Review: The Lion’s Courtship by Annelie Wendeberg

Formathelionscourtship.jpegt: E-book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Anna Kronberg Thriller, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Anna Kronberg
Heroine: Garret O’Hare
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: July 16, 2014
Started On: December 04, 2018
Finished On: December 06, 2018

It was my hankering to read something different that had me taking a look at The Lion’s Courtship by Annelie Wendeberg. This is the first book in the Anna Kronberg Thriller series, and is written in the first person. This was an intriguing and eye opening look into what the rest of the series entails.

Anna Kronberg lives in the worst of the worst that Victorian London has to offer. Anna is a doctor, who is viewed by most as a “nurse”, (because why on Earth would a woman be a doctor?), treating those who would never have access to proper medical care if otherwise. She treats the prostitutes, the criminals, and the children who grow up in the miserable and abject poverty that is brought to life so vividly in this story. And then there is her secret identity where she moonlights as Dr. Anton Kronberg at Guy’s Hospital.

When Garret O’Hare comes seeking Anna’s services, thus begins a reluctant acquaintance, at least on the part of Anna. However, Garret continues to surprise her and slowly gets under her skin. And it is only Garret that is willing to help Anna in her quest to find a man who had slashed the face of a young prostitute, the prostitute having seemingly disappeared altogether.

So begins the search, where Garret warns Anna of the consequences that could come calling. There is no prettying up what the squalid conditions of where the story takes place is like. Ms. Wendeberg dishes it out as it is, and as it should be. The whole setting comes off as authentic, Anna and Garret realistic in a way that you can relate to and root for them. The menace that lingers owing to the killer is one that does not abate as the story proceeds, the ending being the most shocking of all. A killer who can outsmart everyone else, that is in reality who he is.

I read this right after I finished watching The Alienist series, which I absolutely loved. I felt as if Ms. Wendeberg’s writing carried the same vibe, and I felt just right at home with the story that unfolded.

I did take a look at the next book in the series and find that this is probably the only ending this story is going to get? Plus the series is veering in a totally different direction? I believe I might come back and sample some of the other stories in the series in due time.

Recommended for those who love historical mysteries. This one definitely and cleverly serves as the appetizer to the next installment.

Final Verdict: Ms. Wendeberg certainly has the prose, style, and wit to carry this off. Definitely gets one thinking, which I love in my books!

Favorite Quotes

Rotten food was squeezed in floorboard cracks — floorboards so dirty that one must think they’d never seen a brush and a dollop of soap in their entire life.
Twelve straw-covered pallets were stuffed into the limited space. He’d had to climb over sleeping bodies to reach his bed. He can still hear the tinkling of urine in chamber pots, the snoring and grunting, the bawling of an infant, the swearing, burping, and farting. This was not the shiny paradise his once boyish mind had dreamt up. This was the place where humans had reached their lowest point and had long lost all shame.

She unlocks the small room at the very end, steps in and locks it, fumbles for the matches, then lights two oils lamps and yanks off her dress.
She hates being scared and being fragile, being the weaker of the sexes. She hates not having equal access to education, employment, and basic rights. If screaming could make things better, she’d scream until her throat turned numb.
Instead, she sheds her dress and undergarments, and opens the wardrobe where she keeps her disguise. Only ten minutes later, she’s her professional and controlled self: Dr Anton Kronberg of Guy’s Hospital.

Both women know that once the unwanted child is gone, the cycle will start anew, and there is little to be done about it. For Anna, this is hard to accept. She kills miniature children, knowing she’ll never have one of her own. Every time she holds one in her hand and sees the bloody mess of tiny limbs sliced off the small body, she looks up from between the legs of her patient and sees a woman whom nature simply hasn’t considered. Not only are prostitutes at the bottom of society’s cesspit, evolution has no regard for them, either. Without the ability to switch off conception when copulation is used to avoid starvation, prostitutes are left at a social and biological dead end.

‘Most of the time, I don’t like people. They could all be apes; it wouldn’t make too much of a difference to me.’
Garret’s breath stalls. His mind refuses to provide a meaningful analysis of Anna’s statements. ‘I don’t believe you. You help people every day. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t like them at all.’
Several moments pass without a reply. Her breathing has grown deeper and slower, and he believes she has fallen asleep.
But then she stirs a little. ‘Because when people are sick and weak, when they fear death, they reveal who they are. They wear no masks and I can see their souls.’
‘Do you like them then?’
She sighs again, and searches for his hand he had withdrawn a moment earlier. ‘All souls are beautiful. But you…’ She presses the back of his hand against her forehead. ‘…you have an exceptionally beautiful soul.’

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | iTunes

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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: My New Step-Dad by Alexa Riley

Format: E-bookmynewstepdad.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novella
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Bruce Archer
Heroine: Sophie Sullivan
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 01, 2015
Started On: July 09, 2018
Finished On: July 11, 2018

My New Step Dad by Alexa Riley is my very first sampling of their work. Taking on a taboo trope, the authors have done a fantastic job of evading the icky factors that such a trope would bring forth in spades.

