Review: Psychopath’s Prey by V.F. Mason

Format: E-bookpsychopathsprey
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Kierian McAvoy
Heroine: Ella Gadot
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 17, 2018
Started On: September 07, 2018
Finished On: September 09, 2018

Have you ever read a book featuring a serial killer and found yourself sympathizing with the character? Understanding where the serial killer was coming from? Why the character had turned out to be a monster? I have. Countless times. When an author does a great job of characterizing and delving deep into all the main protagonists of a book, and does it well, that happens.

But have you ever read about a serial killer and then fallen in love with him? I haven’t. At least not before V.F. Mason came under my reading radar. I was feeling restless with the lack of books that spoke to me. I would be forever grateful for @mad4rombks for directing me towards these books. I wouldn’t have thought that falling in love with such a character was even possible. Until I found myself deeply immersed in Psychopath’s Prey.

Ella Gadot’s ambition for a long time has been to become an FBI agent. The violence smeared past of Ella’s makes her crave for it. But at every turn, having being rejected, no one is more surprised than Ella when she is offered a position on the behavior analysis unit of the FBI. What makes Ella so good at identifying what makes a particular kind of killer tick perhaps lies in her past, and her association with the darker side of life that most of us are shielded and protected from.

Kierian McAvoy and Ella become part of each other’s professional lives when Ella joins the unit. Or so she thinks. But Ella has been chosen for a purpose. She has been drawn in by a highly sophisticated killer who has never hunted women before. But for some reason, Ella makes him itch to hunt her down, and make her his. He draws Ella in by the only thing that would reel her in. A case that would make her work to find him, and in the end become the hunted.

Told in first person from both Kierian and Ella’s point of view, and the psychopath’s younger version from the tender age of seven on wards, V. F. Mason carries the reader through a journey that bled me raw and I do not think I would ever be the same again. This books is not merely a story. It is an experience. It is a journey you have to take with a young boy who saw nothing but pain and torture inflicted upon him and his mother on a daily basis, until his mother ceased to exist. It is the story of a man who had blocked out parts of his past to deal with being who he is. A psychopath. A killer. Someone who never believed that love was for him.

There was so much about this book that I loved. Like I mentioned before, I picked this up to read at a point in time where my book pile had gotten stale. I’m sure that has happened to everyone once or twice. It happens to me more often than before, now that I have grown older and stories tire me out more often than not. When this happens, you just need something that would spice up your reading list and then move on from there.

Anyone who understands my reading habits and preferences know that I am not someone who likes saccharine sweet books. I’m a romance reader who is old school in many ways. My one vice is that I like darkness in my books. A lot of darkness. I love to find an unexpectedly dark hero in a book that makes mincemeat of my emotions. And I love an equally strong heroine (who doesn’t grate on one’s nerve to prove that she is an equal to the hero) in my books. And that is exactly what Psychopath’s Prey gave to me.

It has become a rarity to find well written books that feature the aforementioned. Mainly because every single thing out there has become a point of contention for someone who doesn’t identify with it. There are so many movements out there to make romance genre “better”. I believe like everything else, the romance genre too is evolving to suit the mass numbers of readers out there, who believe romance to be nothing but light and fluffy. Well, V.F. Mason is here to tell you that romance can be dark, extremely dark, and still make all your tingly parts go haywire from want.

Similarly, with this book, I am pretty certain that a lot of people will harp on factors like ‘how is this possible?’, ‘it made my skin crawl’ etc. The ending is not your typical, the hero conquered his nightmares and they lived happily ever after variety. There is a happily ever after that fits the characters and the story of course, otherwise I would have thrown the e-reader at the wall and stomped on it for effect. I digress. But the point here is that, this is definitely not for everyone. Some would find the concept of a serial killer and a criminal psychologist falling in love an abhorrence in itself. But for me, I found the concept a novelty, refreshing, and sometimes I believe we do identify with what the society doesn’t accept for valid and good reason.

I have always empathized with villains who were shaped out of nightmarish childhoods, that had nurtured a certain need in them. I am not saying that it justifies the pain they inflict on others, but it makes you understand why they are the way they are. Kierien is such a hero. I bled for him every single time his past came up, because it is difficult to detach yourself when you read about a child being subjected to such horrors. Similarly in Ella’s case, she has a childhood that is macabre in another aspect; the one night that had changed her life irrevocably and forever.

If I were to sound gushy, I could go on rambling about what made this book work for me. So I will limit myself to state a few. The way it invoked so much emotion from me, and took me from high to lows and then to highs again. I actually resented the time spent away from reading because in a long while, a book had captivated me thus. For this reason alone, I would recommend this story. Because it’s not everyday you fall in love. In love with a serial killer. Plus, have you seen the cover? *goes into a trance*

Recommended for those that love dark and edgy romances, the not your usual variety. This was definitely captivating in every single sense.

Final Verdict: Definitely not for the judgmental, nor the faint-hearted; exactly why I loved Psychopath’s Prey & Kierian, the very definition of an anti-hero if ever there was one.

Favorite Quotes

While he drags us to my room, I unbutton his shirt and slide it off his shoulders, and then I move to his belt buckle, desperately needing to feel him in my hands.
We do all this while kissing, and finally the back of my calves touch the bed as he locks his arm around me while whispering my name and leaning into my neck for his hungry assault. “I’ve been going crazy with need to fuck you since our last time.” His words send a shock directly to my clit as he rubs against me. I still feel him despite our clothed state. My whimper doesn’t go unnoticed as he drags me closer. “Missed me, Ella?” I nod eagerly. “Is this pussy wet for me? Ready for the one cock that can bring it satisfaction?”

Kierian,” I moan, and he surges deeper, completely owning me with his mouth. His tongue travels over my folds, laving them with the attention and hunger they’ve been denied for so long.
He cups my ass cheeks and laps at my core with his full mouth, making sure to play with my clit with his upper lip. I bite my fist, muffling a groan while my other leg bends on the bed, giving him wider access to work in.
“You. Are. Mine,” he growls against me, digging his fingers into my skin as a hint of pain touches me. “Don’t ever deny me again.”

“Kierian, don’t tease.”
He bites on my neck harshly as he growls. “No teasing?”
I shake my head, but reply anyway, “No.”
“You want hard fucking only, Ella?”
“Yes!” That’s all I want in this freaking moment. So can he get on with the program already, and—
With one swift motion, he surges inside me, tearing a scream from me that he immediately covers with his mouth. He thrusts deep, deep, then deeper into me, shaking the bed with his force. I wrap my legs around him as he entwines our fingers above my head.
He is slow, steady, and hard. He waits until each thrust shakes my entire system before giving me another one, and each time, the pleasure rises in me higher and higher, my skin flushing, heat spreading through me and reminding me this man is all male.
“Mine,” he says, pounding harder, and I arch my back, completely lost in everything he makes me feel.

