Review: HIM by L. L. Ash

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Blake Hamel
Heroine: Bay
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 14, 2020
Started On: January 19, 2021
Finished On: January 19, 202121

HIM by L. L. Ash is a recommendation I came across in my quest to read romances that feature huge age gaps and follows tropes similar to that of Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas & some of my other favorite reads that I have read along those lines.

The story starts with the heroine Bay moving into her best friend Georgia’s home, who lives with her 35 year old father Blake Hamel. Blake agrees to the deal because he has missed out on a lot when it comes to Georgia’s life, with the nasty split between him and his ex having driven a wedge where he wanted none when it comes to his daughter.

Even though Bay does not want to be a burden to anyone and does more than her fair share of everything around the house, she cannot help but feel like she is not wanted, especially with the way Blake tries to avoid her at first. Blake for his part, is in sheer agony from wanting something he shouldn’t, from having illicit thoughts featuring him with none other than his daughter’s best friend.

But once Georgia moves out in a stint to exert her independence and walk the path as approved by her mother, that serves to be the tipping point in the relationship which comes to light between Bay and Blake. Even though Blake tries to resist, he is no match for the more tender variety of emotions that Bay invokes in him, and before they both know it, both of them are too emotionally vested in each other for it to be easy to walk away from.

I loved both Bay and Blake and the story that unfolded, even though there existed much potential which could have been explored to deepen the impact on readers. I liked the fact that Ms. Ash knew how to maneuver around the subject with sensitivity that did not leave the reader with a sour aftertaste when all was said and done.

Recommended for fans of romances featuring protagonists with huge age gaps and taboo tropes.

Final Verdict: Ms. Ash does a splendid job in bringing to life the love between Bay and Blake, with just enough characterization & sensitivity in the mix to do the trope justice.

Favorite Quotes

My hand reached down and fingers folded around his length as he hissed in pleasure.
“I need you,” I whispered into his ear again just as I met my slit with his cock, dropping onto him as we both groaned at the meeting.
“Fucking hell,” he moaned as I hit bottom, balls to my ass as we got used to the thickness and tightness of him inside me.
His eyes lifted again, meeting mine with a fire burning hot like blue flames.

His cock was at my entrance in moments, and with his tongue still in my mouth, I pulled his hips until he was inside me, filling me almost to bursting.
“Fuck me,” I breathed between kisses.
So he did.
He hiked up one of my knees in his hands, planted his on either side of my hips, and thrust into me so hard the entire bed jostled, hitting the wall with a bang and a squeak. It was
pure heaven.

“I need you to go faster, babe,” he said breathlessly.
I sat back instead, pressing my hands onto his thighs behind me as I arched my back to give my body a little more support as I increased in speed. His hand grazed up my belly and clutched a breast, squeezing and pulling on the nipple as pangs of sharp pleasure spiked through me with each movement of our hips.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he breathed just before he groaned and lifted his hips even more until my knees left the bed and I fell forward onto his chest.

My eyes closed again as I moved so slowly, grinding more than rocking. Evidently it wasn’t enough for him. He sat up, legs crossed as I sat back onto his thighs. Our lips met in consuming heat as his hands pulled me closer onto him, then up and down at the pace he wanted as my legs wrapped around his waist. I was happy with the help since my body was limp already with my first release, but I could feel a second orgasm burning through me like a shooting star.
He snarled and bucked just as my mind exited my body again in waves of bliss, but they crashed back together as my back hit the ground, warm cum landing flat on my chest as he reached his release above
me.

“This is mine,” I told him in a whisper. “This is my choice.”
His eyes met mine just as I sank down on him, skin to skin. Blake’s face tightened in a mixture of tortured pleasure, a hummed moan breathing over my lips as his eyes squeezed shut.
“You don’t know what it’s like, Bay,” he breathed as I rode him.
Coherent mind was long gone by that point. All I wanted was harder, faster, hotter.
“If you got pregnant and you had to be with me because of it…”
I pressed my hand over his lips, grinding hard before giving him my simple finality.
“I wouldn’t marry you just because I got pregnant, Blake,” I whispered. “And it’s too late anyway. Whether you want it or not, I’m going to marry you. Do you understand that? You’re mine. Every single part of you, you’re mine.”

His fingers bit into my flesh as he growled, finishing inside me just as I reached my tipping point, heat suffusing through my belly and breasts, I came. He was cursing again, his head digging into the pillow as my nails made little angry crescents in his shoulders until the intensity passed, settling me into weightless afterglow.
I sat there, still on him as he was still in me, us both panting and sweating and holding tightly onto each other. Then his eyes met mine, and I could immediately see that something had changed; shifted. Determination stared back at me instead of confused uncertainty.
Yes, he was mine.

“You know,” he whispered, his fingers brushing across my lower back until he had a handful of my butt in each hand. “Ever since I got this thing, I’ve wanted to take the woman I loved on this ride.”
“But you didn’t know me,” I whispered back, my breath hitching as his lips teased mine, just brushing faintly against me but not giving up any kisses.
“No, but I was preparing for you. I just didn’t know it was you yet.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: His Harlot by S.M. LaViolette

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Victorian Decadence, #1
Publisher: Crooked Sixpence Press
Hero: Edward Fanshawe
Heroine: Nora
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 05, 2020
Started On: January 02, 2021
Finished On: January 09, 2021

S.M. LaViolette’s foray into erotic romance comes in the form of the Victorian Decadence series, the debut book of which is entitled His Harlot. These books are unlike any erotic romance books I have read (not that my experience is that vast), but I like character driven erotic romance just as much as anyone who loves the sub-genre. Ms. LaViolette certainly pulls no punches when it comes to writing these stories, and irrespective of those things that I did not understand (perhaps due to my conservative nature that is inherent in me), I did enjoy the major arcs as the story unfolded for the most part.

41 year old Edward Fanshawe is a regular customer at the Madame Tosca’s exclusive establishment for gentlemen where Nora works. Though not exclusively, Edward had been visiting Nora for the last eight months, during three months of which he had seen her and no other. During the period their sexual games had intensified with every encounter. Nora is an odd creature, someone whose body is as lithe as a young boy’s and yet feminine in a way that drives Edward just a little crazy.

Edward is horrified at the mere thought of being too dependent and obsessed with Nora, something which he seeks to avoid at all costs. His need to see those rare moments during which Nora lets him see into her emotions, by driving her hard sexually is the one aspect of their sexual escapades that leaves Edward more scared than he lets on. Having grown up at an orphanage, steeped in poverty, Edward has worked hard to get where he is, and he has plans that points him in the direction of finding him a respectable wife and getting himself an heir.