Bruce Archer is newly widowed when he finds out that he is to be responsible for his step daughter, whom he had never met during the broef course of his marriage to her mother. Bruce is a man who has nothing but his career on his mind. That is where his focus lies, and he has room for nothing else, especially not duties related to minding an almost eighteen year old girl.

Sophie Sullivan has always been a lonely child. Having yearned for that elusive connection with her mother all her life, that opportunity is lost with her mother’s death, bringing Sophie under the care of her step father.

From the very first moment that Bruce and Sophie meet, it is as if their whole world is turned upside down. The fierce attraction that springs to life is one that is problematic, especially for Bruce who wants nothing to do with Sophie.

Being in close quarters however, works its own sort of magic on two lost souls. Bruce might never acknowledge the bone deep loneliness within him, but it is there, stripped bare when he comes to realize just how much he wants Sophie, and not just in the most base and carnal way he could ever want a woman. For Sophie, whose heart yearns for love and affection, she wants it all. She wants someone she can make a home with, someone who would want her and see her for what she is and not as a mere afterthought in their lives.

Bit by bit, the walls crumble, and before Bruce knows it, he is well ensnared with the way Sophie makes him feel. I loved the delicious tingly aspects of this novella. How the authors managed to deliver a wholesome story that made me crave for more is something I would carry with me, and is the one single reason why I would check their books out in the future.

I loved the build up of sexual tension in the book. But for me, the culmination of it all was a bit too abrupt which detracted a bit from the enjoyment factor. Perhaps a full size novel could have covered everything better and given all aspects of the story a more wholesome edge. Nevertheless, I did like what the plot delivered; a wholesome story when all was said and done.

I loved, loved, loved the epilogue. Seeing how far both Bruce and Sophie had come in five years time was just wonderful.

Recommended for those that love to read scandalous stories centered around taboo tropes.

Final Verdict: My first Alexa Riley was of scorch-the-kindle variety hot. Alexa Riley’s talents lie in turning something taboo into a wholesome story of which I definitely wanted more.

Favorite Quotes

She slowly steps past me, and I get a bit of her sweet honeysuckle scent. I breathe deeply and close my eyes, the throbbing in my cock returning.
When I open my eyes, I see her looking at me, and then back to the floor. She seems so submissive, and I have the sudden urge to put her on her knees.
“Yes, well, this is your room,” I say again and clear my throat. What the fuck is wrong with me? She’s too goddamn young to be doing this to my body.
I really need to get laid.
“Thank you, Mr. Archer,” she whispers, and I realize this is the first time she has spoken. Her voice is soft, making me wonder how hard I could make sure scream my name. I want to hear her say it now.
“Bruce. Please, call me Bruce. I think we are past certain formalities, especially while you live here.”

Shamelessly, I know it will fuel the masturbation session I’ll be having after I leave her. This one will be better than the one I had about her last night. The one she doesn’t know about, the one I had standing over her bed last night while she slept. I stood there, staring at her lips, imagining them wrapped around my cock until I came in my hand. This time I’ll have a better idea of what body looks like.
“You’re too young. I’m an older man, not to mention your stepfather, and it’s not good for someone to see us like this,” I say. I look down at her pure, innocent pussy and I see a drop of moisture on her panties. “Fuck,” I breathe out, and lean forward a little. I don’t know what my body is doing, but I try to get a hold of myself.

Rubbing my pussy against the pillow, I pretend it’s his lap I’m straddling instead of the arm of the chair. I imagine rubbing my clit against his hard-on and using him for my pleasure while he sits completely still, fighting not to touch me. Pressing myself further into the pillow, I shudder at the shock of desire that shoots up my spine. He’d be so powerless to his desires, he’d suddenly lift me from his lap, slam me down onto his desk, and put his face between my legs. He’d need to taste me. He’d use his tongue and fingers to prepare my tight pussy for his cock. He’d be so worried about hurting me, because I meant everything to him. He’d do it for hours, just worshipping, not caring about anything else in the world. Only I mattered, and I was his everything.

Her panties are out of my pocket and to my nose before the door stops shaking. My other hand undoes my belt, pulls out my cock, and jerks off hard as I hold them over my face. I breathe in her scent as I punish my cock. I’m mad at myself for allowing that to happen, and for allowing her to get the better of me. I’m completely pissed off that this eighteen-year-old girl has gotten me harder and more worked up than anyone else in my life. Ever.

I reach down and pull my shirt off over my head, and then lift hers up fully so she can push her tits to my naked chest. I lean back into the sofa with my arm around her, and she sits right next to me, twisted to the side so our chests are press together. One small move and she could be straddling me, but I just hold her naked chest against mine, as she works both of her hands under the covers.
The feel of her hard nipples against me is so good and so wrong. I shouldn’t be so turned on. I should be ashamed of myself. The feel of her naked chest against mine is amazing, and I can’t help but turn into her body as well.
I hold her tightly to me, rubbing my dick against her blanket-covered body.
“Oh God,” I moan, and close my eyes.

