Review: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdukeofpleasure.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #11
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Hugh Fitzroy
Heroine: Alf
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 29, 2016
Started On: December 06, 2016
Finished On: December 12, 2016

Elizabeth Hoyt is an author who writes with a flair that grabs the reader from the start, her heroes and heroines having that edge to their characters that makes a world of difference when it comes to the world of romance, especially today. When I “discovered” Hoyt’s books, I devoured them in a frenzy that left me stunned, because it had been so long since an author has had that effect on me.

Duke of Pleasure, which is the 11th book in the Maiden Lane series came out almost towards the end of 2016. It was a book that I had been waiting for quite eagerly, just like the legions of fans of the Maiden Lane series out there. While Duke of Pleasure didn’t quite live up to all the expectations that I had for the novel, it however, in classic Hoyt style, delivered a read that made me sigh and swoon in all the right places.

With a Maiden Lane novel, you get not just a romance that is beautifully crafted, but an adventure that goes along with it, which is one reason why these novels are so damn good. Duke of Kyle, aka Hugh Fitzroy is a man tasked with a very important case, not just by anyone, but the King himself; bringing down the Lord of Chaos, a group consisting of the very upper echelons of society participating in most vile and despicable acts for revelry of their own. A mission easier said than accomplished, all things considered.

Following a lead deep into the recesses of the filth of the city is where Kyle encounters none other than the Ghost of St. Giles “himself”, someone who fights and defends the weakest members of society, the ones that law enforcement officials seldom bother protecting. From the moment Kyle witnesses the grace with which the Ghost fights, his interest is one that is piqued in earnest, more so given the fact that he sees the Ghost of St. Giles as the woman she is under the mask and costume she wears.

Moonlighting at night as the Ghost of St. Giles, Alf resumes the role of the boy that she has been as far as she can remember. Having grown up on the streets with no one to look after her, Alf is as tough and resilient as they come, amassing a wealth of secrets along the way in the tasks that she carries out for those who seek out her help. Having rescued Kyle once, Alf is drawn to him in a way that is foreign to her, something that she has never let herself open up enough to experience before.

Finding out that Alf and the Ghost of St. Giles are the one and the same not only stuns Kyle, but makes him realize just how much he has been deluding himself when it comes to the slumbering beast inside of him. Having succumbed to passion’s wily nature before and paid for it, Kyle is a man who is the classic example of “once bitten, twice shy”. Feeling the tendrils of desire that rocks the iron bars of the cage within which he had locked that side of himself does not settle very well with Kyle.

Alf on the other hand, innocent in terms of the guileless nature behind her desire for a man who takes her breathe away, is just two steps short of falling head over heels in love with a man who is far above her station in every single way. But the heart has a way of wanting what is wants, consequences be damned, and that is how Alf finds herself taken in by the powerful embrace of the Duke who wants her, and at the same time seems to wage an inner battle with himself every single time he succumbs. The quest to root out the evil of the Lord of Chaos also comes with a price, one that both Kyle and Alf might have to pay in terms of the lives of the ones they both hold near and dear to their hearts.

While I found myself enamored by the characters of both Kyle and Alf, I felt that there could have been more to their coming together than what was delivered in the story. I just felt a lack that I cannot quite put my finger on. Maybe it stemmed from the fact that the hero from Duke of Sin, the 10th book in the series was ruthless in a way that spoke to me on so many levels, and I was perhaps hoping for the same or more from Kyle. Either way, even with the tiny bits and pieces of misgivings that I had, I nevertheless enjoyed the journey which Hoyt delivered amazingly well.

I just loved the inside cover of this book so much so that I decided to include it in my review. Let the drooling and sighing begin!

dukeofpleasure2

Recommended for fans of the series & historical romances that deliver reads worth sinking your teeth into.

Final Verdict: The Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt is decadent in a way few historical romances ever are. Duke of Pleasure delivers everything that a reader could want when they sit down with one of Hoyt’s books.

Favorite Quotes

A tall man in a ragged brown coat and a filthy red neckcloth stepped forward. Hugh half-expected him to make some sort of a speech, he looked that full of himself. Instead he drew a knife the size of a man’s forearm, grinned, and licked the blade.
Oh, for—
Hugh didn’t wait for whatever other disgusting preliminaries Knife Licker might feel were appropriate to the occasion. He stepped forward and smashed the bottle of very fine Viennese wine over the man’s head.
Then they were on him.
He slashed and felt the jolt to his arm as he hit flesh.
Swung and raked the sword across another’s face.
Staggered as two men slammed into him.
Another hit him hard in the jaw.
And then someone clubbed him behind the knees.
He fell to his knees on the icy ground, growling like a bleeding, baited bear.
Raised an arm to defend his head…
And…
Someone dropped from the sky right in front of him.
Facing his attackers.
Darting, wheeling, spinning.
Defending him so gracefully.
With two swords.

