Review: Teacher by Fiona Cole

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Voyeur, #6
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Daniel
Heroine: Hanna
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 15, 2020
Started On: September 25, 2020
Finished On: September 29, 2020

Teacher by Fiona Cole is a moving read in many ways, dealing with the difficult topic of recovering from past traumas that had left its weighty mark on both the hero and heroine. Book 6 in the Voyeur series, Teacher is a book that can be read as a standalone without feeling like you have missed out on something major from the previous books. I did not read the first five books for that matter and felt right at home with Teacher, from start to finish.

40 year old Daniel is the owner of Voyeur, a sex club where consenting adults indulge in their wildest fantasies. 26 year old Hanna is trying to live her life as she promised her twin sister Sofia and leave behind the major scars that had been the resultant effect of having being abducted at the age of seventeen and used pretty much in every way conceivable. Therapy had done its job for the most part, but Hanna still struggles with physical intimacy, and comes off as someone who is standoffish to most, when she is just unable to make herself enjoy being in the moment.

At the sex club, around Daniel, Hanna feels safe enough to let her fears go and perhaps think about physical intimacy as something she could enjoy. When the idea takes root, Hanna is determined that she would find her lost self with Daniel who is ready to help Hanna move past her fears and embrace her sexuality as it should be. Daniel tells himself that by helping Hanna, he is paying penance for the biggest failure of his life which had ended in tragedy, and that it would help assuage his guilt.

Daniel and Hanna’s non-relationship is perfectly suited for their needs; Daniel does not want romantic entanglements, the scars from his past having worked him over pretty good and Hanna, who does not like putting herself into situations she has no control over. The sex scenes are hot and steamy, with Daniel and Hanna losing themselves in each other and eventually their hearts to one another.

In the end, I was left with just one single sentiment – every woman should have a man like Daniel to initiate them into the wonderful world of physical intimacy. Reminds me of what Daphne says to Simon in an episode of Bridgerton that is all the rave on Netflix – that it was no wonder their mamas kept everything to do in the bedroom a secret, for if otherwise they [the women] would get nothing done. When it is right between two people, there is nothing like it, nor would there ever be, and that is ultimately what Daniel teaches us readers before the book is through.

Recommended for fans of romances that deal with recovering from tragic pasts and healing in the arms of that right someone. This book delivers in spades!

Final Verdict: In Teacher, Ms. Cole delivers beautifully on how the very concept of healing could be beautiful and utterly sexy both at the same time. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

On my second pass, she lifted up, pushing me inside more.
“Daniel, please.”
The woman panted on the other side of the glass as she rode the man’s cock. Hanna watched enraptured by the control the woman was taking over her lover, and I let her have the same control to fuck my fingers.
“You’re so tight, Hanna,” I groaned against her skin. “So wet.”
The words flew out of my mouth, and I waited, but Hanna was too lost to herself to care. She rode my fingers harder, and I used my thumb to rub at her hard, slick bundle of nerves. Her whimpers grew into moans that sank into my soul. Her pussy tightened, getting ready to come, and I feared I’d come in my pants right along with her.
When the man gripped the woman’s ass and pulled her cheeks apart, exposing every inch of him entering her, Hanna came.

My fingers moved faster and faster. I dug my heels into the mattress and swallowed, trying to get moisture back in my mouth.
Guilt poked at my pleasure that I was fantasizing about Daniel as I played with myself, but then I remembered his deep groan that had rumbled from his chest. I remembered the way his eyes watched between my legs, only sliding closed at the last minute before his cum shot out. He hadn’t even cared that it landed on his shirt and neck, he’d been so lost in his pleasure.
And just like that, I fell. Waves of ecstasy spread from my core over my body, bringing my skin to life. My lips fell open, freeing moans of pleasure I hadn’t even known I was capable of.

My entire focus centered on Daniel’s tongue and the need to come. There was no room for anything else.
“Play with your tits, baby.”
Without hesitation, I did as told. I had no idea my nipples were so sensitive. I should’ve been ashamed of how much I liked the rough pinches and hard tugs, but nothing mattered right then. Daniel pushed his fingers into me and latched on to my clit, sucking hard, and that was it. Pleasure crashed over me, flinging me off a cliff, sending me into a free-fall I never wanted to come back from. I wanted to live in this feeling, this pleasure, this oblivion.
Instead of crashing back into my body, soft licks and strokes cradled me back to earth.
“Beautiful.”
His praise wrapped me in the comfort I’d come to associate just with him.

I wasn’t sure who moved first. I wasn’t sure it mattered. I pressed up as he dipped down, and our mouths connected softly, afraid to break the fragile moment we’d created.
He drank from my lips, stroked them with his tongue, and I happily opened, needing to taste him. Sliding my arms around his waist, I held on tight, letting the intensity of us kissing wash over me.
We kissed and kissed. Not because we were at Voyeur and this was another lesson to help me accept touch. No, this was because I was Hanna, and he was Daniel, and we wanted to.
What that meant, I didn’t know, but I definitely didn’t care right then. Rules be damned.

“Does my cock feel good in your tight pussy?”
Rather than falling back into memories, I clung to him, held his stare, stayed in the present. My nipples pebbled tight and scraped his chest. “Yes. Fuck me, Daniel. Make me come.”
He pulled back until just the head rested at my opening. “Hold on, baby.”
And with that, his control snapped. He fucked me harder, stopping every once in a while to grind his hips to my clit, to suck my nipples, and whisper filthy things in my ear that did nothing but make me wetter. He made me listen to the slapping sounds of our flesh and admit how good I felt.
My nails dug into his back, and I clung to the reality he created—a reality I never wanted to lose.

“You’re a fucking queen. Taking my cock however you want.”
Her lush lip popped free, and she smiled, picking up the pace. She leaned back with the most delicious smirk on her mouth. Her back arched, making her bouncing tits all I saw. Needing to taste her, I sat up and latched on, wrapping my arm around her waist to help her ride me harder.
We lost our rhythm, a mass of need and desire twisted together, racing for the finish.
She whimpered and ground on me with each pass, and I needed her to come before I lost my control and came first. I slid my hand between our bodies, pinching her slick clit between my fingers as I bit around her breasts.
“Daniel, Daniel. Yes. Fuck. I’m coming.”
“That’s it, baby. Feel it. Fuck me.”
She wrapped her arms around my head and went wild, screaming her pleasure, ripping my own orgasm from me.

Sliding my hand up her spine, I buried my fist in her hair and gripped, pulling her head back and held on, fucking her hard now.
“Daniel. Oh, God. Yes.”
Unintelligible sounds of pleasure and begging fell from both our lips as we watched ourselves in the mirror.
“Look at you,” I growled. “Look at your perfect pussy taking my fat cock. Does it feel good, Hanna? Do you like the way it stretches your tight cunt?”
“Yes. More. Please.”
She was wild, her hand clawing at the mattress. One of them coming up to grip her own breast to pinch her nipple. Fuck me, that sight would be blazed in my memory forever.

Lightning fast, he rolled over, pulling me with him and sat up, holding me close, letting me control the rhythm.
This position had soon become my favorite. The control and dominance of it fueled my desire and flooded my veins with more heat. Using my thighs, I rose and fell, grinding down and moving faster.
He sucked on my flesh, and I held on tight, losing all tempo and riding him hard, needing to come. Daniel gripped my hips and helped me. Sweat coated my body, and my muscles ached from pulling so tight, clenching in anticipation of the orgasm to come.
“Come on, baby. Cum on my cock. Squeeze me with that tight pussy.”
Dirty talk once had me running, but now, it sent me over the edge, falling into the most blissful oblivion I’d ever known.
My world exploded all around me to the music of my own orgasm mixing with his grunts and groans.
“Fuck, yes,” he ground out. “Fuck. Hanna.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: My Darling Arrow by Saffron A. Kent

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: St. Mary’s Rebels, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Arrow Carlisle
Heroine: Salem Salinger
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 17, 2020
Started On: September 19, 2020
Finished On: September 23, 2020

My Darling Arrow by Saffron A. Kent seems to be a hit with a lot of readers, especially fans of Ms. Kent’s work. I too am a fan of Ms. Kent, since having stumbled upon the greatest love story ever written on the unrequited love theme, i.e. Unrequited by the author. Since then, I have read her entire backlist of published books (which is not a gigantic number, if you are wondering), and loved almost all of them. Dreams of 18 which was published prior to this was where it all started going downhill; I found the story to be regurgitated version of her earlier works, with just enough tantalizing elements thrown into the mix to make it wholesome. My Darling Arrow, I am sorry to say, is incomparably much worse.