“Come with me, Bruce.”
Her soft sweet words send me over, and I release my cum inside my shorts. I hear her shouts of release as I hit my peak, feeling my own orgasm trigger hers. As I open my mouth, gulping in air as the last spurts of cum leave my dick, I feel her finger touch my lips and, God help me, I suck her drenched finger into my mouth and taste her sweet nectar as I finish.
When we both catch our breath, I look down at her and watch as she cuddles into my side again.
“I like movie night,” she whispers.
I sit there, stunned at what just happened, and all I can think is…I agree.

“Bruce, go back to your room,” I say the words but there’s no power behind them. I’m already wet thinking about what he wants to do to me. The way he looks at my pussy when he gets off makes me cum so hard. I want that right now. Even if it’s not a good idea, I want it so bad.
He looks down at me and licks his lips, not giving an inch. I’m naked except for a pair of peach-colored cotton panties. I know what he’s going to say, and I know I’ll show him.
“Let me see it, Sophie,” he whispers.
I cream a little at his words and slowly reach down, giving him what we both want. Pulling my panties to the side, I show him my wet pussy and wait for his reaction.

His cock pulses a little, and I can feel his heartbeat between my legs. I squeeze my pussy muscles to the beat. I pinch my nipple, getting closer and closer to the edge.
“Fuck, that’s it, baby.” He pushes a little more against my hymen but doesn’t breach it. I feel his cock swell and start to jerk as he shouts out.
His warm cum splashes inside my virgin pussy, and the feel of him cumming inside me sends me over the edge, my orgasm ripping through me.
As I shout out my release, I feel his mouth latch on to my nipple and I skyrocket to the best orgasm I’ve ever had. Our only bodily contact is through his cock touching my pussy and his mouth on my nipple, and I cum so hard and long I nearly pass out.

I want to breathe her body into mine and show her how much she means to me. It’s not just my body that’s being pulled towards her, my heart is too. Something about her spirit is connected to mine, and kissing her is like coming home.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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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.”

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

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Review: Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Format: E-bookbirthdaygirl.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Pike Lawson
Heroine: Jordan Hadley 
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 05, 2018
Started On: May 10, 2018
Finished On: May 12, 2018

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas is a story that takes on a favorite trope of mine – the forbidden love factor that brings a ton of angst to the story. I can’t quite remember how I came across my first Penelope Douglas novel, but the title Corrupt was definitely the kind of book that made me sit up and take notice of the talent that Penelope wields when it comes to romance novels of the darker edged variety.

Birthday Girl begins with the heroine Jordan Hadley opting to celebrate her birthday by going to the theater to treat herself to an older 80’s flick while she waits for her boyfriend Cole to pick her up or find another way to hitch a ride home. It is at the theater that she meets by chance, a man who at first makes her a little wary, but as their time together at the theater progresses, Jordan finds that she is super comfortable with him in a way she doesn’t let herself be with people she usually meets. Before the night is through, both Jordan and her mystery man are in for a surprise; it turns out she was sitting together with none other than Pike Lawson, Cole’s father.

Thus begins a story that made for an excellent read, a book that I resented having to put down, and that has not happened in such a long time that I had even forgotten what that feels like. Three days after the “post-theater incident”, Cole and Jordan move in with Pike, and it is during this period of time that a bond that had been formed inside a dark movie theater over which two souls had connected, strengthens and fights to overcome the gigantic hurdles in front of them.

Pike definitely does not want to be lusting after his son’s girlfriend. That is not the kind of person he is. But Pike finds that Jordan is the kind of woman he has always dreamed about settling down with, and beneath the tough exterior of a man hardened by the bitter experience that had been his ex-wife, lies a heart that yearns for a loving home with a wife and kids of his own. But Pike knows that it is a dream that would have to remain as such, with him close to hitting 40 years old, the age gap between him and Jordan being reason enough to leave her alone.

Shared dinner conversations and other moments of companionship brings Jordan and Pike closer, while things head south between Jordan and Cole. However, even then, Pike is a man who fights his inner desire to claim Jordan for himself, even when Jordan tests his self control too many a time. But it is a fight that Pike loses spectacularly to Jordan, and Birthday Girl includes such scrumptious scenes of sex together with high doses of sexual tension that it is difficult to remain unaffected by everything that happens.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review, conflicts that are part of a trope like this comes with a ton of angst, and boy, did Penelope deliver on it. She manages to write scenes that make an emotional wreck out of you one minute, turn you on to the point of pain the next, and deliver so fabulously in a fashion that leaves you wanting more. Always more.

I loved both the main protagonists in the story. Jordan, though comparatively much younger than Pike, was his equal in every single way. She is yin to his yang, the woman who completes all those missing pieces to his life. With a heart that yearns for a family of her own, Jordan has this dream that mirrors that of Pike’s owing to her childhood. Though she was not abused, neglect had left its mark, and having never really known of her mother, Jordan yearns for the wholesome family life which echoes with the unvoiced needs hidden deep inside the complex man that Pike is.

Pike lashes out, of course; whats a man to do when his deepest longings come wrapped along with his darkest nightmare, i.e. hurting his son, the child he never really got to have the experience of watching your child grow to be an adult. Pike is a man who gave up his dreams to provide for his son, and the very idea of “betraying” his son on such a level makes Pike feel as if he deserves no better than the misery he feels when he denies the need he feels for everything that is Jordan.