Nora makes him want the impossible, and unlike in “normal” romance novels where the hero would reluctantly offer for the heroine’s hand in marriage, what Edward offers her is to become his mistress. For Nora who has been in love with Edward, it is not an offer that she has to think much about it. Accept it she does, and then she finds out that that Edward plans on achieving his life goals with her by his side.

Nora is someone who likes sexual depravity. Since she had been fourteen years old, Nora had known that she was differently wired. Wanting freedom from the shackles of marriage, she had left life as she had known it and made it on her own – working at the whorehouse had been a means to an end of sorts, where she knew her sinful nature served her well. Meeting Edward and falling in love had been the one thing that had made her question her life choices, but Nora knows that marriage and respectability are two words that would never be applied to her.

His Harlot is a novel that depicts how two people so lost in their depraved games to heighten sexual intimacy, each equally afraid of giving away the fragility of their feelings for one another, hurt other people in their lives to the extent that one might perceive it to be unforgivable. There is a lot of pain that both Nora and Edward undergo before things get better, a lot of growing up that each does as individuals to understand the ramifications of their decisions when it came to each other.

Being an erotic romance, there were plentiful scenes of sex involved of course, but Ms. LaViolette has achieved what few authors perhaps can in such a setting – given emotional wholesomeness alongside with development of secondary characters to a point that makes you want to learn more about them. But funnily enough, me being the book quote lover that I am, did not really find much affinity with the scenes of passion in the story as it unfolded, perhaps because most of it were to do with Nora and Edward finding sexual pleasure at the cost of someone else’s emotions.

Furthermore, I had a hard time understanding Nora’s life choices – I just could not perceive how a woman brought up in a loving household (there were no indications of it being anything but) could just be okay with servicing men for sexual pleasure. I know that we are all wired differently, but that was just something I could not wrap my head around. We all pursue the fulfillment of our baser desires to different extents; our life choices often get messed up along the way as a resultant effect of those desires as well. But I guess regardless of my personal opinion, everything did work out for Nora and Edward in the end. I even rooted for them from a certain point onward, the painful period of separation giving that right touch of penance perhaps for their earlier behavior.

One key takeaway from the series – was everyone sex crazed in the Victorian era? Or is that just me? I certainly did not understand the need to have sex with everything that moves, but that is how most of the characters came off in the story. But enticing they are, and I am definitely going to read more of where this came from.

Recommended for erotic romance lovers; Ms. LaViolette is certainly talented in writing plentiful when it comes to inventive sex scenes and delivering wholesome goodness while at it.

Final Verdict: His Harlot is unlike any erotic romance I have read, taking the reader on a journey of sensual depravity that meets a lot of hurdles on the road to the happily ever after.

Favorite Quotes

“Look at us,” he ordered, their eyes meeting in the glass. He pumped his hips, relishing the sight of his powerful body covering hers. “We look like two animals in rut,” he said, demonstrating again but harder, devouring the pain and lust and—yes, if he wasn’t mistaken—jealousy on her face. “We’re two of a kind,” he whispered in her ear. “Two mutts who like to fuck like the animals we are.” He thrust again, very close to his climax now. “But my wife, Nora, she will be a purebred.” His dark eyes held her pale ones in thrall: black and white just like this room—their room.
“And I’ll pump my seed into her purebred cunt and breed my mutts inside her gold-plated womb.” He leaned close enough to kiss her ear. “And you’ll have to watch and suffer and want.”
He gave one last vicious thrust and they came at the same moment, Nora climaxing as he spent deep inside her, tears streaming from her eyes.

There was no finesse, no gentleness. He sucked her into his mouth and ravaged her, the thick middle finger of his hand slamming into her hard, his thrusts deep and remorseless.
Nora plunged her fingers into his thick white hair, holding him firm while she ground herself against him, spreading wider and fucking his tongue, his lips, even his rough chin, which scratched skin that was almost virginal it had been so long since it had last had contact with anything but her hand.
Not like Edward, who’d been fucking and whipping women other than her all along. The familiar swirl of lust and jealousy filled her belly and overflowed into her womb, her body pounding with a primitive throbbing for hi
m.

“My poor Nora,” he whispered, his hips resuming their pumping, his hand briefly grazing her wet cheek. “You’ve missed this just as much as I have.” This, being a thrust so brutal it almost choked her. He chuckled at the sound. “I can see you’re out of practice and in need of my firm hand and hard cock.” He held her head in an unbreakable grip while he drove into her with increasingly savagery, plunging cruelly, with no care but for his own pleasure, pushing her dangerously close to the edge.
“No,” he ordered harshly.
His selfish command was more powerful than the most exotic aphrodisiac and almost sent her over the edge. But her body, if not her mind, responded without question to his mastery.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Review: Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Flint Hopkins
Heroine: Ellen Rodgers
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 27, 2018
Started On: December 26, 2020
Finished On: January 02, 2021

Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann is the kind of romance that reaffirms the romance reader’s belief in the genre amidst too many lackluster reads pushing different agendas that are the popular norm of the times we live in. It is the kind of story that echoes in your heart long after you are done, memories of how you felt when you were deeply engrossed in the story, the kind you cherish months and years later, the reason why it lands in your favorites folder, to be revisited somewhere down the line.

32 year old Ellen Rodgers is a music therapist who signs a new lease for an office space, and her landlord turns out to be Flint Hopkins, who is a lawyer, who requires absolute silence to get his work done. From the get go, sparks fly between the two, reluctant as Flint maybe to acknowledge the fact. He wants to cancel the lease and get back his peace of mind, not just from the music or the “noise” that comes from his tenant’s floor, but from the way Ellen has a habit of ruffling his feathers, touching him, and making him want, testing his very resolve.

Ellen is more stubborn than Flint gives her credit for, and things become “messier” when Flint’s son Harrison finds an affinity with none other than Flint’s enemy number one. In the end, every single second spent in each other’s company drives them inexorably closer to that tipping point from which there is no turning back. But it is no smooth sailing for these two when each carries enough baggage and heartache to last them a lifetime. It takes a lot from both of them to find equal footing on their journey towards happily ever after and every excruciating minute I would say, was worth it.

I loved, loved, loved my first book by Jewel E. Ann to pieces. This book had everything going for it; main protagonists who are both lovable in all the ways that matter. Flint *fans self*, is the kind of hero that makes readers swoon with effortless ease. He steps into the story and your eyes just start shooting hearts all over the page. He has the kind of confidence that turns heads, the looks to go with it, and a demeanor that may keep most at bay, but not Ellen.

