Review: Reckless Love by Elizabeth Lowell

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: MacKenzie-Blackthorn, #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Tyrell MacKenzie
Heroine: Janna Wayland
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: December 26, 2006
Started On: October 17, 2020
Finished On: October 25 , 2020

What is it about romances written years ago that has the unique ability of reeling you in until you are hooked, line, and sinker? That is what I experienced with my very first Elizabeth Lowell novel, i.e. Reckless Love. The debut book in the MacKenzie-Blackthorn series, Reckless Love tells the story of Tyrell MacKenzie and 19 year old Janna Wayland whose paths cross in the wild land of Utah Territory after the end of the Civil War.

Janna lives alone, in the company of mustangs, under the guise of being a male which serves her well. Tyrell in the meanwhile, is a man who comes from a previously wealthy family, who comes to Utah Territory looking for a wild stallion known as Lucifer, via which he aims to make his fortune. Tyrell dreams of marrying the silken lady of his dreams, and he is not to be waylaid by anyone or anything for that matter.

When Tyrell finds himself attacked and at the brink of imminent death, it is Janna who rescues him, nurses him back to health, and takes him to the one place that is her safe haven and home amidst the chaos that is life in the territory. Tyrell, believing Janna to be a lad, does not take it kindly when he realizes that he has been deceived all along, especially when it had given him cause to question his own sexuality at certain points through his recovery.

The desire that blazes between Janna and Tyrell is fierce and it burns hotter and brighter than Tyrell would have thought possible. Even as he gives in, Tyrell is determined not to lose sight of his dreams of finding his silken lady, and Janna, who has lived in the wilderness all her life understands that making Tyrell fall in love with her would be an impossibility. Determined to make the best of the time they have left, Janna does not ask for more, and is resigned to saying goodbye when their time is up.

However, fate decides otherwise, and Janna is forced to leave the one place that had been hers and become part of the world that is Tyrell’s, nursing a broken heart knowing that Tyrell would never ever be truly hers. It takes a lot for Tyrell to start seeing things differently, as he continues to lie to himself about his feelings for Janna that burns as bright as the sun.

I loved Reckless Love for many a reason. I was in need of a story with an alpha hero of the kind that is hard to find in the romance novels of today. Tyrell proved to be all that and more, making the pages comes alive with his mere presence alone. There is a way about him that makes all that is female in you yearn and yearn big, and that is what Tyrell was for me.

I loved Janna to bits – she was courageous and beautiful in a way that is indescribable. She may have lived her life up till then without the frills and whites to accentuate her beauty, but for me, the purity of her character and soul shone vividly from the onset. I love a strong heroine as much as I do an alpha hero and Janna was that for me in many ways. Ms. Lowell writes with the kind of prose that is reminiscent of earlier works of Sandra Brown and Linda Howard, perhaps one of the main reasons why I felt right at home amidst the magic she wove with Tyrell and Janna.

Recommended for fans of Ms. Lowell and fans of Western themed romances with an alpha hero who makes your heart go wild and heroines you absolutely root for.

Final Verdict: Reckless Love delivers an exquisite cocktail of romance, heat, and angst that is guaranteed to make your insides all warm and fuzzy!

Favorite Quotes

When Ty’s arms tightened around Janna and he whispered her name, her hands crept up his chest to his stubble-roughened cheeks and beyond. Her fingers sought the thick black hair she longed to caress as she had in the days when he had been too ill to object to her touch. She slid her hands beneath his hat, dislodging it, and she shivered with pleasure when her fingers knew again the silky textures and fullness of his hair. She moved her hands slowly, flexing them gently, caressing him and the sensitive skin between her fingers at the same time.
The intimate, changing pressure of Janna’s hands on Ty’s scalp made his breath catch, break and emerge as an almost silent groan. He moved his head slowly, increasing the pressure of her caressing hands, and the sound he made seemed to Janna more like a purr from a very large cat than any noise a man might make.

Heat stole beneath Janna’s skin, flushing her face, shortening her breath. Bubbles of sensation grew slowly inside her, expanding with each warm movement of Ty’s tongue until she shivered and a bubble burst, drenching her with golden heat; and then pleasure gathered again, burst sweetly, made her shiver and moan Ty’s name. The slender hands buried in Ty’s hair flexed and relaxed in the same rhythms of Janna’s tongue—seeking, stroking, finding, mating with the slow, deep motions he had taught her.
The sensuous, searching caresses brought a violent hardening of Ty’s flesh that both shocked and dismayed him, telling him that he was very close to the edge of his self-control.

“Don’t be sorry,” he said huskily. “I like knowing that I’ve pleased you.”
“You do?” she whispered, looking at his lips, wanting to taste him again, to feel his tongue moving within her mouth.
“Yes.” Ty smiled and nuzzled the slanting line of Janna’s cheekbones until he came to the silky edge of her hair. He stripped off her hat and headband, untied the rawhide thongs holding her braids and unraveled them until his hands were full of the cool fire of her hair. He made an inarticulate sound of pleasure as he searched blindly with his mouth for the tempting curves of her ear. “I want to please you, little one. Will you tell me if I do?”
“Y-yes.”

“Will going slow spoil it for you?” Janna whispered. “I don’t want to make it bad for you. I want to please you, Ty. I want that so much I ache.”
“Going slow won’t spoil it. In fact, it can make it so good you feel like dying.”
“It can?”
Janna’s voice was husky with the conflicting emotions racing through her, passion and nervousness and a hunger to touch and be touched that was completely new to her.
“It can,” Ty said. “At least, that’s what I’m told. I’ve never known that kind of pleasure myself.”
Janna tried to speak but had no voice. She licked her lips and tilted her head back until she could look into the darkly luminous green of Ty’s eyes.
“I want to pleasure you like that,” she whispered. “Will you teach me how?”

“Janna,” Ty said, breathing her name as much as saying it, “I hope to God I can set fire to you half as hot as you set fire to me. If I can, we’ll burn down the whole damn plateau.”

“Unbutton my shirt,” Ty said in a thick voice. “You’ll like the feel of my bare skin against your breasts. And so will I.”
The slight movement of Janna’s body when she reached for Ty’s collar button made her hips rock against the hot cradle he had made for her between his legs. He groaned in a kind of exquisite agony, for he had never needed a woman so much as he needed Janna at that instant.
“Again,” he whispered. “Move against me just once more. Just once.”