The debut in the St. Mary’s Rebels series, My Darling Arrow brings together 23 year old Arrow Carlisle and 18 year old Salem Salinger, the latter, who for all intents and purposes would not have been at St. Mary’s had it not been for her “rebellious” act of trying to leave home in the middle of the night. Salem and Arrow’s lives had crossed paths when Salem and her sister Sarah had gone to live with Arrow and his mother. Salem had fallen in love with Arrow on first sight at the tender age of ten, while Arrow had gone ahead and fallen in love with Sarah, who is of the same age as he.

Years go by, until St. Mary’s is the setting and testing grounds in which Salem once again comes face to face with the love of her life who would never be hers. That is until she finds out what truly happened to bring Arrow to her turf, tempting her beyond reason to say yes to everything that Arrow proposes. While I wanted to love the story so much, it fell flat on so many levels that it saddens me to even write a review as such.

I found My Darling Arrow to be too saccharine for my tastes. I found the depth of or rather the lack of in-depth characterization for both Arrow and Salem to be problematic. I wanted more than repetitive descriptions of Arrow’s unbelievably hot physique and ramblings of Salem’s mind when it comes to Arrow and how much she wants him. I grew tired of the lack of anything substantial happening up till towards the latter half of the book, which I believe was one of the biggest reasons for my lack of enjoyment in the story.

The fact that I found neither Salem nor Arrow endearing enough rests on the reasoning highlighted above – if you do not know enough about the characters you are reading about, and everything is either about how manly Arrow is and/or how emotionally wrecked both of them are in their different ways; I am guessing it all just ends up being tedious to read about from a certain point onward.

Sexy and sinfully hot sex scenes is something I have always counted on Ms. Kent to deliver, but alas, even that failed to materialize in a large way because there was just too much time spent trying to appease readers who would have had problems with Salem and Arrow getting together with Sarah in the picture and painting this picture of a heroine who ticks all those boxes when it comes to modern reader tastes.

I wonder whatever happened to the Ms. Kent whose books I fell head over heels in love, books that I keep recommending to other like-minded readers and receiving rave and glowing reviews of afterwards. There was such heart and force behind her previous books which slayed all my emotions and then some, the author who did not care about the conventional norms in romance writing and was not afraid of pushing the boundaries, staying true to the course of her characters.

Recommended for die-hard fans of Ms. Kent. I for one, am sorely disappointed.

Final Verdict: My Darling Arrow was unpalatable on so many levels; the despondency I feel is one that is indescribable.

Favorite Quotes

He leans over and kisses the corner of my mouth and I freeze.
My eyes go wide when he flicks his tongue out and licks that corner too before whispering, “Tell you what. You waited for me, didn’t you? You worried over me. Not to mention, you’re my friend. So maybe I can give you a little something.”
“Something like what?”
He kisses the corner of my mouth again, a small, soft, soothing kiss.
“Your first kiss,” he whispers, his hot breath fanning over my mouth. “I told you I wouldn’t but maybe I can break my own rule.”
“You can?”
“Uh-huh. For you.”
“For me?”
“Yeah. Just to be nice.”
Oh God.
Thank God.

He curses and strains, his cock expanding inside my channel. His head rears back, his spine bowing. I see his sweaty, hot body become tight and stone-like as his cock jerks inside of me and spurts the first dose of his cum in the latex.
We’re both coming together then.
He’s pulsing inside of me like I’m pulsing around him. I scratch his ridged abdomen and his hand fists my hair at the scalp.
I realize that’s what he wanted to hear too – that I’m his.
That I’m my Arrow’s, and I smile again.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Ledge Burnet
Heroine: Arden Maxwell
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 25, 2020
Started On: September 04, 2020
Finished On: September 13, 2020

Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown may not be my favorite book from hers of late, but it is still a worthy read in many ways, the effusive charm with which Ms. Brown lures readers to her books ever so present. The story begins in the year 2000, with a theft of one million dollars taking place, by the following day which, one ends up in the hospital, the other dead, and another in jail. The money goes missing along with one of the men, never to be found again.

Years later, daughter of the man who went missing, Arden Maxwell returns to her hometown, drawn to find out once and for all what it is that had happened to her father that fateful night. Arden comes to town with her own little secret, yet finds herself dealing with a loss that is profound, which drives her more so than ever to get to the truth. However, the forces at play in town includes those that mean her harm, believing Arden to be the only way to find the missing money.

Ledge Burnet whose past is tied with that of the perpetrator, finds himself reluctantly drawn into the world that is Arden’s. When she seeks him out to undertake renovations at her family home, Ledge finds his protective and primal instincts roused, wanting to posses and be possessed by the woman who holds him enthralled.

I enjoyed the combination that is Arden and Ledge, Arden being just the right touch of defiance and vulnerability that meshes well with the totally alpha male that is Ledge. The one thing that I continue to admire, be a fan of, and be irresistibly drawn towards is the unique craftsmanship when it comes to heroes in Ms. Brown’s books. It is effortless, the way in which her heroes always makes me fall and fall hard, and that has always been the case, no matter what.

While I predicted what had happened on the night that changed the lives of both Arden and Ledge’s, I still enjoyed the immersive experience that this book offered and am definitely looking forward to Blind Tiger, which is to hit the book shelves on August of this year!

Recommended for fans of thrillers, romantic suspense, and fans of Ms. Brown’s impressive ability to write books that continue to amaze!

Final Verdict: With Thick as Thieves, Ms. Brown delivers a tale that is a page turner on multiple fronts, rendering the reader to be in a constant state of anticipation from start to finish.

Favorite Quotes

Throughout the day, she’d caught herself analyzing that kiss, the manly spontaneity that had sparked it, the bold lustiness of it, and its startling, erotic effect on her.
But all her analyses had left her no better prepared for this kiss. She might have invited it, but he immediately took charge of it. Taking unrestricted possession of her mouth, he slid his tongue along hers. She responded with an involuntary, shivery movement of her breasts against his chest.
A low growl emanated from his throat. His hands grazed the sides of her breasts before coasting down her rib cage to bracket her hips.

He raised his head, looked into her face, pulled his arm from around her shoulders, and swept his thumb across her full, wet lower lip. “You want to know about my interest in you? It has a lot to do with this.”
“Actions speak louder than words.”
Holding her gaze, he slipped his left hand beneath the hem of her top, pressed his palm against her midriff, then moved it up to squeeze her breast and keep it plumped above the cup of her bra while lowering his head to nuzzle her.
He rubbed his face against those tantalizing breasts that for days—seemed like a lifetime—he had wanted to put his mouth to.

“That morning when you came uninvited to my house, you ran your hand—this hand—along the bannister and across the mantel. Appreciatively. Like a caress. You probably weren’t even aware of doing it. But it was so sensual, it took my breath. And ever since, I’ve fantasized you stroking me, just that way.”
Lust as incendiary as lava coursed through him, overtaking everything. In its path, conscience, morality, and honor were consumed, and supplanted by unstoppable desire.
Glass of whiskey still in hand, he curved his arm around her neck, hooking it in the bend of his elbow, and growled, “Your fantasy is a helluva lot tamer than mine.”

She reached between their bodies and wrapped her hand around him. Her eyes widened in appreciation of his ampleness, which made him groan around another half smile. It turned into a grimace of pleasure as she stroked her way up, back down, up again.
Then she caressed the tip. It was full and taut, and already slick. The slow revolutions her thumb made to spread the moisture caused him to hiss and squeeze his eyes shut. “Damn, Arden. Now.”
She did as asked and guided him. He pushed into her, but drew in a sharp breath over her tightness. “Jesus. Are you sure you—”
“Yes.” She clutched his butt and tilted her hips up.

He kept the pace languid, but with each gliding arc, he pushed in a little higher, reaching her where he hadn’t before, and when she said his name on a near sob, he gathered her against him until there was no space between them. Nothing existed except her body and his, his hard and insistent, hers soft and inviting, his inside hers, a perfect coupling.
The chair rocked slowly; they spun out of control.

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

Review: Sweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Lachlan Matthew Taylor
Heroine: Dandelion Meadows
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 25, 2020
Started On: August 14, 2020
Finished On: August 19, 2020

Sweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer is a new to me author, whose books that I would definitely be checking out from here onwards. Following the aftermath and recovery from a school shooting that had rendered the heroine Dandelion Meadows unable to cope, she is required to take counseling sessions at school, which is how she meets the 29 year old school counselor, Lachlan Matthew Taylor.

Dandelion has been trying to move on from what happened for the past nine months, having lost her mother at the school shooting incident. The trauma is raw and alive within her, and though Dandelion is skeptical of the efficacy of the sessions she is required to take, meeting Lachlan is an experience in itself. From the start, Lachlan is conscientious of her needs. He does not push her into going in directions which is extremely difficult for her, but at the same time, Dandelion finds herself drawn to, and at peace with her thoughts when it comes to the her sessions with Lachlan.

