a time she has not been in love Mason, even though Mason himself remains clueless to the fact. Mason is a man-whore if ever there was one, preferring his sex straight up, without the commitment. Even though Katrina holds hope in her heart that one day Mason would wise up and see her as more than just his best friend, every single time he sidles up to a woman and takes her for the ride of their lives, that hope dies just a little.

So when the opportunity presents itself in Vegas and Mason and Katrina collide in a haze of lust and mutual need for one another, they both agree on one thing – that what happens in Vegas would stay in Vegas. However, things get a bit more complicated than that, with Mason’s inability to reconcile with the mind-blowing sex he has with Katrina and their agreement that it would be a one time thing, warring with his need to claim her for himself.

It takes a lot of soul searching for Mason to come to terms with why he is the way he is and for him to finally accept that his heart belongs with his one and only, but a shadow from their past nearly proves to be their undoing before things turn out for the better.

I loved Dirty Sexy Inked. Both Mason and Katrina are the type of characters that you root for and fall in love with and I found my heart yearning for them to move past the misunderstandings and finally be together. But at the same time, I did revel in the angst factor resulting from the said misunderstandings. I know. I am a total mess when it comes to being a romance reader, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Katrina and Mason both have baggage from their childhood which they carry through to adulthood. Katrina’s trauma is all too real and Mason, no matter how much he tries to shy away from the fact, is more affected by his abandonment issues than he lets on. In each other, they find the understanding, solace, love, and kink of the kind that answers each other’s needs and it was soul-stirring to read about how they both get there.

Recommended for fans of the authors and the series. If you are a romance reader who loves this trope, you won’t be disappointed. And the best part? You can totally read this as a standalone.

Final Verdict: Dirty Sexy Inked is an uncomplicated friends to lovers romance that is sinfully sexy and sweet in the best possible way.

Favorite Quotes

The moment their lips touched, a jolt of blistering heat shot straight to Mason’s dick and the word friendsno longer applied. Because a friend wouldn’t take possession of this woman’s hot, sweet mouth and kiss her hard enough to bruise. A friend wouldn’t wrap those long, blonde strands of hair around his hand so he controlled the slant of her mouth beneath his and the depth of the kiss. And Jesus Christ, a friend definitely wouldn’t slide a hand down his rigid stomach, curl her fingers around his stiff cock, and squeeze him tight.

“Tell me you want this,” he demanded gruffly. He needed to hear her say the words.
“I want this,” she begged enthusiastically as she tipped her hips up, seeking the fullness of his shaft. “Fuck me. Please.”
He slid his free hand around to her bare breast and flicked his finger against her taut nipple, making her gasp and her entire body jolt from the sting. Oh, yeah, she liked that. A lot.
“How do you want it, Kitty-Kat?” he rasped.
Her lips parted and her lashes fluttered shut, as if by doing so she’d be able to hide from his penetrating stare. “I need it hard,” she murmured. “Rough. Deep.”

He groaned and shuddered as his mouth continued to consume hers, even as his mind railed against the thoughts tumbling through his head. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. He wasn’t supposed to feel so desperate and wild, and knew this driving hunger was unlike anything he’d ever felt with any other woman before. It was all Katrina. She destroyed his self-control, made him feel so crazed with the primitive urge to mark her and brand her as his so no other man would ever touch her.
Mine. She’s all fucking mine.

Jesus . . .” he rasped. His legs started to tremble as she pulled him to the back of her throat once more and swallowed around him. “Need you so fucking bad . . . Your mouth is so hot, so greedy . . . I’m going to come so fucking hard . . .”
He drew quick, shallow breaths, and then his shaft pulsed against her tongue, his hips jerking erratically as he climaxed with a raw shout of pleasure that gave her an equal amount of satisfaction. When he was completely spent, he dropped his head against the wall and released her hair, allowing her to finally move.

“Feel that, baby?” he asked as he rolled his hips, grinding his cock against her drenched folds and coating himself with all the slick moisture from the last orgasm he’d given her. “I already came once in your mouth, and I’m already so fucking hard for you again.”
She bit her bottom lip as he continued to rock against her core, the pressure and friction making her body come alive all over again. With each intentional stroke, the ache between her thighs became an unrelenting throb, and she gyrated her hips against his erection, giving him a dirty, filthy lap dance that had him clenching his jaw and his chest rising and falling with harsh breaths.
A dark, dominating growl rumbled in his chest, and his fingers dug harder, deeper, into the soft flesh of her ass. “That’s it, Kitty-Kat. Rub your soaked pussy all over my dick. Make yourself come on my cock.”