Janna’s nails dug into the flexed power of Ty’s buttocks and her body twisted wildly beneath his as she whispered again and again that what he had given her was good but not enough. With each movement she became more seductive, more demanding, more welcoming, so hot and sleek that he found himself pressing again and yet again at the fragile flesh that barred total consummation.
Ty groaned and forced himself to move just slightly while his fingers sought and claimed the slick, delicate nub of Janna’s passion. He controlled the instinctive rocking of her hips by settling more of his weight between her legs, pinning her in place while he caressed her, bringing her closer and closer to ecstasy.

And then it was happening, the hot rain and the sheathing, ecstasy bursting with each movement of Ty’s hips; and Janna wept at the perfection as he let go of control and locked himself so deeply within her that she felt the certainty of his climax as the most intimate kind of caress, a pulsing presence that sent her spinning into ecstasy once again, her body caressing him rhythmically in the quivering aftermath of his own release.
Janna’s tiny, ecstatic cries pierced Ty like golden needles, reaching past the flesh to the soul beneath. “Violent pleasure racked him until his muscles stood out like iron. The endless, shuddering release that followed overwhelmed him.

The knowledge of his own helpless response to her shocked Ty. He shouldn’t feel this way. The sweat wasn’t dry on his body from the first time he had taken her. He shouldn’t want her again the way he did right now—need knotting his guts, his body hard and heavy and hot, filled to bursting once more.
He fought to remain still, not to respond, not to move, but the knowledge of the ecstatic consummation he would find within Janna’s body was too new, too overwhelming for him to deny or control it. With a low, raw cry, he fought against the lure of her, but even as he cried out he was moving slowly, surrendering himself to her one hard inch at a time.

“Janna?” Ty asked, holding himself motionless but for the helpless shuddering of his aroused body. “Answer me!”
She tried to move, to take from him what he was withholding. It was impossible. He was too strong, too skilled, and she loved him.
“Yes, damn you,” she whispered achingly. “Yes!”
Ty heard only the agreement, not the pain. He let out his pent breath in a ragged groan.
“I need you,” he said in a low voice. His hips began to move in quickening rhythms as shudder after shudder of tension went through his powerful body. “God help me, I’ve never needed any woman like this.”

Janna trembled as Ty kissed and licked and nuzzled the length of her torso, smoothing her legs apart as he had in the pool. This time there were no hot swirls of water to caress her, only the heat and textures of her lover teasing the humid softness that his fingertips had first discovered.
The first gliding touch of Ty’s tongue brought a startled cry from Janna. It was answered by a reassuring murmur and a kiss both tender and hotly intimate. She tried to say his name, but all that came out was a whimper of shock and pleasure.

“Don’t,” Ty said huskily, biting back a raw sound of need. “You’ll make me lose control.”
“But I’m not even touching you,” she whispered.
“You are in your mind. And in mine. Satin butterfly, hot and sleek and perfect. When you took me into your body it was like being taken into a fiery paradise. You burned me to my soul. You’re still burning in my soul, burning in my body, everything burning. You don’t know what you do to me.”
Ty saw Janna’s shivering response to his words and thought he would lose what little control remained to him.
“You burned me the same way,” she said, touching him with the tip of her tongue. “I’m still burning.”

“I want you,” Janna said, her voice breaking beneath an unexpected, wild burst of pleasure at feeling him so thick and heavy in her hands. “I want to be joined so closely with you that I can feel each heartbeat, each pulse of life…”
Her words shattered into rippling sounds, tiny cries called from her very core as Ty swept her loose pants from her body and merged their bodies with a single powerful motion, giving her all that she had asked for and more, for he had wanted the joining as intensely as she had.
The swift fulfillment was like lightning searching through Janna’s flesh, creating an incandescent network of fire, burning through to her soul. She didn’t know that she called Ty’s name even as ecstasy transfixed her, but he knew. He heard his own name, felt the satin convulsions deep within her body, and he smiled in a mixture of triumph and passionate restraint as he bent to drink from her lips the taste of ecstasy.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Review: Teacher by Fiona Cole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: My Darling Arrow by Saffron A. Kent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Sweet Dandelion by Micalea Smeltzer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Becoming His Mistress by A. E. Murphy

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Ezra Conti
Heroine: Rose Sinclair
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 11, 2019
Started On: July 19, 2020
Finished On: July 25, 2020

Becoming His Mistress by A. E. Murphy is one of those books that hits every single spot when it comes to my craving for a wholesome romance reading experience. Ms. Murphy takes on a trope that few authors dare write because it would not be well received in the romance community. Most of us would like to ignore the romances featuring cheating and/or adultery themes – some go as far as to say that books which take on this would be a definite no for them. However, I am someone who loves it when authors push those boundaries and give us books that are realistic and provide for an immersive experience in the process. Becoming His Mistress was definitely all that and more.

When 23 year old Rose Sinclair chooses to work for 37 year old Ezra Conti, it is because she believes that she can make a difference. That she brings that quality which makes her the perfect personal assistant. Ezra who is happily married and has a daughter is known as someone who has eyes only for his wife. Even as women attempt to get him to notice them, he is a man who is promised to his one and only and that is how he lives his life. Rose knows that she would have no such problems when it comes to Ezra because he is not her type, and married men would never be her thing.

Ezra is unconvinced that Rose would be the best fit for him, until she convinces him to give her a chance. Six months later, their arrangement is one that works in every single sense. While Rose starts to see Ezra in a whole new light she knows that nothing would come of it and she has no intention of following whatever nonsensical feelings that she has for him every now and then. Furthermore, Ezra has never behaved in an untoward fashion and she is content to be part of his life as things stand, that is until with one searing kiss from Ezra one night, everything changes and leaves them both at an impasse on how to go from there.

While Rose maybe strong enough to walk away from the first kiss, she is not strong enough to withstand the continued onslaught on her senses from the man that Ezra is. Against her best intentions, she gives in, and thus begins the headiest couple of weeks of her life, until the consequences of their actions comes calling. There are no easy answers to the problems that Ezra and Rosie face, and while Rosie loves Ezra wholeheartedly, she loves herself enough to understand that she should not come second to anyone, not even for the love of her life. There is a lot of heartache and pain that these two go through before the ultimate happily ever after.