When things start to change between them, even though both Dandelion and Lachlan try their darnedest to not let it happen, somehow, somethings in life are inevitable. It is pretty difficult for Lachlan to reconcile his burgeoning feelings for Dandelion with that of his role as her school counselor and as a result he struggles more than Dandelion does when it comes to the consequences of their coming together. The fact that he is also a lot older than Dandelion is one reason, and even though both Lachlan and Dandelion are lonely in a way that they both alone identify with, there is a whole host of challenges that they both need to overcome, if their love is to survive.

There is a sweet poignancy to the story as it unfolds, and Lachlan, my God Lachlan!, is definitely one for the book boyfriends list. He is sweet, dreamy, kind, has a soul that yearns for love and deep abiding connection with the other half of his soul, loves fiercely and gently at the same time, and is demanding and intense in bed, setting the pages afire. I loved Lachlan from the very first moment he came into the picture, and in a way, he reminded me of Professor Lukas Halstrom, but Lachlan is definitely one of the most unique heroes I have come across and I fell for him hard and fast.

Dandelion has her own growing up to do, even though she has an old soul that yearns for Lachlan in every single way. Even with everyone in her life dead against the thought of Lachlan and her together, Dandelion knows that she would choose to be with him in a heartbeat, if he were willing to take the risk. But then love is never easy to conquer as we would like to think, and there is a lot that Dandelion goes through before she is ready to take that step and understand where Lachlan was coming from all along.

Needless to say, I loved Sweet Dandelion. It is no mean feat to cast two protagonists whose love would be frowned upon and castigated severely by society (and it is usually for good reason), and make it into something so profoundly beautiful that I am at a loss as to how to properly describe the feelings that coursed through me as I delved deeper into their story. The in-depth characterisation, how comprehensively Ms. Smeltzer explored the range of emotions between the two, not to mention that of the secondary characters in the story; all that and more lent this tale an edge that lasted up till the last page was read and done.

There is nary a word nor character that I would do away with in Sweet Dandelion and I believe this is what extraordinary romance books are all about – taking on difficult tropes and working them out in a way that leaves the reader spellbound from start to finish. The TWO (not one), epilogues tucked at the end made up for a lot that happened as the story reached towards its climax and beyond, and I loved and reveled in all o it!

Definitely recommended for those who love romances that sweep you off your feet. Sweet Dandelion is one for the records and Lachlan, definitely a keeper!

Final Verdict: Sweet Dandelion is story that is nuanced, sumptuous, and phenomenal; Lachlan and Dandelion sweep you off your feet on a journey that is worth every obstacle faced along the way to their HEA!

Favorite Quotes

I lean over, closing the short distance between us. The peppermint on his tongue permeates the air and I lick my bottom lip before I press my lips to his. My mouth tingles from the taste of him. He doesn’t move at first, but then a manly growl echoes in his throat. His long strong fingers tangle in my hair. His hold is tight enough to hurt, but isn’t painful. His tongue finds mine and that minty taste is everywhere.
I’ve never been kissed like this before. It’s a ravaging more than a kiss, like he’s a knight claiming his bounty. His stubble burns my cheeks, but I don’t mind the sting—it’s a welcome reminder that this is real, I’m kissing Lachlan, but more importantly he’s kissing me back.

His eyes close once more, murmuring my name.
In a blink his hands are on my hips.
I squeak as he pulls me onto his lap. My hips sink down onto him, a soft moan parting my lips at the feel of him pressed to my center.
“Dani,” he croons.
His hands fist in my hair.
I roll my hips, eliciting another moan from my throat.
“Dani,” a purr this time.
Finally, blissfully, his lips are on mine.

He kisses me with a desperation I mirror with my movements. I’m eager to get closer to him, to feel every part of him.
Our tongues tangle together with a passion we’ve kept chained for months. This is the kind of kiss I’ve seen in movies and read in the books he’s let me borrow. It’s a kiss that changes things. There’s no coming back from this. It doesn’t in any way compare to our first kiss. That was a hesitant, fragile thing, while this is a claiming.

“Lachlan,” I gasp, and he bites my bottom lip, tugging it into his mouth.
His blue eyes meet mine in the dark as he releases my lip. “Let go, Dani, I’ve got you.”
I don’t want to let go, because once I do, I’m afraid this moment between us will be over too. There’s no controlling it once I fall off the ledge into an abyss of pleasure. His hold tightens on my hips, his own rocking against mine.
He pants, letting out a low groan. “Fuck.”
We fall together.
Spinning.
Twirling.
Stars.
Pleasure.

“Why does it have to be you?” he whispers gruffly, moving his lips over my face.
“Kiss me,” I beg, not even caring if I sound wanton.
He does, our dance long forgotten but a whole new one beginning to play out.
His hands move down my body, creating a trail that sends fire spreading through my body. “Touch me,” I beg. “Please.” My voice is achy with need.
“Dani—”
“Please.”
His uttered, “Fuck,” is a deep rumble.

His long legs round the couch, carrying me down the hall. He taps the door to his bedroom with his foot and in a blink my back hits his mattress.
His big body is a blanket over mine. With his grip on my neck, our lips are only separated by millimeters. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”
“Show me.”
His eyes flash in the darkened bedroom, only illuminated by the lights emanating from the outside. “Dani—”
“Show me,” I beg, kissing his chin. “Show me.” His jaw. “Show me.” His cheek. “Show me.”
His eyes stare deep into mine.
Looking.
Searching.
Finding.

“I love you,” I murmur, pressing a tender kiss to his lips.
His hands flex against my sides, his jaw working back and forth as his eyes fill with turmoil. I fear he’s going to shove me away, that common sense is going to overtake our feelings, but he doesn’t do that. “I love you, too.” The words are barely above a whisper, but they’re every-fucking-thing and I feel them all the way down to my toes. Saying them once must make him bolder, because he says them again, this time louder. “I love you.” Louder. “I love you.” He begins to punctuate each word with a kiss. “I love you. I love you. I love you Dandelion Meadows. Despite it all, despite myself, I love you.”
Our kisses deepen, fueled by a love that defies the odds.

“Dani,” he growls my name into my ear, turning into a feral sound. “Fuck, you’re killing me baby.”
He applies a little more pressure to my clit, increasing his speed. My orgasm hits like a rocket shooting into the sky. My whole body shakes and when my hands fall from the glass, my body unable to stay upright, he’s there to catch me.
He gathers me into his arms, holding me close, gently now.
He rubs my back as the tremors fade. “That was—”
He silences me with a kiss. Rubbing his thumb over my cheek he stares into my eyes. “Amazing,” he finishes for me.

“Lachlan—”
In a blink he’s upon me, his mouth taking mine prisoner. He’s rough, demanding. His hold on my cheeks is tight and I find my back pressed against the wall.
He claws at me like a wild animal, bunching the tulle of my skirt in his hands, trying to yank it up.
I kiss him back with fervor, a spark igniting into an entire fire inside me from one touch of his lips. I match his desperation, pulling at his shirt, trying to get it over his head.
He tosses the shirt off like he can’t get it far enough away from him.
His eyes are twin sapphires blazing when he looks down at me. His whole body is a taut live wire waiting to go off.
“If you don’t tell me how to get you out of this dress, I’ll rip it off of you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: His Father by A. E. Murphy

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Sargent Wolf
Heroine: Tempest
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 01, 2018
Started On: July 25, 2020
Finished On: August 06, 2020

Having experienced the high that came with reading Becoming His Mistress, I quickly grabbed a copy of His Father by A. E. Murphy as this one seemed to be right up my alley. Younger heroine who meets the father of her best friend, and bam! The sparks fly and there is no looking back, even when the union is bound to be opposed and face a lot of turbulent times before reaching the ultimate happily ever after.

When Sargent Wolf’s son Maddox brings home his best friend Tempest, with whom Maddox had been backpacking all over the world, the reaction that the first introduction itself triggers in both Sargent and Tempest is one that cannot be denied. Sargent hides his obvious fascination with Tempest’s piercing and more behind gruff indifference, while Tempest tries her hardest to act as if its every day occurrence to meet a man who makes her wet with want with one searing glance sent her way.

Before long, Sargent and Tempest give in to their desire for one another, come what may. There is no denying that they fit like two peas in a pod, with Tempest answering a deep seated need in Sargent for acceptance and love, something that he would not have admitted to even with a gun pointed at his head. However, there are darker forces at play in Sargent’s life that he has to sort out before anything longer term can come of what is between him and Tempest, not to mention facing Maddox once the cat is out of the bag.

His Father, though not of the caliber as Becoming His Mistress, was a compelling read for the most part. I liked both Sargent and Tempest; Sargent is the kind of hero that I love best – gruff, demanding, and reluctant to face the truth of his feelings towards the heroine. Tempest was exactly what Sargent needed – kind and gentle, with a depth to her character which gives her a maturity that most people her age would not have.