Before she had a chance to fully recover, he’d rolled on a condom, and then his hands were gripping her waist and lifting her up on her knees so that he could position the head of his cock at her opening. Then he pulled her down on his shaft, plunging so hard and deep she cried out at the initial shock of it.
She was impaled to the hilt, and he didn’t move. When she opened her eyes and looked into his, she realized he was giving her a moment to adjust before he let loose, and there was no doubt in her mind that she was in for a rough ride. She could feel the tension in his body from holding back and the pulse of his cock inside her, could see the muscle in his cheek tick as he slowly slid his hands down to her hips.

His mouth came back to her ear, his voice dark and possessive. “You ready to come apart for me, baby?”
“Yes,” she pleaded.
He exhaled a harsh breath and pumped his fingers in and out of her, hard and deep, while his thumb worked her clit in fast, relentless circles. So many sensations rocketed through her, and she tightened her fingers around the ones he’d laced with hers above her head, needing an anchor as her body shook from the force of her climax.

He grabbed a handful of her silky hair and pulled her head farther back, until his mouth was against her ear. “Choose, or I’ll decide for you,” he demanded sharply, and snapped the wooden stick against her thigh.
She jumped from the unexpected smack as a squeak of surprise escaped her throat. “Your hand,” she replied quickly.
Releasing her hair, he moved back in front of her and put the ruler aside since he wouldn’t be needing it. “Pull your skirt up, all the way to your waist. Show me what belongs to me.”

Guiding the tip of his cock along her wet crevice, he found her opening and pushed the head inside just a few inches. A needy sound escaped her, and she shamelessly rocked back against him, seeking more of his length.
Giving them what they both desperately needed, he grasped her hips and slammed into her in one driving thrust, burying his shaft balls deep inside of her. She swallowed back a cry as he filled her, and he groaned at the way her body tightened around his cock as he tunneled in and out of her.

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Review: The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo

Review: His Valet by S.M. LaViolette

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Victorian Decadence, #2
Publisher: Crooked Sixpence Press
Hero: Stephen Chatham
Heroine: Joseph Edward Leather
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 19, 2020
Started On: January 23, 2021
Finished On: January 28, 2021

His Valet is the second installment in the Victorian Decadence series by S.M. LaViolette. The story brings together 27 year old Joseph Edward Leather (Jo), who has been employed as a valet to 42 year old Stephen Chatham for quite sometime, and falls in love with her employer along the way, a man who wouldn’t look twice at her for all intents and purposes.

Jo is someone who has been working since the tender age of seven years. Her father had taught her to be nothing but exemplary in her servitude. Devotion is all that has been ingrained into her, not to mention the fact that she has spent her entire life pretending to be a man, the only way of life she has ever known. Even if it meant foregoing own sense of self-dignity, that is what Jo’s father drilled into her and her brother, and that is the code of ethics by which she lives.

Jo does not ever dream of a conventional happily ever after nor marriage for her. The only thing that she yearns for with every fiber of her being is to be with Stephen and when the opportunity presents itself, indulge she does for the five nights she pretends to be someone else.

When the truth comes out, Jo knows that the price she would have to pay would be immense, and even then, she is ill-prepared for the white hot anger that rules every decision Stephen makes thereon. Stephen, who has been burnt once and is twice shy, loathes deception of any kind. In Jo, Stephen sees only what he wants to see, and therein lies the battle which he must wage and win over himself, if Stephen and Jo were to have any chance in having a future together.

I loved the story line and the main protagonists better than I did those in the debut book of the series. Stephen is a compelling character and with Jo, he finds the answer to his every desire, the whys of which he doesn’t want to look into too closely lest it takes him in a direction that is far too uncomfortable for him to ponder on.

Jo’s character is the one that shines bright in the story, and I believe it is as Ms. LaViolette intended it to be. Her character makes one question their conceptions about the gender which they identify with, and it is something that I have never really thought much about. But Jo’s predicament is all too well understood, given how she was brought up and the fact that she has never had the freedom to understand enough to choose who she wanted to be.