I am so glad that I stumbled across this book because this was unlike anythingI have read in recent times. Love is not always found in the most convenient of places. Those who have fallen for and given their hearts to people who were not in a place to return that love or maybe act on it would understand this more than those who have never faced such temptation in life. Love is often found where you least look for it and expect it to be found. That is I guess ultimately the best and worst thing about life. The unexpectedness of love, how your feelings can suddenly change towards someone you may have never considered as a potential lover or life partner; all of these factor in when it comes to Becoming His Mistress.

Falling in love with a married man is not something any woman would want to for themselves. And I believe this would be the same the other way around. No woman (except for polyamorous couples I suppose), likes being the third wheel in a relationship; being the other woman. But it happens, a lot more often than we would like to admit. There are many reasons behind it as well, but this is not the time and place to explore the whys and hows. While cheating may never be condoned, it still speaks of the vulnerability of us as humans. The fragility of our emotions. That inherent need in us to feel, belong, and be desired. None of those have easy explanations. That is partly why perhaps this book spoke to me on so many levels as it did with many readers.

I believe that I enjoyed this novel so much because Ms. Murphy did not try to provide miraculous solutions to the challenges that came Ezra and Rosie’s way. The story was realistic even towards the very end, with frank discussions and even fights that stemmed from emotions that could not be smothered just because one may want to cease feeling a certain way. Ezra’s guilt which arose from having fallen in love with another woman plays a huge role in the story, perhaps one reason why the love between Ezra and Rosie did not feel cheap and frivolous in the end. The fact that Ms. Murphy pulled this off without vilifying anyone, that in itself I think is amazing!

Recommended for open minded readers who love sexy, tender, and endearing romances. Thank you Ms. Murphy, for being bold enough to write this.

Final Verdict: Becoming His Mistress is a one of a kind read; there are no words that can adequately describe the feelings that Ms. Murphy manages to invoke with this phenomenal story as it unfolds.

Favorite Quotes

His gray eyes linger on mine and I jump when he pushes a strand of my black hair behind my ear, a tender touch, so sweet and soft. It leaves a burning trail across my skin. “You could never look stupid.”
“I can see every fleck of color in your eyes,” I breathe, leaning closer and trying to count the shards of darker gray that cut through the ring of lighter gray.
He holds his breath and nibbles slightly on his lower lip as I stare into his eyes like a weirdo.
“What are you doing?” he asks, and I put my finger to his soft lips. He pulls it away and absentmindedly kisses the palm. “Wait… are you counting?”
I inhale sharply and immediately stop. “No. Not at all. I don’t count. Who does that?”
“You were counting.”
“Was not.”
“Was too.”
“I wasn’t.” I so was.

“I’m sorry I didn’t kiss you back,” I say quietly, and he pushes my hair back.
“I’m sorry I kissed you at all,” he replies just as quietly, and I know in my heart he means because of how he upset me and not because he didn’t want to kiss me. The look in his eyes is showing me that he still does. I wonder if the look in mine is begging him to kiss me again. I might not say no this time. “Try to sleep.”
I press my forehead to his cheek and close my eyes on his command. He tickles my arm and shoulder as I concentrate on the beating of his heart.
It lulls me to sleep, my forbidden lullaby.

“Please don’t, there are only so many times I can say no,” I whisper.
“Before what?” His own voice is intensely quiet, his eyes on my mouth. “Before what, Rose?”
My breath catches in my throat. “Before I say yes.”
He pulls my face to his, meeting me in the middle and our bodies and lips collide.
I squeak through my closed mouth, startled by the sudden assault, but he pushes me against the door and devours my mouth. His tongue tastes my own when I gasp, and I can’t pull away. My brain is a mass of the desire he projected on me and my body is pulsing with it.

His hands drag across my curves, scraping around my back and hips, grasping at my flesh and holding me tight so I can’t escape.
I’m wet. So damn wet.
He groans again, pressing his erection into my navel while still kissing me, claiming me like I never have been before.
I’ve never felt so out of control before.
When he clicks the lock on the handle of the door all bets are off and I lose all sense of myself. I lose all sense of time and what I came here to say to begin with.
I forget his life and mine. I forget my morals and his. All I can think about is having him in a way I’ve been telling myself I don’t want him for far too long.

He looks up at me again, and while kissing me softly and tenderly, he reaches for my hair, unwinding the knot so it spills down my back in a thick wave. I groan when he teases it free and starts to remove my shirt until it’s on the floor by his.
I lean back on my hands, feeling thoroughly worshipped when he dives and kisses my ribs, hands looking for the zip of my skirt but losing that battle because of how scrunched it is.
I stand and find it at the back, undoing it and letting it fall to my ankles.
There’s no going back now.
I’ve never wanted anything more than I want this.
I stand in front of him in lacy white underwear and stockings attached to a garter belt.
“Fuck,” he breathes, looking down at me, taking time to explore my flesh with his hands. I’ve never felt sexier and more beautiful than I do right now, seeing it mirrored in his eyes. “Keep your heels on.”

Pulling me to the edge of the desk, he lines himself up with me perfectly as my fingers find my clit and start to roll it in fast circles.
“No,” he whispers, pulling my hand away and replacing it with his thumb. “You touch yourself when you’re alone and thinking of me. When you’re with me, it’s my job to touch you and get you off.”
Oh my God.
He starts to sink inside and groans. I ache from his width, but it feels so good.
His thumb rolls my clit, using my own juices to make it slick.
He watches himself vanish into my body. I’ve never felt more connected to somebody than I do now.

“Kiss me,” I beg, my voice hoarse and wanting.
He obliges, fucking my mouth with his tongue as I battle to stay in control of my body.
“Not yet,” I breathe, feeling that familiar burning… except this feels more like a tsunami of crackling lava in my womb. My body feels weightless as he hammers into me, holding my body tight to him now. His thumb is no longer teasing my clit, yet I feel the tingles still, building and spiraling. There’s just something about close sex, having a body against yours as he fills you up perfectly.
I throw my head back with a moan so loud he yanks me back to his mouth and kisses me until it passes. It takes forever and my body shudders with each powerful wave of my orgasm.