Kierian is always so hungry for me, being able to go at it for hours and demand complete submission. In these moments, he is not a compatible boyfriend who understands me; he is a raging beast who wants to own his woman.
“Mine,” he growls right before placing my legs on his shoulders and grazing the walls of my pussy with the tip of his tongue, barely touching me, but it’s enough to send electricity through me and my moan fills the space.

He pushes his tongue deep, sweeping at my walls and tasting me as deep as he can.
He is hungry, domineering. I lock my legs around his neck, my pussy clenching, but it’s not enough.
Kierian needs to get on with the fucking program before I lose my mind!
My hips jerk, lifting to his seeking tongue, as I pull at his hair, shamelessly rubbing myself on his mouth, and he welcomes it.

She grabs my hands and pulls me on the bed, and as I get to it, she flips me on my back while looming over me, her eyes roaming all over my body.
Her fingers trail down my scars and her breath hitches, as if in pain. “They are old.” I feel the need to reassure her, and she smiles sadly.
“They aren’t if they still have the power to hurt you.” Her words stab me like a fucking knife in the heart that suddenly knows how to beat for another person, but she shakes her head. “This has no place for bad memories.” Ella captures my mouth with hers as we entwine in a wet and needy kiss that leaves us alone with raging desire between us spiking the flames.

With one final suck to her beautiful nipple, I push my arms under her knees and thrust into her so hard the headboard hits the wall.
She cries out, but it quickly turns into a moan as I pull back and push in again, digging my fingers into her hips as hard as possible so she’ll be marked by me.
I expect her to close her eyes and get lost in the moment as she always does, but instead, she brings my head closer. Our gazes clash for a moment and then she hugs me, giving me a hot kiss that flames my desire even more.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: Blood Fury by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookbloodfury.png
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Legacy, #3
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Hero: Peyton, son of Peythone
Heroine: Novalina
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 09, 2018
Started On: September 02, 2018
Finished On: September 07, 2018

Blood Fury by JR Ward brings us to the end of the published novels under the Black Dagger Legacy series. This installment also follows the style of the previous two novels by bringing together characters from the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series into the limelight. To be honest, (I guess like most readers), I was more interested in Ruhn and Saxton’s story than the main protagonists who happens to be Peyton, son of Peythone and Novalina (Novo), the final characters left without a happily ever after of their own from the new recruits, who happened to form the basis of this series.

Ruhn’s entrance into the series comes from the previous book, Blood Vow. As Bitty’s uncle, Ruhn is welcomed wholeheartedly into the Brotherhood “family”. Ruhn is the kind of character that you fall in love with from the start. His quiet and understated demeanor provokes reader interest from the very beginning. His giving and caring nature is prominent from the way he handled Bitty’s issue, saying goodbye to his past and moving on with an uncertain future, putting Bitty’s welfare and happiness above everything else.

We have all met Saxton, mainly because he was the character with whom Blaylock (now mated to Qhuinn), tried to move on with, given that Qhuinn ignored Blaylock’s armorous feelings and intentions towards him at the cost of hurting Blaylock at every turn possible. Since then, a lot has happened of course, leaving Saxton at loose ends, feeling the loneliness that comes from burying oneself with work to forget what could never be his. Along comes Ruhn and everything changes.

With every layer that is peeled back to reveal Ruhn’s character, I fell more deeply in love. Saxton too exposes painful bits of his past, which made me believe that they perfectly complement each other in every single way that matters. The fire between them was enough for me to reach out for a glass of water – they are combustible together. That is what happens when two characters worm their way into your hearts, and of course JR Ward is a master when it comes to sex scenes that are hot enough to singe in the best way possible.

That brings me to Novo and Peyton’s story that unfolds alongside. Novo is a character that is a bit hard to pin down at first, because she never reveals anything about herself that might expose any weaknesses that she might have. But understanding the betrayal she had faced at the hands of none other than her family and the man who had serviced her needing puts Novo in a whole different light. The pain she carries within herself and hugs close to her lest she allows someone else to come too close once again becomes clear when all is said and done.

Peyton, though richer than probably most of the families of glymera, has no happy moments to think of when it comes to his life and a father who demands from him but never roots for him. Peyton has mastered the art of not giving a damn, and enrolling as a recruit to fight had been the one thing where he had excelled at, against all odds. Though I never truly did warm up to Peyton’s character as much as I hoped I would, I loved the way he handled Novo. Peyton too had his own demons to fight before he could move on. His infatuation and unrequited love for none other than Paradise, who found her mate in Blood Kiss.

I quite don’t know whether JR Ward plans to write more stories under this series, given an interview recently which hinted at the possibility that there might no longer be novels forthcoming from this series. But who knows? One thing is for certain. I would definitely read them because I have mostly loved the books published featuring characters from the BDB series.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of Saxton. Read this for Ruhn and Saxton’s story; you will definitely fall in love.

Final Verdict: Blood Fury brings closure to Saxton’s character, introducing to readers the fascinating man Ruhn proves to be. Loved both of them together to pieces.

Favorite Quotes

“You don’t want me to answer that,” he heard himself say in a guttural voice.
“Don’t do me any favors.”
“Fine. I want you to take from me. I want your mouth on me anywhere I can get it. And I know better than to think you’ll let me fuck you, but just so we’re clear, the entire time, I’ll be back between your legs in my mind. That honest enough for you? Still want me to come…to you?”
He deliberately double-entendre’d that last one because he was a prick. And he wanted her so badly he was losing his frickin’ mind.

Gently, softly…he brushed over that mouth again and again. At first, there was no response, the lips against his own frozen. But then they parted, and stroked back, with a sweet hesitation.
Saxton’s body roared, his erection straining to get out and be stroked, and sucked. And in return, he wanted to learn every square inch of the male rightfuckingnow. Patience was a virtue more likely to be rewarded than fumbling greed, however.
Saxton inched back and searched Ruhn’s face. “How was that?”
“More,” came the moaned response.

“Watch me,” she commanded.
He groaned and looked down, seeing her palm circle his thick shaft—and then she stroked him, up and down, the sensations creating a mad rush of hot and heavy all over his body. Then she was kissing him, her mouth taking over, her braid slipping free of her shoulder and landing with a heavy thump on his arm.
“Fuck, slow down, I’m going to come—”
“What I say.”
Just as the pleasure was cresting, she went for his throat, those razor-sharp fangs scraping down his skin, finding the right place at his jugular. She struck at the very onset of his orgasm and he barked out her name, the pain and the pleasure mixing, the alchemy ramping everything up until he thought he would blow apart.

As the other male came to a halt with mere inches between their faces, Saxton had to smile a little. “I guess I read this wrong, huh.”
“Yes,” came the growl. “You did.”
Holy from-out-of-nowhere.
Ruhn took hold of Saxton by either side of the throat and yanked him forward, the male’s kiss nothing tentative or shy, nothing experimental. It was full on, tongue pushing inside, that big body thrusting hips and an erection the size of a baseball bat into Saxton and forcing him back against the countertop.