Jordan’s character meshes well with Pike’s because she has a wisdom and maturity to her that doesn’t jive with boys of her age. With Pike in her life, Jordan has no need to look at another man twice because with him, Jordan feels secure, safe, and wanted in a way that she has never dreamed possible. The way Jordan looks after Pike in her way, providing for him a place of solace, and a home was one of the best aspects to the story.

The period of separation was painful, but a much needed one, for Pike especially, to come to terms with the depth of his feelings for Jordan, the woman who owns his heart. The epilogue was just the right touch, giving readers the joy of experiencing a tiny part of their happily ever after, and I loved, loved, loved Penelope for providing us with that glimpse into the future.

Definitely recommended, for anyone and everyone who loves an off the charts hotter than sin hero who resists and gives in so magnificently.

Final Verdict: Birthday Girl is one of the best contemporary romances I have read of late, hitting all those spots just right. Penelope Douglas is definitely an author worth keeping an eye on. Utterly delicious! There’s a beauty to the sensitivity and raw honesty that Douglas portrays that does the trope justice.

Favorite Quotes

[Jordan]: My orgasm is cresting again, my nipples press painfully into the tiled wall, and it feels so good between my legs. I want him. I want him on me. I want to know what he feels like.
Reaching behind me, I don’t think. I grab a loofah and slide it between my legs. The netting chafes my clit in a way than sends me over the edge. I roll my hips into it, wanting to feel anything, because it’s him in my head and that’s enough. His smell surrounds me, his mouth sucks my neck, and he’s hefting me up, so he can slip inside me. It’s rough and hard, his hands on my tits one minute and his mouth stealing my breath the next. God, his tongue tastes good.
The orgasm tingles deep, building and building, and Cole’s father is fucking me so good.
I come, the wave washing over me, and I cry out in silence, breathing hard but making no sound. God. I collapse against the wall, nearly crumbling as I shudder, the orgasm drifting down my legs and making my knees week. I squeeze my eyes shut and shake through it until it ebbs away, leaving me light-headed.

[Pike]: “All kidding aside, Pike,” he goes on, “she is exactly your type. You shouldn’t be alone with her.”
Yeah.
I know.
I just hope he’s the only person who’s noticed.
“Thanks for the intervention,” I tell him, “but even if I were attracted to her, I’m capable of controlling myself.”
“You’re not seeing yourself from my perspective.” He looks out the front windshield, solemn. “You look at each other like…”
“Like?”He swallows, an unusually troubled pinch to his brow. “Like the two of you have your own language.”

[Jordan]: He reaches around, taking my face in his hand and his hot breath in my ear. “Don’t threaten me with shit like that. If you want to act like a brat, then maybe you should get grounded like one, huh?”
I almost laugh through the tears drying on my face. “By all means,” I taunt. “I’m dying to see how you try to take control of me. You can’t even get Cole to do his chores, and when was the last time a woman got hot in your bed? You’re not even a man.”
He growls and slams his palm into the house in front of me.
I jump.
And the next thing I know, his hand is in my hair, and my head is being twisted to the side as his lips crash down on mine.
I whimper, the feel and taste of him flooding me so hard my clit pulses between my legs. Oh, shit. My eyelids flutter closed, the heat and adrenaline diving from my chest to my groin in the span of a second.
He pulls back. “Fuck.” And his fist tightens in my hair.
But he comes back in, his mouth covering mine, demanding more, and I can barely catch my breath. I’m hot all over.

[Jordan]: “I love how you worry about me and want to protect me,” I say. “But a girl has needs, too, and eventually, I’ll have to find another man who can do your job better.”
Rage burns behind his frozen stare, but he doesn’t blink.
“Another man will kiss me,” I breathe out, “and take off my clothes and go at me in his bed, in his shower, and spread me wide over breakfast on his kitchen table…”
Pike’s lips are almost twisted in a snarl, and he’s breathing hard—in and out, in and out as he glares down at me.
It’s there. I can feel him. It’s like we’re wrapped up together, the heat between us almost suffocating, and all he has to do is reach out and pull me into his arms.
Take me.
I wait.
I’m yours. Just reach out and take me.
But he doesn’t.
He just stands there, and tears burn at the backs of my eyes as he hovers, unmoving.
Unwilling.
My heart is breaking.
I shake my head. “You don’t have a clue what to do with me, do you?”
I scoff and push away from him, but then suddenly, he grabs my arms hauling me back to him. I gasp as he puts his hands under my arms and lifts me off my feet, bringing me face to face with him like I’m five years old.
“Oh, I may be out of practice, little girl,” he bites out in a threatening tone, “but I think I’ll figure it out.”
And he brings me in, kissing me and stealing my breath so hard all I can do is wrap my legs around him and hold on.
Fuck yes.

[Pike]: Goddamn her.
Goddammit. I’m not stopping. Fuck it. I can’t.
She just kept pushing and pushing, hitting all my buttons, everything she knew would bring me to this, and I wanted her to. In the back of my mind, I always knew I couldn’t not have her.
I grab her ass in my hands and drop us down to her bed. She unlocks her legs and straddles me, our lips never breaking contact. I love her mouth. Hot and sweet, and she teases me with that tongue—flicking and brushing in ways that drive me insane.

