Review: Prisoner of Night by J.R. Ward

Format: E-Bookprisonerofnight
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novella
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #16.5
Publisher: Gallery Books
Hero: Duran
Heroine: Ahmare, blooded daughter of Ahmat
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 07, 2019
Started On: March 20, 2019
Finished On: March 25, 2019

Prisoner of Night by JR Ward is a novella set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, released just this January. The story begins with Duran, a male vampire held under captivity by another known as Chalen the Conqueror, is tortured both physically and mentally with the sole purpose of breaking him. When the story continues, it is Ahmare, the blooded daughter of Ahmat, a teacher by profession, thrown into extraordinary circumstances, in pursuit of her brother who comes seeking Chalen at his “home”.

It is Chalen who throws Duran and Ahmare together, which kick starts a journey into something both never foresaw coming. Even with all Duran had undergone at the hands of those who worked for Chalen, from the moment Ahmare steps into close proximity, Duran recognizes her as the one he belongs with, even though there is a wealth of issues that he needs to work through, a past he needs to confront, and his own father to contend with. Ahmare, while at first, is distrustful of Duran, she slowly comes to identify that the male with her is one of worth, someone she could definitely fall and fall hard for.

I found Prisoner of Night to be a bit jarring, having enjoyed the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, some books more than others up to this point. But Prisoner of Night had no reason nor rhyme to it, falling into place just like that, with characters that we have never come across before. Of course, the novella Dearest Ivie was also of the same variety, but it was a novella that I enjoyed because there was emotional depth to the story that I could relate to.

Prisoner of Night wasn’t relatable in any aspect. Except for Duran’s character and Ahmare’s considerate nature toward him, there is little in the story that held my attention. There were gory details of violence that just seemed out of place, especially at the points where Duran was first being held captive, and more so where Ahmare was having flashbacks into how she had performed her first kill.

I felt disconnected from both Duran and Ahmare in a large way and because of that the story that unfolded. For me, Prisoner of Night was just a collection of paragraphs about violence and sex. I had problems with how Duran, a vampire who had been violated so badly, multiple times over, found it that easy to be intimate with Ahmare, his very first female. Zsadist’s story was believable after everything he went through because Ward took care and time with his character, to get deep into his psych so that readers were right there with him when things changed for him for the better.

There is also one more aspect to these novels that has gotten kind of tiresome over the years. The continued looking down on humans in general. How are vampires any great as a race than humans when it comes right down to it? Humans are crappy, needy, self-righteous, greedy, and all of those character traits that makes us annoying. But vampires, beyond their ability to live for centuries, aren’t that great either in my opinion. The beginning of the race itself had been steeped in divisiveness, elitism, and a culture that had created a great divide between the glymera, the ruling class, and the normal vampire folk who pretty much have as hard a time as humans do to make ends meet, to survive.

Even though Wrath has at this point in time embraced his role as the King of the species fully, it was his dillydallying that put the entire race in danger, the lack of strong leadership that had actually created the vacuum which had seen his role as king threatened from within the glymera itself. How is that for greatness of the race? Ward needs to tone down a bit on hating humans, because at the end of the day, the vampire race is just as lacking, with the same set of problems that humans face, equipped with an angel who just helps out the elite “brotherhood” with problems they face in their love lives. *mic drop*

Recommended for diehard fans of the BDB series.

Final Verdict: Prisoner of Night was a letdown in every sense. While new characters are welcome, the deep disconnect that is felt from the characters contributed to making this a paltry reading experience.

Favorite Quotes

Duran planted his palms on the tile wall, his great arms bowing out, and then he got to the grind, his abs rolling under his tight skin, his hips working, his lips finding hers until the rhythm got too intense. Looking down her body, beneath her breasts, she watched him go in and out of her, the sight so erotic, she came again.
And again.
And . . . again.
He was filling her up on the inside once more, marking her as males did when they had bonded, mating her in the rawest sense of the word. His face, as he strained and powered over her, was intense, his eyes glowing, his fangs bared as his lips curled off his canines in pleasure.
He was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.
And he was alive.

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

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ARC Review: The Dark Bones by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-bookthedarkbones
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Series: Dark Lure, #2
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Ash Haugen
Heroine: Rebecca North
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: May 21, 2019
Started On: April 13, 2019
Finished On: April 19, 2019

Sergeant Rebecca North returns to her hometown in Cariboo Country upon the death of her father. Rebecca’s regrets are deep when she returns to the scene of her father’s death, all evidence pointing to him having taken his own life. However, Rebecca is determined to do right by her father, who had reached out to her on the day of his death, telling her of how he was being followed, of his case notes being rifled through, all circling around him digging up a cold case that is inexorably tied to Rebecca’s past, the past that had kept her from returning home.

Now a hot shot white collar crimes investigator, Rebecca puts all her efforts into finding out the events surrounding her father’s death. On the eve of the first day of her return, she runs smack dab into Ash Haugen, the man she had avoided for far too long, the man whose actions on the day of the disappearance of the woman who had been tied with the scandal that had driven Rebecca to flee from life as she had known it.

As Rebecca retraces the steps of her father on the days leading up to his death, she uncovers something far more deeper, darker, and sinister surrounding the cold case her father had been unable to let go. Rebecca takes on an investigation that has her stepping on toes of those would kill to keep their secrets buried, the mysterious events surrounding the disappearance of two key people who had left destruction in their wake of the kind they had no inkling of.

The Dark Bones takes place in the same setting as that of A Dark Lure, a definite favorite of mine and countless other readers when it comes to Loreth Anne White. Her mastery over bringing scenery to vivid life, the chills that runs up and down your spine owing to the evil that can lurk in your midst; all of that and more makes The Dark Bones just as highly readable.

I loved how the story developed up to a certain point. Don’t get me wrong, I truly did enjoy the book from start to finish. But I felt that there was a disconnect from a certain point onward in the story, from how it was at first initially developed to how everything was eventually resolved. Perhaps this was felt mostly owing to the fact that the villain(s) in this story wasn’t as prominently characterized as some of the books I have read from Loreth. I believe one of the most fascinating aspects of Loreth’s books is the fact that she care bring pure evil to life in a way that still has you questioning certain things, even when you know that there are no excuses to be had for their behavior in the end. I missed that in this story, mayhap one of the reasons why I felt that disconnect towards the latter half of the book.

