Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance POV: First Person, Single Series: Wildflower Duet Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Thayer Holmes Heroine: Salem Grace Sensuality: 3 Published On: March 23, 2022 Started On: April 10, 2022 Finished On: April 13, 2022
He cuts off my question, pressing me into the corner of the maze, the dried corn stalks rough against my back, and then he kisses me. It’s a rough, searing, soul-stealing sort of kiss. Thayer Holmes has branded himself on me. And I know, without a doubt, that whatever this is, whatever we become, if we grow and flourish like the wildflowers behind our houses, or crash and burn, it won’t matter because when I’m old and gray, lying in bed thinking about my life, he’ll be the best part.
The Wildflower Duet by Micalea Smeltzer was released early last year. Ms. Smeltzer is an evocative writer, whose elegant prose and characterization left me spellbound when it came to the story Sweet Dandelion. Being a sucker for May-December tropes, I was quick to grab this as it was released and I was not disappointed – at least with the first installment of the duet.
Salem Grace is 18 years old when the story begins, having just finished high school and dating the quintessential popular guy you come across in small towns. 31 year old Thayer Holmes moves in as Salem’s next door neighbor, and an unlikely friendship is forged with the single father whose gruff and silent manner should have been off-putting but draws Salem to him like a moth to a flame.
As Salem starts to babysit for Thayer’s son, the relationship between the two deepens to something much more, and a love forges to life, unlike any Salem has known. With Thayer, Salem feels safe from the nightmares that plagues her, and she feels cherished in a way that she has never known. However, tragedy is not too far from their lives when the unthinkable happens, driving the kind of wedge between Thayer and Salem that only time alone would heal. As the story moves to its second installment, Salem returns to her hometown six years henceforth, forced to come home and face the music at long last. This time around, she is older and wiser, and has a secret that she left with all those years ago.
As mentioned earlier in the review, I did enjoy the first installment in the series. Salem and Thayer invoked so many emotions in me that at times I felt chock full of it. Salem’s tragic past had me wanting to hurt someone, a very specific someone, and Thayer was all kinds of appealing. He has his own demons to fight with, but the connection between Salem and Thayer is one that all too real for him to ignore, even with the huge age gap between them.
I could understand why Thayer acted the way he did towards the end of the first installment, because some losses, you never ever fully recover from. The fact that Salem loved Thayer enough to know that and understand that was one reason I loved both of them to bits. But as the story moved to six years later, I found that there was not much essence nor conflict to the story to keep the reader hooked and the pages turning. I would have been happier had the first installment being extended a bit, and this was just a single book story. I believe it would have been more fitting.
Towards the end, I skipped huge parts of the latter half of the second book, just so I could get to the ending. I don’t like reiteration in my novels to the point where I have to force myself to keep my eyes open. That is what happened with the second installment in the series, with mundane details of everyday life thrown into make the pages count. I just sorely wish that had not been the case because if not, this would have been a stellar 5-star read!
Recommended for fans of the author and fans of May-December themed romances.
Final Verdict: The Wildflower duet is a story of tragedy and heartache. It is also one of deep abiding love and hope that gets you through the darkest moments of life!
“I’ll get our drinks.” I head back to the kitchen for them. I grab another Diet Coke from the fridge and turn to get his, but nearly smack into his chest. “Jesus Christ!” My hand flies to my chest. “Don’t sneak up on me like that.” He makes no move to back up. “Thayer?” His brown eyes stare at me intently. “W-What are you doing?” His tongue wets his lips and I realize he’s staring at my mouth. “Are you going to kiss me?” I blurt my thoughts out loud. He towers above me, lowering his head so I’m cocooned with the mini-fridge behind my legs and his body blocking everything else. I know if I wanted to move, he’d let me pass, that’s the kind of man he is. But the fact is, I don’t want to. His voice is deeper than normal when he asks, “Do you want me to?” I swallow. Do I? “Yes.”
“Salem,” he murmurs my name between kisses. I wind my legs around his waist, gasping when I feel the hardness of his erection. We are chaos. Unrestrained passion igniting with a single spark.
“Need to be in you.” He sounds like he’s aching with the same need I am. He shoves his jeans down and his boxer-briefs with them. Thayer Holmes is naked in front of me. I don’t look away. I take in every inch of him. Every. Long. Perfect. Inch.
He doesn’t hesitate. Grabbing the base of his cock, he plunges into me. I cry out, my back arching. He’s so big and I’m so full. “Fucking hell, Salem,” he curses, exhaling heavily. “Am I too tight?” I squeak, because my God, he’s stretching me. He shakes his head, brown hair falling over his forehead. I reach up, brushing it away so I can see his eyes. I need to see them. He can’t hide from me that way. “No,” he rocks slowly out and back in, “it’s just…” His fingers tighten around my hips, angling me up to meet his thrusts. “You feel like mine.”
His hips push into mine and I gasp at the feel of him hard and ready. “Thayer,” I pant. He wraps a hand around my neck. I moan, surprised at how much I like his hand there. “Do you want me to fuck you against the wall, Salem?” God, yes. “Yes.” “Good.”
“Thayer,” I pant, breathless, “right there. Don’t stop.” I fall over the edge, my orgasm rattling me to the bone. His lips press open-mouthed kisses to my neck. He pumps his hips harder, faster into me, and impossibly I feel my body building toward another high. “Thayer!” I scream his name, my orgasm rippling through me.
“If you wouldn’t have chosen a peony, what did you think my favorite would be?” “Sunflowers,” he answers without hesitation. “I guess that’s because you remind me of them. You’re so bright and happy most of the time.” “I didn’t used to be,” I admit mournfully. His finger is warm beneath my chin, lifting my head to look at him. “Who we used to be doesn’t matter, it’s who we are now, what’s in our hearts that matters most. You’re sunshine, Salem, but even the sun doesn’t always shine.” His hand moves to cup my cheek. A sigh passes through my lips as I lean into his touch. “I’m not bright like you, but I promise, when your days are dark, I’ll be your light.”
“You feel so good,” he murmurs into the skin of my neck. “Fucking made for me, Salem.” “God, yes.” I squeeze my legs around him. He rests his forehead against mine, our noses brushing, breath to breath. He makes love to me and I soak in every bit of that, letting it fill me up. This is what it means to be cared for. Cherished. Anything less is second best.
One of his arm winds around my back and he lifts me effortlessly, pressing my back to the shower wall. His erection presses into my core, my hips grinding against him on their own accord. “Yes,” he encourages, guiding my hips with his hands, “get yourself off on me.” He kisses me again, and it’s rough, aching, so desperately needy. My fingers grapple against his slick back. I rock my hips harder, faster. It feels so good. He feels so right. My orgasm shatters through me so fast with so much force that I scream.
I bite my lip, holding back tears. My voice is barely above a whisper when I say, “I never stopped caring about you. I moved on, but my heart didn’t.” He pulls the truck abruptly off to the side of the road. Gravel and dirt kick up behind us as he slams the vehicle into park. He turns slowly in his seat to look at me. “Thayer—” I start to question, but he doesn’t give me a chance to finish my thought. He cups my cheek in one hand, his mouth descending on mine in less than a heartbeat.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Science Fiction Romance POV: Third Person, Dual Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Kurt Teague Heroine: Krisa Elyison Sensuality: 4 Published On: February 18, 2017 Started On: January 19, 2022 Finished On: January 21, 2022
“I know you’re there, little girl. I can smell you.” He had the deepest voice Krisa had ever heard, like someone rubbing a handful of gravel against a stone wall. The blindfolded head lifted and pointed in her direction, that savage grin a white slice in his dark face.
Having grown tired of lackluster novels, I went on a book forage quest on Amazon and landed myself with Planet X by Evangeline Anderson. This is science fiction erotica and I enjoyed every single bit of it to the fullest. Planet X is quite the lengthy read; 460 pages in total, and yet I read this within two days, which says a lot about the enjoyment factor, when I am barely able to sometimes finish a 120 paged novel in five days at times given my busy schedule.
It certainly helped that the story has serious vibes of Pitch Black starring Vin Diesel (huuuge fan, by the way), where a transport ship crash-lands on an inhospitable planet, their survival depending upon none other than yours truly, the dangerous convict on-board. If you have watched Pitch Black at any point in time, the initial description of the hero alone in the story is enough to understand what I mean.
“The prisoner had a broad chest and thick arms roped with muscle that led down to a narrow waist and powerful thighs spread wide in a lazy slouch.”
This is exactly how I recall Vin Diesel when we are first introduced to his character in the movie.
The story begins as Krisa Elyison is traveling aboard The Star Princess, a light tonnage merchant-class cruise ship that carries cargo and passengers from one planet to another. She was traveling from her home planet of Capellia, otherwise known as the Bride Planet, to Lynix Prime where she is to get married to her betrothed whom she had belonged to since she was 13 years of age.
Krisa is looking for a little bit adventure (not too much and just the right amount) before she reaches her destination and settles into the life that had been decided for her from a long time back. However, she gets more than she bargained for when she encounters Kurt Teague, an escaped convict who is aboard the vessel being transported to prison once again. Teague has a reputation that precedes himself, and the little tidbits that Kris learns about him should have lessened her fascination with him, but scared as she might be, she finds herself helplessly drawn towards him.
The unthinkable happens when their vessel crash lands and Krisa’s survival depends on none other than Teague. Teague is a man who was born as a slave on his planet, where freedom had never been an option. However, he had learnt the price of freedom which had earned him the reputation that makes most wary of him.
From the point at which her survival depends on Teague, Krisa fights an internal battle to resist all that is the man of her dreams, Teague who initially just fascinated her because of the dangerous aura around him, turning into someone whose innate qualities she comes to learn and love over the course of the days during which Krisa does her own growing up from the naive young woman she was when she stepped aboard The Star Princess.
However, even as Krisa finally gives into the heat that grows exponentially by the day between them, their future is one that is filled with uncertainty and fraught with danger. After all, what does an escaped convict have in common with a lady who has been born and bred to be the perfect wife of a man who would be able to give her a life of comfort for years to come? That is where the angst factor of the story comes from and I have to say I reveled in every single minute of it.
As mentioned, Planet X was quite the story. There is a whole host of characters that we meet along the way that leaves an impression on the reader. One of the tribes described in the story was fascinating, not to mention the world building, the science behind the plot, and the gadgets explored were all intriguing, which kept the pages turning. Amidst it all, sex of the erotic variety was plentiful.
I also found myself captivated by the adventure, the way Teague was so smitten with Krisa from the very beginning, the way they were so destined to cross paths with each other and fall in love, and the vivid dreams Krisa was having long before, the star of which was none other than yours truly. However, there was something that detracted a bit from the enjoyment factor if you ask me – the dream sex scenes were so plentiful that it took some of the sizzle out of the real thing when Krisa and Teague finally did get together.
Highly recommended for fans of science fiction who also enjoy a healthy dose of smut – this one has plentiful of both!
Final Verdict: Planet X is definitely the kind of story that delivers on the world building, adventure, eroticism, and love of the forever kind!
He was stroking her clit as though he knew exactly how to make her body respond to him, as though he knew her better than she knew herself. Krisa gasped breathlessly and spread her thighs wider, wanting more of him, more of his hands on her body. One blunt fingertip stroked along the side of the sensitive bundle of nerves now, he wasn’t gentle but his very roughness brought her to the edge. The way he knew her body—knew exactly how to make her lose control under his rough and knowledgeable touch—was like nothing Krisa had ever experienced before.