There is a particular incident in the story as it reaches a pivotal point, which many readers may find to be a turn off. But I think I understood why what happened took place. There was literally nothing else Sargent could have done at that point in time, but give in. But at the same time, I found the turn the story took to reach that point a bit jarring. While it was understood that Sargent had had a tough time with Maddox’s mother, the whole drug sale affiliation tangent just seemed out of place, even though I suppose it served its purpose towards the end.

I loved the angst factor that came later on, and how Sargent came through at the last minute, lending the emotional depth to the story that I craved when all was said and done. The one thing that I missed was an epilogue – it would have meant so much more for the story had there been an epilogue at the end.

Recommended for fans of those who love age gap romances, when falling in love seems so wrong, but feels so darn right.

Final Verdict: With emotional depth, angst, and scorching hot sex leaping out of the pages, Ms. Murphy hits it out of the ballpark with His Father.

Favorite Quotes

“Jesus,” he whispers when he finally makes contact and slips his finger into the wetness between my thighs. I whimper, shifting on the soft rug as he drags the moisture to my clitoris and rolls it gently, only quickening his pace when I shudder.
I reach out and grab his bare arm as my aching, clenching, and burning body writhes from his touch alone.
“Please,” I beg on a whisper, aching to be filled, touched more, something. Anything.
When his mouth closes around my pierced nipple and his tongue rolls around it I grip the fur rug and come undone.

I crush my lips against hers, making her squeak with surprise. Making myself groan as she accepts me so willingly, tangling her tongue with mine perfectly. I grip her around the back of her neck holding her to me as I pull her closer, forcing her to slide her leg over my lap until she’s straddling me.
Her fingers push through my hair, it feels incredible and sends tingles down my spine and straight to my dick.
When she releases my mouth for a breath I kiss her throat, her collar, then yank down the front of her shirt, popping out the pierced breast so I can suck it into my mouth.
She gasps, and that goes straight to my cock too.

My body is trembling, almost weak as I fight to hold onto my control. She’s so good. She feels so good.
“A little more,” I whisper as her mewls get louder and her grip gets tighter. “I really need you to get there.” I’ve never not lasted the length required.
I’m going to blow it and she’s going to laugh at the experience with the old man.
Fuck that. I am not old. I have better stamina now than I did in my twenties.
I drive into her faster, my hips hammering at a speed I didn’t realize I was capable of.
“God,” she whispers, clutching me tighter.
Her pussy starts pulsing around my swollen dick and I know she’s there.

“Hold tight, angel.”
“To what?”
She gasps when I slam into her so hard she shoots forward, face-planting the mattress. I laugh, but only for a second as she starts to quiver around my hard dick that’s still firmly inside of her tight little cunt. She’s so wet, making it hard to manipulate her clit in the right way. Though I know I must be doing it right because she’s mewling like a fucking porn star and her entire body is shaking.
I pump slowly, circling my hips and then jackhammering into her quickly until I feel her nearing the edge. I’m teasing her but I love it. Her little curses and whimpers and moans are fuel to my already heated fire.

I reach between us for his belt and undo it quickly as he tugs my shorts down to my knees and I manage to wriggle one foot free.
He doesn’t wait, the second I palm him with my hand he nudges inside, filling me completely. I sigh happily, never feeling more aroused than when I’m with him.
His lips touch mine gently as he slowly glides in and out. Pushing himself to the hilt and withdrawing to the tip so slowly it’s all I can do to stop myself from mounting him and riding him in a way I know he loves.

I squeal, not expecting it at all but then I melt because he presses his palm against my clit as his finger sinks inside.
“Sargent.” I hiss his name but I don’t know if it’s because I want him to stop or I need him to continue. Both are tangling together on this web of pure lust, adrenaline, and arousal he’s brought me to.
My head lolls back as he fucks me with his hand, kissing my neck before watching my reaction as I come undone by his touch alone.
I choke out a cry with my orgasm. His satisfied, smug, aroused grin only powers my climax further. I can’t handle it all. It’s too much.

I hardly get the chance to think or protest when she drops to her knees, pulls me free of my clothing and sucks me into her mouth.
“Jees…” I murmur, placing my hand on her head as she goes to fucking town on my cock. Her warm, wet, willing mouth is so soft and perfect. I lean forward and push gently into her mouth. She sucks, licks, grips, and rolls in all of the right places and then she swallows the head of me and I am so glad I came home when I did.
I’m so close, my balls are so fucking tight it’s painful. I want to hold out and fuck her right here, but I also want her to swallow me, not just my dick but everything I give her when I come.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Entice by Ava Harrison

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Grayson Price
Heroine: River Reed
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 14, 2019
Started On: July 16, 2020
Finished On: July 19, 2020

Ava Harrison is a totally new to me author, who I stumbled across in one of the book recommendation lists that I was going through. With Entice promising all those elements that makes up for an emotionally well rounded read, I was quickly hooked, making Ms. Harrison someone I am going to continue reading in the future.

36 year old Grayson Price has unfinished business to take care of when it comes to Tyler Reed, someone whom he considered once to be an older brother. Unable to say no to his sister, Grayson agrees to the meeting and finds himself with more than he bargained for when he comes face to face with Tyler’s daughter, 20 year old River Reed.

From the onset, there is a undeniable spark between the two which makes things precarious for Grayson in a way that he never would have anticipated. While River may want to throw caution to the wind and explore what it is between them, Grayson would like to believe that he is not ruled by the pure male instinct to claim River as his which scares him to no end.

However, even as Grayson tries to distance himself, none of it is to be helped as fate has a way of drawing them together time and yet again. It also does not help matters when River exposes her vulnerabilities to him, the way she responds to him, and makes him yearn for something that he has not thought he ever would consider as part of his future.

With every kiss and searing glance that renders both breathless, these two embark on a secret “affair” that slowly unfolds into something that neither anticipated. With River and Grayson both bringing their own baggage to the mix, it is no lighthearted joining, and it was incredible to witness the changes that they went through as a couple and individuals to reach their happily ever after.

Entice was a very mature, thoughtful, and meaningful read, all in a way that most taboo romances aren’t. There are very few authors who can do topics like this justice without making you cringe or worse. This is essentially what stood out for me when it comes to my first read from Ms. Harrison, and as I mentioned, definitely not going to be my last.

I enjoyed getting to know both Grayson and River, and that significant point in their past giving added meaning to the connection that is forged to life between them. Grayson was definitely all kinds of hot – the panty scorching variety of hot and I could not have asked for a better placed hero than Grayson in every single aspect.

What I loved the most was how the relationship between Grayson and River was fleshed out, the exploration of deepening feelings between two people who carry emotional baggage to last them a lifetime. The emotional depth added that pull factor to the story which had plentiful sex scenes which were tastefully done and sinfully hot!

Recommended for fans of huge age gap romances exploring “taboo” topics. Ava Harrison does this with a flare which makes for stupendous reading!

Final Verdict: Entice delivers to readers a story that captivates you from the start, with Grayson and River claiming a piece of yourself before they are through!

Favorite Quotes

My eyes are still aimed forward, but I’m watching him. I watch his Adam’s apple bob as I caress the skin.
I watch him swallow.
His chest rising and falling with each pass of my hand.
He looks torn, provoked, on the verge of something.
Something I’m not sure I can decode.
But I do see something I recognize very well. Loneliness. It bursts from him, alive and raw and pulsing like an injured animal. I can smell it. I can almost taste it. We are the same, yet we are nothing alike.

“You think I hate you?” he growls, taking a step toward me.
“Yes,” I whisper.
He advances, and I step back. “You really think that’s the problem?”
“It’s pretty obvious, to be honest. You haven’t been shy with your repulsion toward me.”
He moves in until my body is firmly pressed against his, his erection pressing against my stomach.
I let out a gasp.
“Repulsion, River, huh?” He grinds up against me. “That what it feels like? Or maybe it’s something else? Do you think my anger is something else?”
“What else can it be?”
“Self-preservation.”

Without a second thought, he crushes his lips to mine.
It feels like a series of fireworks explode inside me at the feel of his mouth. We are all teeth and tongue.
The kiss is desperate, and then he pushes off my lips. “Why do you do this to me?” he rasps. “Why do you torture me?”
I wonder if he will stop it now, if he will go back to pushing me away, but instead, I feel his fingers on my thighs, and his mouth touches mine again.
Each new swipe of his tongue makes me moan into his mouth and then when I feel his fingers teasing the hem of my dress, I swear I might die.

Then I feel him, pressing himself against my heat, probing my entrance. “I need to fuck you now,” he says through gritted teeth. He readjusts his hands to cup my ass as he begins to stroke me. “Tell me to fuck you, River. Tell me you want me inside you. I need to hear you say it.” The soft nudge is enough to make my inner walls quiver. “Dammit, River, say it. Tell me to fuck you.” He pushes forward, just the tip, torturing me.
I can’t resist. I want this. I’ve wanted him for so long that, like him, I can’t wait another minute. I want him to fuck me and make me forget everything else.
“Fuck me. Now!”
With one sudden thrust, he’s fully seated. I moan at the sudden invasion.
It feels so good.