In Rebecca North, Loreth creates the kind of strong heroine that her books always deliver. Independent, strong headed and strong willed, with a stubbornness that I can relate to being a woman myself. Rebecca’s role in the book as the lead detective through most of the story was fascinating; she after all had her considerable experience as a white collar crime investigator up her sleeve. Her determination to keep Ash at arm’s length, because she wanted him and didn’t trust him in equal doses played its role.

While I understand the need for strong female leads, I sometimes wonder if society at large has built up these expectations around women that we have to do everything by ourselves, if we are to show that we are strong and capable. We have come to a point in our debates on feminism and the role of women in society in which leaning on a man for support is often seen as weakness, which I do not believe it to be.

I did recognize where Rebecca’s character was coming from – she had her reasons to distrust Ash and his intentions. But for two people with such a strong connection that practically leaps off the pages from the moment they come into close proximity, I had a hard time envisioning Rebecca’s need for Ash, which somehow seemed mismatched when it comes to reciprocating how Ash views her. She had been all that he had dreamed of, everything he had wanted, until he had been forced to give up on his dream, tied to his own actions, born out of a need to answer deeply disturbing questions about his own self.

Ash’s character is the kind of hero that Loreth writes so well. I was drawn to him on an inexplicable level, Loreth’s mastery over characterization making it no hardship to fall deeply for Ash. I felt immensely sad and disturbed by his childhood, a truth that most had not seen. I found it odd that Rebecca’s father who had been a cop himself, had not seen the truth when it came to Ash, had never discovered the dark secrets that lay buried in Ash’s tortured soul. At the same time, I know how deeply seated these issues in society can be, especially in smaller communities where victims could end up being accused for the very atrocities that they desperately needed to escape from.

I wanted to shower Ash with love. I wanted to hug him close, wishing I could have saved him from way back when he needed it the most. I wanted to weep for him. Long after having turned the last page, I still cannot seem to get over his past, something that Loreth never delved deep into. Rebecca was center stage of the novel, and it is only through her pursuit of the truth that Ash’s past comes to light. If I could, I would reach through the pages, pluck Ash out of them, and give him the longest hug ever recorded in history. That is how deeply I felt about him and his character. It may also have something to do with the fact that even with all that he had endured, there is a wealth of kindness, love, & integrity inside of him, having survived horrors of the kind that I cannot even fathom.

I also wished Loreth had delivered just a bit on the tangible sexual and emotional connection between Ash & Rebecca. I do not think it would have taken away anything from the main story. Instead, I believe that it would have only added more nuance to a story through exploration of a facet of both Ash and Rebecca’s character that Loreth brought so strongly to life amidst the backdrop of everything else that was going on. After all, the connection between Ash and Rebecca had been what kickstarted the events from years back, what had driven Rebecca away while Ash had been forced to stay behind, what had in essence led to Rebecca’s return home in the end.

On a side note, Sergeant Grace seems to be an interesting character. The strong, capable, and the do-not-need-anything-else-in-my-life kind of strong heroine that Loreth loves to write.

Recommended for fans of Loreth Anne White and for those who love tangible thrillers and mysteries. The Dark Bones definitely delivers.

Final Verdict: Loreth Anne White’s masterful manipulation of the world she draws her readers into is one reason why The Dark Bones stands out. Recommended!

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: Crazy Like a Fox by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookcrazylikeafoxas.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Peter Andrew Delacroix Jaffrey
Heroine: Margaret O’Rourke Jaffrey
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 01, 1997
Started On: March 09, 2019
Finished On: March 14, 2019

Crazy Like a Fox by Anne Stuart begins when Margaret O’Rourke Jaffrey, with her nine year old daughter Carrie in tow, finally makes her way to her deceased husband’s family in order to recoup and find her footing once again. Having had a less than stellar marriage with Carrie’s father Dexter, it was the last thing that Margaret wanted; to finally admit defeat and seek the help of the Delacroix family.

In the midst of the Delacroix family, Margaret finds the mysterious Peter Andrew Delacroix Jaffrey, the Delacroix who by all accounts is a lunatic, looking for a reason to go off the hinges at any moment’s notice. Margaret cannot explain why she is drawn to Peter, why she finds him fascinating when she rightfully shouldn’t, and at the same time has distrust for him running through her veins.

Peter has been in a jail of his family’s and his own making ever since the events surrounding the death of his former wife. A man who had everything he could have desired, Peter’s downfall had come from his marriage to a woman who had wanted more. Along with her death, the blame of which had fallen squarely on him, Peter had found himself biding his time, waiting for his cousin Wendell to prove his innocence, sort of lost in the midst of the sea upon which he had been tossed adrift. That is until Margaret walks into the family home and makes him want again.

Crazy Like a Fox sounds like a title that would deliver a humor-filled read. While the book has its witty moments (it is Anne Stuart after all with her acerbic wit), the book delves into two characters who have been lost for a long while. Margaret had made the mistake of marrying a man who had wanted the next high that gambling would bring his way, a wayward character if ever there was any, leaving both herself and Carrie destitute when he had left this world.

Peter is the character that is truly intriguing, Anne Stuart’s masterful creativity bringing forth a someone you cannot figure out at first. Peter is a character that is revealed to readers in layers, his story emerging in bits and pieces that makes the story that much more intriguing. I loved the unveiling of his character as much as I loved the connection forged between the two lost souls himself and Margaret are, and the resolution to a mystery that had been a miscarriage of justice right from the start.

Anne Stuart’s intelligent heroes & equally witty heroines always reel you into the story without fail. An innocent man doubts his own sanity while the madman responsible for it all lives among them, waiting and biding his time. The wildcard that changes it all proves to be Margaret and her daughter Carrie, infusing Peter’s life with the vitality and vigor it had been lacking since a long while back. Loved the awakening, the connection, and the happily ever after.