He was so close, so close to taking what must not be taken, so close to giving her exactly what she needed. Krisa moaned helplessly and rode his fingers, opening for him, submitting to him in a way that felt utterly dangerous and utterly right. Her juices made her pussy slippery and wetted both her thighs and his hand, easing his entrance into her virgin cunt. Behind her, she could feel the thick head of his cock rubbing against her inner thigh, then moving higher to slide against her inflamed clit. The broad head pressed against the entrance to her pussy, not quite entering her yet but promising that he soon would, promising to make her his completely…
For a long moment she held those eyes with her own. Krisa knew she should rush up the bank as quickly as possible and wrap herself modestly in the blanket. But something rose inside her, a kind of pride—a wish to defy his expectations. Taking a deep breath and ignoring the panicky feeling in the pit of her stomach, she dropped her arms and stood silently, waiting. Black flickered back to reveal pure, blazing silver as Teague looked over her naked, dripping body. Her long hair trailed down her back and beads of the pinkish water clung to the softly rounded apex of her pussy, the full curves of her breasts and the tightly jutting pink buds of her nipples. “Like what you see?” Krisa asked challengingly.
Still half asleep she thought, His eyes…his face! I can finally see his face! Reaching up she buried both hands in his spiky black hair and pulled him down, wanting to taste the sweet, hot-cinnamon flavor of her dream again. The silver eyes widened and then he was kissing her back, taking control of the kiss and rolling her beneath his big body to press the thick hardness between his legs into the willing wetness between hers. Krisa arched her back and moaned like an animal, feeling the hard length of his cock rubbing against the center of her need. She cursed the stupid trousers that kept them apart, kept him from sliding inside her pussy and giving her what her body was begging for.
Teague must have felt her complete surrender in the way her body moved against his, because the fingers on her nipples became a little less cruel. He whispered into the side of her neck, “That’s right, little girl, give it up for me. Your skin tastes so sweet, and your tits fill my hands just right.” His big hands molded her breasts gently, illustrating his point. Krisa gasped, arching her back to thrust herself closer to him and give him greater access to her body. “Teague!” she moaned his name for a third time but this time the sound coming out of her throat lacked any protest or question—it was pure submission—pure need.
“Should I listen to what you’re saying or what your body is telling me, Krisa?” he rumbled. “Because it seems to me those are two different things.” Leaning down he sucked one tight, pink bud into his mouth while he pinched the other, licking and nipping, until she cried beneath him, arching her back to get closer, to give him more. Abruptly, Teague stopped. He looked up at her, his eyes blazing. “Do you like this Krisa? Like what I’m doing to you? Is it making your soft little pussy wet?”
Krisa felt one large, calloused fingertip tracing the tiny triangular patch which barely hid her sex. She moaned low in her throat as she felt her pussy lips begin to open under his gentle stimulation. He was opening her, spreading her cunt wide without even taking off the Yss panties. Her tender lips felt swollen and hot as they spread and soon the only thing the scrap of fabric hid was her aching clit. “Please,” she whispered, but she wasn’t sure what she was begging for. “So hot…so wet,” Teague rumbled, almost thoughtfully.
Keeping her eyes shut at first, she began to move with a slow, sensual grace that seemed to flow through her limbs, turning them to liquid. Picturing herself as a snake, gliding along, intent on fascinating her prey, she began to glide in a slow circle around Teague, touching him lightly and darting away. Tantalizing…teasing… Teague followed her with his eyes, a low, frustrated growl building in his throat and then, to Krisa’s surprise, he began to follow her lead. She brushed past him, letting her full breasts touch him, her erect nipples just grazing his chest and then turned lightly, intending to make another revolution around the big Feral, only to find herself caught. Teague’s large hands were on her waist and then she felt him join the rhythm of the drums, the rhythm pulsing in her blood. Slowly, sensuously, he turned her so they were facing each other, pulling her body close to his, and began to grind against her.
“That’s right, little girl, open your legs for me,” he whispered roughly, the gravelly voice thick with desire. “I want to spread your sweet pussy lips and feel how wet you are. I’m gonna show everyone exactly how hot I made you—how much you need my thick cock inside your tight little cunt.” “Teague…please!” But she no longer knew if she was begging him to let her go or to touch her, as the large, warm palms on her trembling inner thighs were threatening to do. Her arms remained locked around his neck now of their own volition, thrusting her naked, exposed breasts out into the cool night air, letting everyone see her shame. Yet Krisa wasn’t even sure she could make herself care anymore.
“Who do you belong to, Krisa? Who?” he demanded. He was rubbing harder, his fingers almost rough against her slippery clit, perhaps sensing the rush of sensation she was building toward. “You!” Krisa sobbed, writhing against him wantonly. “I belong to you, Teague—only you!” “That’s what I wanted to hear, little girl,” he growled. He bit the side of her neck possessively, leaving a mark that she knew wouldn’t fade for days. “You’ll be someone else’s once you get to Prime but here on X you belong to me.”
Teague eyed her intended sleeping arrangements with a set jaw and then patted the ground between him and the fire. “Krisa, come here,” he growled in a voice that would not be denied. She realized he hadn’t relinquished the claim he had made on her the night before in the torch-lit circle at the Yss village. Wordlessly, she got up, bringing her blanket to spread in front of Teague’s. She lay down between him and the fire as she had on their first trip through the jungle and tried to relax as he pulled her close. He buried his face in her hair and she could feel his hot breath at the back of her neck as he kissed her there, biting gently with a fierce possessiveness that made her tremble.
As though reading her mind, he stopped sucking her nipples and looked at her face. “Krisa,” he said in that deep, growling voice, “Do you remember what I told you while we were watching that last Yss couple at the feast? That when a man gets a woman hot enough, her pussy gets so wet it starts to open on its own?” Fearing to say anything, Krisa only nodded. “Well, tell me something, little girl,” Teague growled, “If I made you spread your legs for me right now, is that what I’d see? Is your pussy all wet and hot for me?”
“Wh-what do you want me to do?” “I want you to ride my face, sweetheart. That way I can get my tongue deep inside your sweet little cunt. C’mere.” He beckoned her but Krisa held back, unsure. “I don’t understa—” “I’ll show you.” With as little effort as though he was moving a doll, Teague reached for her and positioned her body so that she had a knee planted on either side of his head. Krisa could feel his hot breath licking along the insides of her spread thighs and the tender lips of her cunt, swollen with need and desire.
“Answer me, damn it!” His hips rolled beneath her, thrusting, grinding, spreading the wet lips of her pussy and rubbing ruthlessly against her clit. Pressing deep but not deep enough. Pushing her higher and higher. “You know I want to but I can’t. I just can’t,” Krisa sobbed even as her climax began, overwhelming her. “Damn you, Krisa. Damn you for holding any part of yourself back from me.” Teague’s voice was a deep, angry growl. He thrust roughly against her, rubbing the thick ridge of his cock brutally over her slick, swollen folds and bit her hard on the tender spot where her neck met her shoulder as she came. Krisa cried out as his sharp white teeth drew blood, not much, but enough to mix a bitter zing of pain into the exquisite pleasure of the rough orgasm he had forced from her.
“I didn’t mean to do this, didn’t mean to leave a mark.” His warm breath on the sensitive skin of her neck sent a tremor of desire along her nerves, but his words made her heart sink. So he didn’t want her the way she wanted him. “It’s all right,” she said again, dully. “You were…upset.” Teague gave a short bark of laughter. “Upset, huh? Yeah, I guess you could say that.” He leaned down and placed a soft, warm kiss over the bruised skin and Krisa shivered helplessly against him, feeling her body react to his touch as it always did. Teague kissed her neck again, lapping softly at the hurt spot with a warm, wet tongue, as though he could kiss the bruise away.
“Krisa,” he breathed, a low, tormented sound that was barely audible above the low beat of the drums and the high wailing of the flute. “I’m beggin’ you…don’t do this.” “But I want to,” she whispered back. The stone floor was hard on her knees but she barely noticed it. Teague’s hands pinched into her shoulders, trying to keep her back from him, but she ducked her head forward. Remembering what she had seen at the other Yss feasts they had attended, she stroked her cheek lightly along the heated length of his cock. His musk was strong here—intoxicatingly spicy. Delicious.
“Teague,” she breathed softly. “Teague, please…” The sheets were rough under her palms as she gripped them tightly between white-knuckled fingers, bracing herself against what she knew was coming. Teague had promised to ride her hard and she knew he wasn’t lying. The big Feral had been waiting for this moment for a long, frustrating time. With so much tension and passion built up between them, it was bound to be a rough ride. She fully expected to be sore from the coming onslaught when all this was over. She wasn’t disappointed. With a muted roar, Teague drew almost all the way out of her slick channel and thrust back in, driving his thick cock into her tight, wet cunt like a battering ram, forcing a cry from her lips as he repeated the action again and again.
The feel of him pulsing into her, claiming her body completely, coupled with the stinging pain of his bite, sent a second wave of orgasmic pleasure racing through Krisa’s veins. She moaned helplessly, a scrap of paper caught in a flood, carried away on the tide of sensation and need. Teague held her tightly for a moment, his broad chest slick with sweat and pumping like a bellows against her back. Then slowly, not withdrawing from her body, he lowered them both to the bed where he wrapped warm arms around her as though he never intended to let her go. “You’re mine, little girl,” Krisa heard him growl softly in her ear. “Mine now, don’t forget it.”
Teague loomed over her, a large, warm shadow in the darkened bedroom just beginning to grow light from the dull, bronze radiance of Planet X’s hidden sun. His eyes were a soft, glowing silver, filled with love and need, as his big body moved over her, inside her. As he stroked into her, he caressed her legs, sides, arms, neck—every part of her he could reach and he buried his hands in her hair to pull her close for hot-cinnamon kisses. She reached the peak just moments before he did, felt her pussy spasm around his cock and heard Teague’s low groan as he cradled her close and let her climax trigger his own. He pulsed into her, pressing deep, filling her with his seed. She was whispering something over and over in a low, breathless voice. Krisa didn’t understand what she was saying until Teague pulled back and whispered, “Love you too, little girl. Always. Don’t forget it.”
“Teague,” she moaned, tugging on the spiky hair. “Teague, please. I need more…need you inside me…” She didn’t have to ask twice. She never knew how he managed to get his clothes off so quickly, but in what seemed like the next heartbeat he was naked under her and she was sitting astride him, her wet, open pussy poised above the thick club of his cock. He didn’t need to ask if she was ready, he had made certain of that already. It was with a feeling of relief that bordered on pain that Krisa felt him pierce her, felt the thick cock spreading the lips of her pussy to make room inside her for him, felt large hands encircle her waist and bring her down firmly as he thrust deep to fill her with himself.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance POV: First Person, Dual Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Ethan Stone Heroine: Taylor Larson Sensuality: 3 Published On: June 06, 2019 Started On: January 10, 2022 Finished On: January 12, 2022
His sultry gaze is narrowed on my mouth as he says, “I’m fucking exhausted, so no more games. No more pretending I don’t love the way you look in this red bathing suit. No more pretending I don’t hunt for you every time you enter a room. No more pretending your wit and smart mouth aren’t the perfect match for mine.”
31 year old Ethan Stone and 22 year old Taylor Larson’s paths cross at a point in Taylor’s life in which she is feeling particularly low. Having got stuck with the bad end of the parenting deal and being forced to grow up way too quickly has taken its toll on Taylor, who is supporting her mother make ends meet until she is able to stand on her own two feet. A job setting that had turned sideways (not unexpectedly) leaves Taylor with little to no choice in a small town that has slim offerings for those who are destitute.