He slid on cobblestones as he ran to the lane. Someone yelled from behind him. And then he was in another narrow passage. There was an abrupt right-angle turn, and he took it, ignoring the yowl of a cat as he raced by, and then he burst into a courtyard.
The Ghost was there.
On the ground, her half cape a black whirl as she danced with her swords, their prey cornered. Something caught his attention about her movements—something not quite right—but as he watched, she knocked aside the man’s knife and placed her long sword against his throat and the thought died.
She smiled.
And he was amazed that anyone thought her a man.

Hugh watched her sheathe her swords. He touched his finger to her chin, feeling soft skin, and tipped up her face. He couldn’t tell the color of her eyes in the dark and behind the ugly half mask, but he saw the glint of moonlight in their depths.
“Who are you?” he whispered, that strange wildness still in his veins.
She didn’t answer.
So he did what he’d wanted to do since he’d first seen her tonight, there on the rooftops of St Giles: he bent and covered her mouth with his. Her lips were soft, so soft, and she tasted of wine and honey. He angled his head, drawing her slim body closer, sliding his tongue along her bottom lip until she opened her mouth beneath his.

She leaned a little closer and pressed her mouth to those pretty, pretty lips and inhaled his breath.
For a moment he was still beneath her, and then he moved, his hands rising slowly to grasp her arms.
She drew a little back, watching him.
His eyes opened, black and drowsy, staring into hers. He seemed entirely unsurprised to find her in his library, kissing him.
She smiled and for the first time that night felt herself settle. She placed her hands on his shoulders and straddled his lap. Knelt on the chair and bent her head to his again, opening her mouth over his, her palms on either side of his face.
The book tumbled to the floor.
She skimmed over his upper lip, feeling the odd prickle of his stubble. Caught his lower lip between her teeth.
An ember fell on the hearth.
Something sparked, and he took charge of the embrace. He opened his mouth beneath hers, angling his head, kissing her slowly, lazily, lushly, as if he had all the time in the world.

At that moment Alf opened her eyes, and he inhaled silently.
Her eyes were sleepy and a little dazed. Her cheeks flushed from sleep and, no doubt, the warmth of his sons, snuggled so close to her. She looked at him and seemed to become aware almost at once, her brown gaze sharpening. There was the mocking amusement he’d seen from the lad, Alf, the biting wit.
But now it was in feminine form.
She stared at him, and her soft pink lips—God, he’d been a blind fool to ever have thought that the mouth of a boy—smiled. Full and warm. Like sunshine. Like joy and hope.
The smile of a woman. Lethal as a spear to the chest.
Dangerous. Seductive.

He held her fast with his gaze and demanded, “You’re not what, Alf?”
Her pointed chin jerked up and she glared at him. “I’m not female. Not anymore. It’s been too long. I’ve been a boy too long.”
“My cock would beg to differ.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Wha—?”
He grabbed her wrist and dragged her over the bed, and thrust her hand crudely against the sheet covering his crotch. “Do you feel me? I’m hard for you.” He ground his cock up into her captive palm. “And I assure you I’m not at all interested in boys or men. Only women.”
Only you, a treacherous part of his mind whispered, but he ignored it. He was doing this for a mission, just that. It had nothing to do with the two of them. With the desire to see her bloom into the woman he wanted deep in his conflicted soul.
She stared down at her hand over his cock and her fingers flexed once.
He bit back a groan, and the thing within him, the thing locked away, rattled its chains.

She looked up at him, this powerful man. “What do you want from me, guv?”
“I don’t know,” he muttered, sounding angry—whether at her or himself, she couldn’t guess—and his hands pulled her against his hard body.
He bent and took her mouth, sliding his tongue against her lips until she parted them. Until she let him in with a relieved sigh. She’d missed this. Missed him. She’d wondered if he’d decided he was done with her.
Apparently not.
His fingers brushed over her bare neck, ticklish and sweet, even as he thrust his tongue inside her mouth again and again.
“Alf?” The call came from outside the room.
For a second more he continued to ravage her mouth as if he couldn’t tear himself away from her, and then Kyle lifted his head. His lips were reddened, his eyes dark.
Carefully he tucked a lock of her hair back inside her cap. “I don’t know what the hell I want from you.”