Definitely recommended.

Final Verdict: Anne Stuart’s books age so finely that you don’t even remember how long ago the book was written, because each word inexorably woven with the other presents readers with sheer magic.

Favorite Quotes

Taking her arm, he pulled her away from the tomb, away from an approaching group of tourists, back into one of the shadowy alleys. They were alone, sheltered from sight, separated in time and space from the crowds around them. “That’s Marie’s speciality,” he said, reaching his hands up to cup her face. “Trust her.” His mouth moved down to touch hers, softly. “Trust me.” And he kissed her again, just as lightly, his mouth teasing hers, drawing her into a response she couldn’t help but give.
He tasted of champagne and pancakes. He smelled of the night and smoke from the ceremonial flambeaux. He felt warm and solid and real, no phantom at all. Sliding her arms underneath his cloak, she made a small, whimpering sound of surrender, of a longing so deep she couldn’t begin to understand it. And her mouth opened beneath his.

“Thank you for everything,” she said, knowing she sounded stilted. “Goodbye.” She turned and opened the door.
She was unprepared for his reaction. Catching her arm, he whirled her around, enfolding them both in his voluminous cape, and this time when his mouth met hers it wasn’t gentle, or teasing, or quietly seductive. His kiss was harsh, full of demand and despair, and she wrapped herself around him and returned the kiss, lost in the same sense of desolation.
Then abruptly he released her and she sank back against the doorway of the old building, her breathing rapid, her eyes shut.
“Next time, Marguerite,” he whispered, “I want to see your red hair.”

His hands moved down to cover her breasts, and she made a tiny, almost indistinguishable sound of protest. That protest drifted into a sigh of pleasure, and she dropped her head back, her hair flowing over both of them as he caressed her breasts through the thin lacy barrier of her bra.
And then the barrier was gone. His hands were warm and rough skinned against her sensitive breasts, and his mouth was at her neck, drawing her, drawing her. She turned, opening her eyes for a moment, staring up at him with a dazed expression, and then his mouth caught hers.

Deliberately he pulled her toward him, his hands rough on her arms, not allowing her any escape.
She had no intention of escaping. She slid her arms around his waist, moving against him, and her mouth reached up for his.
He stumbled against her, pushing her up against the wall, his body covering hers, pressing against every square inch of her, and his hands cupped her face, holding her still for his devouring mouth. He kissed her lips, her eyelids, her cheeks, her nose, then returned to her mouth, slanting across her soft, giving lips and drinking deep. She gave a little cry deep in the back of throat, one of desire and acceptance. She didn’t care.

“Let go, Peter. Let me leave, drive away from here, out of your life. Please, Peter. Let me go.”
And they both knew she wasn’t talking about anything as simple as his hand on her arm.
“Marguerite,” he said, his voice low and sorrowful. “Chère. I’m not that crazy.” And he pulled her slowly, carefully, into his arms, giving her plenty of time to pull back, to fight, to resist.
“Oh, Peter,” she whispered. “I am.” And rising up on her toes, she kissed him, pressing her mouth against his, opening it slightly, touching her tongue against his lips.
His response was a muffled growl of longing as he threaded his long, beautiful fingers through her hair and kissed her back.

He yanked his clothes off, his eyes never leaving hers. He stripped off her jeans and threw them halfway across the room, and then he covered her body with his, with his long, lean, muscled beauty that was unlike anything she’d ever seen. She wanted to touch him, to treasure him, to delight in him, but his mouth was on her breasts again, suckling them deep, his hands were between her legs and she was damp and aching for more. She reached down to hold him, but he’d already moved on top of her, between her legs, hot and heavy and ready for her.
“I can’t wait,” he whispered, his voice harsh with desire and an impossible restraint. “Come to me, Marguerite.” And he sank into her, deep and hard and wonderful.

“Scream for me, Marguerite,” he whispered in her ear. “I want to hear you scream.” And he reached between their bodies and touched her, deftly, as he surged against her.
She did scream then, as he’d wanted, as she never had in her life. She felt her body dissolve, even as he surged and shuddered against her, and the flames engulfed them, destroying and devouring them, until there was nothing left but ashes.

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

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Review: A Dark & Stormy Night by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookadarkandstormynight
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: More Than Men, #13
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jamie O’Neal
Heroine: Kathleen Bridget Moira O’Monaghan Flynn
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 24, 1997
Started On: February 20, 2019
Finished On: March 01, 2019

28 year old Kathleen Bridget Moira O’Monaghan Flynn (Katie) is a weather junkie, who prefers singledom because she likes her freedom and solitude too much. Leaving everything familiar behind had been her way of facing an early onset of “mid-life crisis”, in the search for greener pastures to graze on. When she gets caught in a massive storm and nearly plunges to her death, it is the man that rescues her that changes the course of her life so drastically from that point on wards.

When Jamie O’Neal rescues Katie in the midst of a fierce storm, he has little inkling of the fact that Katie would end up turning his life upside down. Jamie is a man who has been denying himself happiness, the guilt that he has nursed all along since the tragic deaths of his family having kept him solidly within a prison of his own making. Jamie has a secret that he tells no one, a secret that he cannot trust anyone with, which ties in with that fateful night he lost his family to the churning waters of stormy seas.

Even though Jamie tries to send Katie on her way, to push her away, to deny himself, fate however has other plans in store, especially with Katie being helped along by forces unseen by Jamie. At the same time, Jamie does not see the threat that exists right under his nose, which made for pretty interesting reading.

I picked A Dark and Stormy Night needing to read a story that would awaken all my senses. I wanted a book that would sweep me off my feet, the reason why I keep Anne Stuart reads to pick up on those days that I need a booster in terms of my romance addiction. Anne Stuart is the perfect antidote to all my woes and this story just proved once again that the woman can basically do no wrong.

I loved A Dark and Stormy Night in so many ways. Jamie was such a wonderful hero, equal doses aloof and tragically beautiful, while at the same time with a vulnerability that spoke to me on so many levels. Katie was just perfect for him; brash and brave in a way that was needed to shake Jamie out of that decade long stupor he had gotten himself into.