At the bar in which Ethan and Taylor’s paths cross, the night ends with Taylor luring Ethan into a bathroom, kissing him senseless, and stealing his wallet. Fate decides to have fun with Taylor when a new job offering turns out to be at Ethan’s newest worksite, and Taylor is hired on as his personal assistant, the icing on the cake being that they have to co-share the living quarters.
For Taylor, Ethan comes off as the coldhearted boss who is difficult to please. For Ethan, it is the only way in which he knows how to protect himself from someone who took advantage of a situation in which he was vulnerable. However, even with all that, the slow-burning heat between the two escalates to a point where neither can deny the truth any longer. And give in they do, ultimately to realize that for a shared future together, there are many hurdles that need to be crossed, the most difficult of which being Taylor’s insecurities about herself.
For me, Coldhearted Boss ended up being a sweet and hilarious read. I don’t understand why some of these books are labeled as enemies-to-lovers romances because these barely skim the surface of the trope if you ask me. The witty banter and the snark that were being tossed back and forth kept the pages turning, not to mention the sexual heat between the two which reached a crescendo at the point where I was literally at my wits end with the two.
Ethan was a great hero. I liked him for a lot of things; his dedication to what he does, his relationship with his twin sister, and how he finally owned up to his feelings for Taylor when they reached a point where he could not deny them any longer. Taylor on the other hand, has a lot of insecurities from her childhood. Being on the curvaceous side, Taylor faced a lot of unwarranted attention from men, not to mention the fact that her most formative years in high school were spent trying to be the parent for her younger sister in the absence of their mother.
Ethan was smart and intuitive enough to see Taylor for what she is worth and patient enough to let her come to the same realization on her own. That is what made me fall in love with Ethan and what for me, made this story the wonderful read it was.
Though the story was slow to pick up, once it did (and just like that), there was no stopping the fun Taylor and Ethan brought to the pages. If a bit more of the sexy times had been added to the story, it would have been much better. It was not just Ethan and Taylor that suffered through the slow-burn sexual tension this was.; us readers were right alongside with them, suffering.
Recommended for fans of mirth-filled romances that are on the sweet side!
Final Verdict: If only all bosses were like Ethan; self-assured, sexy, patient, and commanding; for that and more, Coldhearted Boss was a delight!
His hand curves around my ribcage so reverently my knees buckle, and it’s just as well because I want to be down there with him. I want to feel his broad tan chest, still bare from a day at the lake. His swim trunks are long dry and their cool material brushes against my panties as I nestle myself down onto his lap. I’m barely there for a moment before his hand slides around my back and he brings me in for a hug. A hug. An embrace that crushes me against him so tightly I think his toned arms might break me in two.
My eyes squeeze closed as I bury my face in the crook of his neck and breathe him in like I’m trying to absorb him through the air, but it’s not enough. I need more. I press a chaste kiss to his neck then one below his smooth jaw, and I’m about to press another kiss to his cheek when a growl escapes from deep in his chest and he yanks me back, sealing our mouths together. A kiss that starts out hard and heavy only grows hotter. Scorching. His mouth slants over mine and I’m a hungry little minx—clawing at his skin, biting his lip, writhing against him.
He stares down with hooded eyes, nearly lost to the sight of my legs spread before him. It’s only when his fingers dig into my thigh, when a deep impatient rumble breaks free of him that I start to guide him into me the smallest bit. My eyes roll back as he starts to stretch me. He goes slow, but not because he’s unsteady or nervous. No. I’m being filled by a man who knows what a woman needs, whose bold confidence never wavers. Ethan takes it from there, capturing my knees in his hands and pushing himself inside me inch by inch until we fit together like a lock and key. Deep and full. It’s utterly unnerving, this all-consuming feeling of contentment.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novella Genre: Historical Romance POV: Third Person, Dual Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Maximilian Thomas William Bradley III Heroine: Lady Violet Littleton Sensuality: 3.5 Published On: June 07, 2021 Started On: January 02, 2022 Finished On: January 08, 2022
“I’ll see myself out,” she said and turned to the door. “You are not leaving until you agree never to return.” She paused and tried to remember this was for the best. Either way, win or lose, she couldn’t pursue Max like a hound after a fox forever. “I won’t return until you invite me.” Glancing over her shoulder, she gave him a heated look from under her lashes. “Because you will come looking for me, Your Grace. And when you do, I’ll be waiting.”
My Dirty Duke by Joanna Shupe is my first foray into the author’s writing and I am happy to report that this story was mesmerizing and that I loved every aspect of it.
18 year old Lady Violet Littleton falls in love with the Duke of Ravensthorpe, Maximilian Thomas William Bradley III (Max) at a tender age. At the time, it is his tenderness that catches her heart. It is only when Violet turns of age that she starts to understand the reasons behind her fascination with the Duke who makes her heart race, her insides yearn with longing. Max is the man who stars as the centerfold of her dirtiest fantasies.
Violet bides her time looking on at the Duke, who also happens to be her father’s closest friend. Though the Duke stops visiting their home since her debut, Violet has no qualms about “spying” on Max whenever she encounters him at society functions. However, her secret longings are laid bare for the Duke to see when she spies on him during one of his garden trysts, leaving Violet with little else to do but be honest about what she wants from him.
Max’s resistance to Violet stems from a lot of things; he is old enough to be her father and he has sworn off marriage since the death of his wife during child birth. After all, a man like him should not pursue an innocent like Violet without noble intentions. But resistance does prove to be futile once he has a taste of Violet and the passion that she invokes in him which he has denied for too long. But fiery passion alone cannot be enough, especially for Violet, and facing a shared future might prove to be Max’s undoing in every sense.
As mentioned earlier, I loved everything to do with this story. I had just one problem; I wished for this to have been a full length novel which would have delivered the kind of angst and emotions that a short length story does not allow the time for. However, even with that limitation, Ms. Shupe did an amazing job out of carving out her characters and giving them life in a way that speaks to the hearts of readers.
Max is such a compelling hero – he is kind, forthright, and a deeply sensual man who carries a wealth of guilt associated with the death of his wife. I would be giving away too much if I were to delve into the reasons behind the guilt but needless to say, Violet is exactly what he needs, even if Max might believe otherwise. The guilt is one huge aspect that makes him resist any of kind long-lasting relationship that could lead to marriage, and Violet spells trouble with a capital T for him in that regard.
Violet’s quiet determination and strength was what drew me to her the most; the way she never cowered from going after what she wanted, knowing full well that heartbreak would be the result. She also was independent in a way that drew me to her; she was her own person and her love for the Duke was just a part of that same personality. She was intuitive in a way that makes her perfect for someone like Max, who guards his heart closely. I loved the gauntlet that she threw at Max, something which proved to be the tipping point in the story. The steam between the two just cements the emotional goodness and that is why this made for a tantalizing read when all was said and done.
Definitely recommended for fans of historical romances laced with passion and endearing characters to boot!
Final Verdict: With My Dirty Duke, Ms. Shupe proves to readers the kind of riveting read that a talented author can provide, even through a novella! Splendid read!
He made no move to assist her, only held perfectly still as she slipped one brace over his shoulder, then the other. When she finished, she sat back on her knees and waited for him to continue with instructions. “My shirt.” His collar and necktie had already been removed, so she leaned in once more and set to work on the small buttons on his chest. His lean muscles rippled beneath her fingers, the carefully leashed power betrayed by his rapid breathing. When enough buttons were loosened, she dragged the expanse of fabric over his head, Ravensthorpe lifting his arms to help. The thin garment he wore underneath was of the finest cloth, and it outlined the thick muscle and sinew, the flat planes and elegant grace. Another wave of heat rolled through her, centering between her legs. More.
She worked hard then, moving faster to show him without words how much she wanted to please him. He grunted and rocked his hips, lost in the moment, until he suddenly lifted her up and away from his erection. In a blink, she found herself on her back, Ravensthorpe leaning over her, pressing her into the floor an instant before he sealed his mouth to hers in a punishing kiss. This was no sweet melding of lips as described by poets and schoolgirls. No, he devoured her, his mouth immediately opening to give her his tongue. She took it eagerly, widening to allow him in, reveling in the slick heat as his tongue twined with hers. This kiss was a battle, a test. He was showing her all the passion, all the lust inside him, and she had to prove that she could accept it. Prove that she wanted it.
“Spread your legs. Show me.” Those pale thighs parted, revealing her pussy, and he couldn’t breathe. Goddamn beautiful. Arousal glistened on the petals, with more gathered around the entrance. He traced the soft flesh with a fingertip, relishing the slick her body produced for him. “Is all this for me?” She watched him with wide eyes as he brought the finger to his mouth and sucked the sweetness onto his tongue. “Oh, my darling girl. I fear I’ll never get enough of your taste.”
She was close, her body stretched like a bowstring, her chest pumping in a desperate plea for air. Max needed to feel her inexperienced walls clamp down, if not on his shaft, then on his finger. He carefully slid the tip of his smallest finger inside her cunt, and her slick walls sucked him inside as if starved. God, how he wished . . . No. He could not even contemplate it. Then it happened. Her thighs shook around his head, her cries ringing in his ears as she found her peak. The release went on and on, her body completely his in that moment, and the satisfaction he experienced as she climaxed on his tongue was incomparable.
Strong fingers wrapped around her arm and began pulling her deeper into the gloom, helping her down the stone steps. She didn’t need to see his face to know it was Max. His presence surrounded her, a feeling of safety and danger, arousal and comfort all at the same time. She went willingly, eagerly, unconcerned with getting caught. Strong fingers wrapped around her arm and began pulling her deeper into the gloom, helping her down the stone steps. She didn’t need to see his face to know it was Max. His presence surrounded her, a feeling of safety and danger, arousal and comfort all at the same time. She went willingly, eagerly, unconcerned with getting caught. Once on the ground, he tugged her into an alcove hidden underneath the stairs. Before she could see his face, he was on her, the muscular length of him flush to her front, her back against the rough stone. But he didn’t kiss her. He put his mouth near her ear, his warm breath coasting over her skin. “Happy, little mouse? For two weeks I’ve tried to forget you. A goddamn fortnight, yet here I am—all because I cannot get the taste of your pussy out of my head.”
He was so beautiful with his chiseled jaw and the few silver threads at his temple, his skin taut with excitement. She reached her other hand down to his testicles, rolled them in her palm, and Max let out a drawn out, “Fuck.” Hot breath hit her cheek as he began to talk. “We haven’t long. Your father is in the card room and he’ll come looking for you when he’s done. I have the taste of you in my mouth. Would you like the taste of me in your mouth, as well?”
“I expected to be torn in two. Instead I feel . . . full.” She wriggled, causing him to shift inside her, and he screwed his eyes shut, struggling not to spend before they even got started. “I like it,” she said. Dear God. Max gave a thrust of his hips, his shaft dragging along her sensitive tissues, and Violet purred. “Goodness, I like that even more.” He was done for. Any civility he possessed disappeared and Max snapped, driving into her again and again.
He leaned over her, snarling in her ear as his hips worked, his cock plunging in and out of her channel. “You like this, my little mouse? You want more?” “Oh, Max, yes. Please.” “You’re going to let me fuck you whenever I want, aren’t you?” He couldn’t seem to stop talking, especially when her walls clenched every time he did. She likes my dirty words.“Your cunt was made for my cock. I’ve never had better.”