As Ruhn ground his cock into Saxton’s ass, the male said in a guttural voice, “Say no now. If you’re going to, say it now.”
Saxton turned his head to the side, his cheek squeaking over the granite. Opening his mouth, he began to pant.
“Don’t stop. Oh, God…do it.”
All at once, the lights in the kitchen went out, the space plunged into darkness as Ruhn clearly willed it so. The hands that went for Saxton’s fly were rough with impatience—and then his fine loose slacks were hitting the floor. A blunt head probed and then Ruhn spit into his own palm—
The possession was hard and very deep.
The ride was a pounding to the point of violence.
The orgasm that poured into him was soul shattering for them both.

With a shaking he couldn’t hide, Peyton slid into the warm spot her body had created. And he did what he could to keep his hips back, even though there wasn’t a lot of room—it seemed rude to be rubbing all up on her while she was unclipping the—
Her nipples were small and pink and very perfect.
And though he meant to help her with the wires, instead, his fingertips sought out one of her breasts, drifting across her smooth skin. She gasped as he touched the tip.
“I have to taste you,” he said hoarsely.

“I want you in me,” she demanded.
As her hand found his erection, she did not have to ask twice. He rolled on top of her, finding a home as she split her thighs to make room for him. And then he retracted his hips, angled his arousal…
“Oh, fuck,” he groaned as his head entered her.
He slid deep, so fucking deep. And she was tight, like a fist. And she was hot, like raw fire. It was as he had known it to be from before, except so much better. Because she was with him now, hungry as he was.

With a roll of his hips, he ground himself against her and it was then that her eyes got hot behind that mask. And he couldn’t not respond to that. He grabbed her by the ass—hard—and pushed her up against a wall. Clamping a hand on the front of her throat, he squeezed just enough to make her have to work for air.
“Is this what you want?” he said harshly. “Do you want it hard and where people can see?”
“Fuck you.” She bared her fangs and hissed at him. “And yeah, I do.”

“Don’t move.”
When she looked back at him, he released the blade and waited until she nodded. Then he ran his free hand up and down her crack, rubbing the leather, stroking her sex through the pants. That didn’t last long. Taking the razor-sharp blade, he cut into the seam that went right up the center of her, put the knife away, and slid four fingers, two from each side, into the hole he’d made.
It was a clean jerk.
And underneath, her bare, hairless sex was open, ready, wet for him.

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

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Review: Blood Vow by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookbloodvow.PNG
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Legacy, #2
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Hero: Axwelle
Heroine: Elise
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: December 06, 2016
Started On: August 29, 2018
Finished On: September 02, 2018

Blood Vow by JR Ward is the second book in her Black Dagger Legacy series. As is usual for Black Dagger Brotherhood/Legacy novels, the story is more than the tale of the main protagonists; Elise, blooded daughter of the Princeps Felixe and Axwelle, son of Theirsh (Axe).

Axe is one of the soldier recruits in training with the Brotherhood and it is through them that the opportunity for a high paying bodyguard job comes up. Axe is chosen (he needs the money more than some others do), and falls instantly in lust with Elise, the coveted, protected, and smothered daughter of an aristocrat family.

Axe comes from a lower class family given the Vampire societal hierarchy. Carrying a lot of guilt and anger inside him, his salvation had come from the opportunity to fight and that is what the Brotherhood had offered him. His past is shrouded in abandonment, a father whom he found lacking for all the love and care he had bestowed upon his creations hoping that the wife who had left him would one day come back, and guilt over the way he had abandoned his father when he had needed Axe the most.

Being rich does not provide comfort and love of the kind that makes ones life wholesome. That is a lesson Elise learns day in and day out as her father tries to smother her by being overprotective. The fact that no one in her family wants to talk about the recent murder of her cousin, and everyone wants to bury their grief makes Elise itch to do something about it. Elise realizes that there is a need for trained psychologists who can help their race, and that is what she sneaks out to do every evening when the sun sets; to graduate from university as a certified therapist able to help those who need it the most.

Meeting Axe changes things for Elise as well. She dares take risks she otherwise would never have dreamed of taking, and in doing so finds passion of the kind that moves her in every single way possible. Axe tries to deny himself from tasting the bits and morsels of Elise that is on offer. But it is a battle he loses spectacularly as he gives in to the combustive passion between them, and ultimately finds himself feeling love of the kind that sweeps one off their feet.

Blood Vow also brings to readers the arc that completes Rhage, Mary, and Bitty’s story. I say completes because by the time Blood Vow ends, I believe every aspect of Rhage and Mary’s life that needed resolutions have been covered. But one never knows if something won’t come up in time. It has been a painful journey that Rhage and Mary has taken to reach this point. With Bitty in their lives, it would have seemed like that everything had come full circle. But with Bitty’s uncle from her mother’s side turning up, there is a bit more of the heartache and pain to go through before the happy times arrive once again.

I liked the overall story and enjoyed bits and pieces of it. I did not connect very well with Elise, though she was perfectly sweet and all that is required. But nothing substantial came of her character except her coming clean with her father that she wanted to move out and start out on her own. Her father did not even come to know about Elise and Axe. I would have loved to see that. It would have given the story a much needed closure in that regard. But perhaps, because Elise wanted to strike out on her own and go independent, there did not seem to be much of a point to it.

Rather than the the story of the main protagonists, it often felt like the focus was more on Rhage, Mary, & Bitty. I am not complaining though. But I thought the whole point of going in this direction was to provide readers with fresh characters and their stories, not to delve deeper into, and give closure to all aspects of the main characters that we have come across in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series itself. The scene with Lassiter towards the end was perfect. I laughed so hard, making it a memorable ending.

Recommended for fans of the series, especially those who love Mary and Rhage!

Final Verdict: While the purpose of this series is sort of lost on me, Blood Vow does deliver a story that keeps the pages turning. After all, JR Ward is one hell of a storyteller.

Favorite Quotes

When she was standing in front of him, he purred deep in his throat. “How was dinner,” he asked in a growl. “Did you like it?”
Her lips parted, her breath coming hard. “He was good company.”
“I wasn’t asking about him. How was the steak.”
With that, he reached out and locked his hand on the back of her neck. Pulling her up against him, he arched his hips into her so she felt exactly what he was about.
Elise gasped, her eyes closing as she went limp.

The slicing sound of those two sharp halves coming together over and over again so close to his erection made him nearly orgasm. And then she was right where the action was.
She ran those scissors directly up the length of his erection.
Grabbing on to the blankets, fisting them hard, Axe kicked his head back, gritted his teeth, and groaned, “I’m coming—oh, fuck …”
The release was stronger than any he had been having down at that sex club, the sensations so crisp and clean, they were just like those blades, slicing through his body.

Lapping at the tip of him, she opened wide and tried to keep her teeth out of the way—and she must have succeeded, because although he went stiff all over, there were no yelps. Instead, he arched his spine and worked with her as she found a rhythm: Up and down, sucking him, stroking him on the bottom with her palm. Faster … faster …
“I’m going to come—” He groaned and went rigid—but also tried to push her away.
No, she was going to see this through.
As he barked out a curse, she took all of his orgasm, which seemed to drive him mad with passion, his convulsions and the response in her mouth as erotic an experience as she could ever imagine.