Every time I pick up an Anne Stuart to read, it is as if I fall in love with her writing, head over heels, all over again. I found the prose of this book particularly beautiful, perhaps one reason being that my reader soul was starved for words that speaks to me on a whole different level. I actually cried over the beauty of the prose of the book, which made me fall in love, all that much more.

I so loved the epilogue. Couldn’t have asked for anything more!

Final Verdict: What a beautifully magical story Anne Stuart weaves, when she intends to make her fans weep! Loved, loved, loved!

Favorite Quotes

“We’re going to die,” she said, “No.” He was there, touching her, and she started to pull away, when something hit her directly between the shoulder blades, hit her hard, and sent her falling against him, so that he had no choice but to catch her, no choice but to put his arms around her. No choice but to put his mouth against hers.
And she was lost.

He moved his mouth away from hers, just for a moment, and her voice was small and pained.
“Please don’t,” she said. But her hands clung to his shoulders tightly, and she rose on tiptoes and pressed her mouth against his, ignoring her own plea for mercy.
He could have stopped. She wanted him to stop, he wanted to stop, and it would have taken so little to step back, set her away from him, retreat to a corner and await rescue or drowning, he didn’t give a damn which.

“Hold on to me,” he whispered against her ear.
“Hold on tight.”
She put her hands on his shoulders, and she could feel him against her, hot and heavy, pressing, filling her, sliding in a little at a time, and then withdrawing, only to push inside her again, deeper this time.
Her fingernails were digging into his shoulders now, but he didn’t seem to mind. He rocked against her, a slow, leisurely pace that was maddening when she needed more, she needed all of him, not this wicked tease, this promise of something shattering and unattainable.

“Look at me, Katie,” he said in a harsh voice.
She opened her eyes, staring up into his lost, beautiful ones. Her breath and her heart stopped as he thrust deep, breaking past the barrier of her virginity and filling her completely.
The pain was nothing, the joy powerful. She no longer clawed his skin, she slid her arms around his neck and kissed him with pure abandon and love.

She was crying, she realized belatedly. Sobbing, but O’Neal didn’t seem to mind. He rolled to his side, taking her with him, holding her with all the tenderness of a lover.
He was her lover, she thought in amazement, weeping her stupid tears against his chest while he stroked her hair and murmured soft, loving things that made no sense. He was her lover and her love.
And she fell asleep mid-sob.

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

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Review: Between the Devil and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Format: E-bookbetweenthedevilanddesire
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scoundrels of St. James, #2
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Jack Dawkins
Heroine: Olivia Stanford
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 06, 2009
Started On: December 31, 2018
Finished On: January 02, 2019

Having finished In Bed with the Devil, the first book in the Scoundrels of St. James series by Lorraine Heath, I was intrigued enough to begin the second title, Between the Devil and Desire. This is the story of none other than Jack Dodger, the infamous best friend of Lucian (Luke), who entices readers on so many levels even as a secondary character.

Jack is a man who has long accepted the fact that he would do anything to get his next coin, to ensure that he would always remain in a place where no one else could have power over him. Jack had been five years old when he had been sold by his mother, something that his young and older self “understands”, because Jack believes that hunger could drive any human to do even the most despicable of things.

Falling in with a notorious den of thieves, Jack had quickly mastered the art of thievery, learnt that practically anything could be stolen, if proper preparations are done in advance. Even though Jack believes himself to be someone who couldn’t care less about another person, meeting Luke, the role Jack plays in Luke’s fate, and how their lives become entwined, places Jack in the role of playing the responsible “adult”.

At the age of nineteen, Jack had come into a lump sum of money through an anonymous benefactor. Jack hadn’t looked twice and asked no questions. He had turned that into his fortune by building and opening his exclusive gentleman’s club. Rich, independent, and revered and disliked in equal doses by polite society, Jack couldn’t care less about ant of it, that is until he is summoned to the reading of the Duke of Lovington’s will by the late Duke’s solicitor.

Olivia Stanford, the Duchess of Lovington, is someone who has always been about duty. Which is why she had married someone 25 years older than her, because her father had arranged the marriage, and that is what respectable women do. Even though Olivia hides a deeply passionate nature inside, she is the modicum of propriety itself, leaving many to believe that Olivia is as cold and haughty as aristocrats come.

When Olivia’s late husband appoints none other than Jack as the guardian and protector of his heir until the child reaches of age or Olivia marries another, that is when true horror dawns on Olivia, leading her to take drastic steps to “save” her son from the clutches of a man who could turn the most respectable of society into the most depraved.

Jack is lured by the promise of a final item that the late Duke dangles in front of him, its value immeasurable according to the solicitor, who remains tight-lipped about what it could be. Even though from the onset, Jack knows that Olivia seethes with anger at the mere thought of sharing anything with him, and even though Jack knows he can charm Olivia if he sets his mind to it, he cannot help himself but irritate Olivia given the chance, all because he likes igniting the slow burning fires deep inside of Olivia which she hides from the rest of the world.

While the Duke’s reasons for leaving Jack as the guardian of his son remains a mystery, and Jack certainly does not like things he cannot add up together, all of that is revealed through the various events that lead up to the culmination of this story. Even though Olivia would rather die than depend on the likes of Jack, as these two are “forced” to spend time together, both of them find in each other aspects of their characters that they are drawn towards. The explosive secrets that come to light towards the end was one of the best parts of the story.

I liked the story. I truly did. Jack was after all, nothing short of fabulous, everything I desired him to be, vulnerable from past atrocities inflicted upon him at a most tender age. His uncaring attitude as most would see it, an image he cultivates with calculated effort, makes him the person every woman would like to blame her husband’s less than savory need to visit his establishment upon.

I had bit of a harder time liking Olivia. Not that she was any less as a character in the story as it unfolded. But because there was a time or two towards the latter part of the story where she was still in doubt over Jack and his intentions. Olivia was also a trifle bit tiresome at the beginning, with her deep distrust of Jack (which was also understandable to a certain level), her inability to really commit to her feelings towards Jack – which at a certain point she finally did make up her mind and did get going.