My eyes roam over her body as I make the descent and then part her legs. I angle my body between them and kiss all the way up from her ankles until I meet the inside of her thighs.
I lick her.
Suck her.
Desperate moans escape her mouth. She purrs beneath me, begging me with her movement to pick up my pace, and so I do. I answer her cries and start to flick and then suck in a maddening pace that has her gripping my hair and falling over the edge.

“River, you know that’s not it. You see how they hound Jax. Hell, even you got photographed with him.”
“You knew about that?” I whisper.
“Of course I did. Wasn’t that the goal?” He’s trying hard not to sneer.
I look down and then back up. “I didn’t think you cared at the time.”
He steps into me, and my back hits the distressed and aged brick of the building. He lifts his arm to box me in.
“You think I didn’t care?”
“Yeah.”
“I cared,” he grits out.
“Why?”
“Why? Because you’re mine, not his. Since I first saw you in Malaga, I wanted you, and seeing that my younger brother, someone probably better suited for you, could be with you, drove me insane.”

I stand from my desk and make my way to the other side. Crossing my arms in front of my chest, I wait.
She’s wearing a cotton dress. Slowly, she drops the strap off her shoulder, and once they are both dropped, the dress pools on the floor beneath her. Now she stands in front of me in her ballet flats, a bra, and lace underwear.
“What did you buy?” I hiss.
My heart beats rapidly in my chest.
She turns around and then bends down, and I get a perfect view of her ass. Almost bare except for her thong.
She lifts something. It looks like a scrap of material, and that’s when I look at the label on the bag.
Agent Provocateur.
Fuck.

“Get on the desk,” I grit.
She follows orders well, moving quickly to sit on the edge of the desk.
“Lean back.”
She does.
“Show me.”
Slowly, but as ordered, she spreads her legs.
My lips tip up, and I make my way, more like stalk, over to her.
“I don’t have time to taste you,” I say as I unzip my pants. I don’t bother taking them off or removing my jacket. Instead, I just pull my cock out. “I’m going to fuck you. And you aren’t going to make a peep. Do you understand?”
She nods.
“Good girl.”

Our eyes lock. And then and only then does he slowly push inside me. It feels too good; as though I’m complete once he’s fully engulfed in my heat.
His hands reach to cups my face, and as he starts to thrust, he peers into my eyes.
He moves inside me, never breaking our stare.
Over and over again.
Deeper and deeper.
But he never pulls his gaze away.
Not once.
Not as I cling to him.
Not as I scream my release.
Not as he reaches his own climax.
He never looks away.

“You won’t find anything,” he says. “And do you know why?”
I shake my head.
“Because there is nothing to find. Want to take a guess at the reason?”
Again, I shake my head, this time dropping my head. He doesn’t let me, though. Instead, he cups my jaw and makes me look at him.
“Because all I want is you. All I see is you. I’m obsessed with you.” His words are rough, abrasive. He hates himself for it. I can tell by the way he grabs me roughly and throws me down on his bed. Then he’s on me, pouncing and kissing me, telling me with his mouth, with his tongue, and with his teeth just how much he hates that he wants me.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Sheltered by Charlotte Stein

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Deeper than Desire, #2
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Tyler Vandervoort
Heroine: Evie Bennett
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 09, 2012
Started On: June 06, 2020
Finished On: July 06, 2020

Nineteen year old Evie Bennett comes from a strict household that translates into the kind of nightmare that a lot of kids often live through. Evie has no freedom to be who she wants to be, explore what it means to be a young adult, and make choices about her life and future as anyone at that age would want to. Life is tough, but Evie knows no other way, that is until fate comes calling.

When Evie meets Tyler Vandervoort, her whole world changes from the onset. With Tyler, the very opposite of everything that she is, Evie finds the freedom to explore her own sensuality and give free rein to the deep seated desire that he rouses in her. With every kiss that leads to unbelievably hot make-out sessions (which should be illegal because the buildup is too much to handle at times, I kid not!), Evie finds herself drawn to Tyler in a way that makes it hard to walk away from.

In the end, choices have to be made, one might say hard choices, but when it comes right down to it, I would say that it was a choice that needed to be made under the circumstances. Tyler might be the boy from the wrong side of town in the way he presents himself, but as the story continues and reaches its climax, Evie starts to realise that there is more to Tyler than meets the eye, and that they may have more in common than she initially thought.

As is the case with every Charlotte Stein story, there is not much else going apart from the sexual tension and culmination of all that desire that is between the main protagonists. Perhaps one of the reasons why this story was a bit thin in terms of characterisation and depth, which seemed to lack more so than the previous two books that I have read and loved from Ms. Stein.

But as always, Ms. Stein is able to draw you in and keep you riveted to what is unfolding in a way that few authors manage to do, especially when it comes to creating sexual tension of the kind that is all encompassing.

Recommended for fans of Ms. Stein’s work. There is a charm to her prose that is nothing short of mesmerising.

Final Verdict: Sheltered brings to readers the story of two protagonists who may seems worlds apart, but in each other finds a calling and solace that proves to be their undoing.

Favorite Quotes

He tasted like cinnamon, again, and every now and then he’d pull away, just a little—just enough to make her want to drag him back. Before giving her a teasing lick with that perfect, curling tongue of his.
It set all the nerve endings in her upper lip on fire. She had to stop herself from reaching up and rubbing something like normal feeling back into the area, before the urge to writhe against him grew too strong.

“Evie, stop,” he said between kisses. She should have been relieved. She should have, but really all she could feel was the heavy and constant ache between her legs. How warm it made her feel, how daring.
And of course it only got worse when he said, “God, baby, you’re so greedy.”
It didn’t even humiliate her. Somehow he made it sound like the sweetest, sexiest compliment, and when she pushed a hand through his hair and tried to get him to kiss her again, his lips parted. A ripple seemed to go through his body, as though it affected him as strongly as it affected her.

He lifted his shirt again—farther this time. If he’d been facing her she would have been able to see his chest hair, but as it was she had to make do with acres and acres of honey-colored skin. All of it so soft seeming she could hardly control herself.
Would he mind, if she just leaned down and kissed the almost apparent ridges of his spine? She suspected he would, but after a moment of staring and staring at the little black knot he’d had inked in the middle of his back, she stopped trying to control herself altogether.
She kissed him there, open-mouthed and wet. Tasted his warm skin, then licked when he tried to sort of shift away.

The longer she went at this, the looser and more relaxed about it he appeared to become. He even turned his head after a little while and found her mouth with his, kissing in a way that forced a fresh flood of slickness to soak through her already embarrassingly wet panties.
He did it with a lot of tongue. And he kind of moaned at the same time, though the moans didn’t stop at her mouth. They vibrated down, down through her body to her oh-so-sensitive nipples and her swollen sex, searching out that little bud that she never on pain of death touched.

“I want you to look at me,” he said, which seemed like the most unbearable thing of all. She had to rub through all of this mortifying mess, while he watched her and she watched him?
She couldn’t. She couldn’t.
“I can’t.”
“You can. Here. Here. Like this,” he said, then covered her hand with his and urged it over her slick mound. Of course, the effect was immediate. That little bud swelled beneath her fingertips, pleasure jerking upward from it too quickly. Her toes curled, her back arched, she tried to tell him no again.
But he just pushed her hand down harder, until she couldn’t stop herself from circling that stiff shape. Just a little—no one would have to know. Except for Van, of course, who seemed to be breathing far, far too hard.

Words actually wanted to come out this time, but she didn’t have the breath to lend them. Everything had seized up inside her, so tightly that for a second she panicked. This wasn’t like the orgasms she’d had prior. The orgasms prior hadn’t hurt the way this one was doing, and they hadn’t made her stop breathing, and oh God, what if a person could die of coming?
She was sure she’d heard that on the news, one time. Sure. But no matter how tense and out of control her body got—by this point, she’d practically started rutting against his mouth—he didn’t let up.

She hadn’t the first clue about how to do this thing. He’d had tricks, and ways of going about it, and the magical ability to transport her into transcendental ecstasy. She had some vague idea about maybe sucking him a bit.
The two didn’t match up. He was going to laugh at her efforts, even though he didn’t seem to be laughing now. He didn’t even crack a smile when she looked up at him—he just stared down at her with that tortured, overheated gaze. Mouth a mean line. Shoulders hunched, body still shaking.
And then he told her all the things she most needed to hear.
“Just suck me,” he said. “God, just put your mouth on me.”