“Turn for me?” Axe said in a tone that was so close to a begging.
Rising up on the balls of her feet, she pivoted around, showing him her backside. That was when she hooked her thumbs into her underwear and took it to the floor, bending her body while keeping her legs locked so she showed him exactly what she knew he wanted to see.
He didn’t have to say a word of approval. His pumping purr and those volcanic eyes told her everything she wanted to know.

Using the small of her back and her hips, she began to ride him, and he helped her, countering her thrusts with those of his own, a momentum getting started. Her breasts swayed and her breath caught and the firelight turned everything into slow motion—or maybe that was her brain.
The oncoming release was like a train inside her body, gathering speed, the pleasure compounding on itself, radiating from her sex. And all the time they kissed and locked eyes and—
Her orgasm came first and unexpectedly, like a rubber band snapping, only there was no sting of pain, just a bursting and a welling and round after round of pleasuring contractions that she wanted to get lost in forever. And then Axe was thrusting up hard, going even deeper, a kicking taking over just as it had in her mouth.

As he moved back for her to join him, she lifted her lips so he could kiss them at the same time she put her hands on him.
And not as in on his shoulders or his biceps, his stomach or even his ass.
Axe arched so hard, he threw his head into the back wall of the shower. “Fuck—”
“Oh, God, I’m sorry—”
“Like I care?”
With a guttural sound, he kissed her, his hips jerking as her grip restrengthened, the sex surging between them, going from a low-level burn to a solar flare in a split second. And he was not gentle with her. Desperation made his hands rough as he yanked her against him, and his mouth was brutal on hers, and his need went out of control.
But dearest Virgin Scribe, she matched his desperation with a starvation of her own.

As Elise looked down past her breasts and her stomach, it was an erotic shock to see the huge male crammed into the bottom of the shower stall, his hot eyes staring up at her, his tongue licking free of her core, flashing pink before he went back in again—
Another orgasm racked her body and she ground down on his mouth, working herself against him.
In response, he came at her with even greater intensity.
He was possessed and possessing her … and the erotic pleasure was almost too much for her to handle, the sensations ricocheting through her body, her brain sizzling, her senses on fire.
She didn’t want him to stop.
And he didn’t.

When he bared his fangs, she knew he was going to go for her jugular, and she wanted him there. Turning her head to the side, she bared herself to him—
The strike was brutal, his fangs going in so deep, she screamed—but not in pain, even though it hurt in a delicious way.
This was the marking she had heard about.
This was the owning of the female by the male, the staking of the claim. And sure enough, he held her in place at the throat with his teeth as he marked her from the inside out by coming into her sex.
But he wasn’t done with her.

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

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Review: Blood Kiss J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookbloodkiss.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Legacy, #1
Publisher: Penguin Group
Hero: Craeg, son of Brahl the Younger
Heroine: Paradise, blooded daughter of Abalone
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 01, 2015
Started On: July 21, 2018
Finished On: July 25, 2018

Blood Kiss, the first book in the Black Dagger Legacy series by JR Ward is closely linked with her infamous Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The events take place concurrently, alongside with those in the main series. However, I understood the need to create a separate “space” for these stories because it does delve into the lives of those who are not part of the Brotherhood themselves.

In order to prepare for future and emerging threats, it is the decision of the Black Dagger Brotherhood to recruit soldiers from civilians that sets the story going. Paradise, the blooded daughter of Abalone, First Adviser to the King, decides to enroll, even though her father would like nothing better if she were to continue along the lines of what is expected of her. As the daughter of an aristocrat i.e. the glymera, Paradise is not supposed to get her hands dirty, engage in combat, and save world. She is supposed to glide through life doing nothing more strenuous than keeping up with complicated social calendars of the rich, and then bear children to a male Vampire of her family’s choosing.

Paradise wants something of her own, something that she would own. She wants the freedom that would come from being able to make choices that are not made for her because of her birth. She pushes the norms, pushes her father by telling him that it is for her own safety, which is where Abalone decides to give in.

The initiation and the training that follows are the toughest and hardest days of Paradise’s life, but she revels in the challenge and excels at it. Not to mention, it brings her into close contact with Craeg, son of Brahl the Younger. The first encounter between the two takes place at the King’s audience house, from the point which Paradise yearns to know more about the male. However, Craeg is a male who has only one thing on his mind. His focus lies in honing himself into a weapon ready to kill, vengeance clearly being a motive that drives him when it comes to the way his father was left for the dead by none other than members of the glymera.

Craeg and Paradise’s union is an angst-ridden one, not only because of the vast differences between them in terms of social class and status, but because of the mission that Craeg is on, from which he would not be swayed. However, as with most best-laid plans, Craeg too cannot help himself when it comes to Paradise and the feelings that surge forth between them. Theirs is a union that cannot be denied even with all the hurdles in front of them.

Alongside with their story were details of Marissa and Butch’s union, a couple that I had not really warmed up to even when had initially I read their story. Something seemed to be lacking in the story (detailed in my review of the book), and I felt even then that Butch never treated Marissa as his equal. I am not saying that he was treating her badly, but the way he put her up on a pedestal like she is too good for him, that was something that did not settle well with me. Marissa also came off as a bit cold, that was the vibe I got from her, perhaps owing to the fact that she was betrothed to the King before Beth had come along changing that dynamic.

In Blood Kiss, we get to delve deeper into the psychology that drives both Marissa and Butch’s characters. And in the end, Ward makes both of them face their demons, which made me warm up to them considerably more than before. They might never be my favorite couple from the series, but at least now I can root for them and their love without feeling like an essential element was missing.

Butch also pointed out a major aspect missing from the Vampire society. Proper policing techniques that would serve justice for crimes committed. Crimes of the kind that takes place in this story and makes for an intriguing aspect to it as well. Hunt for killers within own species and how to deal with them. Butch outlined something that does not sit well with most vampires who are all about vengeance at own hands, but something that is required in a wholesome and functioning society.

I did enjoy Blood Kiss, but I guess it just was not the same as reading a Black Dagger Brotherhood book. Even though the Brothers were around everywhere in the story, there is a different vibe to their stories that just does not come off in this book. However, I am hoping that these tales do serve a purpose when bringing together future stories in the Brotherhood series.

Recommended for fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Final Verdict: Veering in a slightly different direction, the debut novel in the Black Dagger Legacy series brings to readers stories of fighters recruited for a purpose, whose lives entwine with those that would become their future.

Favorite Quotes

With a mere millimeter of anticipation separating them, he whispered, “Last chance.”
“I’m waiting.”
So he kissed her. The groan he let out was a combination of starvation and submission, and in the back of his mind, he became dimly aware that there was a new scent in the air, something that was part and parcel of the heat between them, but a revelation as well.
Whatever, she was soft and sweet and hesitant and strong. Everything he’d imagined her to be.
Brushing his mouth over hers, he extended his tongue and licked his way into her. And that was when the whole restraint thing went out the window—with a surge, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in tight to his body, letting her feel him—even at the hips, where, in spite of the two releases he’d given himself in a bathroom stall before she’d come in, he was raring to go.