I loved the broken pieces within Flint that needed healing. He needed to forgive himself more than anything else, the guilt that keeps eating him from inside out being the biggest factor that keeps him from moving on, ten years since the fateful event of his wife’s death. He is a man grieving and at the same time stuck in a moment in the past, and he has no intention of budging from where he is for anyone.

Ellen is the antithesis to what Flint is in many ways, but the sorrow that fills every crevice of her broken heart is no less significance. A failed marriage has left its mark deeply ingrained, and she cannot help but want Flint with everything she is, even when she should know better. Touching Flint is Ellen’s way of reaffirming the essential bits and pieces to her, and Flint certainly does not make it easy when every delectable inch of his is laid bare for her taking.

I also loved the secondary characters in the novel that gave the story the wholesome edge it needed from at times the darkness that loomed in the story. There is so much angst interwoven that it sometimes felt like there was a football field lodged in my throat – but I reveled in it, loved it, and craved the feelings that were coursing through me with every fiber of my existence. There was guilt and yearning. There were broken hearts and fractured souls. But amidst it all, there was love and healing that went hand in hand which made this story stand out!

Recommended for fans of unforgettable romances featuring heroes that makes your hearts beat just a tad faster and heroines who make you smile through happy tears!

Final Verdict: Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann takes the reader on an incredible journey that demands nothing less than total surrender. There is nary a word nor character that I would change in this book!

Favorite Quotes

I jerk the button and zipper to his jeans, humming against his mouth. He shoves my shirt off my shoulders and yanks my bra down, palming my breasts as my hand slides down the inside of his briefs.
A low growl vibrates his chest. When was the last time I unraveled a guy with the touch of my hand? I don’t remember and that’s just sad.

“Let’s go.” She slides out of the booth.
I toss cash onto the table and follow her out the door, feeling guilty for the lack of any conversation over the past hour. “I’m sorry for not saying much—”
She whips around and grabs the lapels to my jacket, pulling me around the corner to the alley. She kisses me. Her hands take mine, and she guides them to her waist. “Touch me,” she whispers over my mouth.
“Where?” I take a step forward until her back presses to the side of the brick building.
“Anywhere …” Her breath is labored and desperate as she licks and sucks the skin between my ear and the collar of my jacket. “Everywhere … just … touch me.”

If I lean in three inches, our lips will meet. I like his lips, and the way he’s looking at mine leads me to believe the feeling is mutual.
“Thank you for bringing him home.”
He smells like herbs, like I imagine a chef might smell. I’m hungry. I’d settle for him, but I don’t think he’s on the menu tonight. I don’t know if he’ll ever be on the menu. He’s that dessert on the dessert tray that no one ever gets to eat because it’s just a display.

“Flint …”
“Shhh …” I nip at the skin right below the perfect curve of her ass, warning her to be quiet. She smells like the forbidden and tastes like my newest addiction. My hands work her skirt up her torso and over her head. With a firm yank it releases her arms, taking her shirt with it. I discard them behind me as well.
She turns. I take a step up, putting my face level with her perky tits. Glancing up to meet her drunken gaze and parted lips, I grin, unfastening her bra and tossing it over my shoulder.
Fucking perfect.

“I may have planned on sex … but I sure as hell never planned on you.” I ease her to her feet, and she sits on the bed, unfastening my pants with way more patience than I have at the moment. My hands take over, discarding the rest of our clothes before claiming her mouth again, pressing my body against the soft, warm curves of hers.
She tastes like forgiveness and feels like freedom. And she sounds like a prayer, humming against my mouth—not a moan, an actual tune that I don’t recognize.

I hop off the counter and take the pan to the drawer under my stove top. “Ouch!” I drop the pan in the drawer with a clunk and straighten my back, my hand reaching for the back of my leg, just below my butt cheek. There’s a stinging welt.
Flint holds the end of the twisted damp towel in his hand like a whip.
“Oh my gosh! Did you seriously just whip me with a towel?” I say in a loud whisper. “There’s a welt. You marked me.”
“Your skirt is too short. When you bent over to put that pan in the drawer, I could see black lace.”
“So you whipped me?”
He stalks toward me until I’m forced to crane my neck to maintain eye contact. “No,” he whispers. “I whipped you because you’re a fucking tease.”

“Which finger or fingers of yours should I be jealous of tonight?” he says in a low, deep voice.
I hide my gasp, but it’s there. Apparently shockingly crude remarks are the theme of the night. I can play this game. Making a quick glance over my shoulder for young ears coming, I turn back and hold up my index and middle finger. “These two up front…” I add my ring finger “…this one in the back.”
And there it is … Flint Hopkins expressionless and speechless. It’s an oddly beautiful sight.

For the rest of the night we pay homage to each other—physically, emotionally, spiritually. I refuse to stop until my mouth and hands have touched him everywhere and his have possessed every inch of me. I memorize the look he gets at the exact moment he loses himself to me. His back arches. My hand splays over his taut stomach muscles; my fingers curl into his tight flesh like I’m claiming him—Every. Single. Piece.
It’s sensual.
It’s vulnerable.
It’s beautiful.
It’s mine. I want that look to be mine and only mine forever.

“Ms. Rodgers.” He takes two short steps before the door closes behind him and he pins me to the wall.
We turn into a flurry of hands ripping at clothes, deep kisses, playful bites, and soft moans.
Between labored breaths, I stab my hands through his hair as he licks and bites his way down my neck. “You didn’t bring lunch, did you?”
“Elle …” He hums in pleasure as his lips feather across the swell of my breasts. “You are lunch.” Flint drops to his knees, taking my leggings and panties down with him.
My head thumps against the wall as my eyes roll back into my head.

Alex steps toward me, giving me that look of adoration that he used to give me, as he lifts his arm up, touching my cheek with his cold, prosthetic fingers.
I stiffen as Flint’s hand wraps around Alex’s forearm, pulling it away from my face. “But just to be clear … if any man were going to put something inside of Ellen and lay claim to her … it would be me.”
Just to be clear … I just fell in love with Flint Hopkins again.

“I haven’t been with anyone but you since the day you walked into my life.” I lift her up onto the vanity.
“Flint—”
“Shhh …” I kiss her while wedging myself between her legs.
She sucks in a quick breath as I push into her. My hand finds her breast as I find a rhythm.
“Race you to the finish,” I whisper in her ear.
Elle’s lips press to my neck, pulling into a grin. I show her how much I love her. How much I’ve missed her. How much I crave every inch of her. And then I beat her to the finish, pulling her across the line just after me.

