Review: Savaged by Mia Sheridan

Format: E-Booksavaged
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Lucas/Jak
Heroine: Harper Ward
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 27, 2019
Started On: February 03, 2020
Finished On: February 25, 2020

The blurb was what got to me when I picked up Savaged by Mia Sheridan as my next read. Savaged tells the story of Harper Ward, local wilderness guide/psychologist in Helena Springs.

When she is summoned by Agent Mark Gallagher to assist him in a case where a man with seemingly no past had materialized out of the wilderness that surrounds the area, a man who is suspected to be connected to two murders in the vicinity, she does not expect her life to take a 180 degree turn overnight.

When Harper meets Jak, she is moved in a way that is unfamiliar to her. There is something about the stillness to his character, the haunting in his eyes, the loneliness that is wrapped around him that tugs at her heartstrings.

One thing leads to another and Harper finds herself working with Jak in piecing together parts of her past that had never made sense up to the point where she had landed in foster care. There is surreal quality and edge to the story that hums through the words as Mia Sheridan works her magic and summons the truth of how Harper and Jak are connected on a level that would be hard to comprehend for the average person.

Savaged was a story that was profound in many ways; the human psychology that Ms. Sheridan so cleverly weaves through the story, giving insights into what the minds of the depraved are like, in stark contrast to the the minds of survivors of the said depravity is a variance that you find so vividly striking in her novels.

I loved a lot of aspects of the story, most the main protagonists Harper and Jak. The latter took every bit of my heart and then some; the lonely and lost boy who was subjected to so much abuse, who survived in spite of everything that he had to go through, that gentleness inside of him and the ferocity that burns within him; all of that and more claimed all of me in a way that I cannot describe.

Jak’s effect on my heart was similar to how Harper felt when she met him. From that point on wards, there was no looking back where Jak was concerned. The way Ms. Sheridan tends to so effortlessly weave together the past and present, creating that wholesome edge to her characters is one reason why her books stand out from the rest. Jak’s past is one that would make anyone cry; the atrocities he was subjected to and the abject loneliness that had been part of his existence.

Harper’s past, though not as detailed, paints a similar picture. A girl who had lost her sense of security and the love of her parents one fateful night which had resulted in life as she had known it disappearing forever. The loneliness that she feels is one that is harder to explain, but loneliness it is, and when Jak fills in those pieces of her making her whole for the first time in a long while, it is no wonder that she falls for him like a ton of bricks.

What did not work me stemmed from the fact that the story seemed to lose its momentum from point to point, and dragged a little towards the end. I wanted an ending that would explode through the pages, a conclusion that would give closure of the kind my mind and heart craved after reading through the first half of the book. The gaps in between did not settle well with me, and I found myself skipping parts of the book towards the end.

Even with all of those aspects that did not work, Ms. Sheridan being the brilliant writer that she is, managed to keep me engaged with her characters in a way that refused to let me go.

Recommended for fans of strong heroes and heroines who are lost in a life steeped with loneliness until their significant other comes calling. This is that novel!

Final Verdict: Savaged is classic Mia Sheridan in the way she explores the depth of emotions and cuts through to the soul of her characters. There is an edge to the story that does not let up till the end.

Favorite Quotes

Jak caught her, his arms wrapping around her waist as she wept. “You’re not alone,” he whispered. The whimper died on her lips as she opened her eyes to his face directly in front of hers, his mouth mere inches from her own. Her heart stuttered, swelled. For a suspended moment, their quickened breaths mingled in the air between them. She blinked in surprise, her body stilling. He glanced at her lips, his gaze heating and his arms squeezing her just a little tighter. Kiss me, she thought. Oh please, kiss me.

For a second, they were both still, then he let out a small sound, a combination between a grunt and a groan as he opened his mouth very slightly and rubbed it over hers. Despite the completely unpracticed nature of the kiss, sparks shot through her veins, her blood heating. She didn’t want to take control of the kiss. The waiting, the discovery of what he would do instinctively, was more arousing than anything she’d ever experienced.

He nuzzled her with his nose and his mouth, inhaling, learning her scent so it became a part of him, and she jerked when his nose rubbed the spot below her mound.
She smelled like life, like sweet water, like fertile earth, and perfectly ripened berries that would take away the pain of hunger. Her woman scent was the beginning of everything and the place where he wanted to draw his final breath. She was meant for him, he knew that now. No other woman. Only her.

The night deepened, wrapping around them so it felt as if no one else existed. Only them. “This. Here,” he breathed, looking at her with deep intensity, their bodies connected, their hearts entwined.
“What?” she asked on a breath, the moment slowing, though everything physical about her was rushing, quickening.
“This fills my soul. You . . . you fill my soul.”

His eyes narrowed and the air changed very suddenly, her awareness spiking, breath stalling. He was going to strike. Going to test the truthfulness of her words with action. Do it,she whispered in her mind and his nose moved, very slightly as though he’d caught the scent of her acquiescence. Her need. They stared at each other, and she was trembling now, her entire body charged, her heart pumping blood through her veins, faster, faster. “I want wild,” she repeated. She wasn’t afraid. She would willingly surrender to him because she had faith in his goodness.

When he ran a finger through her wet folds, she thought she might come right then and there. She was panting, she realized, like an animal, like a woman being taken by the man she loved. This was mating. Elemental, ungoverned by any civilized laws or strictures. It was ordained by nature, by miracles, by the tides and the moon and the blood pumping in unison through their veins. Their bodies sang to each other, the same tune, melody and harmony, the notes pulsing, suspended around them.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Requested Review: Wallflower by Krista Gold

Format: E-Bookwallflower
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Erotic Thriller
Series: The Gardener, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Emilio
Heroine: Tessa Calliope George
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 06, 2018
Started On: December 27, 2019
Finished On: December 27, 2019

Wallflower by Krista Gold is an erotic thriller that had me guessing until towards the very end. Given how much I love a good mystery, and combining eroticism of the kind that set my senses abuzz, Wallflower was one of the best reads for me in 2019.

Wallflower begins when 22 year old Tessa Calliope George is left reeling in the wake of the death of her mother, trying to piece her life back together. Tessa’s mother had found her fame late in life, and living off of it somehow is at odds with what Tessa wants in life, what she wants, something that she herself cannot grasp in its entirety.

Then enters Emilio into her life, devastatingly handsome and able to woo her into submission from day one. The deep and intense need that he invokes in Tessa is one that refuses to be denied and Tessa plunges headlong into what is the most erotic experience of her pretty much virginal life up till then.

When Tessa receives a job offer which allows her to delve into her mother’s life, she starts to piece together a side of her mother that she had not being privy to, bringing forth the story of a woman who had been lonely and looking for her other half, and had found it too, before she had met her untimely death.

As Tessa digs more extensively into her mother’s past, the revelations that emerge makes the reader take a step back, reevaluate, and reassess everything they have read before. The way your head reels trying to connect the dots together was one of the best bits about reading this book and why I enjoyed Wallflower so much.