[Pike]: “I hated feeling like that,” she pants.
“Like what?” I run my hands all over her, gripping and squeezing as she breathes over my mouth and grinds on me, making me painfully hard.
“Jealous,” she says.
It takes me a moment to remember we were fighting about April being here. Slipping my hand up her shirt, I take her breast in my palm, and she lets out a little gasp. I groan at finally having her in my hand.
“I know,” I say. “When you left the party with that little shit tonight, I was so pissed.” I bite her bottom lip between kisses. “Like I was fucking seventeen again and someone else was taking what was mine.”

[Pike]: “You said you wanted me to eat something.” I remind her. “What do you want my mouth on?”
She drops her eyes, staring at my lips. “Um…” She swallows and caresses her inner thigh, moving her hand up to the V. “Down here.”
“And what’s down there?” I play with her, staying just out of reach every time she moves in for a kiss. “Use your adult words, Jordan. What do you want me to kiss?”
“Um,” she stammers, turned on and dying for it. “Um, my…”
My…?
She comes in for my mouth again, but I pull away, making her bare her teeth in a quiet, little growl.
“My…”
“Yes?”
“My, um… my cunt,” she whispers.
My eyebrows shoot up, surprised. I wasn’t expecting that word, actually, but okay.
“I want you to kiss and suck on it,” she breathes out, begging. “Make me come?”
And I squeeze my eyes shut for a moment, my dick fighting against my jeans for room to grow.
Fuck.

[Pike]: “Pike,” she whimpers, clutching my head to her body and falling back on the bed.
Jesus, I’m fucking high. I’ve wanted this for so long, and I finally have her, legs spread on my bed, body begging for me.
I suck on her clit first, stretching it into my mouth and going back in again and again, making her squirm and desperate to come. I lick her up and down, swirling my tongue around over her nub and getting drunk on her scent and taste. After a minute, I lose control, though, and I’m kissing and nibbling her everywhere. I curve my arm under her thigh and grip it for support as I feed off her, doing it as much for me as her. Her back arches off the bed when I flick her with my tongue, and she moans.
I keep doing that until she’s panting so fast I know she’s ready to come apart. Palming one of her breasts, I keep my head buried between her legs until I feel her stomach start to shake and then she sucks in a deep breath and freezes as the orgasm takes hold.

[Pike]: Slipping my hand under her, I grip her ass and press our bodies together, the world spinning behind my closed eyes. Having her under me, skin on skin…my cock is so hard, I can’t take it.
This is mine.
Leaning back on my heels, I roll on the condom, never taking my eyes off her.
“I’m a little scared,” she says, worry creasing her brow.
I halt, trying not to squeeze the fist around my cock too hard.
Scared?
“What if I make too much noise?” she whispers.
And I exhale, relieved she’s not having second thoughts. I stroke my cock and come down on her again. “Pull up your shirt, Jordan,” I whisper back. “I want to see your tits when I fuck you.”

[Pike]: Reaching down, I hold her eyes as I fit my tip at her entrance, and then I grab hold of her hip and thrust inside of her, immediately overcome with the feel of her and my body shaking.She arches her neck back and closes her eyes, moaning, and her breasts bounce with the movement
“Oh, fuck, fuck…” she cries. “Pike…”
“I know, baby.” You feel so good.
I thrust again and she clutches my waist to hang on as I slowly pick up the pace, sinking deeper inside her and mesmerized by her body underneath me. I dip down, sucking on her breast as she moans and whimpers.
Coming back up, I kiss her mouth, and she does that thing where she licks my tongue, and I’m spiraling.
“Jordan, fuck,” I breathe out, thrusting faster and harder until the only thing I hear is our bodies coming together.

[Pike]: I grab her ass and arch up, taking a nipple in my mouth again, sucking and tugging and then moving to the next one in a frenzy. She leans into me, never slowing her pace, and I can feel the sweat gliding down the small of her back.
I suck in air through my teeth, my muscles tensing, and I’m close. I flip her back over, hungry to be in control again, and her head falls at the side of the bed, too close to the bedside table. I grab the edge of it and whip it away, sending it toppling over, lamp and everything crashing to the floor.
She whimpers and kisses me, caught up in the madness of the moment, too.
“Don’t stop,” she pants. “Don’t stop. I’m gonna come again.”
I press my forehead to hers, both of us damn near hyperventilating as I thrust over and over again, trying to think of anything that won’t make me come, but she feels too good, and I’m too fucking lost.