It is with the enigmatic Mr. Smith that Jo truly finds the freedom to explore her mind and conscience, and to understand herself enough to be comfortable in her own skin and most of all, to love her own self. And it is those terms upon which Stephen must try to reconcile his own feelings with, if ever these two were to have their own version of a happily ever after.

The second lead game was strong in this novel; which is often felt when you are watching Korean dramas that strongly rely on love triangles to bring the angst factor forward. For me, the fact that I fell hard for Mr. Smith and my heart wept for him spells trouble with a capital T. It means that I am in a shit load of trouble even before Ms. LaViolette has released Smith’s own story, which I do not think I would ever be ready for. The fact that most fans of this series would want to get their hands on his novel is a foregone conclusion, and a Goodreads discussion on the author’s page proved me right.

Ms. LaViolette mentions that she is actually 3/4 through with his story and had to stop, because she too is learning that Smith is a difficult character who views sex and love to be completely separate and views love to be rarer than the practice of fidelity to someone. He is neither an easy person to love nor a nice person and his past even shocked Ms. LaViolette as she wrote the book.

So here I am hoping that one day soon, Ms. LaViolette gets the courage to start where she left it off and give us the story of the character that all our hearts collectively yearn for. I know it wouldn’t be an easy read by any means, but it would totally be worth it.

When all was said and done, Jo and Stephen did leave me with one burning question at the end – how would they fare as they go through the different phases of life together in their relationship; would either of them want more than the other can give? Would it always be enough, for her to be his valet and he her master in a way? I don’t think there are any easy answers to any of these questions.

Recommended for fans of Ms. LaViolette and fans of dark erotic romances in a historical setting.

Final Verdict: Thought provoking is not a phrase you would usually apply to an erotic romance, but in His Valet, Ms. LaViolette has outdone herself in giving readers characters that leaves the strongest impression on you!

Favorite Quotes

His lips curved into a smile she never thought she’d see directed toward her. “Lift your skirts higher for me.”
Her hands responded to his order just as they always did, and his gaze dropped to her thighs. He’d somehow managed to take off her other slipper without her being aware of it.
“I want to leave your stockings on,” he told her as she lifted her hem, exposing her shaved sex.
Heat flared in his eyes, dark, smoky and explosive—just like the savage, uncontrollable peat fires Jo had once seen when she’d been a girl. “God, yes. You are exactly the way I like,” he murmured. “So smooth, soft, sleek.”

“Should I ease in slowly, or do you want me to get it over with?” “Get it—” The marble phallus had not prepared her for the sensation of his thick, hot, and remarkably long organ sliding into her body. “My God you’re tight,” he whispered against her ear when he paused. “Is it terribly painful? Should I give you more? Or wait?” More?! She’d thought he was already all the way in. He was bloody huge and Jo was afraid she might scream if she opened her mouth so she clenched her jaws tight and whispered, “More.”

“Not yet,” he hissed between clenched teeth, his hips pounding without mercy. “Not yet, not yet, not—fuck!” He threw back his head and roared, driving into Gillian so hard that her head bumped Jo’s belly.
“Now,” he ordered, hilted in the other woman. “Come now.”
Jo’s back spasmed and arched, until it felt like it would snap, and she hurtled over the edge into oblivion.

“Hello, Stephen.”
Stephen slammed the armoire door and strode toward her without speaking, pulled off her hat, tossing it aside, and crushed her mouth with his, as if he’d not seen her in a year, instead of only a night.
She gave as hard as she got and they were both breathless when he finally pulled away.
“Hello, Josephine.”

“Do you like it, Josephine?” he asked in a voice that was rough with restraint.
Jo pressed herself against him, the action pushing him deeper, causing a dull pain to radiate from where they were joined. She felt the change in his body, the subtle loosening of control, like a rope that had been cut and was beginning to fray faster and faster.
“Fuck,” he said, groaning. His arm slid around her waist and his fingers fanned over her belly, holding her body against his while he invaded her inch by inch by inch. Just the thought of what they were doing—so filthy and primitive and wrong—made every muscle clench.
“Josephine,” he whispered, shuddering.