“Get on your bed. Turn off the lights.”
“Okay.” She went over by the door and hit the switch—then she made her way back across and got up on the high mattress, kicking her shoes off and stretching out. “It’s dark.”
Try pitch black.
Craeg made a sound, something she couldn’t identify—and the experience was amazing. With the lights off, it was as if he were right next to her.
“You kill me in class,” he said in a guttural voice.
“Why?” “I can’t stop staring at you. I look at the nape of your neck.” That sound came again, and she realized it was halfway between a purr and a growl … clearly, he was utterly aroused already. “I have these fantasies of going up behind you and tilting your head back. I run my hands down your throat … under your uniform … onto your breasts.”
Paradise’s eyes fluttered shut. “Oh, God … you do?”
“All the time. Why do you think I couldn’t get up out of my seat tonight.” She had an image of him frozen in the back of the classroom, no expression on his face, his big body tense. “What are you talking about?”
“I was hard. And it would have showed.”

Craeg laughed, the deep, dark ripple thrilling her. “I want my mouth on there. I want to look up and watch you gasp when I lick at you, suck on you.”
For a male who didn’t say much, he sure could put a string of words together.
“I keep thinking about the clinic,” she heard herself say. “Your hand under the sheets. I remember exactly what it looked like, going up and down—”
“Fuck.”
“—until you—”
“Rip the shirt in half.”
“What?”
“Rip the fucking thing off your body,” he barked. “Put the fucking phone down and rip it in half!”
Buttons. Everywhere.
And God, that felt good, her torso arching up again as she tore the thing apart, the fastenings offering no resistance as she put her strength into the job.

As Paradise’s hands dug even harder into Craeg’s hair, she was riding a wave of high-octane pleasure that took her out of her body and grounded her in her flesh at the same time. The sensation of the rubbing, the friction, the heat at her core was unlike anything she’d ever known—and she still technically had her—
Nope.
With a vicious jerking motion, he ripped one side and then the other—and her panties were no more.
And then the sensations were slick and hot, nothing separating his lips and his tongue and her sex.
Thanks to what they had done the night before, she knew what was coming, so when the orgasm hit she gave herself up to it, welcoming the pumping pleasure, jerking up against the mattress, knocking the pillows off to the floor.

“Take my vein,” he said in a rough voice. “If I can’t have you … take from me…”
Just like with the oral sex, it happened oh, so fast, her fangs descending, her eyes locking on his jugular with a dead-serious that she’d never felt before.
With a hiss, she lunged up and struck, sinking deep, nailing him with a greed that he submitted to completely. Hauling him to the side, she laid him out beneath her and straddled his abdomen as if he were her prey, sucking at him, his taste roaring its way down to her gut, filling her up from the inside out in a way that food and rest could not do.
She was dimly aware of him stretching his arms out and gripping the headboard, bending his torso toward her, moaning as his hips pumped and thighs jerked. He was orgasming and then so was she and everything got super-crazy, super-quick, as she moved her pelvis and felt that hard ridge right where she wanted it.

Craeg’s hips began to roll in and retreat, roll in and retreat, each time his erection going in a little farther.
And then he shifted her around, repositioning her pelvis. His fingers returned to her, rubbing in a circle as his body went curiously still. She was about to protest, but then the sensations were too much and her brain took a backseat as she started to come—
At that moment, in one strong, powerful thrust, he penetrated past a barrier that broke away with no pain at all.

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Review: Cold Blooded by Toni Anderson

Format: E-bookcoldblooded.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice, #10
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Hunt Kincaid
Heroine: Pippa West
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 12, 2018
Started On: June 23, 2018
Finished On: July 09, 2018

Cold Blooded is the tenth installment in the Cold Justice series by Toni Anderson. I have immensely enjoyed the series since the beginning, with each novel bringing to readers topics that are prominent in the highly globalized world we live in today. Be it biomedical warfare, terrorism, rising sentiments of white supremacy within Europe and America, or human trafficking, Toni’s books portray a wealth of information alongside with the sizzling romance that she delivers.

Cold Blooded delves into the topic of anthrax and bio-terrorism, and is loosely tied to the novella that was released prior to the release of this book. Having thwarted the attempts of an illegal arms broker from selling a weaponized form of anthrax on the black-market, it is the formulation of a Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate the threat that lands FBI Special Agent Hunt Kincaid on the team.

Disgraced journalist Pippa West (Pip) is heading to rural Georgia to stay with her best friend Cindy for a couple of days until she can figure out what to do with her life, when she turns up to find her friend’s body floating face down in the lake in front of her property. Pip is utterly shaken by the turn of events which tries to paint her friend in a less than stellar light, and even then Pip knows deep inside that there is more to what had taken place than meets the eye. Butting heads with the altogether too arrogant Agent Hunt is not something Pip is looking forward to in order to prove her friend’s innocence, but that is what needs doing if she is to uncover the truth.

Saying that Hunt is not a fan of journalists would be an understatement. Given the many circumstances under which journalists ruin the intricate work done by investigators on a case just for a story that would make their careers, it is a given that sparks would fly between him and Pip. At first, Hunt is skeptical of Pip’s claims regarding her friend’s innocence. On the other hand, Hunt’s hands are tied when it comes to investigating into what looked like a case of accidental drowning at best. His only interest in the case stems from the fact that Cindy had been a grad student working on a new vaccine against anthrax.

Hunt is ambitious as an agent, having decided long ago that nothing would stand in his way of the ranks that he wanted to climb up the ladder in his career. Love and the softer emotions of life was not for him, that is until he clashes with the altogether too delectable for her own good Pip. Through the course of their individual lines of inquiry which takes both Pip and Hunt towards the same direction, it comes to light that someone is out to silence Pip or stop her from discovering the truth behind the bizarre and untimely death of her friend.

Wading through the various inter-departmental coordination efforts that goes into combating the issue of terrorism, Toni delivers a story that makes for good reading. I admired the grit that Pip showed when it came to standing her ground, especially during a time in her life that she had been vulnerable, not only because of the death of her friend, but the way her career had blown up in her face in a way that she could not even begin to recover from. But for her friend who had been her number one person since she could remember, Pip goes further than that extra mile required, because she knows that if the roles had been reversed, Cindy would have done just the same for her.

Hunt was admirable because of his character; there is integrity and a core of strength in him that is not swayed, no matter what. That in my opinion is a rarefied thing in the world we live in today.

The sizzling attraction that is brought to life between Pip and Hunt was done well, the love that is the ultimate conclusion of a connection that goes beyond physical the icing on the cake. For fans of the Cold Justice series and anyone and everyone who loves a well-researched suspense/thriller novel with a dose of romance in the mix, this is for you.

Final Verdict: Toni Anderson delivers a story that sizzles, suspense that bites, and a romance that stirs you up. Cold Blooded is a testament to Toni’s remarkable talent since the beginning of her rise to fame. She certainly does not disappoint!