Having read this full length novel in one day is telling, because I rarely have the patience or the time now to read an entire book in 24 hours time. But that was what happened with Wallflower because it was that intense and that much of a page-turner.

I would like to thank Krista Gold for requesting a review of this book, without which I may never have otherwise come across the title. It is hidden gems like Wallflower that makes it worthwhile to dig through stories from authors who you have never come across before.

This psychological erotic thriller has so many twists and turns and an ending that is impossible to discern which is pretty much why the story has amazed me on so my fronts. There is raw talent seeping through the words and it is almost as if you are watching a real life story unfold right in front of you.

From the emotional tumult of a newly founding relationship, to the sexy and carnal scenes of passion, followed through by the intriguing mystery woven together so intricately that everything fits seamlessly, I enjoyed every single aspect of the book!

Recommended for anyone who loves a good thriller with erotic scenes of passion that smolders.

Final Verdict: Wallflower is a novel that digs deep into the emotional ties that bind complemented with the erotic flair with which Krista Gold delivers so splendidly.

Favorite Quotes

Before I even know what I’m doing, my hand is moving with a singular purpose, down to my swimsuit bottoms, and then under the silky scrap of fabric, and – there. I close my eyes as I find the sweetly throbbing nub.
Emilio’s face is as clear as a bell in my mind’s eye, and I focus on it as my hand begins to move.
The feeling is intense. I am throbbing, and my fingers find the throb and work it, slowly at first, then with increasing urgency, until they are moving and teasing in rapid circles, and I am thrusting my sex hard against my cupped palm.
Emilio, I think. Oh god. Emilio. The sweet ache in my belly swells and expands until I feel I might burst.

He takes a step towards me and I can’t help it – I let out a gasp. Emilio stops, and catches his lip between his teeth, and I feel a flare of desire low in my belly. He groans softly, and the flare travels lower, down into my sex where it settles, pulsing like a second heartbeat.
I can’t look away from Emilio’s face.
“Tessa”, he says, and his voice is a low growl, and his green eyes are dark. My name in his mouth is the most erotic thing I have ever heard. I am rooted to the spot on my trembling legs, I couldn’t move if I wanted to.

I stare into his eyes, completely in his thrall. I can’t concentrate on anything other than this moment, this look…and then he whispers very softly, “I’m going to kiss you here”, and the pad of his other thumb parts my skirt like a curtain, pushes up and into my panties.
Holy shit. The shock is electric, and I cry out. I am all sensation, I am pure pleasure, and every bit of my attention is there, on that thumb, which is moving in slow, slow circles. There is a deep heat in the pit of my belly, and that sweet pulse is beating faster now, a hummingbird-heart.
“God, Tessa”, he breathes, still looking into my eyes. “You’re so wet.”

“Oh God”, I pant. “Emilio”. It’s all I can manage. My breath is coming faster and faster, and I know what he’s going to do. I can’t bear the suspense, and he knows it. He’s making me wait, and I want to scream in frustration, but then oh god, oh sweet Jesus, his mouth is there, and I jump, electrified, as he touches his tongue to my throbbing sex.
My body is white fire, my every nerve is lit and crackling. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. I don’t want this to end, but I can’t hold off my climax, I don’t know how.

I feel his hardness nudging at my thigh, and I breathe into his ear, “Now, Emilio. Please”, I beg. I arch up into him, and he complies – I gasp as he nudges at my entrance, and then, with a sigh of pleasure, he slides into me. There’s a brief moment of resistance, a sweet stab of pain, and then he is fully inside me, thick and solid and hot, and nothing has ever felt more right.
Slowly, slowly, he slides out of me, almost all the way, and I moan – but then he thrusts into me again, the whole hard length of him, so I feel the shock of his penetration, so deep, so full. I can’t contain myself, and an involuntary Aah! escapes my lips.
“God, Tessa”, he says, and his voice is shaky.

Before I even know what I’m doing, my hand is reaching out to touch him, coming to rest on his thigh. Neither of us are breathing, and the air is suddenly thick with tension and anticipation.
Emilio makes a sound low in his throat, and that’s all it takes; suddenly, I am wet.
Before I can respond, Emilio has moved toward me, lightning quick, and his hands are in my hair, and he is crushing his mouth on mine, and I can’t even remember how to draw a breath, and it’s erotic, oh my god, it’s so unbelievably erotic. I never knew my body could be made to feel this way – like an electric storm, like it was made solely for pleasure. I never knew I could burn like this, or want someone so badly, so much.

God, I want him. I need him inside me. I need him now.
Instinctively, I’m releasing my seatbelt, reaching for Emilio’s buckle, wrestling with his zip. It’s not even a conscious thought, but pure animal instinct: I need this more than I need the air in my lungs.
We are both breathing hard, and I can feel that sweet pressure building inside me.
And then he springs free of the zipper, and I’m staring at his magnificent cock, which is already hard, already waiting. For me, I think with wonder, and then I’m lowering my head, and taking him into my mouth.

“God, Tessa”. Emilio’s voice is tight suddenly. “The things I want to do to you.”
Without warning, he runs a finger the length of my cleft, and I buck in ecstasy at his touch, crying out. Those little shivers of pleasure are back, crawling along every nerve ending, lighting me up.
I can’t form a coherent thought; the sensations in my body are too intense. All I can do is moan softly, squirm under him, wet with want and with need.

He leans in so that his lips are hovering right by my ear, and I can feel the warmth of his breath on my neck.
“I haven’t been able to take my eyes off you all night”, he murmurs, and his voice makes every hair on my body rise. “Do you know how fuckable you look in that dress, Tessa George?”
He leans closer so that his lips are actually touching my ear. “The answer is very,” he says, and a shiver races along every nerve in my body. “Very. Fuckable. Indeed.”

I am powerless to stop my climax building. I am panting against the wall, my legs trembling uncontrollably. “Now, Emilio”, “I beg him. “Fuck me. Please, fuck me now.”
Emilio’s eyes flash darkly, and then in one swift move, he lifts me so that I am pinned against the wall my legs wrapped around his waist. “Now”, I tell him again, and he pulls at my skirts. I lean back a little to give him access, and then I can feel his throbbing cock nudging at my entrance. I cry out – a sharp, animal cry of want and need, and then he is smothering my cries with his mouth as he impales me deliciously in one long movement. He stills for a second, long enough for me to savour how he feels inside me: thick, and full, twitching with desire.

“Now”, I pant, unable to manage anything else. “Quickly. Now.”
Emilio reads my urgency. In one smooth move, he lifts himself up on his elbows, and then he slides into me, filling me, stretching me. God, he fits perfectly. He lies still for a moment, and I let myself feel everything – the hardness of his hips, the pulsing of my bitten nipple, the urgent humming of my sex.
And then he is moving, knowing instinctively that I need it hard and fast, and god, does he deliver. He pounds into me, and everything is forgotten but the sensations of my body, my physical ecstasy.