“I’ve hardly seen you,” he said moodily.
“I thought that was what you wanted,” she replied, her small expressive face closed. “You kissed me and then said you didn’t know what to do with me. You avoided me.”
“That hardly matters.” He flung up a hand irritably. “I didn’t know where you were.”
She lifted her chin. “I didn’t know I was supposed to be telling you everywhere I go, guv. You never mentioned.”
“Didn’t I?” he growled, taking that chin in hand.
He glanced at the windows. The boys were chasing the puppy down the graveled path. He bent and took her mouth, hard and fast and not nearly enough.
Not nearly enough.
When he raised his head again it was to breathe words across her parted lips. Words he didn’t stop to think about. Words that came straight from that part of himself he’d thought he’d locked away deep inside: “I’ll say it now, then. You tell me where you are and what you’re doing until such time as I’m done with you, do you understand?”
“Oh, I think I understand, guv,” she whispered, and though her words were a concession, her tone was not.

With her hand she squeezed the part of his cock that didn’t fit in her mouth and then began stroking up and down.
“They’re gone,” he muttered, his breath hitching, his hips rolling in little pushes he couldn’t seem to stop.
Oh, he wanted her. He wanted her.
She looked up at him and sucked harder.
It was dark, but she could just make out the glitter of his eyes. He was watching her. Down on her knees, with his cock in her mouth, sucking him.
His nostrils flared and that beautiful upper lip curled.
She rubbed the tip of her tongue underneath the head of his penis and he gasped. Slid his hand down her face in a caress.
Touched the corner of her wet, stretched lips with his thumb.
And came, flooding her mouth with his bitter seed.

He pressed into her, wide and thick. Hot, so hot.
There was a pinch.
But she kept her eyes on him, staring. His lush mouth was almost grim, and his forehead shone with sweat. He’d propped himself up on his elbows above her.
He thrust again, more of him entering her—stretching her—and she saw him clench his teeth.
She wrapped her legs around his hips and stroked the back of his leg with one foot.
He jerked and his hips met hers, his entire length buried inside her. She was stuffed full of him.
He inhaled through his nose and his nostrils flared.
She raised her head and whispered in his ear, “Are you going to fuck me now, guv?”
“Little devil,” he breathed.

“Ride me,” he rasped.
She blinked, not fully comprehending, but he was spreading her legs farther apart, taking away his knee and lowering her to his cock.
Oh, if she’d thought it large before, that was nothing to how proud he was now. A dark, angry red, heavy and full, thickest at the middle, and the foreskin stretched taut about the ridge of the head. She wanted to stare. To look her fill and perhaps feel it with hands and tongue.
He had other ideas.
He took hold of himself as she watched and rubbed his prick against her wet quim. “Sit.”
She could feel him at her entrance—there—big and waiting. She leaned a little forward, placing her hands on his shoulders and meeting his eyes.
Staring into his eyes as she tilted down and felt him breach her.
His nostrils were flared, his gaze implacable. “More.”

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Review: This Side of Heaven by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookthissideofheaven
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Matt Mathieson
Heroine: Caroline Wetherby
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 1, 1991
Started On: September 21, 2016
Finished On: September 21, 2016

32 year old Matt Mathieson, is the widowed and single father of two boys, going two years since his wife had died. Determined never to marry again, Matt’s life and that of his small family changes drastically when his wife’s sister turns up on his doorstep, having traveled all the way from England.

22 year old Caroline Wetherby is the beautiful half sister of Matt’s deceased wife. Having being left destitute with the death of their father who had made his life in the gambling halls throughout the city, Caroline travels all the way to America to find refuge with her sister, someone she has not seen in 15 long years. Wary of what would happen, telling herself its a mistake, she nevertheless has no choice, only to turn up and realize that her sister is no more.

Though Matt does not want much to do with Caroline, a small part of him is unable to turn away from Caroline’s need for a place to stay. The practical side of his character tells him that they all need a female presence around them, that his boys need a motherly influence in their lives. Against the wishes of his boys, Matt offers her shelter in return for her services as a female of the household, never knowing truly, how Caroline would prove to him that she is unlike any woman he has known before and would ever come across again.

This Side of Heaven has a trope that I love reading about. The reluctant and widowed hero, who for whatever reason believes that he would never remarry and the woman who turns up and throws his life into complete disarray. That was one of the reasons why I picked up this title, plus the point that I am a fan of Karen Robards, mostly of her earlier works. Though some of her books have failed to deliver on a large scale, the ones that do, do so remarkably well, which is one reason why I keep revisiting her older titles every now and then.