Title: Nightwolf by Karina Halle Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Paranormal Romance POV: First Person, Dual Series: Spinoff, The Dark Eyes Duet Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Wolf Eriksen Heroine: Amethyst DeMille Sensuality: 3.5 Published On: November 22, 2021 Started On: December 30, 2021 Finished On: January 02, 2022
She tastes like eternity. Like life among the stars. Like something that could sustain me forever, like her blood has always belonged with mine.
Night Wolf by Karina Halle is a spinoff from her The Dark Eyes Duet. Having never read the duet, and being a sucker for romances in the friends-to-lovers theme which are hard to find these days (especially well written ones with all the feels), I decided to give this one a go as I like Ms. Halle’s style of writing.
Almost 30 year of age, Amethyst DeMille is in love with Wolf Eriksen and has been for a long time. Having become friends with Wolf since she met him in her early twenties, Amethyst knows that a future between the two is futile in many ways, even if her heart tells her to take that leap of faith and her body hums its own tune every single time that Wolf is in her vicinity.
All of that stocked up sexual tension between the two comes to head when Amethyst requires Wolf’s protection from an evil force that seems to be targeting her, the “forced proximity” proving to be the accelerant that puts fuel to the low simmering fire that has burned between them for months. Ultimately, no matter how much Wolf might try to resist the lure that is Amethyst, the overwhelming nature of their desire overtakes them both leaving them with little choice but to confront the tenuous nature of their shared future.
While I liked the overall premise of the story, somehow it came off as disjointed. Wolf’s past which was laid out at the beginning of the story in which one could see that he was affected strongly by the untimely demise of his father, had no correlation to what takes place in the present world. I expected some sort of coherence to the story-line in that arc which failed to materialize.
Additionally, I felt that there was too much focus on an aspect of Amethyst’s life that detracted from the main theme – something I understood after reading the author’s note at the end of the story. Grief over losing two very important people in Ms. Halle’s life was a huge part of how this story came together and I guess that explains to a large extent the direction of the book plot when all was said and done.
I also thought that Wolf had more potential to his character than was explored. It is almost as if he was a half fleshed out character – perhaps because I read this as a standalone without pursuing the duet first, I am thinking I might have missed out on more of him. Either way, I thought Wolf deserved more than he got out of the story.
Recommended for fans of Ms. Halle’s books!
Final Verdict: A disjointed plot and characters that failed to live up to their expected potential rendered this a disappointing read.
You could feed on me.” He swallows hard, shaking his head. “I wouldn’t. I would never.” “You mean you’ve never thought about it?” I ask, my tone both playful and serious. “About biting me, feeding on me.” Fucking me… He stares at me, his look growing more intense by the second. He may have not heard that thought, but he felt it. He adjusts himself, as if uncomfortable. “I’m a vampire, Amethyst. Of course, I’ve thought about it.” He closes his eyes, breathing in deep through his nose. “But it would be violent.” “Maybe I like the violence of it.”
“As I said before,” he says in a gruff voice, his hands skimming down the sides of my waist, his eyes glued to my parted lips. “You’re a tease.” Oh baby. I give him a wicked smile in response, straddling him deeper until I can feel the long hard length of him pressing up against me, only thin wet fabric between us. My god. I can feel him. I can’t believe this is happening. “Did you ever think that you’ve been the tease in this situation?” I manage to say. He tilts his head, appraising me, gaze flicking up to meet mine. “In this situation at the moment?” His voice is even lower now, making my nerves dance. His eyes sharpen with intensity. “I’m definitely not teasing.” And at that, he brings his hand over my stomach, sliding his lengthy, strong fingers down beneath the band of my underwear, and fucking hell am I glad I got a bikini wax a few weeks ago because his finger slides over my clit and I immediately gasp. Holy jeez.
I bite down on my tongue, gripping his shoulders, trying to meet his eyes. Fuck, he’s so beautiful. And he’s staring at me like I’m some goddess from above. “That’s it, baby, look at me when you come,” he says in a deep, gruff voice, and then I’m letting go, into the freefall. I come hard on his hand, rocking my hips into him, his fingers diving deeper, leaving no inch unexplored. I cry out, a string of expletives that ring out across the night, and it feels like my soul is being torn in a million little beautiful pieces, softly floating down from those stars. Holy shit. I mean, holy shit.
His tongue lashes me, mouth moving hard and fast, ravenous, and even though he’s not feeding, he’s feasting on me all the same. The hot, thick pressure in my core is molten, spreading throughout me, and my nerves feel like they’ve been stretched like a tightrope, moments from snapping, and, and… “Oh, fuck!” The cry rips out of my throat, something deep and dark and primal, and I’m writhing on Wolf’s face, the water splashing over the tub as I thrust my hips up, helping his tongue fuck me deeper until I lose all control. I come so hard, I’m slipping down in the water, gasping for ragged breath, trying to hold myself up, yet succumbing to oblivion as my limbs jerk and shake, as if my mind has been pried open and the contents won’t stop spilling out. The water goes above my head. Then everything goes black.
I throw my head back and bellow, the sound being torn out of my chest while I stiffen, nearly falling over. I thrust hard, once, twice, into her bruised, plump lips, then still, my heart beating so fast it might burst through my veins. For a moment all I hear is the blood in my head, the ragged gasp of my breath, the flutter of birds in the branches that I must have startled when I started roaring like a beast. Then I look down through heavy eyes to see Amethyst smiling up at me, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, and swallowing me down with pleasure. That’s going to be burned in my brain forever.
He’s kissing me. Wolf is actually kissing me. Never mind the fact that I’ve had his cock in my mouth, and he’s had his tongue inside me. A kiss is still something to be anticipated and revered and worshipped. A kiss still has the power to bring you to your knees, to give you butterflies, to change your life, and I think this kiss is doing just that. It’s changing my life, for better or for worse, there’s no coming back from this. It’s just too easy, it’s just too good. All that chemistry between us that we’ve been stockpiling for years is finally spilling out in the way that it always should have.
“Please,” I whisper. He leans in, just enough to brush his lips over mine. “Please what?” he asks roughly. “Kiss me,” I say, my eyes closing, taking in his scent, the cool feel of his fingers, my pulse skipping against my skin. “Fuck me.” I pause, my eyes opening to meet his. “Claim me.” Fire ignites in his pupils and he moves so fast that the world becomes a blur. His mouth covers mine and he’s pushing me backward and I’m stumbling as I go. Then I’m pressed up against a tree, my hair tangling in the ragged bark, and his hands are roaming over my body, leaving fire and ice in their wake.
“I’m going to fuck you long and hard and rough,” he murmurs in a deliciously raw voice. “But not until you’re dripping down your legs. Got it?” My heart beats like mad at the base of my throat and I find myself nodding. Holy moly, that sounds like a challenge. “I’m not sure I’ll be able to take you,” I find myself saying, and I’m too turned on to be the slightest bit bashful about it. He gives me a small, wicked grin. “I’ll make it work.”
“I think you’re a greedy fucking girl, that’s what I think.” His grin is carnal, like the predator he is. “That’s what I know.” Suddenly he plunges his fingers in deeper, moving them in such a way that they drag across every swollen nerve inside me and I’m set off like a bomb, the orgasm tearing through me again like fireworks. This time I haven’t even caught my breath or gathered my thoughts before Wolf is picking me up by the waist and lifting me up against the tree. I have just enough time to wrap my legs around him before he shoves his massive cock inside me. FUCK! I holler like an animal, still throbbing, still fucking coming, and he’s already squeezed inside me to the hilt, pushing all the air out of my lungs, making me feel like he’s impaled me to the tree.
“Focus, baby,” Wolf says in this deep voice that makes me want to do everything he says. “Just think about how good I feel. Fuck it, tell me how good I feel.” “You feel so fucking good,” I tell him, reaching out and pressing my hand against the hard planes of his back, marveling at his strength while I pull him in deeper, my nails digging through his shirt. “Fucking me so good. I can barely handle you, you’re wedged in so tight.” His nostrils flare like primordial lust runs through him and he lets out a tense growl. He leans in quickly, kissing me hard, lips tender but the movement rough, like he’s fucking my mouth as much as he is my cunt, and I’m completely lost to him.
Then reaches around me, the length of his thick arm going up over my spine, a barrier between me and the tree, and starts fucking me again. Harder than before. Just a burst of animalistic power that can only belong to a vampire, feral and wild and dangerous, and I am at his mercy. I completely submit to him.
I brace myself with my hands against the wall and lean forward so that my breasts are in his face. He immediately responds, his tongue lapping up the swell of my breast in strong, broad strokes. I groan, my eyes closing, succumbing to the sensations of his mouth on my skin, but then he’s wrapping his lips around my nipple and sucking in hard and it creates lightning that shoots out along my nerves, straight to my core, like I’m plugged into a star system.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Matthew Connelly Heroine: Jeannie MacPherson Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: November 1985 Started On: November 14, 2021 Finished On: November 20, 2021
Rocky Road by Anne Stuart is a novel that was first published in 1985 from Harlequin. Republished recently on major e-book platforms, from the queen of romance who can seldom do wrong, comes the story of 40 year old Matthew Connelly, head of the detective squad of the Chicago police force and 33 year old Jeannie MacPherson, who is running from her own demons of a totally different variety.
When Jeannie tries the neighborly tactic of trying to welcome Matthew to Muscatoon Island where she has been residing in for the past two years, Jeannie is met with resistance of the kind that speaks of a man wanting to be left alone. Posing as a painter, but recovering from both physical and emotional wounds from the last case that Matthew was working on, he is determined that he would keep to himself through his recovery, even if Jeannie tempts him otherwise.
How these two tangle is quite invigorating at times, but ultimately, the story turned out to be a frustrating one for me. I always felt as if Jeannie was the one who was doing all the chasing and wooing when it comes to Matthew. Matthew is one of the most reluctant heroes I have come across of late and he made me grit my teeth from frustration because of his obstinate nature and with his emotions under control at every turn.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a controlled hero – to a point. A controlled hero is no fun unless the heroine has the effect of unraveling him and smashing through that iron clad will. But Matthew seems to be made of sterner stuff than most, and while I am all for heroines who choose to assert themselves and go after what they want, I found her ploys to get noticed by Matthew, while hilarious, to be a tad desperate at times.
Perhaps I would have been more appeased, had she cut her losses and removed herself from the situation that she found herself in and let Matthew come to her, when all was said and done. If he felt so deeply about her, that is something he could do as well in my opinion. Even the last scene does not really give the reader any sense of happiness if you ask me, because even towards the very end, the push and pull factor is controlled by none other than Matthew. In my opinion, Jeannie just settled for what Matthew was willing throw her way, because she was lost from the minute he limped into her life.
I would also have loved to learn more about Matthew’s past – the last case he worked on seemed to have done a number on him in every sense. I always felt as if Ms. Stuart had a purpose behind including tantalizing bits and pieces of the case, which perhaps could have been part of the larger plot, giving the story an edgier ending.
Recommended for fans of Anne Stuart who are looking to read her older books as refurbished titles.
Final Verdict: Rocky is the road that Jeannie travels when it comes to winning the affections of Matthew; there is no stone that she would leave unturned to win over her beloved!
He moved then, swiftly, gracefully, so fast that she couldn’t avoid him. “You forgot to kiss me good-bye,” he said, and pulled her into his arms, his mouth coming down on hers before she had a chance to duck. One of his strong hands held the nape of her neck in a viselike grip, the other arm slid around her waist and pulled her up against him as he kissed her, a long, slow, erotic insult of a kiss. She’d opened her mouth to protest and he’d taken possession of it, with a deliberate, sexual kiss that brought her blood racing to her loins and flames of fury racing to her brain.