Stephen whispered in her ear, his voice harsh. “I can’t restrain myself much longer, Josephine. Do you want it?”
“Yes, Stephen. . . please.”
Stephen must have made some sign because Julian left her body and stepped back, his cock jutting heavy and slick in front of him, his expression tense with the effort of holding back his orgasm. It was Jo’s turn to smile and then she closed her eyes and opened her body to the man she loved, heart and soul.
Stephen’s pounding became savage, his hips pumping mercilessly now. “I’m going to come in you, Josephine. I’m going to—” he gave loud, guttural cry as he thrust deep and froze, holding her in an unbreakable embrace while his cock spasmed and flooded her with his seed.

When his mouth slanted over hers, her hands did what they’d been wanting to do for weeks and slid around his smooth, muscular torso. He groaned and pulled her against him, his arm like an iron strap around her waist.
His mouth was silken and tasted like liquor and smoke from his strangely fragrant cigars. His kisses were as firm and hot and powerful as he was.

He grazed her breast with his teeth and she whimpered as he slid a hand down the front of her trousers, beneath the waistband, and then stopped on her mound, groaning. “Oh, God, I love a shaved cunt,” he whispered into her breast before dropping into a crouch and grabbing both sides of her placket and then ripping her trousers right down the middle.
Jo gasped. “Oh, no, but—”
“Hush,” he muttered, yanking the string that held up her drawers. “I’ll buy you another dozen pairs. Good Lord your body is beautiful.” He dropped to his haunches and spread her lower lips with his thumbs and plunged his tongue into her, his moan vibrating through her body.

“Stockings stay on while I fuck you, I think,” he said, panting as he knelt between her spread thighs, staring down at her with black eyes that were heavy with need. “This is an emergency, darling, and I’m going to ejaculate with shocking haste. But the next time will be up to my usual standards.”
Jo laughed breathlessly and spread wide for him as he placed his beautiful cock at her soaking entrance and slammed into her, pulling her tight to his body as he entered. He held her full for a moment, his eyes locked with hers, his chest rising and falling as if he were being chased.
“How do you want it? Hard, hard, or hard?” he asked.
Jo couldn’t help laughing. “What was that third one agai—”
He began to fuck her with furious, violent thrusts, his teeth gritted and his jaw clenched as he pounded into her, angling his hips for the deepest penetration. He worked her so savagely she knew there would be bruises.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

Review: This Time Tomorrow by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Phenomenal Fate, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Elias
Heroine: Roksana
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 22, 2020
Started On: January 22, 2021
Finished On: January 22, 2021

This Time Tomorrow, book 2 in the Phenomenal Fate series by Tessa Bailey brings to readers the story of heiress to vampire slayer throne, Roksana and Elias, the vampire who gives her performance anxiety when it comes to the line of work she was born into. Elias and Roksana’s paths cross a couple years prior to the main events that unfold in the story, changing the course of both their lives forever.

Roksana carries with her the responsibility of killing Elias, and has been hesitating for the past couple of years, each time she comes across Elias telling herself that next time would be it and that he would not escape her need for vengeance. It also does not help that the attraction that surged to life between them that fateful night in Vegas continues to haunt and taunt them both, each left with only shattered dreams of what could have been.

Little does Roksana know the role she unwittingly played in forcing Elias’s allegiance to the life he leads now, and as things escalate and reach a point of no return, Roksana is forced to face the truth about where she comes from and what it means for her life in going forward.

Tessa Bailey, with her penchant for writing broody and silent heroes who have PhD’s in dirty talking, has once again created a hero of the same ilk in Elias and I could not have asked for more where he is concerned. He is roughness and tenderness combined, forceful behind his need for all that is Roksana, and determined till the very end to protect her at any cost.

Roksana’s life is one riddled with pain left unacknowledged. Growing up with a mother who wanted nothing more from her than to walk in her footsteps, Roksana never had the chance to grow out on her own and forge her own path. Tenderness, warmth, and love are foreign concepts for her, and the last place she seeks to find what has been missing in her life is in the arms of Elias, whose very thought makes her go weak at the knees.

I loved both Roksana and Elias – the way they come together, the attraction between them that is so strong that it almost feels like the bond between them is tugging at you as well; all of that and more made me fall like a ton of bricks for them. While I did enjoy the first installment in the series more, This Time Tomorrow does not make for a shabby read at all.