She didn’t know how such a thing was possible, but it happened, even so. And all the way through, she hung on fiercely, most of her moans more like grunts. Thighs squeezing too tightly around his body. Hands grasping at parts of him she probably shouldn’t have been grasping.
And best of all—she felt herself clench down hard, on his still-working cock.
“Oh Jesus, Evie,” he panted, almost automatically. Swiftly followed by a tightening of his grip on her back, her ass. His face pressing against the side of hers, as he moaned all hot and wet right into her skin.

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

Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Devil You Know, #1
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Hero: Piers Gedrick Atherton
Heroine: Lady Alexandra Lane
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 27, 2019
Started On: June 23, 2020
Finished On: June 28, 2020

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days is the debut book in the Devil You Know series by Kerrigan Byrne. Ms. Byrne came to my notice through her Victorian Rebels series, with her penchant for writing dark heroes, unacceptable in the modern times we live, where everything is dissected to the point where the enjoyment factor is taken away in order to publish books that seeks to placate all the notions and theories of those who shape the discourse of the current times.

Either way, Ms. Byrne is an author I choose to come back to because she delivers heroes of the kind I mentioned, with strong heroines who aren’t afraid of accepting the love of their lives for who they are. Of course love in its truest form, tends to change everyone for the better. How love influences the life of even the coldest of us is a marvelous thing, and that is what I have come to expect in her books, though her most recent works haven’t been hitting that spot exactly.

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days is quite a lengthy read – one more reason to love her work; she does not shy away from giving us stories that prolong the delicious goodness that is usually delivered. The series introduces to readers the lives of the Red Rogues, three women who come across one another at L’Ecole de Chardonne Mont Pèlerin in Switzerland. The three redheads being Lady Alexandra Lane and her dearest friends Francesca Cavendish and Cecelia Teague.

The three of them had gotten away with a lot of things then, pursued the sort of activities that were considered to be out of bounds for ladies. They read books that they were not allowed or supposed to read, they go on adventures of their own making, each on the verge of charting their own course in life when tragedy strikes and Alexandra faces the most heinous of crimes that can be committed against a woman on the cusp of adulthood, changing the course of the lives of the trio in a way they never saw coming.

What happens that night servers as a secret that ties them together through the years that leads up to the current events, where the three who have vowed they would not be taking husbands, finds themselves attending the betrothal of Francesca. However, things take a surprising turn when Alexandra offers to take the place of Francesca instead in marriage, something about Piers Gedrick Atherton, the scarred Duke of Redmayne calling to her.

Alexandra being who she is, wants to face her fears of intimacy head on, but matters of the heart aren’t as simple as she thinks them to be and it is a wild and turbulent ride for both Piers and Alexandra before things take a turn for the right for these two. In the midst of it all, with someone going to extraordinary lengths to target the Red Rogues, the secret that they had sworn to keep all those years back coming to haunt them now, there are no easy answers to be had for everything that unfolds along the way.

I enjoyed How to Love a Duke in Ten Days for the most part. I felt that the story was slow going in some places, especially at the beginning, while juggling the characterisation of multiple characters that Ms. Byrne introduces to readers. It is sometimes the norm for the debut book in the series to take that tangent because this is often where the author has to lay the groundwork for the books that would be published down the line in the series.

I enjoyed Alexandra and Piers, and fell in love with both of them at crucial junctures in the story. Piers, even though he remains clueless about his wife’s past, believing that her fear of intimacy comes from being with a brutish looking man such as himself; he is tender and looks out for her pleasure in every sense. But at the same time, the man who he is deep inside, an alpha who is dominant in nature does show up every once in a while, not to mention his childhood and the trauma associated with it affecting his perception of the fairer sex in a large way.

I fell in love with Alexandra the moment that she cast aside her stoic mannerism in the face of an attack that leaves her with the possibility that Piers might be no more. That was the moment that all her walls came crumbling down, that she showed the depth of her feelings towards her husband, the man who wanted to lay the world at her feet for her enjoyment.

Ms. Byrne does a pretty good job of working through Alexandra’s trauma and there are no miracles which suddenly propels her recovery. It is time as well as the man she calls her husband who helps her, once Piers comes to know of what had actually taken place, lending him that insight to take care of Alexandra’s needs in a way that would allow her to test her boundaries and find her comfort zone and be open to the idea of exploring beyond that. I think that, for the most part was why I enjoyed the story that unfolded. The mystery surrounding the events that takes place as attempts to take the lives of the Red Rogues was just a side story for me, which surprisingly I enjoyed towards its culmination.

While I enjoy the concept of strong and independent heroines, I like the concept of strong and alpha heroes just as much, who do not turn putty in the hands of their beloved from the onset. While Piers was alpha in his way, I am of the opinion that his character was tamped down in a huge way to suit Alexandra’s needs for the most part, and as a result he never really did get to revel in the true joy of being who he is; free to unleash the man within, who has a hunger so deep that it would have been breathtaking to watch unfold. That is the tragedy of this book in my opinion, which could have delivered so much more if not.

Recommended for fans of historical romances that offers rich detail and in-depth characterisation that suits modern tastes of readers today.

Final Verdict: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days delivers a splendid story for the most part, delving into the lives of three rebellious women who defy the norms and conventions to chart their own course in life.

Favorite Quotes

Only when she allowed herself to exhale did he press his mouth fully to hers, coaxing it to soften in sweet, aching drags. She felt the impression of his scar. Sensed his hesitation as it caught against her lower lip. And in that moment, she felt the need to encourage him more urgently than she required reassurance.
She lifted her hand from his shoulder to shape it over his jaw. The hair there was wondrously soft, and she tested it with questing fingers as she turned her mouth to press against the tight stratum where his scar interrupted his lip.
At this, he went impossibly still. His own breath catching as he awaited her next move.

Beneath the clever ministrations of his fingers, something inside her core melted, twisted with exquisite, rapturous heat. His fingers were so incredibly wet, gliding over every tender recess, leaving sweet trails of pleasure in their wake. Teasing her, driving her to the brink of. Of …
Something.
Alexandra’s hips lifted from the bed, as a visceral jolt seized her. “Piers?” she gasped.
“Let it come, darling,” he breathed. “Don’t fight it. Embrace it.” All his movement centered on the throbbing peak then, awakening from her body an unholy delight.

“It wouldn’t do to spend our honeymoon apart,” she said, turning from him. “But if that is your wish—”
He seized her arm, pulling her back into their intimate posture, his breath hot against her ear as his body melded to hers. “Do you have any idea, wife, what ten minutes in your company does to me?” His whisper was almost like a snarl in its animalistic intensity. “Do you really think I can smell your scent, that I can watch you knowing what lies beneath your shapeless dresses, and keep myself from tasting what is mine?”

“I don’t see why … we couldn’t make some sort of arrangement,” she offered breathlessly.
“Arrangement?” The word sounded indecent from his voice.
“We could … trade favors. Without intercourse. It could … help us to further our acquaintanceship.”
And, if they were lucky, they could teach each other a little about trust.
“I have one condition,” he murmured into her ear.
“What’s that?”
“You let me use my tongue.”

“Where did you go?” she whispered gently. “You’re miles away.”
“I was visiting the future,” he said casually.
“Oh?” Her brows rose. “And what did you see there, pray?”
“You,” he murmured, inhaling her vaguely tropical scent. Sweet and citrus. Intoxicating.
“And what was I doing?” she inquired.
He leaned in as low as he could while maintaining their waltz. “You were screaming my name.”
She blanched and would have stumbled had he not such a solid hold upon her. “W-what?”
“You were crying out blasphemies to every god you don’t believe in while you came apart in my arms.”

“Piers!” she gasped against his mouth.
“I like it when you say my name,” he growled. “I’ll like it even better when you moan it.”
“What—what are you doing?”
“I’m going to make you come.”
“Come.” She whispered the word as though testing it, and the husky, illicit sound of it almost broke his last vestige of restraint. “Like—like you did last night? With your fingers?”
Christ, was she trying to kill him? “Is that what you want?”
She paused, her short, hard breaths breaking against his. In that moment, he would have given his left eye to see her expression. “I would,” she said breathlessly. “I want…”

He gripped her hips. Ruthlessly pinning her still as he focused wet, rhythmic darts of his tongue across the trembling peak of her clitoris. The sensation of it seized every one of her muscles with such arching force, she’d not realized what his other hand was about to do.
Until his finger sank inside her.
She clamped her other hand over the first, unable to contain her scream. The pleasure locked her muscles. Held her captive in a dizzying, almost terrifying summit.

Tonight in the dark, a part of him had entered her, if only for the briefest of blissful moments … and she’d drenched him with her sweetest release.
At once, his cock was no longer in his trousers. He dipped the finger into his mouth, then another, searching for the trace of her flavor. Leaving moisture on his fingers, he brought them down to his pulsing sex, spreading what he could over the steely length of him.
He wanted this to be her hand. Soft and small where his was large and rough.
Or her mouth. Hot and wet and welcoming.