I also felt that given all the build up of sexual tension between Jack and Olivia, the culmination of it all was just a bit anti-climactic. The way I see it, there is a deep wealth of passion hidden inside of Jack’s projected attitude. Fires banked over what he considers would make him more vulnerable by exposing own needs and weaknesses. I wanted that passion to tumble free, for it to take a hold of both himself and Olivia, who herself dreams of being possessed and dominated by someone as virile and undoubtedly decadent as Jack. Aside from the scene in the garden, which was pretty explosive, the rest of the scenes of passion seemed pretty mundane in comparison.

However, I enjoyed the overall story, the villain and his role in Jack’s life, meeting Feagan who had shaped the live of the main protagonists in the series, and the way Olivia finally accepted the true worth of the man who loves her without hesitation or condition.

Final Verdict: Jack’s smoldering passion meets the reserved and unstoked fires hidden beneath all the propriety that is Olivia. Enjoyed this succulent delight in many ways.

Favorite Quotes

“I’ve warned you not to forbid me,” he growled.
Before her next heartbeat, he’d slid his hand around her neck, holding her still, as he slashed his mouth across hers. He was not gentle or polite. He was almost savage with his desire to deliver what she’d requested. She relaxed into him, offered up no objections when his tongue urged her lips to part and slid smoothly into her mouth. Heat spiraled through her, melting her bones as though they were little more than tallow. He touched her with nothing except that one hand and his mouth, yet it seemed as though he caressed her everywhere, inside and out, shallow and deep. How could a kiss be this powerful, elicit such yearnings?

Suddenly changing the angle of his mouth, he deepened the kiss, his tongue leisurely exploring, enticing her to do the same. As he drew her nearer, held her close, she was not hampered by layers of petticoats or skirts. Quite frankly, there was little more than a few pieces of fabric separating her skin from his. His body responded with a fierceness that she needed no imagination to envision. She knew exactly what he looked like, images of him in the dressing room bombarding her, igniting a fire low in her belly.
She heard a harsh plea and feared it came from her.
Breathing heavily, he tore his mouth from hers. Only then did she realize she’d fairly wound herself around him. She immediately dropped her arms, stepped back.
“You do bewitch me,” he rasped. “Fair warning, Duchess, I fear this is the last time I can settle for only a kiss.”

They walked to the library without touching. As soon as the footman closed the door in their wake, Jack had her in his arms, holding her close, as his mouth swooped down to claim hers. She wanted to laugh from the joy of his eagerness. She’d never felt desired, and with him, it was as though he was hungry, hungry for her alone.
His mouth blazed a trail along her throat. “I was going mad sitting at that table making pleasant—and utterly boring—conversation, when all I could think about was how much I wanted to taste you instead of the chicken.”

“I’m not quite sure how to do this,” she said quietly. “I’m not sure how to go about seducing you.”
“Seducing me?” He released a bark of laughter, saw the hurt flash over her features, and closed the distance separating them in four long strides. He took her soft face between his roughened hands. “Livy, you’ve been seducing me since that first night.”
He kissed her forehead. “I find your defiance exciting.”
He kissed her temple. “I find your temper thrilling.”
He kissed her cheek. “I find your love for Henry humbling.”
He pressed his lips to the tip of her nose. “I find your laughter enchanting.”
He kissed the corner of her mouth. “Your eyes mesmerize me and your kisses have the power to bring me to my knees.”

She felt his mouth brushing over her shoulders and only then did she remember that he had a pickpocket’s fingers and light touch. He’d worked her buttons free from throat to stomach and she’d not even noticed. And now the gown was sliding off her shoulders, gliding to the floor.
She had a second to consider that she should feel a need to cover herself and then she was considering nothing at all except for the wondrous sensations of his mouth playing over her breasts: tasting, licking, suckling. All the while, he murmured that she was “beautiful. So beautiful.”

She gasped as the pleasure spiked.
He lifted his head, studying her. He glided his finger over her, eliciting another cry, her legs squeezing together as though to hold him there or perhaps to urge him on.
“I want to watch you, Livy,” he whispered roughly. “I want to see what the darkness of the garden kept from me. Let go, Livy. Let go.”

Then she felt him pushing into her, inch by delicious inch, the fullness of him stretching her further, increasing the pleasure tightening low in her belly. When she thought she could take no more, he lifted her hips slightly, shifted his weight, and buried himself completely into her, bowing her back with the exquisite sensation of feeling his weight pressing against her.
“Oh, God,” she whispered.
Threading his fingers through hers, he moved her hands so they rested on either side of her head while he rode her unmercifully, mercifully. Her body sang to his tune, pleasures rippling through her, increasing in intensity as his powerful thrusts moved not only her, but the bed.

He rode her hard, the motion of the train whispering at the back of his mind, giving him a cadence that he matched. For some reason, he thought of the people in the open railway car. He covered Livy’s mouth, absorbing her scream as her body tightened, pulsed, and throbbed around him. It was all he needed. His body bucked, the pleasure intense, almost painful. It was always more with her, more than he’d ever had, ever known.
Everything with her was different. Everything was better.

“I want to hear you,” he rasped.
And hear her, she was certain he did. Writhing beneath him, she heard her cries echo low and breathless, hardly aware they were coming from her. She held him close, dancing at the edge of intense pleasure. He knew when to stroke, when to suckle, when to pause, when to thrust with his tongue. He tempted and teased. He of the nimble fingers had a more nimble mouth. It stole her strength, her resistance.
Then she was screaming out his name and before the last of the shudders had wracked her body he was buried deep within her, his gaze holding hers as he rocked his hips against hers, his powerful thrusts causing the sensations to begin building again. She skimmed her hands down his back, cupped them around his buttocks, urging him on.