Recommended for those who are eager to read Elias and Roksana’s story soon after Reborn Yesterday. Tessa Bailey does not disappoint.

Final Verdict: In This Time Tomorrow, Ms. Bailey delivers enough heat, heart, and hostilities stirring amidst, which make for great storytelling!

Favorite Quotes

He expected her to stop in front of him, to pass on her phone number, but even after their short acquaintance, he should have known better than predict this girl’s behavior.
Because she simply kept coming closer, closer until he realized she wouldn’t be slowing down. Fuck yes. Come to me, baby. Elias caught her up against his body, plastered her tight to his frame several inches above the ground, breathing against her mouth for a bracing moment, before diving into a kiss that rocked the very foundation of his existence.
Jesus. Jesus.
She tasted like chocolate, like sin, like salvation. There was a lack of experience that made him protective and triumphant at the same time. Mine. The tongue pressing to his and stroking it hesitantly, then with more confidence, belonged to him. The arms twining around his neck, the tremble skittering through her, the hair in his fists—his, his, his.
This was insane. It was fucking insane.

Attraction.
That was the one area she knew they connected. Not that he ever came close to acting on it. Nor would she let him! No, they hadn’t so much as held hands since that kiss in Vegas. A kiss which he didn’t remember but would be branded on her memory forever.
“Keep the credit card, Roksana,” he rasped.
“I don’t need—”
He moved in a fit of speed, reversing their positions and flattening her back against the stairwell door, rattling the hinges. Stunned by the unexpected, electric contact—contact she’d been craving for years—she could only swallow a sob as Elias gripped her knee and jerked it up, his breath pelting her mouth as he slid the credit card back into her garter. “Keep. It.”

Their mouths were dangerously close. Hers panting, his hard. Predatory.
Roksana’s loins pulled taut, tickling a part deep inside of her. So deep and intimate, her thighs shot up reflexively to anchor the sensation. It didn’t work, though. No, it didn’t, because Elias caught her by the knees, settled her around his waist and pressed his hips into the cradle of hers. One forward pressing step forced a gasp out of her mouth, right against his lips.
Elias is hard for me.
He’s really, really hard. For me.
She was in nothing but a drenched T-shirt that had ridden up to her belly button, sandwiched between a wall and muscles so tense, she braced for a snap.
“The way you fit me…” Elias said hoarsely, “…is obscene.”

“Roksana,” he warned, surging forward to grind her into the wall, his lips peeled back in a pained snarl. “You need to be careful with me.”
“Don’t you know by now that warnings only entice me, vampire?” she breathed.
Something akin to affection sparked in his eyes, before it was swallowed up once again by lust. Regret. “Remind me what I’ve done. Now.”
“Or what?”
He laid the flat of his tongue against her pulse and dragged it slowly up to her jaw, grazing her there with his teeth. “Or I’m going to unzip these jeans and finally fuck you.”

The second Elias’s lips opened over hers, pressure bloomed in her throat. There was a part of her that wondered if she’d exaggerated their connection in Vegas. Exaggerated the perfection of their kiss. But when their tongues brushed and they melted into one another like chocolate in a saucepan, the truth became wildly obvious. Her memory hadn’t been doing Elias’s kiss sufficient justice. He was infinitely better.
This was not a kiss for the sake of kissing. It was memorization. Seeking. Trying to find what she liked, locating it, giving her so much that she could barely stand the pleasure.

Without warning, he punched his hips forward roughly, baring his teeth against her ear. “Do you know what your little entrance downstairs did to my cock, Roksana? I almost yanked up this fucking dress, pushed you face down over the poker table and hit your pussy from the back.” He kissed her neck sweetly, his manner at odds with his coarse language. “Now pull it up around your waist and get it out of my goddamn way.”

Knowing the moment drew close, Roksana’s sex constricted and she lost her ability to breathe. All she could do was turn her head to one side and beg incoherently for the act she didn’t understand, had no experience with, but somehow was essential. “Need it, need it.”
Elias flattened his tongue on her pulse, his body never ceasing in its deliberate invasion of hers, his hips pumping madly as his fangs settled over her neck, pressing tight, but holding back from breaking the skin. “My hunger for you goes so far beyond blood, Roksana. But it flows in the same endless way. You hear me?” Eyes a bright, burnished gold, he kissed her pulse reverently. “Mine.”