For a moment she forgot everything, forgot her doubts, her better judgment, her sense of self-preservation, and she twined her arms around his neck to kiss him back. She was lost in the wonder of his mouth. In the dimness of the rocking cabin there was only the scent of his skin, the feel of his mouth, and the warm, wet, seeking pleasure of the mouth on hers. She wanted to get closer, closer to him; she wanted to climb inside his skin and kiss him from the inside out; she wanted to rip off her clothes and climb on top of him, to blot out the storm and her fears and her doubts and her loneliness that she never admitted existed. She wanted nothing but Matthew Connelly, and the demanding mouth on hers, the strong hands that were threading underneath her sweater to slide up her hot skin told her that he wanted her, too.
“Should I let you go?” His words came out on the breath of a sigh, and he was warm and strong and so very near. “Yes,” she whispered, and raised her mouth to his, no longer able to fight it. He wrapped her in his arms, pulling her into the haven of his body, and she went gladly, mindlessly, sinking against him with a sigh of pure delight. There was no question that this was dangerous and very wrong, no question that she was a fool. And no question that it no longer mattered. She kissed him, reaching up to him, and it was long and slow and deep, and finished the last shreds of common sense left to her. His tongue was hot and rough and wet in her mouth, bold and demanding, allowing her no pretensions. She couldn’t be kissed like that, return a kiss like that, and still pretend they weren’t headed directly for bed.
He was with her, the force of his thrusts pounding her into the bed, and the ancient springs creaked in protest, a protest they both ignored as she reached for him, with her arms, her hips, her heart and soul, dissolving against him in a damp tangle of arms and limbs and love.
“You aren’t going to get warm standing there glaring at me,” he observed. Jeannie counted to ten mentally, then managed a smile as chilly as her icy flesh. “What do you suggest I do about it?” she demanded. “You could come over here and get warm.” She stared at him in amazement. “You think you could warm me Up?” “Oh, I think between the two of us we could manage quite a conflagration,” he said, and the rough silk of his voice began to melt the ice around her heart. “Come here, Jeannie.” Pride and common sense would have kept her rooted to her spot in the sand, but pride and common sense were at the bottom of the ocean.
She clung to him like a piece of rockweed clinging to a rocky shore, wrapping her arms and her body around him like tendril of kelp. Slowly the heat began to penetrate through her wet clothes, her salty skin, into her very bones, and then she was shivering with something other than cold, and he was shivering, too. “I feel as if I’m kissing a mermaid,” he whispered against her ear. She laughed against the solid warmth of his chest, a rusty, shaken sound. “You have been. Actually, I’m a siren, here to drown unsuspecting sailors.”
“But what if you can?” she said in a desperate whisper. “What if you can simply put it all behind you, forget about it?” “That’s what I’ve been trying to do all summer, and so far I haven’t had much success.” “But what if you could?” she persisted. He looked down at her, lying against the pillows, her russet-colored hair black in the moonlight. “Then I’ll find you,” he said softly. “And I’m expected to settle for that? A vague possibility?” Her voice wasn’t angry, only resigned and very, very sad. “It’s all I can offer.”
She arched against him, the warmth in her turning into a fire. Her hands reached up to cradle his face, and she kissed him, long and deep, telling him without words how much she’d missed him, how much she loved him, how much she hated herself for hurting him. He answered her, his tongue a strong, driving force within the receptive warmth of her mouth, telling her he would never leave her again. Slowly, carefully she let her hands slide down his arms, past his ribs, down the hard flatness of his stomach to touch him, hold him. His answering groan was reward enough, as he pressed himself into her willing hands, and she gentled and stroked him. His response was to delve deeper into her mysteries, the warm dampness of her telling him how much she needed him.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Cullen Ayers Heroine: Everly West Sensuality: 4 Date of Publication: October 14, 2021 Started On: November 07, 2021 Finished On: November 12, 2021
Previously published in the Tangled Sheets anthology as Spitfire, Burn for Me is the revised title with added content, released in October of last year. This is a dark romance and is not intended for readers who do not like heroes who push the boundaries beyond the popularly accepted limits in the genre.
32 year old Everly West is looking for a fresh start by seeking a teaching position at the Florence University. What had begun as part of Everly’s internship eight years back, requiring her to write an investigative piece on a local had ended up with a major human trafficking operation being uncovered, with George Ayers being convicted of the crime and sentenced to jail. The case had left its mark on Everly in a way that at times she herself cannot reconcile with.
Everly had spent the next eight years of her career trying to attain the same high to no avail. However, the staid teaching position that she takes up ends up being more than she bargained for, when on her first day of class, in walks 18 year old Cullen Ayers, the 10 year old boy now a grown man, whose life had irrevocably changed with his father being convicted.
Cullen’s hatred towards Everly is a palpable thing when they meet, with Cullen placing the blame on Everly’s shoulders for the shit show that his life had become since. Everly brings out the worst in him, the anger that he harbors is one that seethes, needing an outlet, a living being of sorts that resides in him refusing to be denied.
They say that there is a thin line between hatred and love, and perhaps that applies to the situation all too well. Because beneath all that anger, the attraction that simmers to life between Everly and Cullen is one that is like a live wire; touch it and you risk being burned.
What starts out for Cullen as a way to taunt Everly results in a passion that burns bright and hot between the two, and before Cullen knows it, Everly is in his blood, under his skin, and slowly making her way into his heart. For Everly, the fact that Cullen is her student and fourteen years younger are things that should matter, but she is tired of feeling like a dead woman walking, and with Cullen, she feels alive for the first time in years.
Burn for Me is not an easy read by any means. Cullen is a tough nut to crack, his hostility towards Everly reaching points of high where it almost feels like there is violence in the air that could do Everly physical harm. But Everly is no doormat heroine, and she gives as good as she gets, while seeing through to the belligerence that is part and parcel of who Cullen is.
But any fragile emotional bonds that is forged to life between the two is constantly under threat from the secrets that remain to be uncovered, with Everly ever so determined to get to the bottom of the story behind George Ayers, even if it means raising the ire of Cullen to new heights.
True to Sara Cate’s style, the story delivers a ton of angst, reverse age-gap protagonists, and heat of the kind that scorches your e-reader. I reveled in all of it and more, and applaud Ms. Cate for writing Cullen as he is; unapologetic, circumstances of life having molded him into a man hardened by life’s cruelties, but yearning for the touch of the one woman who drives him to the edge of violence over the possessiveness that takes hold of him.
Everly is a quieter force in the story, but just as potent. Cullen brings an edge to her life which she thrives in, the commanding way in which he treats her in the bedroom something that she has craved for, without even realizing the fact. All of this and more balances out their relationship, each giving the other what they need, which in the end made for a spellbinding read!
Recommended for those who love dark and edgy romances; Cullen is a force to be reckoned with in every single way!
Final Verdict: Cullen and Everly burns through the pages, scorching your fingertips, heart, and soul, leaving at times destruction in their wake, but always followed by love of the kind that is all consuming!
It occurs to me at that moment how much more I want to do with this new burst of energy—sick, twisted things I’ve never really thought about wanting before, and that thought has my cock getting surprisingly hard in my shorts. “You belong to me now, Miss West. And if you even think about calling the police on me or telling Coach or the administration, you might as well slit your own throat because I won’t let you sleep a wink without wishing for death. Do we have an understanding?” I snap, my tone laced with hatred as I grit out each word.
Our eyes meet for a moment, and there is no more smug indignation in her eyes, just fear. Something passes between us. It’s subtle, and maybe I’m seeing something that’s not there, but it looks like fire in her eyes, like maybe I love this and she doesn’t hate it as much as she should. With her tear-soaked eyes still on mine, I force her mouth shut. “Swallow.” She whimpers again and does what she’s told. “Good girl.” Then I wipe her tears with my thumb before shoving her away from me.
His mouth lands harshly on my lips. I’m too stunned to move. My hands are pressed against his chest, but not with enough force to actually push him off of me. In the recesses of my mind, I know if I really want him off, I can get away, but I don’t. I just let him kiss me. His tongue slides between my lips, diving into my mouth like he owns me, and I guess at this point, he does. The metal on his tongue surprises me for a moment as it slides against mine. He lets out a low growl when the hand around my waist squeezes me closer, practically fusing my body with his.
“No, you are not my fucking mother, Everly. Don’t you ever compare yourself to my mother again. You will never be like her. She wasn’t a bitch like you.” I let out a gasp and instantly try to pull away, but he grabs me hard by the back of the neck, squeezing so tightly that pain shoots all the way down my spine. “You’re hurting me,” I say with a whimper. Still, he doesn’t let up. Instead, he grabs my hand off the steering wheel and slams it against his crotch, and I lose the ability to breathe when I feel the rock-hard bulge in his shorts. “Hurting you gets me hard, Everly. You see how fucked up I am?”
“What’s wrong, Everly? You’ve never heard of hate-sex? A revenge fuck. Angsty, depraved, and dirty as sin.” My mouth goes dry, and I can’t respond. “Is that what you want? Because that’s sure as fuck what I want, and that’s why that asshole will not touch you, understand?” When his hands grip a handful of my hair, I shudder. Arousal warms my belly as he yanks my head backward. There was some reason why I shouldn’t do this.
The back of my skirt is lifted up to my ass as Cullen pushes his hips against mine, dry humping me from behind, and making me see stars with the way my arousal slams into me like a truck. God, I want him to unzip his pants and just fuck me right here. I don’t even care that I could be caught, lose my job, and be in the headlines all over again, but for much worse reasons. I don’t care. The feel of his perfect cock entering me with force would be worth it. My body is on fire, flames licking at my belly as he grinds his impressive length against my ass. “Fuck me,” I whisper, shamelessly. So fucking shamelessly. I should be the very definition of ashamed right now, but I’m not. I just don’t care.
“Cullen, please,” I beg, but he doesn’t give me what I crave. Instead, he teases me. Slipping his fingers through the folds, he slides a finger in roughly, making me cry out. Then, he pulls it out and spreads the moisture all over, pulling his hand out and touching his wet fingers to my lips. “Taste yourself,” he whispers, and I do. It’s erotic and filthy and sends my heart racing, a strange new feeling sprouting in my stomach, like being turned on by something that also makes me feel wrong and dirty. It’s so much better.
“Show me now.” With a hesitant expression on her face, she peels open her robe, giving me a view of her bra and panties before lowering the phone and spreading her knees. Peeling her thong aside, she aims the camera right at her beautiful pink pussy. My breath comes out heavy and loud. “Touch it.” “Cullen, no.” She’s putting up such a weak fight, it makes me laugh. “Do it, Everly. I need to see you touch it.” With the slightest huff, she obeys. Her fingers run through her lips, and I groan. I notice how her mouth opens, her breath hitching, and her eyes darkening in lust.
“Everly,” I whisper her name, the sound of it like satin on my lips. Her heavily-hooded gaze stares back at me as she watches me stroke myself. “I’m going to come soon,” she says in a high-pitched cry, and I bite my lip, loving the way her hand picks up speed and her chest stops moving. “Come for me, baby,” I manage to groan out just as my balls tighten, the head of my cock swelling as my own orgasm rushes to the surface in a hurried chase.