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

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Review: Raid by Kristen Ashley

Format: E-bookraid_ka.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Unfinished Hero, #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Raiden Ulysses Miller
Heroine: Hanna Boudreaux
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 25, 2013
Started On: December 27, 2018
Finished On: December 28, 2018

It has been a while since I read a Kristen Ashley novel, Dream Man being my introduction to her work, a book that has remained on my favorite shelf since then. Raid is the third book in the series entitled Unfinished Heroes. I skipped the first two books and jumped straight into this one, mainly for one reason. I was looking for an angst-filled read of the variety where the heroine has been in love with hero, without him even acknowledging her existence. I found this title on a recommendation thread somewhere, and knowing that Kristen Ashley’s series’ usually allows a reader to skip a couple of books and wade right in, I went ahead and did just that.

Raiden Ulysses Miller (Raid) is ex-military, having moved back to Willow, Colorado, after returning from war a scarred man, a man who keeps his dark secrets hidden well. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the heroine Hanna Boudreaux (Hanna) has been in love with Raid for a long, long time. She has watched him and admired him from afar as he went from being the most popular boy in school to the young adult who had taken on the responsibility of his family after his father had left, and how he had joined the Marines afterwards. His return as a war hero had been a big deal for the town, and all the while, Hanna had watched from the sidelines, hoping that someday, he would notice him.

However, there comes a point where Hanna realizes that her dreams are nothing but castles built in the air. Things take a radical turn when Hanna, determined to get over the funk in her life makes some changes which brings her in contact with new people, and ultimately becomes the focus of Raid, the man who Hanna never ever thought would even glance her way.

From the onset, the chemistry between Raid and Hanna are off the charts steamy, and while at the beginning there seemed to be an awkwardness on the part of Hanna where Raid was concerned, that quickly dissipated in the face of the truth Hanna has to face when it comes to what exactly had brought Raid into her life.

There is a continuing story that ties the books in the series together, which plays a pivotal role in determining the direction of Hanna and Raid’s story as well. While I enjoyed the magic that Kristen Ashley undeniably weaves in her stories, this one being no exception, there were certain elements in the story that I found to be a bit difficult to take in.

For instance, how Raid completely loses it and does something that I thought no hero would dare to do in a story written in an era which is so politically correct as ours. But then again, I understood the aspect from which that scene came up, how PTSD could realistically contribute to something of the nature. I believe the saving grace under the circumstance was how Hanna reacted, taking back control of the relationship when it mattered, and where it mattered.

There was one another aspect to the story that kept nagging at me; having read two Kristen Ashley books prior to this, I cannot help but feel that all her characters have the same “voice” to them. The heroes, of course, are all very hot – sexy, brooding, take your breathe away kinda hot – but when they start talking, it is as if you are reading about the same character, different name, different context.

However, this does not mean that I am not going to continue picking up a Kristen Ashley every now and then to immerse myself in. It is because of the fact that even with all that did not work for me in the book, Kristen does manage to tell a helluva story, which is why I can safely say that her books are an enjoyable form of escape, every time.

Final Verdict: Raid is explosive in a way that leaves you gasping for breathe, wanting more. Always wanting more.

Favorite Quotes

I lifted my hand, wrapped my fingers around his bicep, leaned in and went up on my toes.
I pressed my lips to his.
They felt great.
So great, I couldn’t take more. That was all I was could do. That took all the courage
I had left. I didn’t want to know how good it could be and never have it again, even if it was fake.
So that was it.
But Raiden…
He was good at faking.
The master.

Whatever it was, it was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Nothing I even knew existed.
And something I wanted never to end.
It was huge. Consuming. The world melted away and there was just Raiden, his arms, his big, hard body, his mouth and his tongue.
I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t give enough.
And Raiden felt exactly the same.
I knew this when he arched me into the car, pressing close, hips, chest, lips.
I knew it more when his hands slid down over my bottom and he jerked me up.

I didn’t notice this mostly because we left town behind in a blink, and we no sooner did that when his hand wrapped around the back of my neck and he roughly yanked me his way. Shoving my face in his neck, his other hand quickly captured my wrist and pulled it to him, then smoothed my hand over his hard crotch.
It was so hot, so forbidden, so dangerous; it felt like fireworks exploded in the car, their sparks landing everywhere, all over me, dazzling me at the same time making me burn.

I twisted back just as Raiden’s hand slid between my legs.
That felt so good, all my concentration centered on that feeling. I dropped the condom and my back left the bed as my lips parted on a silent moan.
“Thank fuck, soaked,” Raiden growled. I forced myself to right my head and look at him. “Spread, baby.”
I didn’t hesitate.
I spread.

I felt it building. My hand dipped under his tee, my head jerked up. It was going to be so huge it was going destroy me.
“Raiden,” I gasped, my voice harsh with passion and edged with fear.
“Give in, baby,” he grunted, still driving me down as he thrust up.
“Sweetheart, it’s—”
His mouth came to mine. “Give into it, honey.”
I gave in. I had no choice. And when I did, my fingernails dug into his back, scoring up; his hips ground deep into mine as his back arched. A hot, amazing groan rolled up his throat and he came with me.

“I’m gonna guide you on me then you’re gonna take over, and when you do, you’re gonna fuck me slow.”
I held his eyes and my voice trembled when I told him, “I don’t know if I can do slow, Raid.”
When I said his name, his eyes flashed, but his lips said, “Slow, Hanna.”
“I—”
“Trust me.”

“Fuck, but my girl is fucking magnificent,” he rumbled. “Harder, baby, fuck me.”
I fucked him harder, gasping, whimpering, moaning. One of my hands slid into his hair and just like his at mine, it fisted. Hard.
“That’s it, baby, ride me,” he grunted as I moved. “Fuck. Magnificent. You gonna give it to me?”
“Yes,” I whispered, and his hand left my breast, traveled down and shot between my legs.
“Then give it to me,” he ordered.
His thumb tweaked my clit and that was all I needed.
I drove down and grinded in. My head flew back, my back arched and I cried out as
I flew apart.

No sooner was I in place then his cock slammed into me.
My head flew back and I came.
I wasn’t close to finishing when he pulled out, turned and lifted me and impaled me on his cock. Then I was back to the bed, taking him until he thrust to the root, grinding, and he came for me, his face in my neck, his teeth sinking sharp into my skin.