[Jordan]: “I couldn’t wait to get home,” he whispers. “You don’t know how hard I was trying to control myself today.”
“How hard?” I work at his belt, frantic to get it off.
“I was in the worst fucking mood,” he growled. “I couldn’t get you out of my head. All I wanted was this.” And his hands scale down my ribs, and he pushes me back and forces my shirt and bra up over my tits. I fall to the table, and he dives down, biting and tonguing my nipples.
I close my eyes and moan, squirming under him and arching my back, not sure if I’m trying to get closer to his mouth, or if it’s too much to take. I can feel his lips all the way to my toes.
Heat fills my wet pussy, and I watch as his hot tongue flicks over the hardened bud of my nipple, my clit throbbing so hard I can’t breathe. I shake, an explosion of pleasure wracking through me and warming my insides. My eyes roll into the back of my head, and I cry out.
Shit! Shit, shit, shit…
I shudder, opening my eyes, a little in shock.
I look down, seeing Pike staring up at me. “Did you just come?” he asks, his eyes rounded in surprise.
I swallow, my mouth suddenly parched, and nod. “Yeah. I think so.”
His eyebrows shoot up. “You like your breasts kissed, huh?”
“I like it when you kiss anything on me.”

[Jordan]: My shorts drop to the floor, he whips me around, and I plant my hands on the table to support myself. I hear a wrapper crinkle and then the clank of his belt as he opens his jeans. My thighs shake, so turned on by what’s coming. Thank God the blinds are closed.
Arching my back, I open my legs for him and look over my shoulder. “I’m sorry I did that to you last night,” I say.
He pulls his cock out of his jeans and rolls the condom on, and then comes in, wrapping a hand around my neck and kissing me hard.
“Well, not really sorry, I guess,” I pant against his lips. “This makes it worth it.”
Hell yes. He’s so hot right now. Well, he always is, but…
Pulling down my panties, he grips me where my thigh meets my hip and guides his cock to my entrance. Once it’s crowning me, he pulls my hips back to him, and I’m sliced in two, gasping and shuddering as his dick slides deep inside me.
“Oh, my God,” I whimper, my head dipping, because I’m shaking so hard.

[Jordan]: “You can go again later, right?” I ask over my shoulder.
“You’re insulting me,” he growls in my ear. “You think I can’t keep up with you?”
“I just really want to…”
“Want to what?”
I open my mouth, whispering against his lips as our bodies meet again and again. “I want to suck you off.” I rub my lips over his, taunting him. “I want to feel you in my mouth.”
He exhales hard, baring his teeth and closing his eyes. “Jordan…” He shakes his head almost as a warning.
I kiss him, our lips hovering over each other as sweat glides down my back. “You want your cock in my mouth?” I whisper.
He bites my bottom lip gently and lets it go. “Say it again.”
“I want to suck your dick,” I say again.
His cock pounds me like a hammer, and I curl my toes, feeling my orgasm crest.
“I want to lick you,” I whisper, “and taste you and make you come.”
His fingers dig into my flesh, and the tops of my thighs ache from where they keep hitting the table, but he’s making me come again, and nothing in the world has ever felt this good. I’m almost there.
I flick his lip with my tongue, feeling fire spread through my thighs and rock my insides. “Please?” I whisper, backing up into his dick and chasing it, too. “Fuck my mouth tonight?”
“Jordan, Jesus!” he cries out, and he grabs my shoulder at the neck and pounds me so hard, I can’t speak even if I wanted to.
We both come, my knuckles turning white as I dig my nails into the wooden table, tensing, and tightening every damn muscle in my body.

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

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ARC Review: My Roommate’s Girl by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-bookmyroommatesgirl
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Aidan Shannon Shaw
Heroine: Aster
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 12, 2017
Started On: May 04, 2018
Finished On: May 08, 2018

I have been a fan of Julianna Keyes ever since I discovered her from one of those chance reads I took on Netgalley. Julianna has a way of writing that delivers stories that maintain a realistic edge, and at the same fulfill the yearnings of the romance reader for the angst-ridden and sexy reads that make our day. Plus, Julianna always has a unique tangent to her writing, with twists to existing tropes that makes her books so worth your while.

My Roommate’s Girl toting a gorgeous cover, is written in the first person, told from both Aidan Shannon Shaw, the hero’s, and Aster, the heroine’s point of views. Aidan meets Aster through Jerry, his roommate, whose girlfriend turns out to be none other than Aster. From the moment Aidan lays eyes on Aster, he wants to have her for himself, he needs to have her. But there is of course that little pesky problem of the boyfriend who stands in his way. So sets Aidan on the course that would deliver Aster into his arms, as conniving and manipulative as it sounds.

What unfolds next was not by any means predictable. One would think it would be, given where the story was headed, but the way Julianna peeled back the layers to both Aidan and Aster was truly masterful.

Aidan’s character is easier to figure out in a way; the troublesome background, the way it had been easier for him to fall in with a bad crowd and lose his way. Until a judge had seen through his belligerence and decided to give him the chance to clean up, or else. But like a tweet I came across just today, “the devil works hard but peer pressure works harder”, and that is exactly the case with Aidan as well.

Now Aster, she is the true gem of the story. Her character managed to surprise me at every single turn, and that is no mean feat for someone who reads through so many romance novels and can often predict character behavior from a mile away. But damn, Aster certainly managed to shake my preconceived notions and then some. I felt proud of her for identifying with what had happened, and even fighting back just as dirty to get even. But then again, Aster did not take into account how seductive it is to be stripped bare of all the fronts she has put up, and to be seen exactly for who she is; not the image of perfection that she presents to the rest of the world, but a woman with faults and flaws of her own, someone who learnt from her past and aims to never go down that path again.