“We’re not doing anything,” he replies, his tone hushed too. The way his breath fans across my sensitive flesh has me gripping the counter for support. “Nothing at all.”
His solid length presses against my ass, trapped by the fabric of his boxers. He tugs them down and I feel his skin against mine.
“Nothing,” he grits as I close my legs around it, squeezing it between the apex of my thighs.
He starts thrusting, finding grip between my pussy lips. My wetness makes him slide back and forth with ease, so he removes his hand and massages my breasts instead. He hits my clit every time and I almost scream with the ecstasy of it.
Why does sex feel this good with him? Why do we connect like this?

“Look at me.”
My eyes open slowly and find his in the mirror. His large hands massage my swaying breasts and pinch my nipples.
“What are we doing?” he asks me breathlessly, his eyes dangerous, his lips terse.
“Nothing,” I reply, crying out when a wave of pleasure hits me. I want to come so hard.
He cups my throat and pulls me back against his body. It’s a good thing my balance isn’t terrible, though to be honest he’s doing most of the work, including holding me steady.
“Exactly. Nothing.”

“Tits,” he croaks, getting closer to the edge every second. “I want to come on your gorgeous fucking tits.”
“You sure? I was totally gonna let you come in my mouth.”
His eyes fly down to mine, wide and full of longing. I don’t get a chance to take a breath before he’s pushing past my lips again and coming on my tongue with an animalistic growl. I take him all, every ounce of him, salty, sweet, different. But that’s just him, he’s different.

I kiss him deep and slow as I raise my hips and guide his cock to my entrance.
“To oblivion, hmm?” he asks, smiling until I slowly sink onto him, taking as much of him as I can. His smile vanishes at this point only to be replaced with such an intense look of complete wonder and awe. “Nobody has ever felt like you.”
I rock my hips, kissing his neck and biting his ear as his hands explore and rub every inch of my body that he can reach.
I don’t take my time because we don’t have time. I fuck him faster than I ever have, feeling it build in my womb.
We come, me first and then him, as always. He always waits until I’m done before he lets himself get there. One of the many things I adore about him.

He turns suddenly, sending water crashing over the bath and onto the tiles. His damp lips from the steam of the hot water touch mine and I almost slip under when he hooks a hand around my back and lifts me to give him easier access to my sex.
I gasp when he thrusts inside. My hands grip whatever is available to keep me out of the water. He pulls out just as suddenly so I can turn over and I rest my arms on the sloped back of the bath as he powers into me from behind. Every thrust sends more water out of the bath. He becomes feral, losing control in a way he never has before, driving into me like an animal and not like a man.

“I want you forever. I want to fuck you every single day. I want to taste your sweet lips. I want to fill your womb with my seed and create a life tied to both of us.” He thrusts with each statement, grinding his pelvis against my clit, kissing my neck and whispers the words against my skin. “You’re everything I ever want and need.”
“I love you,” I breathe. “I want to be the only woman you ever need.”
“You are.”
“Then fuck me, prove it, mark me.” I bite into his neck and suck so hard I just know there’s going to be a ring of red there when I lift my head. He cries out and pummels me with his hips, fucking me so furiously the door bangs with each thrust.

I cling to him, claw at him, grip him as I kiss him, devouring him until my lips feel sore but then I just press harder.
There’s a fire between us that flows through us both, burning for each other as we tear at clothes until there’s nothing separating us but our will. Mine is fighting for the winning team, he holds back until I hop up on the table and part my thighs. When he eases into me, all bets are off and he fucks me as hard as he did in his office that first time.
We both moan, groan, hiss, grasp, sigh…
It’s incredible as always.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARC Review: Cold Cruel Kiss by Toni Anderson

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice: Crossfire, #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Max Hawthorne
Heroine: Lucy Aston
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 28, 2021
Started On: January 12, 2021
Finished On: January 19, 2021

Cold Cruel Kiss, the 4th installment in the Cold Justice: Crossfire series brings to readers the story of FBI Supervisory Special Agent Max Hawthorne and Lucy Aston, a staff at the US Embassy in Argentina. Story begins when the daughter of the US Ambassador to Argentina is kidnapped in broad daylight on Christmas Eve, and FBI sends Max, one of their best agents in hostage negotiations to find a way to navigate the treacherous waters surrounding the Ambassador’s family in the wake of the kidnapping.

As Max tries to piece together the events that led up to the kidnapping and attempts to make sense of what has unfolded since then, the one person who gets under his skin is Lucy. She stands out, not because she wants to. On the contrary, she tries really hard to fade into the background, to be rendered as unnoticeable as humanly possible. And she has been quite adept at achieving what she had set out to do, that is until the too sexy for his own good FBI agent, with that sexy accent of his, walks through the door.

When Max and Lucy are “forced” to work together in the field owing to circumstances, Max’s interest is piqued beyond the professional lines, and it is not long before the two start developing feelings for each other. Lucy however, carries a secret that could devastate the fragile ties that are coming to life between the two. Her penance for that one mistake in trusting the wrong person had cost her more than she is willing to be let known, and she walks a path sharper than a double-edged sword when it comes to balancing out her duty to her country and what she must do in order to keep her deepest and darkest secret from becoming common knowledge.

However, Max and his sincerity makes it difficult for Lucy to stay unaffected, and before long she is pulled deep into the web of desire and want that wreaks havoc on both their senses. At the same time, the kidnappers reach a point of no return which could mean devastating consequences for the Ambassador’s family, if even the slightest mistake were to be made. With a second operation running in parallel which brings the Kremlin to the forefront, it is a race against time for Max to bring the Ambassador’s daughter safely back home.

Cold Cruel Kiss for the most part was an engaging read for me. I liked the main protagonists fairly well and rooted for their happily ever after. At the same time, the investigation and the secrets lurking in the deep shadows of the world of secret service operatives was one that had me working through nervous tension as the story sped along.

The most intriguing aspect of the novel for me was the setting – how FBI had to balance out investigations into a crime involving an American diplomat in terms of working with the less than reliable local law enforcement and getting the job done.

Recommended for fans of the Cold Justice series.

Final Verdict: Cold Cruel Kiss explores the shades of grey that colors the world of secret service agents and the murky waters that federal agents must navigate through when it comes to crimes committed on foreign soil.

Favorite Quotes

She tilted her hips and took him deeper as he found the rhythm that made them both gasp and groan and cling. Again and again, over and over. She did not want this to end. She would live in this instant for an eternity if she had the choice, poised on the edge, waiting for the crash that they both knew was coming.