Then get my tee off and position for me. Your choice, baby, show me how you wanna take me.”
I instantly pulled his tee off and threw it to the side. I got on my back, opened my legs and he was there, slamming into me.
I rounded him completely with my limbs, lifted up my hips, glided my nails up his back and pleaded, “Harder, Raid.”
“Fuck. Wild. Wet. Mine,” he groaned, his face in my neck.

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

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Review: Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookdisturbinghispeace
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Academy, #3
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Greer Burns
Heroine: Danika Silva
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 24, 2018
Started On: December 18, 2018
Finished On: December 19, 2018

Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey is the final book in The Academy series. From the moment Lieutenant Greer Burns entered the scene in the first book, I was a goner. He is the kind of character that I love to fall in love with. The broody and controlled heroes who when they unravel, do so so spectacularly that you cannot help but lose a chunk of yourself to them. Needless to say, I was impatient for Greer’s story (as I believe most readers would have been), and to finally read it and reaffirm the faith I have in Tessa Bailey’s ability to create stupendous stories that makes you laugh, turns you on so much, and delivers such emotionally grappling reads, is why I love her books so damn much.

Lieutenant Greer Burns is a man who is defined by his job. A hard-ass to the recruits, a man who is as by the book as they come, for whom the law exists only in black and white, and one would think that Greer to be so straitlaced that he would be boring. He is the farthest thing from that however, and it comes to light when the cracks appear on his demeanor with each encounter that takes place between him and recruit Danika Silva. There are tantalizing bits and pieces indicative of how Greer’s feelings are when it comes to Danika throughout the other books, something he tries his best to hide from.

Danika herself, even though she is drawn to all the intensity that is Greer, denies her feelings because she does not have a very favorable opinion of him. But all of that changes when she turns to Greer for help and discovers that there is more to Greer than that gruff and seemingly uncaring exterior of his. Help from Greer however comes at a price, which means that Danika is “forced” to spend more time with Greer, which of course leads to very interesting encounters between the two.

It should be no surprise that Disturbing His Peace turned out to be my favourite from the series. Greer is intense; no two ways about it. He is known as lieutenant hard- ass for a reason. He takes his job all too seriously believing that putting oneself out there makes one more vulnerable. After all, his childhood and abandonment issues has taught him that and more. The secret he harbors inside of his heart is one that he keeps even from his brother. And even though his brother found his happiness, Greer is certain that he himself is meant to spend his days by his lonesome self without subjecting himself to heartache and pain along the way, which is certain to come the minute he gives his heart to another. He lives by a strict code of ethics and rules, and nothing has deterred him from his chosen path until Danika shows up in his life.

Danika changes everything. She tests the limits of his self control unlike any other. Her opinion of him matters more than it should and for the very first time Greer finds himself in uncharted waters, navigating through the unknown for a woman who stops his very breathe. As much as Greer might tell himself that he does not need anyone, the course his life had been taking of late tells its own tale. Danika’s presence is one that takes away the unease and makes him content, if that were an emotion he was familiar with.

That takes me to the more serious matters such as how fantastically hot and out of the charts hot Greer is. Did I mention that he is hot? Yes, he is. There were moments that I had to remind myself to breathe because I kept forgetting how to, all because Greer was that intense. There is something about a controlled hero that lets loose. Every sexual encounter between Greer and Danika, from the shower scene to the round in the patrol car was insanely hot. And of course, Greer does dirty talking so very well that it is hard not to swoon during certain heated moments.

Danika was the kind of woman Greer needed. Definitely. She is snarky, has a big heart, and doesn’t know when taking on too much responsibility for her family becomes unhealthy. It is the way Greer looks out for her in the midst of everything that happens that lets the reader know that it is just much more than scorching hot sex that is between the two. The cuddle scene that happens on the couch, especially when there is so much tangible sexual tension between the two thick enough to slash through with a knife; that was cute and wholesome in a way that just made me fall that much more in love with Greer and Danika.

Definitely recommended. Fans of Tessa Bailey certainly would not be disappointed.

Final Verdict: Greer is sheer perfection presented to readers; a tightly controlled hot mess unraveling in a way that makes your insides heat up and your heart melt! Tessa Bailey’s magic knows no bounds.

Favorite Quotes

I allow my mouth to brush those curls at her ears, the sensation dropping my voice to a scrape of sound. “I’m talking about fucking you, baby. You know I am.” My tongue must have a mind of its own, because it licks along the rim of her ear, my memory collecting the whimper she makes and locking it away in a safe. “Tucked back in the showers, your legs open for my thrusts, blood running down my back from where your nails are digging in. Bet that would warm you right the hell up.”

Resolving to walk slowly toward the pizza place, I open the door—
“Oh my God,” I gasp, my walloping heart sending me back a step. “What . . .”
Greer is standing in the hallway, watching me with shadows in his eyes.
Rain drips off the folded edges of his NYPD beanie and fingertips. He’s so still I almost think my imagination is putting
him there, but then he speaks in a clipped tone.
“Cancel it.”
My . . . date? Oh yeah. He’s talking about my date, and there’s no denying the indignation that fires to life inside of me.
I don’t care if I’m attracted to this man. He doesn’t just get to show up and order me around. On a Saturday night, no less.
We’re not in the academy gym right now—we’re on the threshold of my house.
Then why am I so excited?

“Yes or no. Do you want to be convinced?” Finally, just a hint of his lips brush mine, and the answering, down-low clench
is so intense, I almost hit the deck. “Understand this. I’m going to do it my way, Danika. And I’m only figuring out what
this way is now—with you—because I think you love it. Need it.” A single blunt finger lifts and traces my right hip, moving
up my rib cage and detouring toward my breasts, raking over each hard nipple slowly. “Think you’d love some rough goddamn
convincing, wouldn’t you, baby? Yes or no?”
This new need he stirred to life isn’t my secret. He’s known. “Yes.”

“Move your knees apart,” I growl, pushing my middle finger inside her, pumping it a few times, as she follows the order. Then
a few more times, because I can’t believe the tightness waiting for me. “This has been mine for months, hasn’t it?”
Her choked cry, the tilt of her hips, is the only answer I need.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t know, baby, or I wouldn’t have been able to help myself. All those times you showed up early would
have been spent in my office, riding my cock.”