Like every single hero I have read from Julianna, Aidan is sexy personified. From his dirty blond hair and that raw physique of his, to the way he wants Aster with every fiber of his being; all that and more made him pretty alluring. Even though the only way Aidan knows to get what he wants is to fight dirty, with Aster, he finds that his conscience doesn’t allow him to be half the douche bag he could really be. For him, Aster is the woman that makes it all matter; she makes him want to stand steadfast on the path of the straight and narrow.

I loved Aster just as much. The fact that she had been able to leave a difficult past behind and clean up her act, that spoke volumes when it comes to the strength of her character and the kind of person she is. And she proves to be just that, honest and kind where it matters. I loved the ending, the way it all came together and how everything worked out. There is nothing better than a happily ever after for a couple you root for from the very beginning, even when that beginning might be the furthest thing from perfect.

Recommended for fans of romances that deliver unusual twists and turns that makes the book that much more worth it.

Final Verdict: My Roommate’s Girl delivers a succulent tale that is trademark Julianna Keyes, with characters that are relatable, and a happily ever after that I rooted for from the very beginning!

Favorite Quotes

I kiss her.
I don’t even think about it, I’m just acting on instinct. The hand on her hip slips around to the outside of her arm, up to her shoulder, her neck, fingers curling into her nape. She doesn’t move, doesn’t look away from my mouth, and the soft flutter of her lashes is the last thing I see before my lips touch hers.
She makes a tiny sound when our mouths meet, and I feel a tremor roll through her, like a frisson of energy arcing from her body into mine. I fumble behind me to stick the spoonful of melting ice cream back into the carton, only fifty percent sure I manage the task, a hundred percent sure I don’t care.
I cup her face with both hands, feel her silky hair teasing my fingers, the softness of her mouth, her breasts pressed against my chest. The tip of her tongue touches my bottom lip at the same moment her hand comes up to stroke my cheek, and I leap away like I’ve been electrocuted.

“Aidan,” she moans again.
“What…do…you…need?” I grunt out. Sensation is rocketing up and down my body, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, things I’ve never felt before and don’t know what to do with.
When I first saw Aster, first thought of fucking her, I didn’t think it would be like this. I thought she’d be prim and proper, maybe ride me like a dainty cowgirl. I thought I’d dirty her up, scandalize her a bit.
Now I don’t think I could scandalize Aster if I tried. She fucks like it’s the most natural thing in the world, like my hands pulling her hair is the thing she likes most. Like my mouth on her nipples and my cock plowing into her is something she lives for. I want to earn those responses. I want to hear them. I want to taste them.

When I first arrived at Holsom, I was terrified. It was new and strange and even among thousands of students, I felt hopelessly alone. Meeting Jerry helped, but I never truly relaxed. Never felt like I belonged. I thought I might, one day, but even after a year of dating I knew that deep down, he never really knew me because I never really let him.
Aidan knows me. I only let him know me because I thought I’d never see him again, but here we are, out in the middle of nowhere, and I don’t feel alone at all. I feel like he sees me and he’s totally okay with what he sees. Scars and all.

At long last I’m seated, his cock buried inside, taking a moment to adjust to the aching fullness. I grind my forehead into his shoulder, feeling him, feeling everything, and he lets me take my time, no pressure, no hurry.
I shift so my lips find his neck, his racing pulse betraying his laidback demeanor. I flex my thighs and lift up slightly, then slide back down, finding an easy, unhurried rhythm that makes everything inside me go soft and molten.

Aidan drops his hands from my hair and I see him digging his fingers into the sand at his sides, trying to hold on. Trying to wait for me.
That’s what sends me over. The sight of this man, weak but still so strong. Hard, solid, tough, sweet. A study in contradictions.
I come with a soft cry, stifling the sound in the curve of his neck, tasting his sweat on my tongue. My body spasms in long, slow waves for what feels like an eternity, and when the orgasm ebbs away Aidan jerks beneath me, hips pushing into mine as he anchors me with his hands on my waist, holding me in place while he takes what he needs.
My limbs feel like jelly, like there’s no earthly way I can stand, no possible way I’ll be able to hike back. I lift my head and absorb the quiet forest, the pristine lake, the boundless sky. This is the farthest from civilization I’ve ever been, but out here, with just me and Aidan, I’ve never felt closer to home.

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

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Review: A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant

Format: E-bookachristmasgoneperfectlywrong.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Blackshear Family, #0.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Andrew James Blackshear
Heroine: Lucy Anne Sharp
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 04, 2014
Started On: December 20, 2017
Finished On: January 03, 2018

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong, a novella set in the Blackshear Family series by Cecilia Grant is my very first venture into sampling books by the author. A historical romance that I stumbled upon quite by chance on Twitter, I liked the sound of the tale and decided to get myself a copy.

25 year old Andrew James Blackshear comes across the all-too-delectable-for-his-state-of-mind 21 year old Lucy Anne Sharp deep in the wilds of Norfolk. Andrew in in pursuit of purchasing a hawking bird for his sister who is engaged to be married soon.