“Crying’s not necessary—oh, Elle.” He pulls me in for a hug as I blink out the first round of tears and sob at the same time.
I knew it would hit me hard when it came time to say the words.
“There’s s-so m-much I want to s-say.”
He hugs me tightly, kissing my forehead. “Then say it.”
I shake my head, fighting back more sobs. “It’s st-stupid.”
“It’s not stupid. Just say it.”
I take a few seconds to reel in the burst of emotions so I can get all the words out before falling apart again. “I love you, so don’t die in a plane crash. Don’t change your mind. Don’t sleep with another woman. Don’t think about me getting fat or getting stretch marks. Don’t ruin your relationship with Harry to be with me. But be with me. Gah! I know that sounds impossible. But …”
He kisses me. And kisses me. And kisses me until I could faint. “Heaven and Earth,” he whispers over my tear-stained face.

He slides down my leggings and panties. I suck in a breath as a shiver jolts up the entire length of my body from his fingertips ghosting along the back of my bare legs.
His touch has had this effect on me since the first time his hand touched mine. At the time I thought it was this craving for any touch after feeling starved of that kind of affection for so long. I was wrong.
It’s Flint.
It’s his touch.
It’s me.
It’s how he reacts to my touch.
It’s us.

“Flint …” I curl my fingers into his back as this builds into something stronger and erratic. Our breaths quicken.
“Elle …” His grip on my hips tightens, and he slams me onto him as his hips rock up into me. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”
Our mouths crash together again seconds before we fall apart. I love being in Flint’s world. It’s tragic. It’s complicated. It’s filled with obstacles. But …
It’s passionate.
It’s addictive.
It’s the deepest kind of love.
It’s everything.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Byrne

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Devil You Know, #2
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hero: Cassius Gerard Ramsay
Heroine: Cecelia Teague
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 29, 2020
Started On: December 11, 2020
Finished On: December 26, 2020

The second installment in the Devil You Know series; All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Byrne turned out to be anticlimactic in many ways. This series which focuses on three women who meet and forge an unlikely friendship and bond at boarding school, which continues to be a huge part of their lives even after, often reads like a cliched manuscript for a women’s rights advocacy group.

Cecelia Teague spends her most formative years undergoing emotional and at times physical abuse at the hands of her father until she is rescued and given all of those things which she never would have thought possible. However, the one constant in her life remains – loneliness, which has never truly left since those dark days long in her past.

Cecelia’s path crosses that of Cassius Gerard Ramsay, when one of her friends gets married to Ramsay’s half brother. Ramsay is a stickler for due process, understandable given his profession as the Lord Chief Justice of the High Court. Furthermore, Ramsay is a man who believes abstinence is key to a life that is not ruled by vices. However, in Cecelia he finds a woman who tests his resolve for the first time in seven long years.

Even so, fate does not treat these two ever so kindly at first, with Cecelia forced to assume responsibility for something that Ramsay loathes with his very existence. When danger comes calling and in pursuit of Cecelia and those whom she holds dearest, Ramsay does not waste any time in taking her to safety until they are able to get to the bottom of it.

As these two battle out their mutual attraction to one another, the truth that emerges from the past maybe a much heavier price to pay than either of them bargained for. But reconcile they must, and acceptance is key to a shared future, if Ramsay and Cecelia are ever so inclined.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, this book turned out to be such a let-down in many ways. I found the story bogged down with tedious detail and cliched in many ways that I often left comments expressing my dissatisfaction with the undertones in the story. I am all for strong heroines who go out of their way to fight for and carve out their rightful place in society. But I do dislike stories that rather than impart important messaging along those lines with subtlety, goes to include preachy dialogue that just falls flat, given the time period, circumstances, and characters in question.

My biggest disappointment was how Ramsay turned out to be. He was such a formidable character from the very first installment in the series. His presence alone had a vibe that I liked, something that sent delicious shivers running up and down my spine. But alas, his character seemed to deflate like a balloon that loses air in small degrees, as Ms. Byrne attempted to make Cecelia stand strong and true to her values.

I agree that Ramsay was an ass ofttimes and held such strong opinions of his own regarding women’s place in society and how his life should be. In a way I don’t blame him given the job title which he holds, which comes with a lot of moral and ethical responsibilities attached to it. It is not just his own self and actions that would be under scrutiny but those whom he considers his family and friends as well.

So Cecelia in her high handedness refusing to see that was part of the problem for me, while Ramsay’s stubbornness also was unacceptable. But then in truth, that is what humans are like, and I would have expected them to find a way to be together because their love was worth it. As women, we don’t have to push feminism and women’s right to the extent that we are unwilling to bend and compromise for what is important in life. Love requires compromise, a future built on mutual trust and other values requires compromise – show me a successful marriage and/or relationship that does not include compromise as the number one keyword for their success and I will reconsider my opinion.

So Ramsay’s character, needless to say, was butchered in a way that was unacceptable in my opinion. He was initially the very definition of compelling. I keep wondering as to whatever happened to Ms. Byrne’s will to write ruthless heroes that made my senses go haywire. I wonder what happened to the writer who was willing to go where her characters took her, even when they were often difficult roads to travel on. But we as readers appreciated that darkness to her characters which few authors tend to risk writing. I wanted so much more for Ramsay and Cecelia – a plot that just sank in the middle was not it.

Recommended for die-hard fans of Kerrigan Byrne and fans of the series! I am not entirely certain that I would be reading the next installment, given the reviews that show that readers were more or less let down once again!

Final Verdict: What a sore disappointment this turned out to be, me with my high hopes smashed to smithereens by the overly preachy and cliched overtones on feminism & women’s rights interwoven into the story.

Favorite Quotes

“I like your names,” she whispered, swaying forward. “Ramsay. And Cassius.”
He hated his name. He hated it every day. “I like yers.”
She blinked. “Would you say it?”
“Miss Teague?”
“No, might you call me Cecelia?”
“Cecelia.” He drew out the syllables, letting his tongue linger over them. Learn them.
She closed her eyes, seeming to savor the word with the same vigor as the truffles. “Again?”
An invisible restraint shackled his bones, this one not of cold hard iron, but of velvet. It tugged him toward her. Drew her name out of his chest like a poem, and then a prayer.
“Cecelia.”
Her lips parted.
And he was l
ost.

She didn’t reach for him, nor did she do anything else wanton or wicked. She just accepted his mouth with a sweet sigh, tilting her head to receive more of him.
He lifted his hands to her face, intent upon gently holding her still so he could extricate himself from a kiss that shouldn’t be.
His thumbs drew up the line of her jaw and over her cheek, finding no angles, no hard lines. Somehow, he was cupping her face. Tilting it back. Drawing her in rather than pushing her away.
The roaring of his blood in his ears became a growl and then a purr.