“What do you want, Tessa? Tell me what you want.” His breath on my neck, that slow golden spiralling in my body. God, I want him. God, I need him.

Emilio’s breath is ragged. Slowly, slowly, I use my right hand to part myself, slip one finger into my wet darkness. Watching him watch me, feeling the first silvery tingles as I move my fingers, I feel more powerful than I have ever felt before. I understand now why Emilio likes to tease the way he does. The power, the heady feeling – it’s incredible.
A smile plays over my lips as I watch naked desire travel over his face. He stops stroking his cock, and I see that the tip is swollen and glistening.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: Where the Blame Lies by Mia Sheridan

Format: E-Bookwheretheblamelies
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Zach Copeland
Heroine: Josie Stratton
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 13, 2019
Started On: November 25, 2019
Finished On: December 02, 2019

Where the Blame Lies by Mia Sheridan is the kind of book that leaves you speechless, aching, and yet satisfied in all the ways that matter. It is the sort of story that flashes through your mind at odd moments because for one reason or the other, your brain is still processing the information and the messaging embedded deep within.

Where the Blame Lies begins with the heroine Josie Stratton, at nineteen years of age is abducted, imprisoned, raped, abused, and starved for ten months, where she had remained chained to a wall until she had broken free from the abandoned warehouse where she had been held. Josie’s nightmare had culminated in the suicide of her abductor.

Years later, Detective Zach Copeland of the Criminal Investigative Section (CIS) gets called to a case that bears eerie similarities with that of Josie’s. Zach had been just a rookie officer back when Josie had broken free, but he had never forgotten the strength and determination carved on Josie’s face, as she had pleaded and screamed at the officers to find her baby.

A second victim with the similar markings on her body brings Zach to Josie’s doorstep, where he finds a seemingly put together and a more beautifully poised version of the woman he had never truly forgotten. The spark between the two is immediate and altogether powerful enough for the readers to feel that pulse as understated as it is.

Chasing the clues to piece together the truth and digging through to the possibility that it had been a case of mistaken identity when police had closed in on the perpetrator back then makes of heightened suspense, while also delivering an emotional roller-coaster of a ride to readers. Mia Sheridan’s prose is poetry to the heart and mind, even when she is writing about stuff that gives you nightmares.

The story weaves the past and the present together in a way that leaves a deep impact on the reader. It helps in understanding the nuances of the dependency that Josie had had on her abductor through those harrowing months when she had no means of escape. Josie had lost her innocence at the hands of her abductor, and the child that had been born through the depths of her suffering is something the reader would not forget easily. Even at the deepest moments of her desperation that had tested the very limits of her endurance, Josie had never given up, and that is exactly why you fall like a ton of bricks for her and root for her through the most harrowing of circumstances.

When everything clicks into place, the resolution towards the end is just as painful to watch as it unfolds. The feelings of trepidation lingered through the last couple of chapters, always fearing for Josie, and my heart’s rhythm never fully adjusted to the tension that is interwoven so superbly throughout.

I loved everything about Where the Blame Lies, if you had not got that already having read to this point of the review. I was transfixed and mesmerized with the way Mia Sheridan took on a plot that had so much depth, depravity, and hope as well, which was its saving grace.

She wowed me with her deep characterization that not every author has the ability to pull off. There is so much tragedy and heartbreak in this story, violence and the gory details of what it truly means to be abducted and abused for over a long period of time. That is exactly why Where the Blame Lies is a story that I would not be forgetting anytime soon.

Josie for all that she had gone through, not just at the hands of her abductor, is all sweetness and light. There is no bitterness to her, even when she had hit rock bottom in her life. She is the kind of heroine that you fall for so effortlessly, which is why Zach’s love for her is so easily understood.

Zach, my God Zach, he was just perfect in every way. There is a beauty to his character that just meshes with the resilience of Josie’s and I could not have asked for a better partner for Josie, no matter what. His protectiveness endeared him to me on so many levels.

The ending reminded me a bit of Cry No More by Linda Howard, one of my top favorite re-reads. The pain that Josie must have felt, the utter heartbreak; I wished I could reach in and hug her close and comfort her, all the while knowing that she had to come to terms with what life had thrown her way by herself. That beautiful and yet painful act is exactly why I fell in love with the story, even through all the heartache ingrained in it.

The utter ingenuity of the story lies with how the villain was crafted. I miss novels of this kind where you feel as part of the story, where you often find yourself understanding where the villain was coming from, even through all that despicable acts of violence.

Where the Blame Lies is a novel that makes you think really hard about life, the abuse that the most vulnerable often face, and how that alters a person fundamentally. But at the same time, you also question how some people stay sane and kind even with all that they go through, while others turn out to be vengeful, evil and all of those things that makes your skin crawl.

Recommended for fans of beautifully moving stories that leaves its mark on you. You need not be a romance reader to find a calling deep within when it comes to this one. My first Mia Sheridan certainly delivered beyond my expectations.

So excited for the follow-up of this novel, Where the Truth Lives, to be released in April 2020, which Mia just announced on her Instagram page. Definitely marking my calendar for this one!

Final Verdict: Where the Blame Lies leaves the reader questioning so many things; it makes you think and ponder long after you turn the last page. That’s when you know an author has nailed it, and nailed it well and good!

Favorite Quotes

The song changed, something slow and crooning filling the air around them, mixing with the blood beginning to whoosh in Zach’s ears. Josie’s eyes moved to his lips and she licked her own. Zach’s heart began pounding in his chest, muscles tensed, waiting.
And then as quick as that, her mouth was on his, and she was pressing herself more fully against him. He let out a deep groan of need, their tongues meeting, tangling, as she angled her head so he could explore her mouth.

She pulled herself up, her hands shaking as she unzipped his pants, fumbling as she reached inside and grasped his erection. He was hard, ready. He wants me too. The knot inside unclenched slightly. She kicked off her shoes and then stood unsteadily, keeping eye contact as she removed her jeans and her underwear. She climbed back on him and took him in her grasp again, using the smooth head of his penis to stimulate herself, throwing her head back and moaning at the exquisite pleasure.

She gripped him harder and he gasped out, sitting up straighter, the lust in his eyes deepening. She used his erection to drag some of the moisture from her opening up to the tight bundle of nerves and circled that spot until she almost came.
“Josie, God, I, ah—”
She smiled, lining his straining cock at her opening and spearing herself almost violently. He let out a masculine sound of pleasure, his head falling back as she began to ride him, slowly at first and then faster, faster, his erection almost slipping from her body before she slammed back onto him.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: In the Dark by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-Bookinthedark.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Mason Deniaud
Heroine: Callie Sutton
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: December 01, 2019
Started On: December 02, 2019
Finished On: December 20, 2019

Sometimes the only thing to fear . . . is yourself.