He positioned himself at her slick entrance and pushed inside, and it felt so good, so right, she bit her lip to hold back a moan.
She tipped her head back as Max filled her perfectly. She saw the pulse in his neck kick up a notch and then he began pounding into her, all raw power and honed male beauty. They were both wet and slippery, and his grip on her bit into her muscles with a delicious sharpness. It was incredible. It was amazing. Once again, she never wanted it to end.

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

Review: An Unbreakable Bond by Robyn Donald

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Eliot Buchanan
Heroine: Tifaine Brandon
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 1986
Started On: May 29, 2020
Finished On: May 29, 2020

Published in 1986, An Unbreakable Bond by Robyn Donald is not for the fainthearted. Featuring a hero that borders on and ventures into the territory of cruelty, with a heroine who stands her ground, as confused as she is by the tidal wave of desire that clouds everything between them, this is Harlequin as I love their titles.

22 year old Tifaine Brandon (Tiffany) meets Eliot Buchanan not under the best of circumstances, with Eliot thinking her to be the mistress of his uncle. The disdain that Eliot feels for her partly results from how she makes him feel; unhinged in a way that he has never been around any woman in his life.

With a secret that Tiffany holds close to her heart, Eliot has no way of knowing the truth, even as the clash of wills results in scenes a lot of readers would find it hard to accept. At the same time, this rollercoaster ride of emotions and the constant upheaval that is a given when it comes to stories by Ms. Donald makes it hard to put this down. Fact that I finished this in one day is testament to that.

With all the misgivings I had, especially in relation to a particular scene which I will not detail here, I still loved the escape the story provided me with. The ruthless nature of Eliot drew me in as much as the proudly defiant nature of Tiffany’s did. The passion and sizzling attraction between the two is often thick enough to cut through with a knife, and that was as invigorating and heady as the rest of the components of the story as they came together.

In a way, what made Eliot’s cruelty “worthwhile” was the fact that he actually admitted to what had or almost did happen at a certain point in time in the story. He abashedly points out to how out of control Tiffany makes him feel, and the depths to which his emotions go when it comes to her. Somehow I understood where he was going with that; great passion does not allow for placidity when it comes to emotions. If you want peaceful, you go with the person who makes you feel as little as possible.

Recommended for fans of older and vintage Harlequin titles. This is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially in this day and age.

Final Verdict: In An Unbreakable Bond, Robyn Donald gives readers a tale that consumes the whole of you, even as you are reluctant to give it your all.

Favorite Quotes

His eyes blazed into flames as his mouth came down again, forcing her lips apart so that he could explore the depths of her mouth in a kiss so unlike any other she had ever received that she thought she might faint. Indeed, her knees did buckle. He made a noise deep in his throat and shifted one arm so that it supported her. His mouth burned down the stretched arc of her throat.
The weakness in her limbs spread until she was trembling. Deep inside her strange sensations sprang into life; they flamed fiercely, heating her blood so that a flush ran like fire across her skin.

‘No,’ she gasped, using her hand to push at him.
‘Don’t be silly.’ He too was breathing heavily, his expression set as he used her hand to pull her out of the chair and into his arms. He looked—out of control, she thought with a tremor of fear. But Eliot didn’t ever lose control. And she wished that she knew more about men because perhaps then she would understand his actions.
Fear was swept away as he groaned and bent his head to capture her mouth in a kiss so seducingly sweet that she could not resist him.
‘Relax,’ he muttered, his breath warm in her mouth. ‘I swear I’m not going to hurt you. I swear—oh God, you torment me…’

Completely unconscious of what she did, she slid her arms around his shoulders, holding him firmly. A moment ago she had been furious, his black enchantment of her senses only adding to her rage. Now a strange and awkward tenderness filled her. She didn’t know what to do.
‘Oh, God,’ he muttered, his face drawn. He looked exhausted, almost haunted; as she watched his eyes closed and he began to kiss her, tiny little kisses across the high line of her cheeks, tracing out the contours of her face with his mouth.
‘You’re driving me crazy.’ The words were barely understandable, his voice was so thick.

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks

Review: The Professor by Charlotte Stein

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Mischief
Hero: Lukas Halstrom
Heroine: Esther Hayridge
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 24, 2015
Started On: May 26, 2020
Finished On: May 27, 2020

The Professor by Charlotte Stein is probably one of the sexiest novels I have read in the entirety of my reading life. I don’t say that lightly. Being the lover of good smut that is delivered right, I am quite particular about what I like. But, there is an edge to Ms. Stein’s writing that is evocative in a way that is indescribable. Unless one has experienced the range of emotions that Ms. Stein makes you feel with the turn of every page, I do not think a mere review can do justice to the magic that happens when Ms. Stein puts pen to paper.

Taking on one of my favorite tropes, i.e. the professor hero versus the student heroine, which brings its own forbidden variety of deliciousness to the story, The Professor features 31 year old Lukas Halstrom and 22 year old Esther Hayridge.

Esther is not a student of the brilliant variety. She barely scrapes by and most would just term her as average, that is until she mistakenly submits what she wrote for her own eyes; an erotic fantasy of her own which she mistakenly submits as an assignment for Professor Halstrom’s class. Bracing herself for the humiliation that would most definitely follow, none is more surprised than Esther when Lukas instead offers to tutor her in private, to hone her writing skills.

One may think that Lukas has intentions of the carnal variety from the onset. Perhaps to an extent, his baser instincts were roused by what Esther submits as an assignment requirement, but he is exemplary in his behavior and attitude towards her from the get go. It is only the content which they discuss that is thought provoking which borders on indecency, especially when it comes to Esther’s reaction to the discussions.

One thing leads to another, and before they both know it, they have crossed a line, the consequence of which comes in the form of Lukas upping and leaving the university altogether. It is only then the story truly begins, with the bout of heartache that follows, and the hope that comes in the form of a sealed letter that bares open the very heart of the formidable Professor.

Ms. Stein does a remarkable job in peeling back the layers of Lukas’ character through the eyes of Esther. I have yet to come across a hero in control and command of his needs and emotions as Lukas, and believe you me, I felt exhausted at points in time from how he holds himself back. But one cannot complain too much given how Lukas manages to leave not only Esther a hot mess when all is said and done.