Something about my question upsets him. His eyebrows draw together, his grip tightening anew on my wrist. “Get back in your
goddamn seat.”
“No.” Whew. I must be out of my mind. Anyone with working brain cells can see he’s about to get tough with me. Reject me.
Hurt my feelings out of necessity. But something tells me I’ll never get another chance to see under his exterior if I don’t
rip it down right now. So before he can open his mouth and deliver whatever lie he’s thinking, I kiss him.
And we go up in flames.

I decide to stop exploring it when she flicks her hips back, grinds back down. Does it again. Does it again. Until my fucking
thighs and hands are shaking, my mouth open and growling at her neck. Every ounce of my focus goes into hunting a condom down
in my pocket and covering myself, before reaching down between our bodies and guiding my cock to her heat. “Wet girl. Nice
wet girl.”
She arches her back and spreads her legs, allowing me to slip myself inside her inch by inch . . . and as she sinks down,
I barely recognize the sensation because nothing that came before her compares. Made for me. I’m made just for her. All of
the above.
“Oh God,” we both moan at the same time.

On my shoulder, she shakes her head no. “Greer, oh, I’m going to—” She breaks off on a closed mouth scream, her thighs trembling
around my hand. “Greer.”
I think I can hold it together long enough to give her another orgasm, but as soon as her pussy cinches around my dick like
a belt, I know resisting the rush of pleasure is a pipe dream. “Goddammit, baby. Ripping it right out of me, aren’t you?”
There’s a scraping feeling deep in my belly, then I’m shouting into her hair as the most phenomenal relief grips me. I’m coming
inside her. Finally. Finally. It hurts, but it’s happening . . . and then it doesn’t hurt anymore, because the worst of the
lust is leaving me, shooting up the stalk of my flesh. “You’re killing me. Don’t stop. Move. Move. Don’t stop.”
My body continues to ram up, up into her snug, clenching cunt until my fucking vision goes black. Mine. The word echoes in my head, but my teeth snap down on my lower lip to keep from saying it out loud.

I slide between Greer and the coffee table, intending to park myself beside him on the couch, but he snags me by the waist
and draws me down on his lap. There are a few charged seconds where neither one of us moves, but the pace of our breathing
goes haywire. I struggle not to moan when he plants his open mouth against my ear and hums, the vibration going straight through
me. “I figured we could find out what all this cuddle talk is about.”
“Is there a lot of talk?” I wheeze the question, and I don’t even blame myself. Who could think straight with the hot muscular
flex of his thighs under their butt?

I lay my head down on his shoulder and take a deep inhale of his skin. No-nonsense soap, sweat, spearmint gum. It doesn’t
feel like our first time cuddling in terms of how our bodies curve together. But the beating of his heart against my shoulder,
the steady rise and fall of his bare chest, is so new. Up close, I can see all the individual hairs on his chest, the dark
whorls of them that grow concentrated at his belly button and vanish below my hip. His erection is tucked between the cheeks
of my ass, but he seems determined to pet every inch of me, and I’m totally content to let him. He’s so warm.
A yawn catches me off guard, but I shake myself to keep my eyelids from drooping. “What’s your verdict on cuddling?”
His sigh shifts my hair around. “I think I’m fucked.”

“Get that tiny fucking thong off,” I growl, even though there’s no way I can wait that long. No, as soon as I drag my dick
out of her mouth, I’m yanking those panties sideways and thrusting into her soaked pussy. She screams in my ear, her nails
sinking like razors into my back. My heart stutters at the possibility that I hurt her with my aggression, but I’m reassured
when her knees dig into my sides. Like a rider spurring on a horse. Only I’m the one riding her. And I do it hard. “When you
got into a cab and rattled off my address in your little, pink shirt dress, you knew this is what you were going to get, didn’t
you? A hard cock between your thighs. Didn’t you, baby?”
“Yes. Oh my God. Yes.”

Stop moving,” I rasp, my stomach tightening. “I’m too goddamn close.”
“It’s okay,” she whimpers, definitely pulling me deep again and grinding her hips up, her heels finding a home at the small
of my back. “I never miss my pill. Please.”
Relief blinds me like two headlights, along with the impulse to fuck her until the pain is gone. “I’m clean.”
“Me, too.” She sobs, those nails burying in the flesh of my ass. “Greer.”
“Hold on to me.”
In the end, I can’t tell who is holding on to whom. Our bodies are flush, sweaty and racing to the finish. I bury my face
in the crook of her neck with a guttural groan, my hips pump hard, fast, almost angrily. I’ve never moved in such perfect
rhythm with anyone. Not even myself. I’m better with her. We’re better together.

His low growl makes me shudder. “My girl.” That open palm zings against my backside. “Mine.” The next strike is harder, and
he massages the spot afterward, his touch gentle, and the contradiction is so perfectly Greer, I hear myself asking for more.
More Greer. “Show me some pussy,” he rasps. “Before you go strutting what belongs to me around, give your man a nice look.”
Lord. Oh Lord. My vision is a blur now, but my muscles are still functioning for the most part. Keeping my cheek pressed to
the table, I loosen my back and angle my hips. And that most sensitive part of me gets the next slap. Whap. I’m so shocked,
I release a cut-off scream that gets louder when his huge erection rams home inside of me. Pleasure explodes in my middle.
My orgasm is an earthquake, sending cracks down the center of my foundation. Beneath me, the table vibrates, thanks to my
juddering body.

“I’m fucking yours, you know that?” He drops hot, panting kisses beneath my ear. “I just want to be yours, Danika.”
“You are.” I clench my teeth and sail over the edge again. “Greer.”
“God, baby. Fuck.”
I’m hurtling so fast and hard into pleasure, I’m barely aware of his mouth leaving my neck, but when I hear him shout a broken
curse, when I feel heat inside me and that final, rough thrust, something primal comes alive inside me. Something I think
Greer woke up.
Damn right I satisfy my man.
I love it. I love me with him. Us together.

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

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