Though I liked the story that unfolded, the slow sizzle of awareness between Matt and Caroline, the story that I envisioned for them failed to materialize in between. On the plus side, Matt was not a hero of the asshole variety, as most heroes tend to be in earlier historical novels. However, their coming together was not the joyous and fireworks filled affair I thought it would be – at first. Nevertheless, Matt & Caroline were characters that grew on me.

Though the ending where Caroline nearly meets her maker at the hand of the villagers who see her for something else other than what she is proved to be sort of anticlimactic, I would still recommend This Side of Heaven because I enjoyed reading this in one sitting.

Final Verdict: Though not Robards’ best, This Side of Heaven delivers a great read!

Favorite Quotes

Matt looked at her for a long moment without answering, his face dark and his eyes restless. Then he laughed, a short, harsh sound that had nothing of amusement in it. “What does that mean, my poppet? Are you sure you want to know? But I’m going to tell you, since you’ve asked, whether you want to hear it or not. It means that you’ve been a raging fever in my blood for months. I can’t think, I can’t work, I lie awake nights going mad with wanting you. Is that enough to send you flying back to the house, or do you want to hear more?”

He kissed her as if he was starving for the taste of her mouth, kissed her as if he’d been hungry for eternity and, now, having been offered the sustenance he sought, was determined to have his fill. This was no gentle wooing, but a hard, needy taking, and Caroline could do nothing but cling to his shoulders and open her mouth to his and yield.

“Trust me, poppet,” he whispered in her ear. Caroline was briefly reminded of Eve and the serpent, who must once have murmured something very similar. But then his long fingers were moving lower yet, sliding down between her legs to touch her there so gently that the fire that ignited inside her as a result was almost shameful, and she no longer entertained any rational thoughts at all. Because surely that undemanding pressure should not in itself be enough to create such an inner burning! It was like liquid fire, a most pleasurable liquid fire that made her breathing quicken until she was almost panting and her body writhe against the hand that caressed her and the hard male body pressed close against her back.

“God in heaven!” he muttered as her lips brushed the whitened ridge and were withdrawn. The grin disappeared entirely in favor of a grimace as his eyes flared and turned dark “Then he was pushing her back down and lowering himself atop her, kissing her as if he would steal her very soul, his hands everywhere, caressing and arousing and possessing, lifting her legs to encircle his waist even as his body staked the most primitive claim of all.

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

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Review: Phantom Lover by Susan Napier

Format: E-bookphantomlover_susannapier
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Adam Blake
Heroine: Honor Sheldon
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 01, 1994
Started On: September 19, 2016
Finished On: September 20, 2016

25 year old Honor Sheldon finds herself in a bit of a pickle when she is picked up by a police car for skulking around Adam Blake’s house. Being the plain sister, the one that every guy considers as their buddy without their girlfriends or wives getting jealous over her, Honor is intrigued and ultimately seduced by the letters she exchanges with a mysterious man. To find out later that the letters had in fact being written for her beautiful sister Helen is the “icing” on the cake which the rather aggravating Adam delivers altogether too scornfully.

A turn of events however finds Honor as the house guest of a very reluctant Adam, battling with feelings of fierce longing that he rouses in her, even when he is being rather obvious about his despise for everything that she is. Adam finds himself at loose ends when it comes to Honor, the way she knows things about him that he would rather not have anyone know – his very intimate thoughts that Honor was privy to which makes him itch on the inside.

Adam and Honor’s journey to their happily ever after is one fraught with several bouts of arguments with one another, which means engaging in clever dialogue, and one where secondary characters seemed to get more than their share of the story. Although overall I did like the story, this is definitely not one of the best by Napier. However, when it comes to great authors like herself, they make even their “not so best” books somehow work for the readers. This was one of them for me.

The ending was one that I loved. Especially the pictures that Adam sent to Honor towards the end, plus the letter.

Final Verdict: Though not Napier’s best, delivers an altogether funny & charming read!