However, at a certain point, I felt that the control he exerted was a bit too much, even when I understood that what Lukas wanted with Esther wasn’t the usual tawdry affair that he tends to have with the fairer sex. It is his way of showing that Esther matters to him in a way that no woman has before, and that he does not want physical aspects of their relationship to affect what could possibly bloom to life between them.

In the end, the fact that it was Lukas who came back for her perhaps made all of that worthwhile, especially after the roller coaster of emotions that the last couple of chapters puts the reader through. In my opinion, even though Lukas resists the effect Esther has on him at every turn, they are two halves of one soul who found their way to one another. There is no stopping what springs to life between them, to the point where neither time nor distance seemed to matter in the long run.

Recommended for fans of Charlotte Stein and fans of erotic romance that makes you feel in spades. I would recommend turning on the fan at full speed before you turn that first page and get lost in the midst of the red hot tide of desire between the two!

Final Verdict: Emotion that is tightly wound with exquisitely delivered smut makes The Professor hard to put down. It is no mean feat to strike the right balance between the two and Ms. Stein proves her worth with every word in the book!

Favorite Quotes

I say it as it is: my cunt, my clit, my slick little slit. I work them all until my thighs tremble and my head goes back and I know, I know I’m going to come. I’m going to do it all over my hand right here, while imaginary people stand and watch. Those cool, bright, amazing people that surround me every day, bored to tears by everything I am, suddenly open-mouthed and horrified and just dying to ask what drove me to it.
And when they do, I think, as my orgasm crests…
When they do I will tell them truly:
Because my Professor talks dirty to me.

My mouth is crushed against his, but it isn’t him doing the crushing. It’s me, pressing and pressing as if I could somehow get beneath his skin if I only did it hard enough.
At the very least I could burn the memory of this into me. I want to always know every inch of it, from the warm whiskey taste of him to the sense of being so completely surrounded by someone. The insides of his arms, the push of his chest, his great height curling over me…all of it, I need all of it. But only when he finally pulls away do I get why it was so important. I feel how he wrenches himself from me, and see his horrified expression, and I utterly understand what made me so desperate to feel all of this to the utmost.
He is never, ever going to do it again.

[Letter from Hetty to Lukas] I think yes; I think underneath the layers of tweed you are as louche and debauched as a lord from some story about swooning on a moor. That if you were given the chance you would indulge appetites even I can barely guess at – though God knows I try. My thoughts seethe with all the things you might possibly like to do. Would you like to kiss my cunt?
Or is it more than that?
Filthier than that?
Are you debased, my Lukas, in ways I am far too innocent to ever imagine? Would you get me on my knees and fill my mouth with your cock and your come? Or perhaps your proclivities run a different way. Maybe you lie in bed at night with your hand around a dick I cream at the thought of, and think of fucking my arse. Oh, God, I get close to coming, just thinking of you doing something like that. Something reckless, and greedy.
Be greedy for me. Hold nothing back.
If we must live like this then hold nothing back.

And it gets worse when his mouth moves back to mine. This time his kisses are deep, and wet, and hot. His tongue eases in and out of my mouth, in a way I could never mistake. He wants me to think of his cock doing that exact same thing. He wants to show me how he would take me – so slow and easy, until my whole body is boneless. Until I come all over him, shuddering and gasping and oh, God, God, God, the thought alone is almost enough to make me do it. At the very least I know I’m moaning, and possibly shaking.

He eases those fingers through my insanely slick folds, and his lips actually part. A sound comes out of him – one that might be a sigh but could be a moan. It definitely feels like a moan. My clit jumps at the sound of it, and I know I make an even bigger mess of myself down there. I know I do, because he rubs through it. He eases it over my plump lips and around and around my eager hole, almost slipping inside but not quite, oh, not quite.
Though it hardly matters.
How could it, when he follows that with a stroke around my clit? No teasing, no preamble, no watching me squirm like a fish on a hook. He just starts rubbing me there, fast and firm and so sure it stops my breath.

The hand he spreads over my back is much too firm and far too eager – as are the fingers that start tugging my knickers down my legs. He almost snaps the elastic several times, and above that sound is another, deeper, sweeter one.
His harsh, desperate breathing. Like he can hardly contain the urge to take his pleasure. He can’t wait to fuck me, I think, and come close to groaning in arousal and disbelief. My pussy is creaming over the very idea, every inch of it so ready for that cock of his. I can feel it clenching just at the thought. The moment he slides in I’m going to do it all over him – and that much is true. I do come almost the second I feel him against me, hard and long and oh so juicily.
But it’s his face that he puts between my legs.

He grasps my hips and holds me there, while he works me over again.
And when I say works me over, I mean works me over. He does it like the night before, insistent and firm and nearly forcing me towards orgasm. No teasing – quite clearly he thinks I’ve had enough of that. No, no, he just rubs the flat of his tongue right over my over-sensitised clit, until I’m almost screaming with the sensation. It’s far too thick and far too hot, like a kind of branding. I want to pull away, but he won’t let me. His grip is so firm I can scarcely move. I can’t even close my legs, because his knee is between them.
And then, oh, then he starts flicking at my swollen bud with the tip of his tongue. Right on the underside, right where it’s sweetest, so quick and firm I can only go limp against the window.

‘I don’t have heavy-lidded eyes the colour of an ocean at the end of the world. Or a brow so expressive it could probably take to the London stage. Or a cleft in my chin that looks like someone kissed you there too long and left a little imprint,’ I say, and immediately want to take it back. I can see him straightening in his chair, and I know, I know, I know he’s going to go hard.
I just don’t realise how hard.
‘Yes, but you do regularly look at me with that gaze as black and bright as midnight and make me want to throw away every bit of restraint I spent my life carefully cultivating. There are no lips I have longed more to kiss; no hair so wild and dark that I see it in my dreams. Whatever you might say about how I look, you are lovelier. I see worlds in your face, and spend nearly all of my time desperately wanting to go to them.’

‘When I see myself together with you, when I allow myself to fully picture it, the things I see are not typically sexual in nature. More commonly I am accosted by an image of us walking together – we are always walking together, and perhaps it is raining. Perhaps we stop beneath the awning of a shop that sells beautiful cakes, and you turn your lovely face up to mine, and look at me with the same eyes I see gazing at me now. They are full of mischief and tenderness together, as though I mean something as wonderful to you as you do to me. And then you take my hand, in a way no other person has. And I let you, in a way I have never let anyone before. And for the first time in my long and very tiring life, I know that I am at peace.’