In the Dark, the latest release by Loreth Anne White, is a story that stands testament to Loreth’s ability to spin thrillers that are dark, forbidding, and explores the deepest facets of human psychology. Some might shy away from it, others may scoff at the very notion of it, but what Loreth puts to paper is in part what humans are capable of. The good and the evil that resides in us, which makes us so complex as a creation, combined with our intelligence which makes us unpredictable.

In the Dark begins with an entity known as RAKAM Group in Malaysia bringing together a group of nine individuals for a test round of their future business in terms of holidays provided at a remote location. None of the chosen foresee the darkness that lays ahead, the harrowing circumstances under which they would each fight to survive in the days to come, nor what ties one to the other.

The group consists of Dan Whitlock, a private investigator who dies before the journey begins, Monica McNeill, a grocery chain heiress and her husband Dr. Nathan McNeill, a professor of mycology at the University of Toronto, Bart Kundera who operates a transportation service, Katie Colbourne, a travel-documentary maker, Jackie Blunt, former police officer turned owner of a private security firm, Dr. Steven Bodine, cosmetic surgeon, and Stella Daguerre their pilot who carries them to their final destination.

When the group arrives, instead of the cozy vacation mountain lodge they were expecting, there stands an abandoned lodge in total isolation, without seemingly anyone around for miles. With a storm front that had moved in making it impossible to make the return journey, the spooked out party decides to wait out the storm, and instead find themselves in a bizarre setting within which they come to realize that they had been duped well and good, and brought together for a purpose none of them understands well.

With the realization that someone amongst them or outside of the nine is playing a harrowing mind game on them willing them to turn on one another bringing the ugliest of truths each harbours, the group starts to fray at the edges when one by one, members are killed, in line with a rhyme that they were meant to find from day one. According to the rhyme, only one is meant to survive, or none, depending on how the events unfold.

Sergeant Mason Deniaud, is a veteran big-city homicide detective, who decides to move to the middle of nowhere that is Kluhane Bay for personal reasons. When he encounters his first major case in the form of a downed plane with an apparent homicide victim, this kick-starts a chain of events which leads him and Callie Sutton of Kluhane Bay’s Search and Rescue on a mission to uncover the truth and search for survivors. With time running out, Mason and Callie’s team battle with nature itself to get to where the group of individuals may have ended up in.

When I turned the last page of the story, what was racing through my mind were the words, what a creepy and sensational book! I don’t even know if I should be using those two words in the same sentence. However, the more I think about it, the more drawn I get into the ingenuity of the plot, the layers to it, and the deeply rich characterization upon which the plot is built. There is no one character that does not add value to the plot, and that is no mean feat when you are juggling multiple individuals who all play pivotal roles in the story.

For the first time when it comes to a Loreth Anne book, I didn’t miss out on the romance angle. Maybe because I have conditioned myself not to expect romance in her books now. Even though there exists an elemental connection between Callie and Mason, I didn’t feel morose about the fact that nothing actually did materialize from that connection. Rather, the way Loreth left things on that turf seemed fitting, because you know deep inside, that somewhere down the line, what’s meant to be would find its way.

In short, on the psychological thriller front, what Loreth delivers in this story is priceless. I have never really read an Agatha Christie novel, but the premise of this novel’s plot depends deeply upon one of her novels. In the Dark strips down human nature to its very core, where Loreth drives and forces her characters towards their most feral and survivalist of natures, and taps into the psychology upon how people who have been dealt with extremely tough hands in life choose to shape and steer their future.

While I empathized with the mastermind of the plot, I couldn’t wholeheartedly say that I agreed with the character’s actions in its entirety. But that is exactly why Loreth is such a brilliant writer. She makes you see through the thin veneer holding civilized society together and strips us bare to expose the very elements which makes us who we are. That in short is why this book is a mastery unto itself.

Recommended for anyone who loves a tightly plotted thriller that delivers.

Final Verdict: In the Dark is a novel that brings together Loreth’s unique ability of in-depth characterization, exposing our deepest and darkest fears, and the wildcards among us who serve to be the ones you must look out for!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Colder Than Sin by Toni Anderson

Format: E-Bookcolderthansin
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice: Crossfire, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Quentin Savage
Heroine: Haley Cramer
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 22, 2019
Started On: October 26, 2019
Finished On: November 02, 2019

Colder Than Sin is the 2nd book in the Cold Justice: Crossfire series by Toni Anderson. A crossover series that introduces new characters alongside with some of the favorites from the Cold Justice series, everyone who has loved the first title of this crossover series, Cold and Deadly, would have been eagerly awaiting for the story of the Chief of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, Quentin Savage.

Quentin is in Indonesia for a conference, when on the very last night his gaze falls on the bombshell of a beauty that is Haley Cramer. Haley is a partner to a topnotch security firm in the US, and even though there is mutual interest on the part of both Haley and Quentin, they both decide to leave it at that, that is until fate intervenes.

Things take a dangerous turn when the hotel is attacked by militants in the middle of the night, killing almost everyone who had been present, with Qunetin and Haley barely surviving, only to find themselves taken hostage by the militant group. Thus begins a harrowing couple of days that is brutal on both of them, that brings them closer together in a way which otherwise may not have happened.

I liked Colder Than Sin and the premise upon which the plot is built. As always, I enjoyed thoroughly, the science behind Toni’s research which always tells me how well read and up-to-date she is on current affairs of the world. Reading her books is a joy always, because of that fact.

Colder than Sin is action-packed and definitely has some heavy material within it that some readers might find difficult to get through. Especially when it comes to Darby O’Roarke, the student who was held under captive for days, before Haley and Quentin rescues her, and also elements of Haley’s dark past as well.

There were a couple of things that perhaps detracted a bit from my enjoyment factor. By the time the attack had taken place, I had kind of figured out who the villain was, because the clues were quite prominent, perhaps what Toni wanted as well.

Quentin was a great guy in many ways; kind, considerate, and sexy, all in one. His past makes him a bit wary of putting his heart on the line once again, but then again, none of us have any control over whom we love and how we fall in love – it just happens.

When it does, Quentin does know that he has been given a second chance, but the guilt of moving on and the difficulties when it comes to opening up about fragility of own emotions is not easily overcome, even if you are a topnotch hostage negotiator.

At times, I felt that there was too much emphasis on depicting Quentin as the good guy, when everything he does, says, and thinks alludes to just that. Quentin would have been just as likable, had the reader being left to draw their own conclusion on who he is and what he stands for.

Haley was a tough cookie in many ways. A childhood that had been less than ideal, she is a survivor in many aspects, something that makes her perfect for the role of teaming up with Quentin on such a harrowing journey. While the sex between Haley and Quentin is combustible, I cannot say that I fell in love with them, either individually or together. All I can say that I felt that was something elemental missing between the two that I just cannot put my finger on.

I really liked how Toni brought to the forefront the challenges that we women have to face to compete in a man’s world. It is not mean feat to pull that off without sounding preachy and self-righteous which is noteworthy in my opinion. That is one of the reasons why I love Toni’s voice – she does every theme she takes on justice by getting to the very heart of the matter in a way that only she is able to.