Andrew’s plan had been a simple one, one that had not factored in meeting the most desirable woman he has ever come across in his entire life. With just one glance, Lucy has a way of inviting him to shed off the layers of propriety and rigid rules that he had adhered to, setting an example for the younger ones in his family. With their mother having died when all the siblings had been quite young, a lot of responsibilities had fallen upon Andrew’s shoulders, ones he had taken to heart, which inadvertently had meant that he had always played by the rules. Rigid control should be his middle name, but then again, some temptations are too great even for a man like Andrew.

Lucy having grown up in a less than conventional household with a father who had remained single all throughout her childhood into adulthood had meant that the usual rules of decorum had not applied much to her life. Coming across Andrew feels as if fate had tossed her way the kind of man who could fulfill every single desire of her wilful heart, and yet Andrew seems determined every step of the way that he would do the honorable thing, leaving her untouched for a husband of her choosing – a husband who would be more well suited for her than him or vice versa.

Fate throws them together under circumstances during which their desire grows, the heat between them burns stronger, with their hearts and minds entwined in that short span of time over shared cups of tea and conversations that had made Andrew delve deep into his conscience to air thoughts he never even thought he held. When all good intentions of Andrew falls sideways, that was the most delicious aspects of the book.

I enjoyed this novella for what it brought. There was humor of the kind I could really get. For instance, Andrew’s thoughts on matters of research, Really. If there was a more futile, unproductive, dog-chasing-its-own-tail occupation for a man’s mind than the study of how we know what we know, it was beyond him to name, was one that had me in splits. Plus, there was this undercurrent of delicious sexual tension that buzzes slowly along your veins, lulling you into this warm corner where you block out the rest of the world.

I loved both Andrew and Lucy and believe wholeheartedly that they are each other’s match in every way. Lucy is the woman who loosens up Andrew, something much needed if you ask me. Andrew needs to let his hair down and live a little, and he needs a woman strong enough to take his passion in its entirety and I believe that Lucy with her independent mind, her enjoyment of the less than conventional life would be able to do all that and more for Andrew.

As much as I enjoyed the novella, I felt that the story dragged on in places where it need not have been. That was perhaps the only factor  that distracted me from reading this in one sitting.

I definitely loved the prose, the characters, and the humor. Recommended for fans of historical romances that gives slow burn reads.

Final Verdict: Lighthearted & fun in a way that draws you in. Andrew’s character is the game changer.

Favorite Quotes

She turned, a lash of wind snatching her hood from her grasp and throwing it back to expose her, and the question of what a decent man would do went spinning off like another wet leaf in the storm. Shock sparked at the nape of his neck, followed by a faint, irrational prickling of shame, and an impulse to avert his eyes.

He had a strong, expressive mouth, fit for barking out commands or whispering improprieties to a lady as he brushed by her in a dance. He had eyes dark as the mahogany inlay on the tea-chest, and hair like polished cherry-wood, and arms and legs and shoulders made to take up space. Men who looked like Mr. Blackshear generally strode through life helping themselves to what they wanted, or so she’d always assumed.

For all that came afterward, she would have to blame that dimple. The dimple and perhaps his mulled-wine voice. And his stature. And his painstaking propriety, and his admirable affection for his sister, and the sweet fizzing awareness that raced through her blood when his eyes followed her hand from her skirts to her hair.

He was dreadfully handsome when he spoke of honor. So righteous and terrible and vigorous he nearly gave off sparks. A more persuadable lady might be pledging to run off and join an order of nuns now, or whatever it was that zealously proper ladies did, just to win his approval.

Somewhere around the time she uttered the word barn, the kitchen’s traffic rearranged itself to give him a view of her. She stood at the room’s other end, taking cups down from a shelf and handing them to the comparatively diminutive Mrs. Porter. She was smiling already round her stream of good-cheered narration, but when she caught his eye she somehow shaped the smile into a greeting just for him. And for a moment he had the oddest sensation of homecoming.

His chest rose and fell with his breath. His eyes roved all over her face. A swallow rippled down his throat. And of a sudden she could not look anywhere but at his mouth, strong and expressive and made for whispering improprieties.
His hand came away from the window—she saw it from the corner of her eye—and up to touch the side of her head. That was all. His gloved fingers made one pass over her bound-up hair, and the hand fell away.

You wouldn’t think the weight and shape of her hand could still have such an effect on him, after the brash liberties his body had taken with hers. But he could think of little; perceive little; know little beyond the rise of each knuckle into his palm; the occasional fidgeting of her fingers on his sleeve; the bunched leather at her wrist, beneath his fingertips.

Her mouth was every bit the wonder he’d imagined, shaping itself against his with infinite variation. Feather-light teasing kisses across his lower lip; those were very fine. A bolder kiss that took that lower lip in between hers; that was even better. By and by he dared a single short stroke with his tongue; her lips parted on a breath of surprise and stayed parted in sweet invitation.
He let go her face to settle his hands on her waist, and he put his back against the wall and pulled her in close enough that her bosom brushed his chest, and Lord help him, he wanted to do this forever.

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