His hardness prodded her, right at the precipice of where she needed him, but stopped short of thrusting home. “I was rough last time,” he said, voice deep and dark, his chest coming to rest on her back, his lips moving against her ear. “Did you like that?”
“Yes,” she panted, rubbing her bottom brazenly in his lap. “Yes, I loved it.”
He dragged the head of his sex up and down, teasing her clit with it until she gave a closed-mouth scream. “If that’s how I took your virginity, Roksana…” His teeth grazed her neck. “How hard do you think I’m going to hit it the second time?”
“Hard,” she whimpered.
A vibration passed through his strong body. “I can’t help it, baby.”

“Yes, like that.” He pushed his face hard into her neck, fangs bared. “What you said to me before…God, Roksana, I’m trying to keep myself in check—”
“Don’t. Don’t.” She squeezed her intimate muscles rhythmically, tempting him, desperate to make him lose control and show her his true nature. “I want it. I can take it. I hate that there’s anything I don’t know about you. Break me with it.”
The visceral snap of his tether made her almost giddy.
Relief and excitement and hunger gave her everything she needed to weather the sudden storm of Elias. This was him, nothing held back, stripped down to his basest form and she soaked in every nuance.

“I don’t want to go anywhere with you,” she hissed. “I want to be alone.”
“Maybe that’s what you want.” Elias walked them into the farthest stall, drawing her forward off his shoulder, pinning her hard to the wall. “But you need my cock.” He rammed his hips up between her thighs and it felt so good, she slapped him across the face. The hard contact from her palm only put a savage smile on his face. “More?”
Lust blanketing her senses and robbing her of reason, she slung her legs around him, squeezing his hips with her knees. “More.”

And when Elias buried his fangs in her neck, his hunger propelled her higher. She threw herself into the eye of the storm and let it batter her.
Elias followed, undergoing his own perfect torment, his desire forming a hot pool inside her body, his hips moving in a broken pattern, his gratified male moans filling her ears. When she became aware of their surroundings again, she was boneless between Elias and the wall, her lungs struggling to fill themselves while he kissed her temple.
“My love is solid. It doesn’t bend,” he said fervently. “Don’t forget again.”

He trailed his open mouth along her bare shoulder. “I’ll chance it.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she hummed, twining her fingers in the hair at his nape, tiptoeing forward to lock her curves to his front. They both looked down as her tits plumped against his pecs, their moans joining together like an erotic refrain, Elias’s hands finding her ass, yanking her up and forward to secure them tightly together. “Move your body with mine,” she whispered, her eyelids fluttering. “Slow and easy.”
Elias rolled his hips, using his grip on her ass to work their lower bodies together and was rewarded by Roksana’s eyes going blank, her head falling back. He did it again, again, again, never speeding up or slowing down, his erection protruding from the V of his unzipped fly to grind against the mound between her thighs. “It’s a damn good thing we kept this wedding reception private.”

His mate was shaking as she impaled herself down to the root of his cock, her hands slapping down on his chest, fingers snaring in his chest hair. “Oh my God. It feels so good it hurts. It hurts.” Eyes glassy, she put her tongue out, showing him the traces of red, bucking her hips once—hard—and the flames in the fireplace doubled in size, the lamps in the cabin blazing bright and fizzling to uselessness. “Elias,” she sobbed, her hips racing up and back, her sweet tits driving him insane with delicious little bounces. “Elias, you’re everything. Everything.”
“Just to you.” His thumbs stoked her clit in turn, using her wetness to lubricate the sensitive bud, and the faster he rubbed, the quicker those hips pistoned. “Always to you. My mate. My woman. My only.”

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Review: Till Dawn Tames the Night by Meagan McKinney

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Vashon Blackwell
Heroine: Aurora Dayne
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 1991
Started On: January 20, 2021
Finished On: January 22, 2021

Till Dawn Tames the Night by Meagan McKinney brings to readers the story of 19 year old Aurora Dayne who is set to travel to Jamaica with her modest belongings in tow, which includes a unique bejeweled locket, the sole legacy from her dead father. Little does she know that the journey she embarks upon puts her at the mercy of none other than 34 year old Vashon, a ruthless privateer with an agenda for vengeance that has carried him thus far, who is in pursuit of the very locket that she holds.