The climax began as a burn in his spine, spilling down his entire frame like an avalanche. Inevitable. Unstoppable. Overpowering.
As the shocks of release became surges, he made a sound only an animal could have. Bringing her drawers down to his hips, he spilled liquid heat on the snowy-white linen. The sight of it inflamed him further as pulse after pulse was pulled from his very core for such a length of time, he wondered if it would ever cease.

He was like a human incinerator, immolating her with his carnal heat.
Alexandra felt light-headed, not only disoriented by the swiftness of his kiss, but by the change in him. This was no patient, roguish seduction. This man grinding her against his very powerful, very naked body heeded no rules and brokered no patience.
He’d become a creature of raw, animalian need.

Alexandra looked down to where she straddled his thighs, where the formidable shape of his sex tented the sheet.
“I—I don’t know how to please you,” she confessed, suddenly daunted.
He gazed up at her with a patience so tender, so genuine, it released a swell of emotion inside her. “Don’t you know by now, Alexandra, that everything you do pleases me? To look at you pleases me. To touch and kiss you pleases me. The scent and taste and shape of you is the greatest pleasure I’ve ever known. Anything you do beyond that…”
His words died on an indrawn hiss as she reached between them and uncovered him, curling her fingers around the jutting base of his erection. It was warmer than she imagined. Hotter, even, than his fevered body.

He dipped his finger lower, wickedly testing where their bodies were joined, gathering the abundant moisture there and swirling it around her throbbing hood.
Her lips tore from his as her spine arched and flexed, her head dropping back on her shoulders as a hoarse, guttural cry broke from her.
She convulsed around him, over him, her sex milking at him in voluptuous, rhythmic waves. Her unbound hair brushed the small of her back, and her clasping fingers tore at his own locks as she shivered and shuddered in a long, extravagant release.

He slid into her with one fluid, beautifully deep motion, settling into another deliberate, controlled rhythm. His alert eyes searched her face, gauged her expressions.
She felt his hesitancy. His lingering restraint, and she brought her hands around his waist and lower, pressing him deeper.
“More,” she whispered, feeling him tense, seeing the question in his eyes. “More,” she repeated, lifting her hips to meet his.
His thrusts quickened, driving deeper, pressing her higher.
She loved this, the softness of the mattress at her back, the hardness of him on top of her. She felt safe. She felt … glorious.

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Review: Bad at Love by Karina Halle

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Hero: Lazarus Scott
Heroine: Marina Owens
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 14, 2017
Started On: May 29, 2020
Finished On: June 06, 2020

Bad at Love is my second read from Karina Halle and features the most favorite trope of mine when it comes to romancelandia, i.e. friends to lovers. The story begins four years prior to the time in which the main events take place, depicting that fateful night when Marina Owens meets the sinfully sexy and broody Lazarus Scott. Lazarus being the half brother of one of her closest friends does not stop Marina from being smitten by him that very night. However, nothing comes of it and time passes by, with the two becoming good friends, until the present day, where things are about to change dramatically for the both of them.

Marina at 25 years is the owner of her own business and successful in her own right, making a name for herself in beekeeper circles. Where she feels inadequate emerges when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex in terms of romantic entanglements. When she confides in Lazarus of her most recent debacle, he comes up with the craziest idea that she has heard from him – they date each other for a little while, each to guide the other on where they are going wrong when it comes to relationships.

30 year old Lazarus has a different problem altogether when it comes to the women in his life; let it never be said that he is a man-whore. He is known as the serial monogamist, who just never finds it in himself to carry on with any relationship for more than a couple of months at best. So, with the best of intentions, laying out ground rules to guide them, thus embarks Lazarus and Marina on uncharted waters when it comes to their friendship.

For two people who are so in tune with one another with banked fires of desire between them, it is inevitable that the floodgates would burst open given half the chance. And as things heat up between the two, both of them are forced to make the hard choices; should they risk their friendship and go all in, no holds barred towards something which could end up destroying the very fabric of their existing camaraderie and closeness, or should they take a chance on what could end up being the love of a lifetime?

I loved both Marina and Lazarus to bits! Marina was such a wonderful, wonderful heroine. I love heroines who are true to their characters, who aren’t fussy, who are just honest about where they are coming from, and their emotions. To me, that sounds like a character who is grounded, someone who I can totally get on board with.

The most refreshing aspect of the novel itself for me was how honest Marina was about her feelings; she just puts herself out there and tells it all without resorting to qualms and tactics that would have just prolonged the inevitable. She was ready to face the heartache or come what may even if Lazarus were not meet her half way. She just embraced the fact that she loves Lazarus and loves him like crazy, and is brave enough to understand what her friend Naomi tells her; that Marina’s insight into who Lazarus is and how he loves, is in fact colored by how Marina views the word and love in general.

Lazarus, oh my Lazarus! He is one of those accented, British heroes that we all love to love. Sexy, sinfully good looking, and extraordinary in the sack (and he knows it), there is nothing like a confident hero who can make a girl lose her mind in the bedroom and then some. The dark and edgy bits to him just complements perfectly with who Marina is, and I believe that is one of the reasons why they gel so well together.

I loved how Lazarus was really sweet to Marina where it counted, and understood the pains of his childhood having marked him in a way that makes it difficult for him to see beyond the scars that haunt him. I loved the fact that in Marina, he found someone worthy, someone with whom he can find solace on the darker days and take comfort in the fact that she would have his back, no matter what.

Definitely recommended for all romance lovers who adore the friends to lovers trope. And of course fans of good contemporary romances in general! I loved how heartwarming and endearing this was all around.

Final Verdict: In Bad at Love, Ms. Halle brings together two characters whose timing was never right, whose love when allowed to blossom, shines ever so bright.

Favorite Quotes

His tongue slides into my mouth, slow, almost painfully slow, this teasing drag along the edge of my tongue that makes my skin run hot and tight. A desperate urge rises up from inside me, the steel of his tongue ring cool and sleek.
Fuck.
This is happening.
And it’s still happening.
Like any new dance, it starts off tentative, wary, and then morphs, his mouth growing hungrier, our tongues sliding in and out with building urgency. Laz presses his hips into mine and I can feel how hard he is.
For me. All for me.

I don’t know how long our eyes are locked like this. Our bodies are locked like this. Our hearts are locked like this. An eternity passes where all our unsaid words are passed between us like prayers.
“Sweet girl,” he whispers to me seconds before his mouth crushes mine.
I groan against his lips, his mouth hot and wet and hungry. This is a deep kiss, the kind of kiss you shouldn’t have on a public dance floor. It’s pulled out from a wild and charged place far inside me, a place I’ve always kept the bars on, keeping back my primal instincts like you would predators in a zoo.

“Fuck,” he groans. “Your cunt feels better than it tastes.”
“You have a dirty mouth,” I manage to say.
“You have no idea,” he says roughly, his lips capturing mine in a deliriously slow kiss that matches the deliriously slow way he’s thrusting into me.
Everything feels like bliss, the pain now melting into something that makes me wild and thrilled. I dig my hands into his back, my nails leaving marks and our kiss gets messier, teeth, lips, tongue, mouths completely missing each other.
I’m starving for him, starving for years, going mad.

“Laz,” I moan but it sounds more like a whimper, like he needs to put me out of this sweet sweet misery.
“I want you to come,” he hisses, his fingers razing my clit until I’m almost bursting at the seams. “Open your eyes.”
They fly open and I’m looking up at him in wild awe, stark determination on his brow, a side of Laz I’ve never seen, a side I want to keep seeing forever. I want him undone, I want to render him powerless, I want to see what I can do to him, how much ecstasy I can bring him.

Tears rush to my eyes and I grab onto the tight, sweaty planes of his back as I’m liquefied beneath him. I hold him like I’ll never let him go, I’ll never let go because I’m not sure I’ll exist if I do. I’m just stardust now.
“Fuck, Marina,” he grunts roughly and then his head goes back, his throat exposed, neck muscles corded as he pushes in deeper, deeper. The sounds coming out of his mouth as he shudders into me will be forever burned in my heart. The feel of him, the look of him, feral and somehow tamed now.

“Fuck!” she yelps, “Oh god. Oh god, Laz. Laz.” Her voice trails off into moans that shake me to my core. She’s so fucking beautiful like this, her body trembling beneath me, throbbing against my tongue. She’s becoming undone.
But I’m not done yet.
I’m only getting started.
With borderline desperation, I grab the base of my cock and straighten up, gripping her hips, the covers falling back behind me. Sitting back on my knees, I thrust into her, barely able to control myself.
She feels so good. A silky, tight fist that won’t let go.