Towards the end, I was really intrigued by the connection between Eban Winters and Darby, and I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on their story. Hopefully soon!

Final Verdict: Toni’s second installment in her Cold Justice: Crossfire series is filled with action packed moments, tough situations, and steamy love scenes in a way that makes for enjoyable reading!

Favorite Quotes

He tossed the condoms on the bedside table and turned to face her. He sank his hand into the hair at her nape, pulled her forward, and kissed her on the mouth.
It caught her off guard, that simple kiss. He didn’t try to force his way inside. Instead, he coaxed and teased, giving her the time she needed to adjust from sex to kissing. Kissing was an art form not everyone paid attention to. It was a getting-to-know-you move she didn’t always allow. But she couldn’t have broken that kiss if someone had put a gun to her head and threatened to pull the trigger.

“Tell me what you like, Haley. Tell me how to get you off as many times as you want before I get inside you.”
She choked. Holy crap. No one had ever said anything like that to her before. She felt exposed and vulnerable and covered her insecurity with a light laugh. “Cocky much?”
One side of his mouth twisted into a grin. “Confident. But only with your help. Tell me what you like.” He took her hand and sucked her finger into his mouth. “Show me.”
She was shaking so hard, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to.

She slicked a finger over her clit. “I liked it when you sucked me here.” “Sucked you.” “It made me want to crawl all over you and fuck your face.” She laughed. He climbed onto the bed to lie beside her. “Your wish, lady.” She rose to her knees, a little intimidated even though she prided herself on knowing her way around the bedroom. He drew her up his body until she straddled him. And then he sank his tongue inside her and made her gasp.

Finally, as she was about to crash over the ledge one more time, he started thrusting into her deeper, hips pumping as he anchored her pelvis to him. Filling her hard and deep and so amazingly deliciously her breath came in hoarse pants. He growled softly as he came—spine bending, eyes closed, jaw clenched—pulsing inside her and setting off a chain reaction which blew the fuse on her orgasm so they both exploded together.

Then he kissed her, and she took his tongue in her mouth as he guided himself inside. One thrust, and he was lodged deep, filling her so perfectly. She wrapped one leg around him, anchoring him to her pelvis as they began to move. Finding a rhythm that was wild and reckless and glorious. There was no finesse. They were rutting in the mud, grinding against one another in a rush to come. His hands pinching her nipples, his mouth devouring hers. Her hips rose higher and higher off the ground, and he turned them so she was on top looking down at him, riding the thick length of his arousal, using him to get off in an orgasm that detonated waves upon waves of pleasure throughout her body.

When she came on his tongue, he absorbed her shudders and treasured her flavors. He grinned as he rose to his feet, right up until the moment she sank to her own knees and licked him from root to tip.
Oh, shit.
He held on to the tree as his knees almost buckled. It was a battle for him to hold on to his control as she did to him what he’d just done to her. But he wanted to be inside her again. Wanted to be looking her in the eye when they both came.

He lifted her up and thrust inside, cushioning her back against the hard trunk with an arm wrapped around her waist, the other beneath her ass as he worked himself in and out, wishing he had one more hand.
“Touch yourself. Make yourself come.”
Her eyes held his as she slipped one hand lower, the other grasping him around the nape, holding on for dear life as he pumped inside her like a madman.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Format: E-Bookprettygirls_ks
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller
Series: Standalone
Publisher: William Marrow
Hero: NA
Heroine: Claire Scott
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: September 29, 2015
Started On: January 05, 2019
Finished On: April 04, 2019

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter is my first foray into books written by the author. Dark, morbid, and portraying a wealth of knowledge and insight into the most evil of humans that walk among us, Pretty Girls is powerful in a way that had me shook, right from the very start. Pretty Girls is brutal in its depiction; there is no prettifying the ugly side for you in this number. It is a story that kept me continually guessing, at the edge of my seat, nervous and panicky & frightened out of my wits at certain points in time.

Pretty Girls is the story of the sister that disappeared and a family that was never the same again. It is the story of the father who never gave up searching for what happened to his daughter, even at the cost of his marriage to the woman he has loved unlike any other. It is the tale of how the members of the family left behind struggle to find a balance and never quite find it, the two sisters who go their separate ways until catastrophe brings them together again.

Pretty Girls delves into the life of Claire Scott, with her seemingly perfect marriage to husband Paul. Claire believes she struck lucky having landed a husband as Paul, who is conscientious in the extreme, taking care of her in a way she had needed. However, when Paul is taken from her life all of a sudden in a brutal and senseless attack, Claire is left to pick up the pieces and start taking care of her own self from that point forward.

Claire, who is at first unable to even comprehend doing anything by herself, suddenly finds herself confronting what could be the ugly reality behind a man she had thought to be a godsend. The sickening pieces of evidence is what propels her estranged sister Lydia to come back into her life, as reluctant as she might be, given how ugly things had turned when Claire had turned her back on Lydia.

As the sisters put together the stark and ugly reality of what Paul stood for, the role he could have played in the events that had begun since the disappearance of their elder sister is one that knocks you down in more ways than one. While Pretty Girls is definitely a page-turner, I had to actually leave the story aside and read something less intense in order to catch my breathe and then return to the story again. Yes, it was that intense. But I would not have had it any other way.

Except for bits and pieces of the story towards the latter half where Claire seemed so indecisive that it grated a little on my nerves, everything else just fits in perfectly into the story. Even as irritated as I was with Claire, I understood where she was coming from – what drove her to do what she did was understandable. What made her so inept in taking charge was also evident given the life she had been leading up till that point.

The ending throws into stark relief the hunter who becomes the hunted, and the truth finally revealed for the world to see. The voice that I loved the most in the novel was that of Claire’s father, whose determination to find the truth proves to the reader the lengths a loving father would go to save his daughter from hell and beyond, even when the odds are stacked against him. Even when he knows that knowing the truth might render him insane and unable to face the ugliness of the world, ever again.

Highly recommended for fans of dark, and I mean really dark thrillers. Slaughter certainly does not disappoint.

Final Verdict: For the shock factor alone, I would recommend this book. The nightmares that plague you at all hours of the day afterwards is totally worth it.

Favorite Quotes

You look up at me. I am startled. Suddenly, quite miraculously, you are a grown-up beautiful woman. You look so much like your mother, but you are still uniquely you. You have thoughts I will never know. Desires I will never understand. Friends I will never meet. Passions I will never share. You have a life. You have an entire world in front of you. Then you smile, and you squeeze my hand, and even in my sleep, I understand the truth: No matter what happened to you, no matter what horrors you endured when you were taken away, you will always be my pretty little girl.