When these two opposites meet, sparks of course, fly. When a series of events ensures that Aurora is Vashon’s prisoner, the clash of wills begins in earnest, Aurora on her mission to reform a man who is driven by hatred and consumed by the memories of his past riddled with darkness.

I really wanted to love the two main protagonists of the story. Vashon was something fierce and determined, with a ruthless edge to him that I crave in my heroes. While Aurora, though innocent and sheltered for the most part, had the sort of fire in within her that refused to take everything he dished lying down. I was set to enjoy them both, but alas.

What annoyed me to no end was how Aurora wanted to reform Vashon. She continuously bickered about his actions, is always shocked by the violence that surrounds him, even when he does what he must to protect what is his. In my opinion, any redeeming qualities that comes forth should come of one’s own volition – it should never be forced upon the character at any point in time. Aurora nagging about Vashon continuing on his path of vengeance wasn’t how I wanted the changes to come about.

Or here is a wild thought; how about just accepting someone for who they are? Vashon does not try to change Aurora, maybe because she is so perfect? I hardly think so. There are plenty of romances that work with heroes who embrace their darkness and whatever redeeming qualities they have, whatever softness they show, are partial to the heroine for whom they would risk everything and lay down their very life for. And that is enough, if you want your characters to stay true to who they are, because some characters have reached a tipping point that makes it difficult for them to become mushy cuddle bears.

The saddest part is that this story had so much potential and could have ended up being so much more. As things stood, I skipped chunks of paragraphs and went for the end. An epilogue would also have been much appreciated.

Recommended for fans of Meagan McKinney.

Final Verdict: In Till Dawn Tames the Night, Ms. McKinney brings to life a heroine who would stop at nothing to reform the hero, be it nag her way towards the redemption of his character.

Favorite Quotes

He was so close she could feel his breath warm and enticing on her cheek. As her fingers uncurled against his chest, she rediscovered the pleasure of caressing him. She explored his front, textured with hair and rigid with muscle, and she never imagined mere flesh could be so hard and implacable. Beneath her hand she felt his heart drumming against his ribs, and she was amazed to find it quicken as he drew her to him. Her own heart beat wildly as his arm encircled her waist. At last the moment seemed to come when they would meet, and even the ship seemed to steady for their encounter.

She looked up at him. She didn’t really want to know his despicable rules, but since she was under his domination until they arrived in Grand Talimen, it was inevitable she would learn them. Resentfully she nodded her head.
“Rule number one,” he said in a husky voice, “is all ship’s spoils belong to me . . . and to me alone.”
He lifted her hair and as if his lips were a brand, she felt him place one fiery kiss upon her nape. Her hair was still damp from its washing, and he seemed particularly entranced by the way the delicate curls clung to her hairline. She closed her eyes, unable to bear what he was doing. His kiss only reminded her again of that wretched dream, and she trembled just from the thought of the power he had over her.

He moved to leave the bed, but before he went, he woodenly placed a kiss upon her tear-stained cheek. Desperate to make him stay, she summoned a womanly guile she never knew she possessed. She waited for his lips to leave her cheek and just when they did, she turned her head and her lips met with his.
Their kiss was sublime. Never in her most wishful dreams did she believe a kiss could be like this: a man’s heart and soul distilled into one soft motion of his lips. He made her want him with a desire that surpassed the physical, that grew and grew until she was almost made wild by it. Losing her self-consciousness, she slid her hand between them and let her palm mold to the grid of warm muscle over his torso. Her other hand reached up and caressed his beard-roughened cheek. Their kiss deepened.

She put her hand in the water. Another fish, a brilliant cobalt-colored one, flitted up and bumped her palm. Frightened, she snatched it back, then giggled at her folly. She turned to Vashon, but she wasn’t prepared for the expression on his face. He was staring at her so intensely, he fairly took her breath away.
“Vashon—” she began, but he didn’t let her finish. He lowered her legs until her feet touched the sandy bottom and her dress clung wetly to her hips. Then he pulled her to him and kissed her like a sinner seeking salvation, the doomed begging for redemption. In her mind she thought about fighting, but it would be useless. The way he so violently held her to him, he’d refuse to let her go.

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