He skimmed the seam of her lips with his tongue in a warm caress as his hand covered hers on his jaw. He laced their fingers in a motion that sent shivers rocketing through her entire frame like the waves of a sea gale. One crashing over the other with no sign of a break.

Her greedy hands danced over him, taking advantage of their position. She raked her fingers through a soft wealth of golden hair over his chest, finding the flat, masculine nipples that pebbled beneath her touch.
He made a noise that wasn’t entirely human and allowed her to slide down his body until she stood again so he could gather her hands in his own.
No, she thought, pulling her hands from his grasp. No, you don’t get to control this.
She wanted him like he was now. Free and wild, uninhibited and mindless. She wanted the man to give way to the animal beneath. If almost every one of their interactions had been a battle, this one would be different in a very unmistakable way.
This was a battle she’d win.

She gazed up over the cords of his stomach and the mounds of his chest into gilded lightning glinting down at her from eyes that no longer held a hint of winter. His skin was flushed with arousal. His lids at half-mast.
He bared his teeth in a show of dominance, though his hand was gentle as it urged her mouth toward the column of his sex.
He thought he was still in control.
How adorable.

She employed the strength of her jaw, sucking him in, taking him as deep against her throat as she could. Her tongue flattened to make room for him, rubbing at the underside of his rod as she pumped faster.
“Nay,” he gritted out. “Ye canna.”
Yes, she thought. I can. You’re mine. This is mine. This wicked intimacy they would always share regardless of the outcome of their current nightmare. At least she’d owned him with her mouth. And he was the man whose lips she would never forget.

Cecelia finally opened her eyes, glorying in the sight of him locked within his own skin and strength. Helpless and vulnerable inside her mouth. Arching with a pleasure that looked very much like pain.
This was the beast. This untethered, unselfconscious thing.
This beast was hers. This beast wanted to lay claim to her, as well.

“How can I not look?” he asked her as though she’d gone mad. His growl had deepened another impossible degree, to that of a Gregorian monk at prayer. “I didna know such perfection existed.”
In that moment Cecelia didn’t care if anything subsequent proved to be folly, she merely realized she was falling for this strong giant brute, with all the subtle grace of a landslide. Plunging artlessly into love with him even though every logical thought told her she should not.
Logic didn’t belong in this mysterious Scottish forest.
Only this. Only them.

“Oh, don’t make me say it,” she pleaded.
A dark chuckle overtook him as he lowered his great body to nuzzle into her hair. “Ye confound me, woman,” he purred into her ear. “Tell me what ye want, and I’ll give it to ye.”
“I want you.” Cecelia turned her head, sifting her fingers through his hair as she returned her breath against his ear. “And you can have me, Ramsay,” she offered gently, reaching in between their bodies to stroke his hard length over his trousers. “In whatever way you want me. I can take it. I can take you. All of you.”

There was a moment of fright. A single, breathless knowledge that once he’d claimed her this night, neither of them be the same. His weight was both a comfort and a burden, and she did the only thing she could think of to release a sudden rush of anxiety.
She bit the muscle between his neck and his shoulder.
He snarled and drove forward, pressing inside.

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

Review: All the Missing Pieces by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Chris Sherwood
Heroine: Reese Charlotte Carlisle
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 21, 2020
Started On: December 04, 2020
Finished On: December 05, 2020

28 year old Reese Charlotte Carlisle lives a life mostly in seclusion, ever since her life had changed so drastically upon the scandal that had broken her family apart. With her father in jail, her brother no more, Reese is all alone in the world and she prefers the anonymity her current life affords her. The only voice she allows herself is the meaningless one night stands she engages in on occasion, assuming different identities that suits her when the mood strikes.

On the fateful night she comes across Chris Sherwood, Reese is Denise, a dental assistant who is divorced and loves dogs. Something about Chris shakes her up in a way she does not like, and even though she thinks that she got away scot-free, that is hardly the case.

Before Reese knows it, Chris worms his way into her life and by the time she realizes the blunder she has made, it is too late to walk away unscathed. It is then Reese is forced to face the past she put on the back burner and truly assess what her father had done, putting her at risk and at the mercy of those who may not think twice about putting her in harms way.

All the Missing Pieces is romantic suspense at its finest – the first novel of its kind by Ms. Keyes. I have enormously enjoyed Ms. Keyes’ writing in her contemporary novels such as Time Served and Going the Distance. While her Burnham College series and other young adult novels have been a hit or miss with me, this novel I tell you, hits all those spots and then some.

The brilliance of Ms. Keyes as a writer explodes unto the pages with All The Missing Pieces, and the story clawed its way into my heart from the very start. The Julianna Keyes that I fell in love with when I first stumbled upon Time Served, which resulted in me quickly catching up with her entire backlist of published works, echoes with every single word in the story. Her writing has become more refined and forceful in a way that readers will definitely take notice of in this novel.

All The Missing Pieces is entirely written in the first person from Reese’s point of view. Rather than making the reader feel as if they are losing out on essential details, it somehow adds to the lure the story presents. What I loved most about the novel is that there is no repetition, no tiresome inner monologues, no rehashing details to death in the lengthy read that this turned out to be. I loved the fact that with this novel, Ms. Keyes has let her creativity take her to places where she might never have gone otherwise. I loved the fact that she has created a character that you can root for amidst everything that was happening.

The ending when it finally came, seemed fitting. Some readers however may not like Chris for what he does, but I understood where he was coming from, and it made the connection between Reese and himself all that more meaningful given the history. A brand new start with the man who forced his way into Reese’s life and forged that connection initially based on lies and half truths, coming to her finally as who he is, with no secrets between them was poetic to me.

The most brilliant aspect to the story is how Reese’s character evolves throughout – from the spoiled rich girl to the woman who is on the run from life itself, to becoming the stronger version of who she can be, while tending to the broken girl within, who died a brutal death in the wake of the truth behind her father’s actual treachery.

Never let it be said that authors venturing into new sub genres is a bad thing. Ms. Keyes has proven her talent in weaving a story that stands out amidst everything else. Recommended for fans of romantic suspense!

Final Verdict: With All the Missing Pieces, Ms. Keyes proves her mettle as a writer and her mastery when it comes to shifting through different sub-genres in the world of romance!

Favorite Quotes

“Still think you want this?” he murmurs.
“Let’s find out.”
The last thing I see is the tiny quirk of his mouth before he kisses me. There’s nothing soft or sweet or searching about the way he kisses, and it’s a relief. It says he gets it. He gets that this is one night only, we’re not soul searching, we’re not bonding, we’re not falling in love. This isn’t a getting-to-know-you type of fuck. Th
is is getting-off-and-getting-gone.