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

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ARC Review: Dark Water by Tricia Tyler

Format: E-bookdarkwater.png
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Hero: Nick Garrison
Heroine: Evangeline Marie Broussard
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 24, 2018
Started On: September 09, 2018
Finished On: September 22, 2018

There’s a killer hunting in the backwoods bayou town of Barfleur, which is where FBI Agent Nick Garrison is headed, as a favor to his army buddy. Three victims thus far, with no clues whatsoever as to how the killer was selecting victims. That is until heroine Evangeline Marie Broussard (Evie) comes into the picture.

Evie is a gifted psychic, who works as a private investigator. However, working on crimes like the one her cousin Remy Boudreaux is trying to solve takes a lot from Evie. But knowing that there is something she could do to help before the killer strikes again is something that Evie cannot turn her back on. Even if it means facing the scorn and contempt on the face of the FBI agent who comes along for the ride.

Nick has had his run in with psychics and learnt the price for it. He has never forgiven, nor forgotten the way people can abuse a family’s grief for their five minutes worth of fame. There is nothing Nick would love to do better than dissuade the notion that Evie could be of any help in the investigation, at all.

However, even with all the disdain he feels, Nick is man enough to accept and acknowledge the fact that no woman has moved him in the way Evie was, ever since he walked into her life. For Evie, the connection is just as intense. No matter how much she tries to protect herself from the onslaught on her senses, she finds that it is a game she is going to lose, spectacularly.

As the killer draws in, taking someone whom Evie considers to be very dear, it’s time for the hunted to become the hunter. There is no stone that Evie would not turn to get her friend back, which is how she is led right into the lion’s den, with nothing but her wits to use in the fight for her life.

I picked up Dark Water on a whim when I happened across the title on netgalley. I seldom request books on netgalley now because I usually do  not end up reading them, unless they are authors whose work I am already familiar with. However, I have always loved me a good suspense, and with the cover calling to me, I decided to check this one out. I am so glad I did (even though the review is a tad late than I would have liked), because I enjoyed reading Dark Water immensely.

I loved the sexual tension that is palpable and intense throughout this novel. I loved how the author brought the sizzle into the scenes and made me sit up and take notice, even when there was plenty happening otherwise. When sexual tension reaches its peak and the culmination of it all is as explosive as what took place in this story, then the author has done it right.

Nick was a delightful hero. Sexy, broody, and the take charge type with a core of sensitivity that works well when it comes to Evie. His need to create and restore beauty in contrast with the kind of darkness that his job usually invites was a fascinating aspect to him. I loved seeing both sides of him, and it helped me see a long term future for both Evie and Nick because there was so much more than just good sex, hot enough to scorch your reader, between them.

I liked Evie just as much. Her vulnerable nature is evident once you see her through her grandmother’s eyes. The visits that her grandma’s spirit does was a charming facet to the novel. Evie’s preference to be alone was also understandable given the weight of the ‘gift’ that she carries, and how her past has taught her to be stingy with her trust when it comes to love.

The only thing more I could have asked for  was more details on the villain in the story. I wanted to learn about what created the monster residing within, rearing it’s ugly head until the desire to kill is satisfied. A good romantic suspense delves deep into the darkness that manifests within the killer as well, and I felt a bit cheated out on that aspect. Regardless of that little fact, I enjoyed the suspense that went into the story, and how the dots were connected towards the end.

Recommended for those who love the slow heat that comes with romances packed with the Southern charm. This little number certainly delivers. I hope this novel serves as a debut to a “series” because I definitely want more!

Final Verdict: Dark Water delivers a story that thrums with the tightly wound sexual tension and the dark and evil energy of a killer who had lost his way a long time ago. Definitely recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“This is a mistake.” His body gave lie to his words as he settled deeper into her. The rough material of his jeans rubbed against the sensitive skin of her thighs, heightening her senses to a fever pitch. Every move, every shift, sent a craving through her until the only thing left was a deep hungering need for more. An ache thrummed within her lower belly, spreading until it encompassed every part of her. Bon Dieu, she was in serious trouble. He’d barely touched her, and she was ready to explode.
“A mistake? Yes…most definitely,” she said, shaking her head slowly back and forth. It was one her body desperately wanted to make. Giving in to her body’s demands, she rubbed herself against him. She knew exactly what she was doing to him. It was empowering to realize the effect she had on him. He was a prisoner to the same hunger controlling her own reactions.

His grip on her hair tightened. He released her hands, sliding his slowly down her arm and across the length of her body until he cupped her ass, pulling her up and closer. Frantic, she blindly reached for his shirt. Buttons flew until smooth hard muscle lay beneath her fingertips, threatening her sanity. Sucked in by her own body’s traitorous reaction, all she could do was enjoy the ride. She didn’t give a rip at the moment about the little voice of reason inside her.
Jolts of heat ran up and down her spine like little devils racing in a marathon.
Bon Dieu.

He pulled in another ragged breath. Reaching between them, he grabbed the string along the side of her thong and yanked it off without regret. He’d buy her a new one. Hell, he’d buy her a drawer full as long as the last barrier between them disappeared. Catching her gasp with his mouth, he drove his tongue inside as he slid and plunged two of his fingers into her. Hot and wet, her muscles clamped around him.
Fuck!
“You’re so damn tight,” he mumbled against her mouth.
“It’s…it’s been too long,” she gasped, her body writhing beneath his ministrations.
Satisfaction swept over him knowing she hadn’t been with anyone in a long time. He refused to dig too deeply into why he felt that way. If he did, it might scare the hell out of him.
“Sweetheart, you’re killing me.”

“Bon Dieu…I want to feel you inside me now,” she begged. “Please, Nick. Now.”
He claimed her mouth as his own in a quick, bruising kiss. “Tell me you’re ready,” he demanded, not sure he could hold out any longer.
Her legs gripped him tighter, pulling him against her. He meant to go slowly, but the warmth on his cock sent him over the edge. He plunged fast and deep with the first stroke. She closed around him tight and sweet, and the rest of his body wanted to follow. All thoughts of taking it slow fled.

“You’re mine.” He lowered his head until they were nose to nose. “Say it.”
Her breath hitched, and her pupils dilated.
He lifted his hips until only the head of his dick remained inside her. The need to hear her say the words overwhelmed him and scared the shit out of him all at the same time. The need was stronger.
“I want the words, Evie.”
“Yours. I’m yours.” The words tumbled out on a shuddering breath, filling him with relief.
“And you’re mine,” she whispered, her expression fierce.

She tightened her muscles and bit the inside of her cheek, attempting to clamp down on the fire spreading through her. It was neither the time nor the place, and not the right man for God’s sake. Unfortunately, no other man had ever made her feel this way with just one look.
“Fuck. You can’t look at me like that and not expect me to respond,” he said, with an edge to his tone. He stepped in closer crowding her against the vehicle, determination engraved in the lines of his face. Reaching out, he clasped her face with both hands, and his lips crashed down on hers. Fast, deep, and hot. Oh…so very hot.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

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Review: Tailspin by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booktailspin.png
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Rye Mallett
Heroine: Brynn O’Neal
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 07, 2018
Started On: August 08, 2018
Finished On: August 18, 2018

Tailspin by Sandra Brown was released just August of this year. With elements that made for interesting reading, Tailspin takes readers through semantics involving the fields of aviation and pharmaceutical industry, mainly focusing on the very interesting concept of orphan drugs.