I feel the slipperiness sliding over one sensitive nipple, and taste it sharp and tangy on my tongue, and everything just starts to go.
I even tell him so.
‘Oh, God, I’m coming,’ I say.
I’m coming.
And maybe it’s me moaning that aloud. Maybe it’s the sight of me, striped with his come and still on my knees. But either way, he has one final treat just for me. He waits, it seems, until I’m shuddering with pleasure. Waits until I’m calling his name. And then he hauls me to my feet with one hand and kisses me.
He kisses my come-covered mouth, as I lose myself in this bliss.

His prick is leaking copiously, all down the shaft and over my hands, and it gets messier the more I go at him. The greedier I get the clearer the response, until finally I think he might be bucking into my grip. He’s definitely making noise, because he does it right in my ear. He moans that I should go faster, that I should unbutton my top, that he wants to see me as I stroke him.
And just when I think he couldn’t get any filthier:
‘I want to come in your mouth again.’

He slides in as smooth as every other fuck I ever had wasn’t, opening me up in a way I can scarcely believe. It steals my breath. It makes me moan, loud and long and so full of abandonment. I don’t care that anyone can hear – but then, neither does he.
‘Good Lord, you feel sweet,’ he says, loud enough that I actually feel it deep down in my bones. I shudder at the sound of it, cunt tightening hard around the intrusion. So hard, in fact, that he struggles to move. He makes a sound like someone clicking their fingers, as soon as he attempts it. Then again, when he manages one stuttering stroke.
He can hardly blame me for it, however.
He’s the one with the gloriously, incredibly, amazingly thick cock.

People say ‘make love’. But they don’t really mean it. It’s just a pretty bow to dress up a base thing, and make it palatable to people who wouldn’t find it so otherwise.
Yet I believe it here. I feel it breaking through me – the sense that I am being made, somehow. That I am being loved. And I keep feeling it all the way to the very end, when he gasps my name against the side of my face. Our bodies so close together I should feel swamped, though I don’t.
All I want to do is hang on tight, as my orgasm stutters into life.

He groans so close to my ear I feel it vibrate all the way down me. It has this sort of chain effect on my body – starting with my too tight nipples then on down to my tensing belly and then finally, oh, finally I feel it in my clit. It circles me there like his fingers, like his tongue, until I can sense it starting to shudder through me. My pussy clenches around his cock, so fiercely I fear I might be hurting him.
But if I do, it is the delicious sort of pain. The sort that makes him twist on top of me, teeth bared and eyes dark with pleasure, every inch of his body going into a desperate attempt at really fucking me. He wants to do it hard, I can tell. He wants to hammer into me until my teeth rattle. Only the more he succeeds the tighter my cunt tightens around him, until all we can both manage is a sort of desperate push-pull.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | eBooks | Apple Books

Review: Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fostering Love, #1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Shane Anderson
Heroine: Katherine Evans
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 07, 2016
Started On: May 21, 2020
Finished On: May 21, 2020

Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn is the debut book in her Fostering Love series. While Ms. Jacquelyn is a totally new to me author, the blurb which hinted at unrequited love, a widowed hero, and a ton of angst was what sold me and I didn’t look back. I needed a story that was spectacular enough to “wean” me off the continuous high I had experienced while reading one Susan Napier book after the other throughout April and May. Unbreak My Heart turned out to be just perfect for the cause.

Unbreak My Heart brings together the two main protagonists, Shane Anderson and Katherine Evans (Kate), who are both 29 years old. While Kate and Shane had been best of friends from a certain point of their childhood on wards, the minute Shane had set eyes on Kate’s closest friend Rachel, Kate had ceased to exist for him. Ignoring the hurt in Kate’s eyes had been his modus operandi, and it had helped that being enlisted in the military, Shane was hardly ever around afterwards.

Kate’s life had pretty much revolved around that of Rachel’s and her family when Shane was not around. With Shane away for long periods of time, Kate spends most of her time helping Rachel bring up their four kids, up till the point where tragedy comes calling and changes everything. With Rachel gone, a year on, the hurt is still raw for Shane and on the eve of Rachel’s death anniversary, their vulnerability leads to sex of the most spectacular kind, which ends with Kate becoming pregnant.

Shane’s fractious relationship with Kate does not undergo a magical transformation when he receives the unwelcome news of Kate’s pregnancy. If anything, his feelings related to Kate becomes more chaotic than ever, the draw he feels towards her something which he resists at every single turn. There are moments in which Shane gives in, is tender and loving, and yet what is more devastating is what follows soon after; the constant need in Shane to blame Kate and assume the worst when it comes to her.

Through a sequence of events that was heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time, (I seriously do not know how Ms. Jacquelyn managed to do that) she delivers a tale that is nothing short of mesmerizing. I could not put the book down unless it was for the basic necessities, because it had been that long since I had come across a novel that features a hero like Shane – who at best would be deemed irredeemable by many readers. But Shane is the kind of hero that I love the best, perhaps because I am a glutton for punishment.

Needless to say, I loved Unbreak My Heart to bits and then some. I found Kate to be amazing. The love that she feels for Shane is an all encompassing and enduring one at that. There is a profound statement in the story that jumped right at me – that love can overlook many things, and I believe that to be true. When we talk about accepting people for who they are, shortcomings and all, because lets face it, none of us are perfect at the end of the day, love is in reality all about overlooking those bits and pieces and seeing the bigger picture.

Kate might be seen to be a doormat heroine by some, because she puts up with a lot of shit from Shane at first. But given the shared past between them, during which Shane and Kate had seldom spent time together from the point where he had decided to ignore her in the pursuit of Rachel, the trouble starts brewing when they are forced to endure each other’s company. Kate’s feelings had never wavered when it comes to Shane, but for Shane, discovering Kate along those lines and the way he falls so hard for her amidst all that reluctance on his part was something worth all that heartache and pain.

There were times I felt like dousing Shane with a bucket of cold water for good measure, just so that he could see reality for what it was. I also loved the strong cast of secondary characters that lent an extra richness to the developing story and made it more wholesome with their presence, which also ended up being the reason behind Shane finally being able to get his head out of his ass and really see things from a different perspective.