I scrape my nails up so I can anchor us together, using him for balance as I slip my other hand between us, feeling the soft rub of the denim, the smooth cotton of his briefs, then, finally, him.
He hisses when I grip him roughly, tugging hard, punishment for making me wait. He gets the hint and pushes two fingers into my panties, tormenting me.
“Do it,” I order. “Hurry.”
He buries his face in the side of my neck, and I feel his lips on the delicate skin, his teeth, the suction. He’s going to leave a mark.

He moves harder. Faster. He plants a forearm next to my head. I can smell him; sweat and laundry detergent. No expensive cologne, no hair products. His five o’clock shadow scrapes my cheek and I wince, but I don’t complain. I just feel it.
He kisses me, messy and unfocused. He seems like the kind of man who should be out here, who does things earthy and raw, who has dirt under his nails and knows how to change a tire and fuck a woman and not ask too many questions.
I wonder who he thinks I am.
The question makes me explode.

There was a time I loved attention. I wanted my picture on every cover, every website. I didn’t care what they said, as long as they said something. Now I don’t want to be seen. I want to be forgotten, ignored, uncared for. And for a long time, I’ve gotten my wish.
A feeling comes over me, one that has nothing to do with sex. One I try and fail to fight. I do my best to keep my eyes on his hand but they rise of their own accord, locking on his in the glass. He’s watching. He’s everywhere.
I shatter. I cry out and clutch at him, and he catches me when my knees give way. Everything inside me is lurching and convulsing in endless, artless waves of pleasure.

He doesn’t make me wait this time, urging my thighs apart so he can have better access. He can have everything right now. Absolutely everything.
Chris does this the way he does everything else, with his own brand of slow and steady and rough and sure. I’m melting so fast I have to lean back to brace myself against the dresser, arching my hips to his face. He doesn’t ease up when I’m moaning and shaking, my stomach flexing, one hand clutching his hair, making sure this doesn’t end until it has to. Until I can’t take it anymore. Until I’m covering my mouth to stifle sounds I’ve never heard before.

I kiss him like there’s a chance everything will be okay, like it’s possible. He doesn’t know this kiss is a goodbye and an apology. He doesn’t know that with every second I’m promising myself I’ll stop, even when my panties are gone and he’s pushing inside and I’m so ready for him.
“Reese,” he mutters, the words slipping through my hair, warm against my scalp. He threads his fingers through mine and rocks his hips, making me shudder. The pressure of him is wonderful, but it’s my name on his lips that does it for me, that feels better than anything else ever could. He tells me to keep my eyes open and this time I do. When he looks back on this moment, I want him to know it was as real as I could allow it to be.

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

Review: Reclaim by Aly Martinez

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Release Series, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Camden Cole
Heroine: Nora Stewart
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 12, 2020
Started On: November 13, 2020
Finished On: November 18, 2020

Reclaim, book 2 in The Release series by Aly Martinez is a story that I have bided my time for since having read the first installment, Release. The first book ends on a note that makes the reader extremely curious about the fate of Nora Stewart, whose past is entwined with the main protagonists from Release and oh so steeped in darkness – but there was only so much that the reader was privy to at that point.

Reclaim takes us to a time when Nora is 11 years old and meets 12 year old Camden Cole for the very first time. A friendship is forged between the two that fateful summer, and while promises were made, Nora believes that Camden broke them, just like her mother who abandoned their family when she was just a mere seven years old.

What happens next is a series of tragic events that leads to disaster of epic proportions, until years later, Nora and Camden’s paths cross again. With the heaviness of words unspoken between them lingering on, of a love that both feels acutely nevertheless, of so much time wasted while Camden had patiently waited for his one and only, I felt a keen sense of loss even when the story was well and over.

While I understood that Nora’s past required her to come to terms with a lot of things, that she needed to forgive herself and love herself enough to be able to have a long-lasting relationship with anyone, I could not quite understand why neither of them wanted to reach out to the other prior to the time period in which the rest of the story unfolds.

Perhaps, this hollow feeling emerged from the fact that I had a particular vision in mind when I thought of how Nora’s story would unfold. Don’t get me wrong; I did enjoy their story for the most part, but I cannot feel sad about the time wasted, when they could have been together and worked through a lot of the issues together. Perhaps this time apart was needed in part for Camden to also be in charge of his destiny for him to be able to finally be with Nora in a most fulfilling way.

Perhaps due to the time factor, and because the story takes place over periods during which there was too much darkness in especially Nora’s life for there to be light, I missed the sexy scenes of passion that should have rightfully existed between the two. In a way that also left me feeling cheated towards the end.

Recommended for fans of Aly Martinez and fans of The Release series who have been dying to read Nora’s story!

Final Verdict: Nora and Camden’s story is one of missed chances and a love that runs so deep, it stands the test of excruciating trials & hardships until at long last ultimate triumph is reached!

Favorite Quotes

“Do you…” Kiss. “…ever think—”
“Mmmm,” she hummed as my tongue teased at her earlobe.
“…about me…”
She shivered in my arms and moved closer until her core found my length straining against my boxers.
I hissed at the contact, barely able to finish my thought. “…at night?”
Her fingers latched onto my hair and she pulled my mouth to hers, hovering mere millimeters away. “You’re the only man I’ve ever thought about.” Her warm breath filled my every inhale. “Every night, Cam.”
I kissed her hard and fast, sealing my mouth over hers as though oxygen were my enemy.
Fuck. Me.

He entered me with a devastating control, the muscles on his back flexing with every thrust. It wasn’t long before he found a rhythm that drove us both wild. He uttered gravelly words into my neck, my name punctuating all of them, and I clung to him, ripples of pleasure building within me.
Unsure how much longer I could hold on, I locked my legs around his hips and urged him deeper. “Oh, God, I’m close.”
“Give it to me, Nora,” he ordered, his rhythm quickening.
My resolve snapped, and with a shattering climax, I unraveled beneath him.
“Yesss,” he hissed. “That’s it, baby. Oh, fuck, that’s it.”
One last drive and he seated himself to the hilt and emptied inside me.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Act Your Age, #1
Publisher: BookBaby
Hero: Tyler Henderson
Heroine: Katie May McGrath
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 27, 2017
Started On: October 31, 2020
Finished On: November 12, 2020

Act Your Age by Eve Dangerfield is a romance that takes a deep dive into the psychology behind the need for kink and why some, more than the rest of us are drawn towards it, need it in a way that they are rendered incomplete without it. The story features many tropes that excites me as a reader of romance such as the huge age gap between the main protagonists and the fact that the hero is as grumpy and taciturn as they come, not to mention he is her boss, she his employee.