Favorite Quotes

He reached up and cupped the back of her head, pulling her toward him so he could kiss her. Electricity and heat flared between them.
He traced the seam of her lips with his tongue and she opened tentatively.
He wanted to take the kiss deeper but waited. Waited for her to hesitantly taste him and explore him. Let her lead.
They’d both almost died today and that basic need to prove that he was very much alive surged through him.
It was a natural reaction. He knew that.
She gripped his jacket and pulled him closer, mouth angling with a hunger that seemed to match his. She tasted rich and sinful, and sweet as sugar.
His hands slid up her sides and he was immediately hard as stone.

She turned off the engine and the sounds of the night pulsed around her. Cars in the distance. People walking their dogs. Laughter. He got out and walked over to where she sat, watching him. Admiring him.
She squeezed the steering wheel, exasperated with herself.
It wasn’t too late. She could still leave.
He opened the door and held out his hand, waiting for her to choose to get out of the SUV or drive away.
When she took his hand and turned toward him he lifted her and very gently placed her on the ground in front of him. His hands stayed were they were and she reached up to pull his mouth to hers, wanting that fire, wanting that burn of desire because she didn’t want to change her mind. She wanted to forget all the bad things that had happened. She wanted him.

Their eyes met when she raised her head to meet his gaze. He lifted her t-shirt off and tossed it on the floor. She dragged off her bra and let it fall. His gaze dropped to her naked breasts and went from hot to combustible in a heartbeat.
He cupped one full breast, ran his thumb over the dusky nipple. “I like your curves.”
She thought her knees might give out.
“You’re beautiful.” Moonlight carved out the solid jaw and wide shoulders. He was ridiculously gorgeous.
She gasped when he scooped her up in his arms and carried her along the hallway. He walked into his bedroom and placed her gently on the bed, coming down to lie next to her. He leaned over her and lowered his mouth to her breast, running his free hand over her waist and back up, honing in on her other nipple. She grabbed a handful of the dark sheets and closed her eyes at the sensation.

Her heels dug into the mattress and she writhed, hips circling, thighs widening, wanting more, wanting all of him. The heat of his arousal pressed against her thigh, but he wouldn’t let her touch him. Her hands roamed his back and his ass, but whenever she tried to touch his rigid cock he shifted away.
She growled in frustration. “I want you, Hunt Kincaid.”
“Soon.” He pressed the palm of his hand against her mound and zeroed in on that knot of flesh that swelled beneath his touch and she sucked in air, unable to exhale, then spasming around his fingers as she crashed over that ledge of pleasure, sobbing his name in the darkness.

“You feel amazing.” He gritted his teeth against the need to rut.
Her nails dug a little harder. “You feel pretty amazing yourself.”
He moved again, trying to keep the movement gentle and smooth, and oh, so good. He kissed her and she relaxed more and more. He took all his weight on one elbow and shifted her hips to get deeper and she tilted her pelvis and suddenly he was fully embedded and a fine sheen of perspiration broke out across his shoulders.
He slowly ground against her, wishing he could make this last forever, hoping it was making her feel even half as good as he felt. Her heels dug hard into his ass and her eyes closed and he could see her expression twist into a parody of pain as she lost herself in another orgasm. But the feel of her squeezing him blew a fuse inside and suddenly he wasn’t thinking about anything anymore. He was driving toward release even as Pip continued to clench and come around him, making him feel better than he’d ever felt in his whole goddamn life. Blood pounding, heart-hammering, his climax finally hit him, slamming into his body with the impact of a meteorite.

He grabbed a new condom and rolled it on, positioning himself against her entrance. She ran her hands down his back and urged him on but he paused, framing her face with his hands even as her hips tilted and took just the tip of him inside. It was torture and paradise combined, but he had something to say first. While he might not want something long term it didn’t mean that this wasn’t important to him. He opened his mouth to speak but she placed her finger over his lips.
“I don’t want words, Kincaid. I don’t want promises or confessions that might mean nothing tomorrow. Just fuck me as hard and as long as you can and make me forget everything except this, except you. Just you. Nothing else matters tonight.”

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Review: Break the Night by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookbreakthenight_new.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Hero: John Ripley Damien
Heroine: Elizabeth Stride
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 01, 1993
Started On: June 16, 2018
Finished On: June 18, 2018

Break the Night by Anne Stuart is another one of her masterpieces in her long list of books (which I am forever grateful for), that more or less belong in the same category. Taking on the events surrounding the killer Jack the Ripper as a premise, Anne Stuart weaves a tale that left me wanting more on every single aspect of the story that unfolded.

Elizabeth Stride (Lizzie) is an artist trying to survive the LA scene. A creator of masks, Lizzie is caught in a nightmarish circumstance when a serial killer takes on her masks as part of the killer’s signature. Known as the Venice Ripper, Lizzie’s only saving grace comes from the fact that members of the public remain unaware of the use of Lizzie’s masks in the killer’s grotesque pastime.

However, Lizzie’s “anonymity” when it comes to the Venice Ripper becomes a thing of the past when news reporter John Ripley Damien i.e. J. R. Damien takes it upon himself to release the details about the masks in one of his articles featuring the Venice Ripper. Damien’s interest in the killer comes at a cost to both his personal and professional life. Renowned for his skill and talent as a reporter, Damien’s life takes a turn for the worse when he starts blaming himself for failing to see the line that exists between professional reporting standards and what is not. What could have been and what actually did happen.

Damien is haunted by dreams of a past that is filled with bloodshed, nightmares that seem hauntingly too real, when those dreams coincide with murders that happen in the present. Damien believes that stopping the killer is a job that is his duty, perhaps his past life had made it his responsibility to be the savior. But Damien knows that avenging the killer would come at a cost, a payment that he might have to make by giving his own life up in the process.

All of that is fine with Damien until Lizzie shows up in his life. Damien is none too shocked when an outraged Lizzie turns up on his doorstep, calling him out for publishing her details in relation with the Venice Ripper. While Damien tries to project an aura of indifference to all that is Lizzie, deep inside he knows that he is in deep trouble when it comes to her. The farthest thing from his usual style of women, Lizzie is what Damien would call a homebody, and for the very first time in Damien’s life, he wants to embrace the dreams of togetherness forever that he can see in Lizzie’s eyes.

However, there is a killer who is relentless, who is closing in on them as the passion between Damien and Lizzie ignites and burns with a ferocity that leaves them both stunned. And it will take everything Damien has got, all his wits about him to protect the most precious person in existence for him from a killer whose blood-lust has reached uncontrollable levels, taking on the task of the “cleanser of sinful souls” in the world.

I loved Break the Night. It is hard to believe that this was a story published more than ten years ago. Standing true to the test of time, as is the case with all Anne Stuart novels, both Damien and Lizzie are lovable and enticing characters. There is a vulnerability to Lizzie that is hard not to fall for, and a heart that yearns to open up to Damien and take him for all that he is – darkness and light together.