If she’s losing her mind, so am I. I’m no longer myself. Just an animal. I piston myself into her, over and over again, the headboard slamming against the wall. I can see us in the reflection of the painting above the bed, me fucking her raw, deep from behind, my muscles flexing as I push in, fast, hard, our skin blistering from such wild need.
My fingers work her clit, harder, faster, so slick and messy, slipping and sliding against her. Then she’s coming, and her pulse on her throat is racing into my palm. She cries out again, loud, frenzied, like she’s being obliterated in the most perverse way.

Then the kiss deepens, a slow, hard pull that reaches deep inside me, feeding the hunger. Our mouths, lips, and tongues dance like savages with each other, violent and ravenous andwild.
He suddenly grabs my waist and hoists me up a few inches, positioning his cock just so before lowering me. I gasp at the intrusion, my body so fucking ready yet so unprepared that I have to remember to breathe. If it wanted a break after New York, it’s not getting one.
“Fuck me,” he mutters against my neck as he deliberately drives his cock upward and into me, my muscles expanding around him as much as they can. “So fucking good, Marina. You feel so fucking good.”

One of his hands is lost in my hair, tugging on it the way I like, and I let out a breathless gasp from the sweet pain. The other is lifting up the hem of my dress, pulling it up around my waist. I’ve stopped wearing underwear these days and he lets out a deep moan that I feel vibrate through me as he explores me with his fingers.
“No knickers,” he murmurs. “Good girl.” He sticks three of his large, long fingers inside me and I clench around them, begging for more.
“Hurry up and fuck me,” I tell him.
He laughs, low and rich, reaching down to lift me up so my legs are wrapped around his waist.

We are joined as one and the more he thrusts in, deeper, deeper, the warmer he feels, like a fire that can’t be held back much longer. A trickle of sweat rolls down his brow and his eyes pinch shut as he starts to climax, his mouth going for the crook of my neck where he bites and sucks and licks as he pounds me, losing control.
“Fuck, Marina, oh fuck,” he hisses, inhaling sharply. “I’m coming. I’m coming.”
Before I even have a chance to try and catch up, he lets go of my waist and strokes my clit with his free hand.
Boom goes the dynamite.

He gets to his feet, runs his slick hands down my spine and then grips my hips as he positions himself, and with one long, slow push he eases inside me. I’m so wet and ready that he glides right in. But oh, when he pulls back out, that slow drag and piercings hitting just the right spot, somehow, I’m groaning for him all over again.
“Don’t stop,” I hiss as he plunges back inside, deeper this time, coaxing another unrestrained noise out of my throat. “Never stop with me.”
“Fuck,” he swears, gravelly and low. “I’d do this until my dying day if you’d let me, Marina.”

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Review: Lovewrecked by Karina Halle

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Tai Wakefield
Heroine: Daisy Lewis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 25, 2020
Started On: May 27, 2020
Finished On: May 28, 2020

Lovewrecked is my very first read from Karina Halle. It seemed to be the perfect fit at that point in time, as the country was slowly emerging from the first and God willing only lock-down that will be imposed owing to the pandemic, and I was feeling a bit antsy, in need of something that would provide the sort of escape I was looking for. Seeing this on Amazon, promising a sizzling enemies to lovers story, I thought to myself, why not, and the rest as they say is history.

Lovewrecked tells the story of how 34 year old Tai Wakefield meets 28 year old Daisy Lewis, when the latter travels to New Zealand for her elder sister’s nuptials. Having lost her job and her boyfriend who was supposed to help her get through the wedding which she wasn’t all that much looking forward to attending, needless to say Daisy is not in the best form when she meets the formidable grump that is Tai.

From the onset, Tai’s grumpy nature makes Daisy want to ruffle his feathers in an attempt to see how far she can go. There is a lightheartedness to her character that I found a bit annoying at times, but then there is a reason behind why she is the way she is, which Ms. Halle unveils as the story moves further along.

As the story moves forward, Tai and Daisy along with her sister and husband find themselves shipwrecked and with no rescue in sight, the group of four are forced to spend time together in a way that no other situation would have imposed upon them. It is then that we see the other side of Daisy, where readers get an insight into where her seemingly frivolous and carefree attitude comes from, and the simmering tension between Daisy and her sister, which all goes back to their childhood.

I would not go as far as to say that I loved Daisy when all was said and done. Even though for the most part, I did find appealing qualities about her towards the end, I was not overly enthusiastic about her because of her annoying habit of skimming everything on the surface as things seemed to happen. I also found it a tad abrupt, the way she came to terms with her past, her wants, and needs towards the end, which just seemed to align with what was burgeoning to life between herself and Tai.

Tai on the other hand, was the kind of grumpy hero that I live for. Gorgeous, and sinfully sexy, Tai is a man with a past that makes him weary of long term commitment, especially when it comes to someone like Daisy who would never feel at peace living the kind of life that Tai has built for himself in a remote corner of the world. Tai makes it his life’s mission to keep emotional entanglements at bay, and yet it is Daisy’s persistence when it comes to him that chips away at the armor around his heart.

Overall, Lovewrecked did provide the kind of read that Karina Halle promises readers at the beginning. It was fun and lighthearted for the most part, with the secondary characters adding value to the story and characterization without deflecting attention from the main protagonists. The epilogue was also cute and served the story well towards leaving the reader with a good feeling overall.

Though promised as an enemies to lovers story, I found very little of that in the romance that buds to life between Tai and Daisy. Perhaps that was one reason why this depraved heart of mine wished for Tai’s character to have given the story more angst than it did, because I did expect the story to take a different turn than it did. But then most books do end up doing that. However, with all that, I still enjoyed Lovewrecked and would definitely look up Ms. Halle’s titles in the future.

Recommended for those who enjoy a feel good contemporary romance with a sexy grump of a hero who who continually has the habit of making your toes curl.

Final Verdict: Pure escapism, with just the needed touch of emotional depth is guaranteed with Karina Halle’s Lovewrecked!

Favorite Quotes

“Fine. Fine, you saw me get off,” I grumble. “You happy now?”
“Very.”
I cock my brow, the words taking a moment to rest on my tongue before I spit them out. “Did it make you hard?”
Yeah. I said it.
A bold look flashes in his eyes, more intense than the darkest coffee. “What do you think?”
I think yes.
“Are you still hard?”
I don’t know where the hell I’m getting the gumption to ask him these questions, but fuck it. It’s only fair now.
The look in his eyes intensifies and I watch his throat as he swallows.
“Why don’t you find out,” he manages to say, his words measured.

Before I even know what’s happening, I lean forward, my body operating on instinct only.
And I kiss him.
I can’t help it.
All these weeks of wanting to do this, wanting to know what his lips feel like against mine, it was inevitable that I’d lose control.
He stiffens at first, hesitating, then I feel the muscles in his back relax as he kisses me back.
And…shit.
I mean…wow.
He’s a good kisser.

“Tai,” I whisper, sticking my finger into the jar.
I stand right in front of him, holding my finger out, the honey dripping on the end.
He blinks at it. “Where did you get that?”
“Open your mouth.”
His eyes meet mine and for a moment I think he’s going to be a real hard-head and refuse.
Then he does as he’s told.
Opens his mouth.
That gorgeous, sensual mouth.
Wraps his lips around my finger, and gives it one, long deep pull that I feel all the way to my toes. His eyes never leave mine, if anything they intensify as his tongue rolls over the sides of my skin.
A moan vibrates through him, and I think it might be the sexiest sound I’ve ever heard.

I can see the fight in his eyes. The want to say no, the urge to say yes.
His urges win.
So do mine.
In a flash he whips me around so I’m pressed up hard against the palm tree, the rough bark digging into the back of my head.
He’s kissing me roughly, with impatience, teeth, lips, tongue all in a frenzy, creating a hurricane that will gladly consume us.

The pressure inside me goes over the threshold.
My skin flushes like I’m on fire and then…
I’m falling.
Sinking against the palm tree.
Falling into his hand.
Letting go.
Coming hard.

“Tai,” she whines, sounding breathless, impatient.
“It’s Captain Wakefield,” I tell her, grinning.
“Captain Wakefield. What are you waiting for?”
Nothing.
I suck in my breath and with one swift, hard thrust I plunge my cock deep inside of her.
“Fuck!” Daisy yelps, and I realize I may have been a bit rough.
I’m about to apologize when she cries out, “Keep going.”
That I can do. I slowly pull out and then spear her again, my cock sinking into the hilt as my fingers make bruises on her hips.

With my finger slipping and sliding all over her swollen clit, I stroke that sensitive bundle of nerves until she’s tense and ready to explode. Then, as she yells out my name and begins to shake and shudder, clenching around my cock, I let go.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I growl, thrusting in harder and deeper, faster, like I’m trying to impale her right into the sand. Everything inside me tenses from my balls to my chest and then I’m being walloped by a tsunami, the orgasm ripping me apart and dragging me out to sea.

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