He throws his bag into my trunk and drops into the seat next to me, but he doesn’t hesitate a moment before grabbing my face and pulling me to him for a bruising, violent kiss. Time stops, and I let out a yelp just as he fuses his lips to mine. And he tastes good. Kissing Cullen is like visiting a private place all on your own, where there are no rules or witnesses. I don’t necessarily kiss him back, but when his tongue presses its way into my mouth, I let it. He nips at my lips as he consumes me, and I try to stop time. I don’t want to open my eyes and face his disdain for me anymore. I just want to exist in this kiss.
Her cheeks are flushed, her eyes hooded with lust, like it’s the only thought on her mind—need, want, lust. When we reach the master bathroom, she turns to flip on the shower before spinning back toward me to pull up my shirt. It’s the first time she’s really taken control, letting herself express how much she wants me, and I like it. Everly wants me, and even though it’s not like she’s the first woman to want me, the attention warms a part of me that’s always felt cold and dead before.
While I’m staring at the mirror, she glides her hands along my abs and up to my pecs, skimming her fingers softly over my nipples, toying with the barbell through each one. And even though my skin is still covered in a thin sheen of sweat, she leans forward and kisses my chest. A groan builds softly from the base of my chest, growing louder as her mouth finds my nipple and her teeth bite the piercing there. Fuck, I’m not going to make it.
Spinning her around so her back is against me, I hold her tightly across the chest with one arm as I plunge my fingers in again. Writhing against me, she cries out as I stroke her relentlessly. I want her as close to coming as I can get her. Clutching onto my arm, she hangs from my hold as I zero in on her clit, rubbing it so hard I know she’s teetering somewhere between pain and pleasure. “Cullen,” she gasps in a plea. She’s begging me for more. My dick is pressed against her back, and I squeeze her closer. God, I want to fuck her so badly, but I can’t. I have to keep my head.
I put up a fight, crawling away, but he grabs me by the ankle, jerking me toward him. Letting out a scream laced with laughter, I push away from him, but he’s so much stronger than I am. Plus, I don’t really hate the idea of being at Cullen’s mercy, not anymore. This thing between us has morphed from actual torment to superficial torment, like we’re playing the parts, fulfilling roles. He is my punisher, and I am welcoming my discipline.
He climbs onto the bed, covering my body with his. He wrestles my wrists from my chest and pins them above my head. Looking into his eyes with a dare on my face, I say, “Don’t start something you can’t finish.” He hears the challenge in my voice and smiles wickedly. “I don’t think you deserve to finish,” he growls, abruptly kissing my neck. His lips and teeth are both soft and rough, kissing and nibbling, making me squirm with the too-good and too-painful contradiction, which is really just Cullen in a nutshell, isn’t it? I want all of him and none of him at the same time.
He strokes my hair again. He’s not forcing me, and I know I don’t have to, but I want to. So I lift my head and slowly pull down the elastic waistband of his pants and reach for his cock. I am not hurried or frantic as I slowly wrap my hand around him, watching his face for signs of pleasure when I squeeze. His eyes threaten to close as I stroke him once, then twice. With my gaze on his, I shift closer, so I can run my tongue along his shaft. He moans and presses his fingers subtly against my head. He wants more, and I want to give it to him. I don’t even care that I’m not going to get off. I’ll do it just to watch the way he comes and to hear the sounds he makes as I unravel him piece by piece.
I don’t expect him to do what he does next, so I’m reaching for him when he drops to his knees and buries his face between my legs. The warmth of his wet mouth is intense, so intense, I let out a strangled cry as his tongue punches hard into me. It’s almost too much, but it’s him, and he’s touching me, and I let myself melt into that thought. “Cullen,” I gasp, arching my back and burying my hands in his hair. He moans, pressing his mouth harder against me, his tongue going deeper. Hooking his arms under my thighs, he practically fuses his lips to my body.
“Cullen, please!” He’s on top of me in a heartbeat, devouring my mouth the way he was just devouring my sex, making me taste myself. Making me like it. I feel his thick erection heavy on my belly as he kisses me. My eyes are squeezed shut, tears still streaming when I wrap my legs around him, inviting him in. “You still want to fight me?” he mutters darkly against my mouth. “You still want to pretend you’re not mine?” When I try to shift my hips to meet his cock, he takes a hold of my face under my chin to keep me still. “Fucking open your eyes, Everly.”
Tell me you hate me now,” he grits out as he pulls back and slams in again. His hands clutch me hard, one behind my neck and the other around my waist. “I hate you,” I whisper, as another batch of tears flow out of my eyes. I’m not sad or scared or hurt, but the intensity of the moment forces them out, and I can’t stop them now.
“Relax, Everly.” “I’m not used to relaxing around you.” With my opposite hand, I grab a handful of her hair and pull her upright so my mouth is next to her ear. “Do you think I really want to hurt you?” “Yes.” “You’re wrong. I want you to be my dirty little slut. I want to fuck your brains out and make you come so hard you see stars. Can I do that?” She lets out a sweet little breath and nods. “Yes.”
“Come on, Cullen. You’re angry. Give me your anger. I can take it.” His mouth slams against mine so hard, I’m sure it’ll bruise. It takes me by surprise, as he owns my mouth in a possessive, harsh kiss. Thrusting his tongue into my mouth, I remind my body to give up the fight, and he dominates me. I have to trust that he won’t take it too far. I have absolutely nothing to base that on, but I will do this for him. When he bites my bottom lip, a shock of pain makes me panic, and I let out a whimper.
And he was right. It’s nothing like before. We’re not connecting on a deeper level or savoring the feel of each other. He’s fucking me hard without emotion. No, there is emotion. It’s resentment and rage and dread. He’s fucking me in frustration, and like he said, this is for him, not me. Still, my body responds, purring under the almost violent, overwhelming motion of his thrusts. “Harder,” I gasp before I catch myself. He picks up speed, filling the room with the sounds of our bodies slamming together. I don’t even cry out when sparks ignite every nerve in my body, throwing me into a silent fit of pleasure. I keep quiet, keeping my orgasm to myself.
Her back arches and she cries out. It’s a delicious sensation, but I need more. I need everything with her. Kissing her collarbone, I lick up the water clinging to her skin from her neck to her earlobe. Every moment our bodies are fused makes me feel whole, like she is the piece I was missing. “I want you to come inside me.” She tilts her hips, grinding herself on me. Her arms wrap around my neck, our lips pressed together as our bodies move in one fluid motion. “Fuck, Everly…” I moan.
She pulls away from the kiss for a moment and stares up at me. “Give it to me, Cullen. Give me your pleasure.” She winds her fingers in mine, clasping our hands firmly together as I thrust harder. When I feel myself shuddering and fighting it, she squeezes my hand even tighter. With our mouths pressed together, I cry out, “I’m coming.” The climax spreads through my body, lasting forever as it clamps down and breaks me, shattering every fragment of who I am until there is nothing left. Until I am nothing but hers.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Fisherman #1 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Fisher Mann Heroine: Therese Capshaw Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: September 30, 2021 Started On: October 30, 2021 Finished On: November 01, 2021
The Naked Fisherman by Jewel E. Ann is the first book in the Fisherman duet series. The story begins with 18 year old Therese Capshaw (Reese) travels to see her mom for the first time in five years. Having been incarcerated for growing marijuana, Reese’s mom spends five years in a women’s correctional facility, while her dies three three years into her mom’s jail term, which means Reese had gone under the care of her paternal grandparents, who had ensured that she grow up with the right Christian values by sending her to a private Christian academy in Texas.
When she arrives, Reese finds out that her mom is leaving her in the care of her landlord for just a month’s time, the landlord who turns out to be none other than 28 year old Fisher Mann. From the get-go, Fisher teases her, all because she is easy game with her naivety born out spending her most formative teenage years at the Christian academy.
Reese is enthralled, shocked, aroused, and at the same time uncomfortable by what Fisher makes her feel. The way he treats her as a child who knows nothing one minute, and the next turns on his charms with a gusto makes her feel scorched and leaves her helpless in her response to him.
Given that this is a two book series, The Naked Fisherman ends on a cliffhanger and unless you already gave up on reading this one halfway through, you would definitely want to know how all of it ends. Which is what happened to me.
Jewel E. Ann has a way of writing her stories that draws the reader in, regardless of the trope she takes on. With an age gap of ten years between the hero and heroine, Fisher is a man who is a bit of a commitment-phobe, enjoying his life to the fullest. It is a tad difficult to gauge his feelings (developing or otherwise), when it comes to Reese because the story is told solely from Reese’s point of view in the first person.
I felt quite conflicted for the most part of the story – perhaps that is by design. Rather than feeling the sexual tension, I felt like Fisher was being inappropriate because he was taking advantage of Reese’s innocence in a way. The fact that Reese feels uncomfortable about it is telling. It is not Reese’s fault that she ended up with a conservative set of grandparents, who molded her to their way of thinking. I also felt like this book looks down on religion as a concept, making it sound as if being conservative and/or religious is the bane of everyone’s existence.
I have seen some reader reviews taking on quite the judgmental tone when it comes to Reese and her understanding and viewpoints at first towards LGBTQ. Religious values for the most part guide us towards what is right and wrong. As society has evolved and moved away from religion, the ethics and legal framework that rules society has taken cues from the evolving expectations of humans, which of course has meant the acceptance of LGBTQ and the worldwide campaign to inculcate everyone with these values.
What I find funny is that while the same groups of people talk about acceptance and advocates against judging the other for their chosen paths, the same comes out with their guns blazing to condemn anyone who holds different values close to their heart. Live and let live is only a phrase that is applicable for those who are on the path of the majority accepted norms now, and anyone who believes otherwise, either because of their religion or any other philosophies that guides their lives, are considered to be rigid, judgemental, and not fit for modern society.
Fisher certainly leads Reese on, turning hot and cold when it suites him, giving not just Reese a whiplash before all is said and done. The whole deal with not taking Reese’s virginity, and Fisher acting “noble” by stating that Reese’s husband would thank him for it was kind of off putting as well. If Fisher did not want to be responsible for taking Reese’s virginity, all well and good. But entire scenes focused on this aspect got a bit tiresome for me.
Reese’s inner conflict when it comes to being with Fisher is something I could identify with. You do not lose sight of how you are brought up, the values instilled in you, just because you meet the kind of man that takes your breath away. Your conscience would still speak up, and it is up to that person to decide how they want to move forward from that point onward. Calling Reese dumb, pathetic, or worse because of that just shows how judgmental society has become in a bid to accept the popular norms.
For those who are fans of Jewel E. Ann, the reviews are mixed, so I recommend to read this at your own risk.
Final Verdict: The Naked Fisherman is a story that invoked a lot of mixed feelings in me, from religious conservatism to being less than comfortable with the Fisher’s attitudes and actions towards Reese at certain points!
“Why are you running from me?” He was right at my back. I forced myself to turn toward him, and it took superhero strength. He stepped toward me. I stepped back. We did this dance until a wall stopped my retreat. He pressed his hands to the wall above my head, and my heart rate spiked a thousand percent. The air exchange in my lungs sounded like that of someone finishing a marathon. Was I reading him wrong? It wouldn’t have been the first time I got it wrong and felt like a fool. But that moment felt different. The look in his eyes wasn’t the same. The part of his lips. The increased intensity of his own chest rising and falling.
“A-are you g-going to kiss me?” His lips pulled into a hint of amusement. “I was thinking about it.” Fisher’s patience killed me, completely slayed me. It was as if he had to solve the world’s problems in his head before he kissed me. But I didn’t want to be a problem of the world. I wanted to be the girl—the woman—he kissed on a Monday night for no good reason. Not everything in life needed an explanation. Couldn’t we steal a few seconds, a kiss, without accountability? “Will you be done thinking about it anytime soo—” Fisher kissed me.