Rye Mallett is go-to pilot when you have cargo that needs hauling, no matter what sort of weather conditions might prevail. This is the reason why Dash, the owner of the airfreight company Dash-It-All finds Rye so useful. Along with the holiday season had rolled in a fog of the kind that had the meteorologists in a tizzy. So was Dash, with a cargo that had to be delivered to Howardville, under conditions that no other pilot taking jobs for him was willing to fly.

Rye makes it, only to crash land because of a sabotage attempt that makes him question the end goal to which he had been serving by taking on jobs that no other pilot would. Discovering that the Dr. Lambert he was supposedly meeting was a woman, and being suspicious enough about her involvement in the whole mess is how Rye comes off at first; surly, unfriendly, and rude; that is until he discovers that things are not quite what they seem.

Dr. Brynn O’Neal is on a mission of her own. A mission that is at odds with what her boss Dr. Lambert wants from her. However, she is willing to go that extra mile, damn the consequences. With Rye finally managing to get out of Brynn what it is that she actually wants to do with the precious cargo that he had been hauling, it is with reluctance that Rye gets involved, only to find that he is drawn to Brynn in a way he never thought possible for a man like himself.

Rye is a man who does not give a damn about much, except for flying, which he describes to Brynn through many of her inquisitive conversations with him, that it had been ingrained in him, that flying is a part of him which he cannot explain. So are the scars that Rye carries deep inside, so much a part of him that he cannot see beyond his ultimate goal – to shorten his sojourn through life on Earth as much as possible.

Taking readers through a journey that involves law enforcement officials who surprisingly were keen on doing their jobs and finding out what was actually going on, a Senator and his wife who were hellbent on ensuring that the drug comes their way and not where Brynn has decided it should go, with Rye and Brynn tossed into the midst of it all, made for page turning reading through the last couple of chapters.

Rye was a marvelous a character, a classic Sandra Brown hero if you ask me. Peeling back the complex layers to him and understanding what makes him tick? That was one of the most enticing aspects to the story. The unfounded guilt that Rye carries in his heart, pushing everyone away, believing that it is his death-wish that defines the risks he is willing to take; all of it & more made him a character worth unraveling.

Brynn’s character managed to surprise me as well, especially certain aspects of her childhood that must have been lonely and painful to endure. But the fact that Brynn had not let it define her life was what made me root for her. She is a strong character, whose moral compass is defined by the compassionate nature of who she is.

Including the voice of Violet, the child patient who was suffering from cancer was a brilliant move. Violet’s point of view was as insightful as they come, giving the story an edge that made it all that much more emotional. One of the things that I found disappointing was that Senator Hunt didn’t get to meet his comeuppance as did Dolores, who met the end of poetic justice at the hands of none other than the man whom she thought was slave to her, when in fact he had been all about loyalty. The twist involving Dolores was definitely not something I had seen coming, which is why Sandra Brown is known as one of the masters when it comes to the genre.

What intrigued me the most was the concept of orphan drugs as discussed in this book. I know that a lot of research must have gone into writing about it, in order for readers to understand pharmaceuticals that are usually bogged down in a lot of technical jargon. This novel brings to picture the stark reality of how major pharmaceutical companies operate, how they let profit margins dictate the sanctity of human life, and above all, the dirty machinations of the political elite, who would stoop to any level, just so that they can come out at the top.

Recommended for fans of romantic suspense, and of course, fans of Sandra Brown.

Final Verdict: Firmly entrenched in the subject matter of aviation & orphan drugs, Sandra Brown delivers a high octane tale of danger, lust, love, & intrigue in equally cataclysmic doses.

Favorite Quotes

The instant Rye slid his tongue between her lips, he acknowledged that he’d been waiting for any excuse to kiss her.
He heard a little catch in her breath, felt a small puff of it against his lips. Both were sexy as hell and encouraging. He angled his head. The deeper he explored, the better she tasted, the more carnally his intent was channeled. Somehow he’d known her mouth was made for this.

She made a purring sound as her body went lax. Her head was back, her eyes closed. She was biting her lower lip. He whispered, “Is that permission to continue?”
She opened her eyes and, clasping his head firmly between her hands, brought it to hers. Their mouths came at each other hungrily. This was no coy kiss. Her tongue was giving and receiving, and the way she drew his in was as erotic as hell.
The caveman in him was awakened with a vengeance. He wanted to claim her mouth, possess it, and to inflict pain on every other man who’d had so much as a sampling of it. He wanted to kill the wild Hendrix boy.

He withdrew his hand and stretched out on top of her. He kissed her neck, ravenously, but a bit awkwardly, as he fumbled with the wrapper and got the condom on.
Then—God, finally—he pushed into her in one long, uninterrupted glide, until he was completely, solidly embedded. Seized again by a primal possessiveness, he clamped the slender cord of her neck between his teeth and held it for several heartbeats, then raised his head and looked down into her face.
Her cheeks were flushed. Catching the dim light, her eyes shone silver as they looked into his. Breath rushed past her lips, made swollen and red and damp from kisses.
“Pride be damned,” she whispered. “I wanted this. I wanted this.”

With his nose, he pushed her hair aside and placed his lips against her ear so that she would hear every panted word, each curse, praise and blessing, every syllable of the sex-talk chant that urged her toward her orgasm, and his inarticulate, mating growl when he allowed himself to come.
The only thing he wished he could take back, the one thing he wished he hadn’t said where she could hear it, where he could hear it, spoken on a serrated sigh as he sank onto her in sweet repletion: Brynn.

Raising his head, and looking her up and down, he whispered, “How did you know that this is my favorite fantasy?”
“It is? Since when?”
“Since I walked in that door.”
With a groan, he stamped his mouth over hers, slanting it to the perfect angle. The forceful thrust of his tongue was no less thrilling and exciting than it had been the first time he’d kissed her. More so, if that were possible. It reignited her craving for his mouth, his hands, him.

He panted, “If you don’t ride me, there is no God.”
Smiling, she combed her fingers up through the fan of light brown hair on his chest as she bent over him and took him into her mouth. Sensations aroused by his elementally male scent and taste were intensified by the low animal sound of pleasure that vibrated through his entire body. She drew on him until he huffed her name and tugged her head up by handfuls of her hair.
“Now.” He took himself in hand, so that when she stood on her knees, he guided himself into her. As she sank down on him, he released a long exhale. Through the squint she was coming to identify with him, he looked at her with thrilling, possessive greed. “Damn, this is hot.”