Combining all of the above tropes, needless to say, my first Eve Dangerfield certainly did not disappoint. 45 year old Tyler Henderson is a man steeped in misery in the wake of his fiancé’s departure from his life. Time certainly has not done its intended job all that well, and even though Tyler would rather chew his arm off than admit to the fact that 25 year old Katie May McGrath, the youngest and only female engineer at the company pushes all his buttons and then some sexually, Tyler is determined that he steer clear of Katie.

However, fate has other plans for these two, as one work trip is all it takes for the blinds to come off and for both of them to understand that the sexual heat and sizzle between the two is not the kind one walks away from, not to mention the fact that in each other lies the answer to their deepest and darkest desires.

Katie had grown up knowing that while she might be young and inexperienced, that in her mind lies the filthiest of fantasies where the man dominates her sexual escapades. Which means she automatically gravitates towards men like Tyler who cannot be bothered to give her the time of day, and goes as far as to completely ignore the fact that she actually does exist.

Tyler on the other hand, while older and definitely more experienced in appeasing his needs, finds himself at a loss as to explain to his partners, just why daddy-kink in particular appeals to him. For the young adult he had been (eons back), it had been a painful journey, but he had more less believed that his fiancé was it for him, until she had decided that he wasn’t it for her.

When Katie and Tyler embarks on their affair, it is with rules in place which each swears to respect, but then again, with heat that scorches the sheets and each answering the need that has festered in both of them for years, it is only natural that emotions would get involved in the process, even if especially Tyler is not ready to walk down that road again.

Keeping Katie from engulfing him altogether is how Tyler believes he is keeping his sanity intact, when in fact, the direction in which they are headed is bound to end up hurting each other. There was much angst towards the end of the story, which made this book the emotionally swell read it was.

Act Your Age was such a marvelous romance because the story does not just give us kink alongside with laughter and feel good times, but it also allows the reader to peep through to the deeper psychological need behind it, which all lies in the fact that we are all inherently different from one another. Our experiences as we grow up, our DNA itself perhaps contributes towards the way our brains are wired to work in terms of pleasure, pain, and release. Ms. Dangerfield certainly does make one think when you start on the journey alongside with Tyler and Katie, and usually, when you pick up a romance that is pretty much erotic by all means, one seldom believes they would be doing much thinking along the way.

While Ms. Dangerfield’s voice is one that is totally new to me, I felt right at home and at ease with the way the words just flowed, the emotional angst and sexual heat just exploded across my senses. Combining mirth with sexual heat is something few authors can pull off, and the fact that Ms. Dangerfield does that so effortlessly wins points from me!

I loved both Katie and Tyler for obvious reasons. Katie who tries to find her footing in life, coming from a large family that never understood her nor the psychological ailment she has suffered all through her life, finds her family in the friends she makes along the way. Tyler obviously being more messed up in his obstinate desire to never give away his heart to anyone else, suffers all the more for it and made my heart melt just like that. And don’t even get me started on the way he takes charge in the bedroom and delivers, oh so beautifully. His hangups in bed and out of it comes from his need to protect his emotions and that was as telling as if he were waving the white flag of surrender from a certain point onward.

Having enjoyed this number immensely, I want to thank Ms. Dangerfield for taking the time to write this lengthy novel, which if cut short would not have been half as good. While I know that there is a second book in the series entitled Not Your Shoe Size which takes place a couple of years down the line, I would have appreciated even a two-pager worth epilogue for this one. After all the emotional wrangling that readers go through to get to the end, an epilogue clinches the deal for the most part.

Absolutely recommended for those who love their smut with a delicious serving of heart and a side of insightful thinking.

Final Verdict: Act Your Age is definitely what the doctor ordered if you like grumpy heroes who makes your panties melt with one searing glance. Daddy-kink lovers; you would love Tyler more than any other!

Favorite Quotes

A moment’s silence, and then, “I gave Professor Sloan my number.”
Ty’s hand froze on the door handle. “Don’t you fucking dare.”
“A lot of guys don’t mind being called ‘daddy.’ Now that I’ve done it once I’m sure I can do it with—”
In a heartbeat Ty had crossed the floor and before he could stop, think or consider, he was kissing her, his lips fusing with hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth. It was like sucking on a sugar cube, the sweetness so pleasurable, every taste demanded the need for more.

Ty’s fingers drew tighter around her clit, compressing the bud so tightly she felt like it might burst. “Yeah, baby?”
“I think I’m gonna come.”
“Good.” He bent down and sank his teeth into her neck, his sweat-slick hips pumping hard and fast. “Come, Middleton, come on Daddy’s big dick.”
It was wrong, hearing her nickname and the word ‘daddy’ in the same sentence but it was wrong in the best of ways. She arched her back and climax rippled out from her in long, shimmering waves. He didn’t stop, so it didn’t stop; her orgasm hummed and throbbed through her like a living thing, and she scratched him and chewed her lip and screamed and screamed and screamed. She was no virgin but she thought this is what sex is. Oh my god, this is what sex is.

They made out in the elevator, Kate not giving a damn about Stephen who was surely watching them at the security deck downstairs. Kate had barely closed her front door before Ty pressed her up against it, tearing off her underwear and fucking her with a ruthlessness she hadn’t felt since their first night together.
She came within minutes, screaming his name as the wheels of her roller skates bashed against the wood. One of Aunty Rhonda’s daguerreotypes fell off the wall and splintered, but Ty didn’t stop, and Kate didn’t care. He came a few minutes later, groaning about what a good whore she was, his lovely girl, h
is beautiful little slut.

Ty kissed her hand. “I don’t want to rush this. I don’t want to pressure you or make you doubt what I wrote on that card.”
“The card was great,” Kate agreed. “But, like, sex?”
He gave her a considering look. As though assessing if she was sober enough to drive. “I can kiss you again if you like?”
“What the…no!” Kate ducked under his arms and relaunched herself at his face. Ty put up a token resistance, but within seconds they were making out like teenagers. Kate slung a leg over his hips, determined to get him so wound up he wouldn’t think about saying no. She’d barely straddled him before Ty’s hands were buried in her hair, pulling it taut in his fist. “You’re a bad fucking girl, aren’t you?”
Kate smiled. Hearing him call her that alongside a sting of pain was like a chorus of angels serenading her right in the ear. Loving, respectful Ty was great, but filthy, punishing Ty was the one she wanted right now.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: Beautiful Monster by Sara Cate

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Hero: Alexander Caldwell
Heroine: Sunny Thorn
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 09, 2020
Started On: October 26, 2020
Finished On: October 31 , 2020

Love cannot be replaced. The love someone denies you cannot be filled by someone else.