Damien is another topnotch example of heroes that Anne Stuart brings to life so effortlessly. Tall, lean, and darkly handsome in a way that makes a woman sit up and take notice, Damien’s demons run deep into his psyche, starting from a childhood that had been less than idyllic under most circumstances. However, it is Damien’s ties to a past that has long come and gone that is most intriguing, his often misplaced “blame” of self that takes place, because he is that kind of man.

Every Anne Stuart I pick up gives me a meaty read to sink my teeth into, delivers sexy and sinful heroes, pieces of whom I carry with me always; these are just some of the reasons why I would always keep coming back for more.

Recommended for fans of romantic suspense novels with a bit of creepy ethereality in the mix.

Final Verdict: Break the Night is the sort of novel that would rightfully leave you with the heebie-jeebies. Entwining long gone past events with the present, this is a story that will keep you reading into the wee hours of the night.

Favorite Quotes

“Damn it!” He hauled her upright, fury fighting with the panic that had suffused his body and winning. She simply stared up at him, her face wet with rain, and then it was too late. He pulled her into his arms, shoving her against the brick wall behind her and kissed her.
Her reaction was immediate. She slid her arms around his waist, clinging to him as if her life depended on it, and kissed him back. She tasted of rain and fresh coffee; she tasted of love and hope and despair.

For a moment, neither of them moved. And then he reached up to touch her, his hands cupping her shoulders, drawing her down, bringing her mouth to his. He kissed her slowly, gently, his mouth soft and damp and questing against her lips. He nibbled at her, tasting her. It was a kiss of such startling sweetness that she felt tears spring to her eyes, as a gnawing, yearning warmth started in the pit of her stomach and grew, spiraling outward, downward, filling her with such heat and longing that she began to tremble herself, and she wanted to move closer, to sink against him, into him, to press against him and dissolve.

“I’m yours, am I? Always?” he said, and there was no missing his bleak, self-mocking grin. “Lord, Lizzie, I only wish it were that simple.”
She let her eyelids flutter closed as she absorbed the feel of him against her. She could feel the sudden increase in tension, the hissing intake of breath. “Damn you, Lizzie,” he muttered under his breath.
She opened her eyes and smiled at him. “Only if you want me.”
The feel of him against her hips left no doubt in her mind, despite the torment in his eyes. He pulled himself away from her, heading into the living room like a man facing his executioner, and Lizzie almost smiled.

She had beautiful breasts, small and perfectly formed. He leaned over and put his mouth on her, drawing the nipple deep and hard against his tongue, and her body jerked in reaction. Her hands were clutching the rumpled sheet beneath them, and he pulled one away, bringing it to the front of his jeans, holding it there, feeling the exquisite agony of a desire so strong he didn’t know how long he could make it last.
He could feel the darkness closing around him, could feel the blood beating in his ears. His hands were rough as they stripped off her jeans, but if she protested he was beyond hearing, lost in some black, dangerous place of his own.

“No,” she said fiercely. “Don’t. I don’t want you to touch me… ”
He wasn’t going to listen to her, and neither was her body. Despite her hurt and anger, she was aroused, and he was deft, determined, as he reached between and caught her clitoris between his fingers, somehow knowing how to touch her in just the right way, and she climaxed, fighting it, her body tightening and rippling around his aching hardness, as a helpless little cry filled the darkness.

He hauled her up into his arms, roughly, before she realized what he was doing, wrapping her legs around his waist. He looked dark, remote, not t he man she thought she knew, as he shoved her up against the wall, his face almost brutal in the firelight.
He pushed into her, hard, filling her, and she braced herself, welcoming him, no longer worrying about pain, only needing him, more of him, all of him, but this time her body didn’t resist him, this time she was ready. Her face was crushed against his shoulder as she felt him thrust into her, and she cradled his head, holding on, wanting nothing but his release, his pleasure to fill her.

It was darkness, madness, blood and death. With each thrust of his body she went a little farther, a little deeper, lost in some world where nothing remained but the inexplicable, powerful feelings surging through her body, the sound of his breathing in her ear, the beating of his heart against hers, the slick sweat on his skin as he surged into her, again and again and again, deep and hard and eternal.

His body was lean and wiry and golden in the firelight, a runner’s body. She slid her hands up his chest, placing her mouth against his neck as she pushed him down on the mattress. He tasted of soap, of skin, of something dark and wonderful. She moved her mouth downward, over his flat belly, kissing, biting, tasting. And then she took him in her mouth, the full, silky length of him, consuming him, consumed by him, lost in an act she had never performed, not in this lifetime, and never with love.

His hands caught her shoulders, his long fingers caressing, and she could hear the strangled sound of his breathing, taste the salty sweetness of his desire, feel the blood course through his body. The night closed down around them, and there was nothing to fear, only the two of them, and she wanted this, she wanted him.
She spread her legs for him, closing her eyes as his hands cupped her hips, and waited for the thrust that would fill her.
A moment later, her eyes shot open when he set his mouth between her legs, using his tongue, his teeth, his lips, to bring her to the precipice, and she knew her first fear. And then there was no room for fear and she leapt over the edge, her body dissolving into an endless convulsion that stole her breath, her heartbeat, her mind and soul.

He rolled over on his back, taking her with him, looking up at her as she moved over his body, the two of them slick with sweat as the firelight cast eerie shadows across their skin. He reached out and caught her hips, but let her set the pace, his face drawn taut with the effort of control.
She felt smooth, sleek and powerful. “Don’t fight it,” she whispered in the darkness. “Give yourself to me. Now, Damien.”
His eyes shut tight. “Now,” he said. “Now.” And he thrust up into her, hard, filling her with his warmth, his wetness, his love.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

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Review: Blue Sage by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookbluesage2
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Charles Tanner, Jr
Heroine: Eleanor Johnson Lundquist
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 01, 1995
Started On: June 10, 2018
Finished On: June 12, 2018

Charles Tanner, Jr. is returning to his hometown. It would be an understatement to say that he is not looking forward to the “homecoming”. If Tanner were to have his way, he would never have made the journey, but then for the man who had been the father figure he never had, he would return to his place of origin, even if it means facing the demons left behind by his father.

Tanner’s father is a legend for all the wrong reasons. Known as a vet who had gone on a killing spree murdering sixteen and wounding one before turning the gun on himself, Tanner knows that he is going to end up stirring some bad memories for a lot of families who had lost loved ones.

What Tanner doesn’t expect to happen is to come across the all too beguiling Eleanor Johnson Lundquist, the almost 31 year old widow, and the lone survivor among the victims of the massacre at the hands of Tanner’s father. Tanner catches Eleanor during one of those rare moments in which she lets her uninhibited self roam freely; something that is not too easy given her revered status in the close-knit community that is Morey’s Falls.

With the anniversary of that fateful day coming, Tanner’s arrival undoubtedly stirs someone to once again force members of the town to relive the nightmares. With everyone on the edge, it is all too easy to paint Tanner as the bad guy. But within Eleanor, there is an altogether a different kind of storm brewing. For the very first time in her 30 plus years, Eleanor feels the stirrings of lust and desire, to take and be taken, and scandalously enough, by none other than Tanner himself.