“Did you get a lot of work done today?” He gripped my waist, and my hands flew to his shoulders because I wasn’t sure what he was doing. Then he lifted me onto the counter and stepped into the space between my spread legs. Just like the previous night, everything in my body kicked into overdrive. “I …” Swallowing hard, I gave him a nervous smile. “I sorted and filed today.” “That’s good.” He brushed my hair away from my shoulders and dipped his face into my neck. I stiffened feeling the warmth of his breath spread along my skin. My hands slid from his shoulders to his hair, searching for control. If I didn’t want him to kiss my neck, I could have yanked him away. But I did.
A sharp, audible gasp left my parted lips just as he sucked my earlobe into his mouth and released it a second later by dragging his teeth along it. All the weird things happened at once. Heat in my cheeks worked its way down to everywhere. Pressure built between my legs. I swear it felt like I’d peed a little, but I knew better. Heaviness in my breasts. Even my nipples felt different—sensitive as they pressed against the fabric of my bra. Copious amounts of saliva required constant swallowing to keep from drooling. I was afraid to be touched anymore yet needed to be touched. It was so foreign and impossible to articulate even to myself.
“Come here.” After a few seconds of hesitation, I crawled onto the bed close to him. “Straddle my legs.” Biting my quivering lower lip, I straddled his jean-clad legs. The level of intimacy made it nearly impossible to breathe. “Higher.” I scooted higher. He sat up, shrugging off his shirt, and I jumped as his hands found my hips, his fingers grazing my butt. Our noses nearly touched. “I’m going to kiss you. And touch you.” His voice was just a whisper, a warm breath over my lips. “And you’re going to do whatever you need to do to feel … good. And if you get scared, I want you to close your eyes and know that I’ve got you. You’re not too young or too anything. You are you. And I just think that you’re … beautiful.”
We kissed, unhurried, almost lazily. My hands navigated his chest and back, every muscle, every bend in the terrain of his body. Fisher feathered his calloused hands over my bare skin, sending goose bumps spreading across it. Our kiss deepened, a soft moan breaking the silence. It took me a few seconds to realize it was me, not him. Fisher’s fingers slid up my inner thighs. I stiffened, eyes wide. He blinked a few times and slowly kissed me again. When I closed my eyes, I let go … finding trust in the man who “had me.” His fingers teased the leg of my panties. My right hand found his hair as my left hand clawed his back.
“Fisher … m-move …” “Move what?” he asked with so much control I thought I might die of my own impatience. “E-everything. Just … move.” His strong hands claimed my hips again, only this time, they gripped me a little harder, and he moved me over him. He did it for me, and it felt so addictive I couldn’t formulate a coherent thought. He did it for him, and his breaths grew more labored, his kisses more desperate. I wanted nothing more than to know what it would feel like for him to be inside of me. “Fisher … I … I think I want you to take off your jeans.” He reclined back onto my pillow and grinned as I leaned forward, resting my hands on his chest, my hair falling around my face and his. “You don’t … not yet.” His eyelids grew heavy as his pelvis lifted from the bed.
“I’m going to kill Rory for leaving you with me.” He took a step forward and grabbed the back of my hair, clenching it in his hand and forcing my head to the side as he sucked and licked my neck. “F-Fisher …” I clawed his biceps to steady myself. He wasn’t kissing my red lips and smearing my lipstick. I gave him a little credit for that, but he still seemed to be teetering on the verge of control as his other hand slid up the front of my shirt. I gasped when his rough hand palmed my bare breast. He groaned, his thumb circling my nipple. “Oh my God—gosh …” I stumbled over using the Lord’s name in vain.
Fisher grabbed my face and kissed me, our tongues mingling as my nipples brushed his chest. And I needed more. My fingers teased his abs just above the waist of his jeans, and he moaned into the kiss. Then my brave and completely inexperienced fingers moved lower, tracing the outline of his erection, and his hips thrust forward into my touch as he moaned a little louder … kissed me a little harder … and lifted me onto the edge of the pool table. It was wrong. I thought. I maybe even knew. But I didn’t want to take responsibility … not yet. The feeling … the drug he became … was too strong.
“So … you won’t take my virginity.” It felt weird having that conversation because he’d said something so eerily similar to me. “What will you take from me?” With a contemplative expression that seemed to border on the painful side, he whispered, “Let’s start with your clothes.” I wondered … I wondered so hard when he made the decision to draw a line. He knew as well as I did that Rory wouldn’t be okay with anything we had done together. It wasn’t just me pushing lines and bending rules to serve my own needs and desires; Fisher did it too. I just didn’t know why. He could have had Angie or Teagan or a million other women meeting his sexual needs. Why me?
“I’m going to fucking devour you,” he said just before his mouth covered my bare flesh. Just before his tongue parted me. Just before he hummed. I was … Terrified to have his mouth there. Elated because it felt so good. Too good. Sinfully good.
My hands ghosted down his back. His hands gripped my butt. Thrust. Thrust. Thrust. I spread my legs wider, allowing him to push into me a fraction more. Thrust. Thrust. Thrust. Each move a little harder. Each breath a little more ragged, just like his next words. “I.” Thrust. “Want.” Thrust. “Inside of you.” Thrust. Thrust. Thrust. “So fucking bad.”
With a smug expression, he eyed me like he used to do, but I didn’t fall for it. “It’s almost too easy.” “What’s too—” He kissed me. Hard. Harder than he had ever kissed me. And I fought him, but I lost because I did want him to kiss me. It’s all I wanted. But it didn’t mean I was going to give myself to him. No matter how much I wanted his kiss, it didn’t change what had happened between us. My hand dropping the empty bottle to the floor so my fingers could dive into his hair didn’t change anything either. His hands grabbed my ass and lifted me off my feet. Fisher kissed me and carried me up the stairs like a drunk man on a mission. Through the door. Down the hallway. Onto his bed.
He grabbed my face and kissed me a little softer than just seconds earlier. Dragging his lips across my face, dotting it with kisses, he whispered in my ear, “Your husband can thank me.” Those words stopped my heart. The warm blood in my veins ran cold, sending an icy jolt along my spine. Fisher lifted my hips and positioned me over him, pushing into me an inch, maybe not even. Tears filled my eyes as I stilled, not letting him move my hips any farther. And I saw it in his eyes. The pain. The love. The conflict. More than anything, I saw all the reasons I fell for Fisher Mann. He knew we weren’t at the right place to make us work, but he was willing to give me the one thing I thought I wanted. He wanted to give me all he had to give, even though he knew it wouldn’t be enough.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Historical Romance Series: Brides of Karadok, #1 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Guy Randall Heroine: Mathilde Martindale Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: July 07, 2019 Started On: July 24, 2021 Finished On: July 26, 2021
Book 1 in the Brides of Karadok series by Alice Coldbreath turned out to be a great read in many ways. Taking on the theme of a marriage forced upon the main protagonists, Wed By Proxy brings to the forefront a heroine who is daring and innocent at the same time, and a hero who is cynical and world weary in a way that is all too understandable.
24 year old Mathilde Martindale is a heroine who is twice widowed and now married to a third husband, all by proxy, having never experienced marriage in its lived reality. Tired of being kept away like an unwanted pest, Mathilde decides to take matters into her own hands, and with the held of her three friends, she puts on the guise of a boy and travels to her husband’s home, determined to be more than a wife in name only.
When 31 year old Guy Randall is confronted with the woman who claims to be his lawfully wedded wife, at first Guy is not impressed, nor does he want to believe a word that comes out of her mouth. After all, Guy had been forced to sign the papers of his betrothal to the woman who stands before him, and as far as the rumours go, his wife does not want anything to do with him.
But Guy’s resistance is no match for Mathilde, who for all her innocence when it comes to the marriage bed, is aided by a book entitled The Seduction of a Virtuous Knight, and Guy does not know what hits him when she tries to practice the seduction wiles as laid out in the book.
The happiness that Guy finds with Mathilde however is a short-lived one however, unless he is willing to trust his bride and lay his heart on the line – the hardest thing he has ever had to do. But if Mathilde has showed him anything, it is that courage can overcome one’s deepest fears and lay open life’s endless possibilities at your feet.
I enjoyed Wed By Proxy, which has all the classic elements that is synonymous with stories from Ms. Coldbreath. The heroine who has led a sheltered life up to the point, who nevertheless amazes you with her spunk and ingenuity. The hero who is the perfect package; cynical, world weary, and a tad dangerous – but falls like a ton of bricks for the woman who lays siege to his heart.
I enjoyed how Guy put up a token of resistance to ward his wife off, but alas, her charms proved to be too much for Guy, and succumb he does, in the most beautiful fashion. The touch of angst towards the latter half of the story increased my appreciation. After all, a love story without angst in the mix is just never right!
Recommended for those who adore historical romances filled with mirth, warmth, and love!
Final Verdict: Wed by Proxy is the kind of story you read on a cold night, cozied up in bed. It is the kind of story that heats you up from the inside and leaves you warm in the afterglow!
“Guy,” she whispered. “Please.” “Anything,” he found himself answering shakily. “Please don’t stop.” He swore filthily, and she didn’t even murmur a reproof. Just stared at his lips in unspoken invitation. “I don’t know how long I can do this,” he confessed, his voice raw. Already without conscious thought, his hands were sliding down around her sweet little rounded backside. He wasn’t good at sweet.
“Just a while longer,” she pleaded, and unable to resist, he crushed his lips to hers. Already, gentle is going out of the window, he thought with a regretful pang. She moaned against his mouth, but didn’t part her lips. Gods, he wished she would. He had thought only moments ago he would pass out from the sweetness of her lips alone, but now he wanted a taste of that mouth. Like the filthy beast he was, he drew his tongue along the seam of her lips and felt her gasp right the way through his body. Her open-mouthed surprise was too good an opportunity to miss. His tongue sought out hers, and when he found it, the kiss exploded. Gods, this was all that mattered. This was his. He reveled in the sensation, his body reeling at the pleasure that flooded him.
Seizing her hips, he dragged her across his lap, to where such movements would maximize his pleasure. She stilled a moment, and drew back her head, her eyes very wide. They regarded each other, panting hard. “Is that—?” she ventured. Words seemed to fail her. He cleared his throat. “Should we stop?” Her answer was a swift cry, “No!” “Mathilde—” But she forestalled his words by grabbing one of his hands between hers and lifting it with great daring to her bosom. He sat very still as she placed his large paw over the rapid rise and fall of her breasts. Now he lost the ability of speech, as he closed his hard, callused hand upon the soft swell of flesh there. “My gods,” he whispered.
“Guy?” This hadn’t happened in The Seduction of a Virtuous Knight, so she wasn’t prepared for any of this. Maybe she should have read on further? She glanced down and found her exposed breasts heaving, her dress hanging around her waist in tatters. Oh my gods! In trepidation, she sought to meet Guy’s gaze, but he was sat back in his chair, devouring her splayed figure with his eyes, his expression ablaze. “I’m going to consume you, utterly,” he rumbled with intent.
Torment. That was what he had called her touch, and she understood now, as her back arched, and her fingers twisted in his dark hair, pulling and clasping, but never deterring him from his purpose. But it seemed her own torment was not to be withstood. It built and built and suddenly she went hurtling right over the edge with a startled yell. The next thing she knew, she was being dragged off the table, back into Guy’s lap. More specifically, onto his — what had he called it? His cock.