Beautiful Monster by Sara Cate tells a story that surprised me in many ways. Drawn to pick this up because of the huge age gap factor, I found more than enough to keep the pages turning which set my senses humming.

The almost 20 year old Sunny Thorn lives with her mother and elder sister, both of whom drives her crazy in their own ways. Having tried going to college for one semester and failing to fit in, Sunny had yet to go back, and it is when 40 year old Alexander Caldwell moves in next door and offers her the chance to paint a mural at his home that things start to change for both of them.

Alex is a man who is at a loss as to how to turn his life around. Tired of meaningless sex and the trouble he always gets himself into, Alex makes a vow to himself that the next time he sleeps with someone, it would mean something more than just for the sake of having sex. Sunny however tests that resolve of his time and yet again, and even though Alex feels like beating himself up over the fact that he is lusting over someone so young, neither of them can help themselves as the connection between them becomes too fierce to ignore.

One thing leads to another, and Sunny and Alex gets involved leading to a disastrous conclusion that was inevitable at some point. However, it is up to both of them to forge their individual paths back to one another, if their love is worth all that and more.

This is the first time that a romance book has delved deep into the effects of past relationships and meaningless flings on one’s life. Usually, books tend to skim over those details, but in Alex, Ms. Cate has definitely given us a deeper view into how it can actually affect one’s psyche when one loses sight of the boundaries that one must adhere to even in the pursuit of pleasure and happiness.

Sunny’s character was beautiful in so many ways. She might be young age-wise, but she is mature and wise in a way that was telling, why she turned out to be such a good fit with Alex in the long run. Though the age factor does hinder the progress of their relationship at the beginning, it fades into insignificance given how they both feel about each other. I loved Alex as well. Perfect mix of sexy and battle-scarred in the emotional sense.

Recommended for those who love their steamy sex wrapped up in emotional goodness. My first Sara Cate certainly did not disappoint.

Final Verdict: Multi-layered with complex characterization with that dollop of sexy to keep the pages turning; Beautiful Monster made for splendid reading!

Favorite Quotes

“I didn’t give you your birthday present,” he says, holding me so close to his body that I can hardly breathe.
“What is it?”
Moving my hair out of my face, he leans down, his face a breath away from mine.
“Happy birthday, rain cloud.” Then his lips are on mine. They are so soft and warm, and I nearly melt from this unexpected moment. I feel his hands travel up my back until he’s digging his fingers into my hair and tilting my head. His tongue slips through my lips, and I have no idea how I’m still alive because I swear, I haven’t taken a breath in minutes.

“Lie down,” he commands, and I listen. My mouth feels dry, and the only sound I can hear now is the thrumming in my ears and the shaky intake of our breaths.
Alexander leans over my body, placing a hand next to my head while the other travels up my thigh. “Has anyone touched you here, Sunny?” he asks, his voice shaking.
“No,” I cry, pleading with him to touch me. “Please,” I beg.
“Please what?” he asks, looking into my eyes.
“Please touch me,” I gasp, feeling so vulnerable.
“I will,” he says, teasing me, drawing circles between my legs. “Know why?”
“Why?” My voice is strained.
“Because I want you to know how it’s supposed to feel when a man touches you.”

“Don’t stop,” I gasp, reaching up for his kiss again. My fingers claw at his back, feeling the sheen of sweat there as he picks up speed.
He calls my name as he buries his face into my neck, his fist still clutching my hair as the other engulfs me in a tight embrace. We are glued to each other, lost in a trail of ecstasy when he finally lets out a guttural roar, slamming into me so hard my body seizes again, the warmth exploding between my legs.

“Harder,” she gasps, clutching onto my neck, and I oblige.
“Who do you belong to, baby?” I pull her off the counter, hanging her legs from my hands as I pound her gentle flesh, her moans growing louder and higher.
“You, Alex. I’m yours, all yours.” Her voice is so strained I know she’s close.
“That’s my girl.” I feel her coming, pulsing around my cock, and it practically milks the cum out of me.
Trailing my lips down her face to her mouth, I carry her back to bed, both of us still panting. This time, I don’t have a hard time sleeping.

He pulls into the driveway, and I’m already unbuckling. Just as he puts the car into park, his hands are around my legs. Before I know what’s happening, I’m straddling his hips in the front seat of the car. He crashes his mouth against mine, and I let out a moan when the thickness in his pants rubs against my clit. My panties are so wet already, I’m sure I’m making a mess all over his lap.
“Sunny,” he breathes against my lips, thrusting his hips up against me. “Get a rubber out of the glove compartment.”
My heart beats even faster when I don’t move for the box, and it almost makes me shake with anticipation when I whisper back. “I’m on the pill, Alexander.” The second half of his name comes out in a whimper as he grinds against me again. He lets out a groan and bites my collarbone gently. His fingers stretch my panties to the side, rubbing the pad of his thumb through the moisture pooling there. I’m s
o desperate for him to fill me, I could cry.

“How was your run?” she says with a gasp as I turn her around, her back against my chest.
“Not as good as this,” I murmur with my lips on her shoulder. Cupping her soft tit in my hand, I drag my tongue along the back of her spine. She lets out a heavy sigh, arching her back and pressing back against me like she’s begging me to enter her.
As I slide my dick easily into her folds, I wonder how I went so long without this. When I’m inside of her, it feels so fucking right. And not just because it’s like heaven, but because Sunny and I fit. Every goddamn thing between us is meant to be together.

“Tell me you’re going,” I say with my teeth next to her ear.
She moans in response, and I rear my hand back, landing another sharp sting against her ass.
“Tell me.”
“I’m going,” she cries.
“That’s my girl.” My hands run the length of her body, trying to memorize every inch. “I love you so much it hurts, Sunny.”
“Show me,” she gasps, and I feel her tears run over my fingers as they graze her lips.

Just as we pass a dark alley, I’m swept away from the sidewalk, and I meet his chest with a crash, stealing the breath from my lungs. I don’t even bother gasping for air. All I care about is his lips, so when he leans down, I wind my arms around his neck and pull his mouth to mine.
We kiss each other hungrily, his body grinding against me like it’s the first breath we’ve taken in months. He moans into my mouth as I devour his lips. I will never let him go; I tell myself. Now that he’s back in my arms, there is no way I can let that go.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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