As Eleanor and Tanner spends more time together amidst Tanner’s pursuit for the truth, they discover elements and facets to each other’s characters which otherwise would have remained uncovered. Each layer as it is peeled back, exposes a side that appeals to the other more. Tanner who has a habit of leaving, the itch that possesses him to go roaming and not stay put, finds himself with an inexplicable need for the very first time in his life to stay.

Blue Sage was a pleasant surprise because of the depth of the story that Anne Stuart delivered. Harlequin titles are not often known for the depth in their stories, but mostly quick reads that gives you a much needed escape. But somehow, Anne Stuart even then, managed to deliver books that were close to perfection with her ability to present to readers characters that seem polar opposites of one another, and yet form this bond around an almost indiscernible connection that springs to life from the get-go.

I loved both Tanner and Eleanor. Tanner with his lean whipcord physique, who believes that his pursuit of the truth comes from an innate responsibility towards the only man he looks up to, when it comes from a need within himself as well, to understand the man who had sired him, and a community that had failed all of them with their inability to see an unstable character for what he was, until it was too late.

I actually did think that there would be more to Tanner’s father’s story, but it didn’t turn out that way. Nevertheless, the whole aspect of a reemerging menace from within the community, with history repeating itself was a captivating aspect of the story.

I loved Eleanor as well. That inner vulnerability, core of strength, and the fact that she does identify with the fact that she is drowning on the pedestal that Morey’s Falls has put her on, to the way she blossoms under the touch of Tanner; the sensual awakening that is slow, hard and fast at the same time, were all parts of her story that I adored.

I loved the scene in the moonlight, up in the hills, with just Tanner and Eleanor – that was as elemental as it could get, and it somehow seemed fitting when it came to both of them.

The ending definitely made me teary-eyed. Tanner’s need to walk-about which hits his restless spirit and how it all played out was apt. Recommended for fans of contemporary romances with suspense in the mix.

Final Verdict: Blue Sage is magical and uncanny in equal doses; Anne Stuart waves her magic wand and creates characters that leaps off the pages, taking you for a ride you would never forget anytime soon!

Favorite Quotes

Lock your door, Ellie,” he ordered. “And I’ll keep away from Pete’s Fireside Cafe.”
She looked up at him. The shadows were all around them, the smell of the approaching storm thick in the air, and a sudden, waiting stillness caught at her.

He was so close, and so locked away from her. His blue eyes were hooded, unreadable, and his mouth looked hard and unyielding.
It wasn’t. Before she realized what he was doing he’d pulled her into his arms, out on the back porch in plain view of anyone who cared to

look. His hand cupped the back of her neck, holding her in place as his mouth came down on hers.

He lifted his head, his mouth leaving hers, and his eyes glittered in the shadowy half-light. “You kiss like a virgin,” he said, his voice softly mocking.
She kept herself from flinching. “I wasn’t kissing you,” she pointed out with an attempt to sound matter-of-fact. All she sounded was shaky. “You were kissing me.”
“Then let me do it properly,” he whispered, and the sound played across her spine like a thousand tiny leaves. “Open your mouth.”
She could no more deny him than she could have stopped her heart from beating.

It was beguiling, the innocence and enthusiasm in her untutored mouth. He kissed her slowly, lingeringly, giving her time to get used to the contours of his mouth, the dampness and texture, before using his tongue. He loved her little start of surprise at his intrusion, the acquiescence, the growing boldness as her tongue touched his.
Her hands tightened on his waist, digging in slightly, and if his mouth hadn’t been busy he would have smiled. Instead he encouraged her, teasing

her, his mouth sliding wetly over hers, lips nibbling, touching, biting, tongues dancing against each other.

It was unseasonably warm for a late-June night. Tanner’s pack was lying on the ground, his sleeping bag unzipped and spread out on the grass. She’d let Shaitan get a little closer, just close enough to read his expression. If it wasn’t welcoming, she could leave.
His dark-blond hair was wet and slicked back away from his face. His mouth was a narrow line, thin and unsmiling, and his cold blue eyes were in shadow. Ellie could feel the dampness in her hands as they held the reins, feel the trembling in her knees. Somewhere in the distance an old owl hooted, and overhead a million stars warred with the bright moonlight to flood the field with light.

Ellie didn’t move. Fear was supposed to be a cold, hard lump in the chest. Her fear was a blaze of fire burning deep inside, much lower down. She didn’t say a word, and neither did he. He merely stood there, his strong hand stroking Shaitan’s neck. And then he moved closer, and his hand left the horse, reaching to catch her bare ankle in his long fingers.
His flesh was hot, hers was cool. He slid his hand up her calf, up to the ruffled hem of her lacy nightdress. Before she realized his intent he’d pushed the material away, exposing her bad knee. His mouth followed his hand, tracing the line of scars that stretched along her leg.

She heard a quick, shocked intake of breath, and vaguely realized it was her own. And then his hands were reaching up, encircling her waist, and he was lifting her down, down from Shaitan’s high back, her body sliding against his, her skirts bunching up around her thighs, his warm, bare shoulders damp beneath her trembling hands.
She began to shiver in anticipation of some distant, unapproachable delight, and she felt Tanner, slippery with sweat, tremble in her arms. She wanted to cry, but she didn’t know what for. For the moon, still shining down on the entwined lovers? For the stars, glittering in the sky beside their sister moon? Or cry for herself, lost and seeking, shivering and reaching and aching and longing?

Her head thrashed back and forth in mute negation of something she couldn’t begin to understand. She wanted to tell him to stop, it was useless, it was more than she could bear. He thrust all the way into her, holding her with the pressure of his hips, and his hands caught her head, holding her still.
“Not without you,” he muttered obscurely. And setting his mouth on hers, he reached down between their sweat-slick bodies and touched her.
Her body arched, convulsed around his. Her mind, her emotions shattered, like the thousand stars of the Montana night, and she was gone, lost, floating, and Tanner was with her, his strangled cry swallowed in their last, desperate kiss, his body rigid in her arms.

“Ellie,” he said hoarsely, lifting his head, trying to pull away, to regain the last tiny shreds of self-control. He couldn’t do this to her.
She put her hand up to his face. It was shaking, and there was blood on her fingertips. She pulled his head down to hers, and her mouth was waiting. And her choice was life, not death.

He tore at her clothes and she helped him, raising her hips so he could slide down her jeans and underwear and throw them across the room, lifting her head so he could pull off the bloody shirt and send it flying after her other clothes. Her own hands were just as eager, just as desperate, fumbling with the zipper on his jeans, digging into his shoulders as she pulled him over her, on top of her, into her, wrapping her legs around him and holding him tight.
No sooner had he slid into that delicious warmth when more shudders of reaction began to wash over her. He held himself still, reveling in her helpless

response, and then he thrust deep, joining her in a white-hot blaze of heat that burned the past to ashes.

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