Their motions grew increasingly fast and urgent. He jackknifed up, burrowed his face into the open jacket, and sucked her nipple into his mouth. He worked his fingers down between them where they were joined, gathered moisture on the pads of them, then feathered, pressed, encircled. Again, again, and again until she came apart.
Her orgasm was long and intense. While aftershocks continued to ripple through her, he lay back down and carried her with him. Then, with his hands splayed over her bottom, grafting her to him, he thrust high and came.

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

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Review: Cold Blooded by Toni Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ARC Review: The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-bookthelullabygirl.png
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Series: Angie Pallorino, #2
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: James Maddocks
Heroine: Angela Pallorino
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 14, 2017
Started On: May 14, 2018
Finished On: May 20, 2018

The Lullaby Girl by Loreth Anne White is the second book in the Angie Pallorino series, books centered around the lead female detective, aka Angela Pallorino (Angie). These are not standalone books, so if you want to immerse yourself in the ‘dark’ escape that this series provides, you will have to read the books in order. I say dark escape because Loreth’s books delve into the darker side of suspense with just enough romance going for it to suit readers like myself.

The Lullaby Girl begins two weeks or so after The Drowned Girls end, rather eventfully I must add. With Angie taking down a serial rapist turned killer (Spencer Adams) working her now life partner (of sorts), Sergeant James Maddocks, Angie’s life had considerably turned upside down since the hunt for Spencer had started. Angie, who had then being working sex crimes, had been partnered with James, the man she had tied to a motel bed and drowned herself in him on her way to oblivion – Angie’s method of escape from the voices that hound her.

Since then, Angie and Maddocks had managed to bust wide open a case that has all the elements that makes society gasp in indignation and fear. A rapist & killer who mutilated his victims, who had found easy pickings aboard a ‘pleasure vessel’ known as Amanda Rose, which had also exposed dirty politicians that had benefited from the operations.

While Angie had been placed on leave until the investigation into the culmination of the Spencer Adams angle in the case had ended, Maddocks meanwhile had continued the probe into the human trafficking of young girls and how far the tentacles of the case reaches.

Angie had in the meantime, started inquiries into her childhood, the lies which had pretty much defined her existence having come out into the open during the strenuous hours spent on the case. It is as Angie digs her heels into finding out more, that two detectives seek her out on a cold case of a DNA match with Angie’s, bringing home the possibility that Angie must have family somewhere that could possibly have been looking for her all these years.

With her position as a detective in the department at peril and placed in the social media division, Angie has no choice but to go along for the ride, if only for the ‘benefits’ being on the job would bring in the line of her own investigations. But resent the punishment, she definitely does.

So finds Angie going along with the investigations into her past, while Maddocks pursues the leads on his case, which takes on Russian organized crime amidst international human trafficking angle which brings takes the case to a whole new level. But it is when these two separate and distinct investigations collide that things take a turn which brings the whole house of cards tumbling down.

The Lullaby Girls proved to be just as engrossing a read as it’s predecessor. Angie’s character was just as thorny, perhaps more so owing to the different upheavals that her life has been subjected to along the way. Angie doesn’t see the destructive path she is on, though it is hard not to empathize with what she’s going through as well. She has had her whole world turned upside down, and to come to know that she had had a life that was vastly different from what she remembers to be her childhood, enables her to understand her affinity with crime solving and sex crimes in particular.

The inability to see the “difficult” side of her character prevents Angie from seeing the punishment she is given at the department for what it is; that it had been owing to her actions and behavior along with her strained relationships with her partners, and her lack of ability to follow orders while keeping a level head about it.

This of course makes Angie lash out, and lash out she does, which makes things pretty difficult for Maddocks. Because for Angie, there is nothing more vulnerable than letting someone into her life to a point where he would have the ability to destroy her whole world, if it ever comes to that. Angie likes control, well let’s be honest, who doesn’t. But then again, Angie’s need for control makes it almost impossible for her to see the damage she is doing to her own life, the relationships she forges with everyone around her, and her inability to connect with people long enough to forge meaningful relationships with them.

And then there is Maddocks. Whose own life has clearly not been a walk in the park. The case which forces him to return to his old haunts brings back the memories of a failed marriage, his idealistic views on what his life should have been like, his frayed relationship with his daughter, and most of all, his tendency to be attracted to the broken that needs fixing, which explains Angie and his need for her in his life.

Like I said in my review of the first book, if it were any other man but Maddocks, he would have washed his hands off of Angie and walked away a long while back. But there are reasons which makes Maddocks stay, reasons which I as the reader see for myself when I keep wading through the complexity that is Angie. There is that damaged side to her character which is hard not to empathize with, and there is that wonderful person she could be if there wasn’t so much darkness clouding her life, a person that peeks through from within the layers every once in a while that makes Maddocks’ patience worth it.

Angie coming full circle with her past and uncovering the roots of her beginnings was something to behold. I enjoyed every single minute of it, rooted for Angie with every fiber of my being, and held my breathe every single time things started heading south. But life holds little meaning, if it ain’t for the struggles which you triumph through.

Recommended for fans of thrillers and suspense novels that keeps you at the edge, because a book that doesn’t make you sweat for the characters you root for, ain’t a book worth reading.

Final Verdict: The Lullaby Girl delves deeper into the psyche of Angie and brings to the forefront the horrors of sex-trafficking, taking on the world of transnational organized crime, delivering a story as informative & unsettling as they come.

Favorite Quotes

People don’t understand the toll that job can take on a police officer or his family. They don’t know how we all have to tiptoe around the ugly side of the job, the mood swings, the depression, the drinking.

He caressed the line of her jaw with his thumb. And something fierce and angry erupted inside her—a desperation to burn down her own insecurities, to kill the pain, to blind herself to the fear of what her own memories might reveal, the realities that she might have to face about what had happened to her in childhood. She grabbed his tie and yanked him closer. Drawing his head down, she reached herself up and pressed her mouth hungrily to his. His lips were cold from outside. He hesitated a nanosecond before suddenly cupping her buttocks and jerking her hips tightly up against his pelvis. His mouth bore down on hers, forcing her lips open. He slid his tongue inside, met hers. Lust blinded Angie as she felt his erection stiffening against her belly.

His eyes, intense, held hers as he allowed her to pin his wrists above his head against the floor. Angie straddled his hips and slid the crotch of her skimpy panties aside. Widening her knees, parting her thighs, she sank down onto the hot, hard length of him. With a bliss-filled sigh she spread her thighs farther, making him go deep, deeper. And she began to rock her hips, creating friction deep inside the core of her body. Her breaths came fast, faster. She rocked harder. She became slick around his erection. Her body began to tingle. A hot, raw anger exploded, ripping through her gut, driving her wilder. She closed her eyes, put her head back, mouth open wide, panting, her skin going damp. And she rode him hard and fast and half-clothed, forcing her mind back, mentally reliving that very first night she’d spent with him at the Foxy Motel. She gasped suddenly, froze, then cried out as muscle contractions slammed through her in rolling waves, taking control of her body.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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