One would wonder how Kate was able to forgive everything when all was said and done. I guess the simple and complicated answer to that would be love, in its purest of forms. Kate is just pure in heart in a way that a lot of us may not be able to understand. No matter what she goes through, there is no malice nor hatred in her heart, which is a rare thing indeed.

When one comes to understand Shane and baggage he carries from his experience through the foster care system, it is easier to see where he is coming from. It is evident that Shane is scared shitless of the way Kate makes him feel which is evident as the story reaches its climax. One can see why it is so, because Kate is not someone who deserves love of the half-assed variety; she deserves it all.

I know that Unbreak My Heart would not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you are anything like me and love irredeemable heroes paired with heroines who make them fall and fall hard, this is for you. If you want a romance that is politically correct, with rainbows and sunshine, with a unicorn or two thrown in for good measure, then it is safe to say that this is not the book for you.

Recommended for those who love emotional and angst-ridden reads that makes you feel all the feels! Unbreak My Heart does that in spades! Thank you Ms. Jacquelyn, for writing Shane’s character as he was.

Final Verdict: Unbreak My Heart delivers the reality of the pain that stems from unrequited love and the courage it takes to love in the truest and purest sense. I wouldn’t change a word in this book for the world!

Favorite Quotes

“When you cry, your lips swell up,” he whispered, making my eyes finally pop open in surprise.
He was so much closer than I’d realized that my breath caught in my throat as he stared at my lips.
Then his mouth was on mine.
“Pushing, always fucking pushing,” he mumbled against my mouth before sucking my bottom lip between his and biting down hard enough to make me whimper.
He tugged at my lip with his teeth, and I felt my body heat in response.
“What are you doing?” I asked as his eyebrows furrowed.
“Fuck if I know.”

“Harder,” he ordered, groaning as he grabbed the back of my head and pressed my mouth to his throat. “Do it hard.”
I followed his instructions, biting and sucking on his neck like it was my job, and his hands shook as one held me against him and the other slid down the side of my throat and ripped the strap of my bra and cami down my shoulder. He tasted salty, and the stubble under his chin rasped across my tongue.
“Jesus,” Shane groaned as he leaned back on his knees and gazed at my breast that had popped free. “Your nipples are pierced.”

“So bare and slick,” Shane whispered darkly, bending over my body until his chest rested against my back. “And what is this?”
His fingers found my hood piercing, and I froze as I waited to see what he’d do. I felt one finger playing softly with the piercing as my breath grew ragged, and I was so focused on that sensation that I didn’t feel him positioning behind me until he was thrusting inside.
I think I may have screamed as he came to a stop halfway inside, but my ears were ringing so loudly that I wasn’t sure. Not that I would have cared either way.

Her breathing was little off, kind of heavy and shuddery at the same time, and the feel of it on my shoulder was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“Is that all you—” Kate started to ask.
My mouth was on hers before the last word was spoken, and I made an embarrassing desperate noise when her lips parted and she let me inside.
She tasted like ginger, probably from the cookies she had brought with her that morning, and for some reason it ratcheted up my desire until I was practically shaking.

“Shit,” she moaned, bending her knees so she could press down on my fingers inside her. “It’s not enough.”
“It’s enough.”
“No, I’m so close. God. It’s not—”
I bit down on her nipple then, careful of how sensitive she seemed to be, and she came, gasping and shuddering as my hand between her legs became drenched in her.
I pulled my hand from her slowly, running my fingers over everything I could reach, then lifted it and put those two fingers in my mouth.
She tasted different than I remembered. Maybe even better.

“Your body is insane, Kate,” he told me as he rolled over until he was leaning over me. “I look at you, and I don’t see the fucking ratty clothes you wear. I see the way your breasts bounce when I pull on your nipples. I see the way you clench your jaw when you come, and the way your red lips get swollen from sucking my dick.”
My mouth dropped open, and I looked at him in shock.
“You were my wife’s best friend. My dead wife. Do you get that? I look at you and I don’t see Katie who drove me nuts when we were kids, or Katie who was Rachel’s best friend. I see Kate, the woman who can take me hard then fucking begs for more. That’s not okay. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?”

“It’s okay, I’ve got you,” he breathed, lifting both of my legs until they were bent and pressing against his chest and he was hitting my G-spot again. “There you go.”
“Please,” I begged hoarsely.
“Harder?” He pulled back and thrust in desperately as he kissed me hard.
“Yes. Yes. Like that.”
“Jesus Christ, you’re sexy,” he mumbled into my mouth. “You’re almost there, Kate. Take it. Fuck!”
I detonated, and he followed closely behind me with a deep groan.

I cut her words off with my mouth as we reached the back door of Miles’s truck. Thank God the windows were tinted, and I knew that Mike and Miles would studiously avoid looking where we were standing…but it wouldn’t have mattered if they hadn’t.
She whimpered and gripped my head in her hands as I swept my tongue into her mouth, and I couldn’t resist grabbing her ass and hoisting her up until she was braced against the truck with her legs wrapped around me.
I didn’t know what I was doing. Things between us were getting so complicated. Too complicated.
But I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving without the taste of her in my mouth.

“Take it off,” he ordered gruffly, the tendons in his neck growing taught. “All the way, Kate.”
I closed my eyes as I pulled the shirt over my head and only opened them again when I heard him let out a harsh breath.
“Fuck,” he groaned, his eyes dilated until they were almost black. “Do you know what we’d be doing if I was there right now?”
I nodded mutely as I watched him watching me.
“You’re so fucking incredible, Kate. Jesus, those breasts—” I laughed a little as he whimpered, then slid the shirt back over my head, hiding my body from view.

He slid his tongue into my mouth as I began to shake, and I kissed him back until I finally couldn’t concentrate on both his mouth and his hand at the same time.
“Harder,” I ordered, clenching my teeth so hard it was a wonder I didn’t shatter them.
“Goddamn,” he groaned, sucking on my shoulder as I got closer and closer to the edge.
My hands were frantic as I tried to touch all of his torso at once, the nails of one hand digging into the forearm between us as it flexed over and over. His fingers were curled up inside me, and every time he jerked his hand up, his palm rubbed over my swollen clit.
I came hard, my mouth at his throat as I tried not to make any noise.

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