One of her arms was tight around his neck. Her fingers tangled in the hair at his nape. She was whimpering into his mouth, and the world just did not exist for him outside of the hot, wet slide of their kiss. The soft swell of her cleavage gently rubbing against his chest was not enough. He managed to insert one hand between them, and grabbed Mathilde’s already plunging neckline, dragging it down until he could feel those pink little nipples against his chest. Mathilde gasped, but even his lust-addled mind could tell it was with pleasure and not shock. “Yes, Guy,” she moaned, dragging her hard nipples through his chest hair. This was what she had wanted? Nice was not a strong enough word for it.
“If you go…” she started direly. “Yes?” he said setting the candle down with a thud and sitting down on the bed. “Let’s hear it,” he said. As if unable to stop himself, he grabbed her upper arms, yanking her forward so she was practically in his lap. “If I go? What will you do?” “Don’t bother looking for me on your return, that’s all,” said Mathilde. “For I won’t be here.” “You’d leave me? You’d dare to…” he broke off his words as she nodded at him mutinously. He stared at her a moment. “Would you indeed?“ he said grimly, and suddenly his mouth was on hers in a punishing kiss, that gave no quarter. Mathilde drew back her hand to push him away, but at that instance, he slid one hand into her hair and groaned roughly against her mouth. She melted. Gods, she had missed this so much. The physical connection with him.
“This won’t be gentle,” he growled in her ear. “I’m too far gone for that consideration right now.” “I don’t care,” Mathilde answered recklessly. His hands were at his crotch, unfastening the ties there, shoving down his breeches. Mathilde sobbed with relief when he slid between her thighs. She clasped him to her. “Yes, Guy!” she urged him on. He swore again, and if she wasn’t so ready for him already, the way he shoved inside her would have been brutal. As it was, they both immediately stilled. “Mathilde?” “All’s well,” she panted, grasping his shoulders. “Hurry!” “Gods,” he whispered, and started moving. She could feel him struggle to loosen his hold on her hip and shoulder, to pull his powerful strokes, but he was too far gone.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Historical Romance Series: Vawdrey Brothers, #1 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Mason Vawdrey Heroine: Linnet Cadwallader Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: August 22, 2017 Started On: June 20, 2021 Finished On: June 24, 2021
The first book in the Vawdrey Brothers series, Her Baseborn Bridegroom by Alice Coldbreath was such a fun book to read. Riding the high of my first novel from Ms. Coldbreath, I wanted to delve into one more book from hers, just to experience the sheer magic of a historical romance done right, all over again.
The story begins with 24 year old Linnet Cadwallader getting ready for her marriage, arranged for her by her uncle. When the puppet groom that had been arranged fails to turn up, and in his place comes his baseborn brother, Sir Mason Vawdrey, things take a rather interesting turn. Taking matters into her own hands out of sheer desperation, Linnet asks Mason to marry her to which Mason agrees.
From the start, Mason turns her life upside down by seeing the extent to which Linnet’s guardians controlled her life in order to be the recipients of the fortune that is in her name. Linnet’s uncle and aunt basically makes her a captive in her own home, using the excuse that she was too sickly to venture out and do more. All of that changes with Mason, as from the start, he allows her the liberty and freedom to be the mistress of her own home. I thoroughly applauded the fact that this particular arc was not dragged on for an eternity before being properly dealt with.
As their married life begins, both Linnet and Mason are in for surprises, with Linnet learning that she too shares the passionate nature of her husband’s when it comes to the marriage bed. For Mason, it is discovering that when it comes to his wife, his possessiveness for the very first time extends to a significant other, something that he has pretty much avoided all his life up till Linnet that shakes him up.
The best thing about this story was Linnet; she was amazing in every sense. Sheltered pretty much all her life, taught to think that her freckles were an affliction, and robbed of her right to make decisions for herself, the way she sparkles and shines is what made the story. The bravery she shows when Mason turns up and tells her what she has been sort of expecting to happen won big points from me. It is that bravery that lands her with Mason, who would most likely have walked away if otherwise. Linnet has a way of taking matters into her own hands – case in point, when she wants to gain her stamina and to the point where she got a “salve” for bigger boobs (you will have to read the book to enjoy the mirth and sensuality on that score).
Mason was a darling too! Sexy, broody, commanding, and most of all possessive of his bride in a way that soothes Linnet’s ravaged soul, I thoroughly enjoyed the way he kept rationalizing away his developing feelings for Linnet, trying to evade the possibility that he was head over heels in love.
Ms. Coldbreath has a way of developing the story line that shows to readers how the physical and emotional intimacy develops between main protagonists, who for all intents and purposes are complete opposites of each other. I would say that Her Baseborn Bridegroom delivered well on that score!
Recommended for fans of beautifully spun historical romances. Ms. Coldbreath is a gem of a find!
Final Verdict: Her Baseborn Bridegroom is the kind of novel that has you screaming with laughter one minute and melting from the heat next; Ms. Coldbreath definitely knows what she is doing!
“Be calm wife,” he breathed against her temple, and she felt his mouth brush against her. She puffed out her breath and dragged in a deep breath. “If . . . if you just give me a moment to accustom myself . . . ” she asked beseechingly. “I promise I’ll do everything you say.” “Yes,” he agreed in a low, rough voice. “You will,” and in an unhurried move, he dragged his hand down until it lay between her breasts. Then his mouth was on her throat, and Linnet gasped when she felt his tongue lick her there. He shifted again, until his mouth was next to her ear. “Sweet,” he whispered. “You taste very, very sweet Linnet.”
“You please me, wife,” he said gruffly and lowered his mouth to hers where he kissed her entirely differently from how he had kissed her in the chapel. Their kiss there had been chaste and close-lipped. Now his mouth moved over hers in an intimate exploration. His tongue teased and prodded and invaded her mouth in a wet, hot slide that left her gasping and clinging to him, bewildered and reeling. And then his fingers were performing the same dance between her legs, petting and stroking and making her gasp into his mouth both in dismay and in shocked delight.
“I think I’ve been pretty considerate this last month,” he said and reached out to palm one of her small breasts. Linnet gasped. “The candles by the bed,” she choked out. “I want to see what I’m doing.” “But last time—” “Last time I was feeling considerate. Tonight I’m not.” Linnet blinked at him. Was he annoyed? She could almost swear his eyes were glowing. His other hand yanked the covers down, exposing her pale naked body to his roving gaze. Linnet cringed, but when her eyes flew to his he had a strange expression on his face that she didn’t quite recognize. It wasn’t disappointment, she realized with relief. No, not disappointment. It was almost . . . proprietary?
“Hmm, such sweet, sensitive little breasts,” he said huskily. “Do you like that?” She bit her lip and squeezed her legs together, trying to shift against the pillows. “I—I’m not really sure . . . ” she said breathlessly. At her slight movement, his other hand glided down, down until his fingers slid right into her curls and then the core of her, making her cry out in surprise. He gave an approving growl. “It seems like you do, Linnet.” She tipped her head back to look at him as his finger slid up inside her. Her cheeks felt scorched. She held her breath. “Nice and wet for me,” he said thickly. “When you’re in my bed, that’s what I expect. You, naked and wet. Not to hear you talking about other men.”
“Linnet,” he gasped and thrust into her. “It doesn’t hurt,” she murmured and felt his face turn into her neck. He planted his palm at her side, lifting most of his weight off her and onto his arms. “That’s good,” he said richly and thrust again, harder this time. “That means,” he groaned loudly. “I don’t have to hold back this time.”
“Next time,” he said. “You’ll find release when I’m inside you.” Linnet’s head jerked back, but his eyes had already drifted shut. She stared at him in confusion, mulling over his words from earlier. “You can’t mean for me to sleep naked every night, surely?” she asked drowsily before tucking her head back into his chest. “I do,” he answered. “And you will.”
He heard her gasp again and then her hands were travelling restlessly over his back. “Please Mason,” she whispered. “I want you to move like last time.” He squeezed his eyes shut, luxuriating in the feel of her all around him, clasping him tight. “I will,” he promised groaning. “Just give me a minute. You feel so good, Linnet.” “So do you,” she whispered back. He wanted to be gentle and considerate, but he knew he wasn’t going to be. Then he remembered he hadn’t been last time. I want you to move like last time, she’d said. His eyes snapped open to look at her, but it was too dark to catch her expression. “Like last time?” he echoed, not quite believing his own ears. He’d been angry last time. Jealous, his conscience corrected him. He’d been a boorish lout. Loud and energetic. He hadn’t held back. Her hands slid down his ribs to grip his hips, sparking his lust even further. “Yes,” she said huskily. “Please, Mason.”
“Um . . . ” she made no move to lie back. He stared at her. Was she trying to test his goddamn limits? He wondered incredulously. “What?” he asked unable to help himself. What the hell did she want from him now? “Well, for maximum efficacy,” she mumbled almost incoherently, “You have to . . . ” He craned his ears to catch her words. “What was that?” he asked sharply. “ . . . Lick it off,” she whispered, shamefaced. He stared as she turned rosy pink all the way up her neck to the tips of her ears. There was a rushing sound in his ears and the next thing he knew he had yanked her forward into his lap so she straddled his steely erection.
“Ohhhhh,” she whimpered, arching her back and pressing even more firmly into his embrace, his hungry mouth, his rock-hard cock. “Oh, Mason!” Her voice was so breathy, like a siren. His blood pounded in his head with the need to possess, to take from her sweetness. “Was this what you wanted?” he asked her in a low growl, panting against the delicate swell of her bosom. “Yes,” she answered dreamily without a trace of guile, her hands still running through his hair.
He caught his breath at the sight of her: naked, pale, and scattered in golden freckles. Beautiful. All mine. He shook his head again, his thoughts confusing him. It seemed to him now that he could barely remember a time that he had not been attracted to her. He tipped her onto her back and covered her with his body. “Kiss me, Linnet,” he said huskily as he took her mouth. Gods, she felt so good. He groaned as he felt her palms move down his sides to his hips. “Touch me some more,” he whispered against her jaw.
“Husband?” For some twisted reason, he felt pure pleasure at being addressed thus whilst deep inside her. “Wife,” he whispered huskily, lowering his brow until their foreheads touched. For one moment, they both stared into each other’s eyes, hovering on the brink of bliss together, and then he felt her tip over the edge, her cunny tightening and convulsing around him until with a shout he found himself spilling inside her. Holy hells. He dropped his face into her neck and concentrated on keeping the top of his head intact. He felt Linnet’s knees squeeze into his still-moving hips as she gasped into his shoulder.
He shuddered. “Linnet!” A sharp groan. “Holy hells!” She licked and licked all around the top and down the sturdy shaft until he was shaking and she was running out of ideas. “Just . . . Stop,” he gasped. “Stop?” When she tried to lift her head to look at him his hands tightened on her hair holding her in place. He swore, low and dirty. No, that couldn’t be right, thought Linnet, narrowing her eyes. When he did it to her he took her all the way to rapture. “Just—oh fuck, put me in your mouth,” he gritted out.
“Just how close are you, my leopardess?” he whispered and rubbed the pad of his thumb against her. Linnet tensed and then cried out as her pleasure burst forth and engulfed her. She hung on for dear life as Mason hammered into her with renewed vigor, right the way through her own blissful tremors until, at last, he shouted his own release, pressing his hips forward and crushing her between his big hard body and the door as he spent himself inside her.