Favorite Quotes

His hand moved down and suddenly he was weighing her in his large palm, his fingers curving under her breast to her ribs while his thumb rode the upper swell. ‘Look how perfectly you fill my hand…’
Honor bit her lip to stop herself moaning at his throaty murmur of gratified discovery of her size. His thumb moved experimentally against the thinly sheathed peak and this time the sound escaped her control, along with an explicit shiver that arced along her nerves, transmitting an unmistakable message to the man who held her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Review: Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booklordofdarkness
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #5
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Godric St. John
Heroine: Margaret Reading
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 26, 2013
Started On: June 24, 2016
Finished On: June 27, 2016

Lord of Darkness delivers the story of the second Ghost of St.Giles, Godric St. John, who made for a brief but rather intriguing secondary character in Wicked Intentions, the first book in the series. The idea that more than one Ghost of St. Giles is in operation took root during the debut book and solidified with the delivery of Winter’s story that precedes this one.

Godric marries Lady Margaret Reading under “duress”, thinking that he would more or less be able to live his chosen life with a wife he would have little to do with. Godric has no intention of being drawn into the shaky emotional grounds where love takes root and loss is a given when you give your heart irrevocably to someone else. Godric mourns the death of his first wife, who had lived a life of illness, withering away in front of his very own eyes, taking a huge chunk of his heart and soul when she had finally being laid to rest.

After 2 years of residing in the country, Margaret Reading (Megs) decides that it is time for her to seek out her husband, for the sole purpose of getting herself with child. For that to happen, Megs has to get over the fact that Godric can never replace the love of her life, whose untimely demise at the hands of a mad man known as the Ghost of St. Giles is something she is looking to avenge. On the first night of her return to London, Megs runs into none other than the infamous Ghost, whom she has every intention of killing without knowing the true identity of the man behind the mask or the circumstances that had led to the murder.

Godric puts up a valiant effort in the face of the onslaught that Megs wages in order to get her husband to bed, long enough to put his seed to good use. But in doing so, Megs finds that it is more difficult than she thought to keep her heart and emotions separate from the physical aspect of a relationship that her body betrays her in every manner possible. But Megs is determined to keep her husband at a distance in the face of the war that Godric wages when it comes to giving her pleasure of a kind that she never thought she would find with anyone else.

While Godric is determined to weed out the true killer who was behind the murder of his wife’s lover, every kill Godric makes in the name of the Ghost, the avenger and protector of the weak that works in darkness, he sheds one more piece of his soul to the abysmal darkness that has become his friend ever since his wife had departed from his life, or perhaps even since before. Whether the real danger comes from his wife, determined to hold a piece of herself back from him, or from the dragoons captain equally fervent in his pursuit of the dastardly Ghost of St. Giles, or from the inquiries Godric makes as the role of savior he has taken upon himself for the weakest, remains to be seen as the novel reaches its ultimate culmination.

While Lord of Darkness delivers two protagonists who are mourning lost loves in their own right, the wealth of grief that Godric harbors in his heart was one that got to me. Not that the pain that Megs had undergone was any less, but Megs had the time to heal in a way that Godric never gave himself the opportunity to. For me, Megs was the toughest character to like or even perhaps love in this story. While I understood that she did not want to betray the memories of the first man that she ever truly loved, I couldn’t quite accept the way she tended to hold pieces of herself back from Godric in bed and out of it in a way that continued to kick Godric where he hurt the most.

Godric yes, is a big boy who can handle himself. But the fact that he capitulated towards his wife’s needs sooner than Megs did was telling in a way that didn’t quite sit well with me. Godric is a very giving man, perhaps too giving. Godric’s long and painful journey nursing his wife in her long journey towards an ultimate death should clue in characters to the sort of honorable and faithful man that Godric is. To have that kind of soul once again give and give until Megs realizes in her own time that she mirrors and echos Godric’s feelings was just a little too late in coming for me.

I also had a teeny problem with where Godric’s feelings of love for his wife suddenly emerged from. Though story delivers a connection that had been forged between Godric and Megs way before she had turned up at his home in London, I wanted something more for both of them. Something more tangible and tension of the kind that could have made the book that much better in my opinion. This is a trope that could have delivered a ton of angst if it had been steered in that direction, but nevertheless Hoyt manages to deliver a read that takes your breathe away and then some, even with all the teensy problems that I had with the heroine.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: With each book, Hoyt delivers enchantment of the kind that stays with you forever!

Favorite Quotes

When his breath caught, when his pace quickened, so that her hips sank beneath his into the soft mattress, she swallowed, straining her eyes to see in the dark. When he suddenly stilled, buried deep in her throbbing flesh, locked with her in animal intensity, she wanted … so much.
But all she received was what she’d asked for.
His seed.

She gripped his arms as he shoved resolutely against her, seating himself fully. She looked up, trying to see something of him in the darkness. An expression, perhaps how he held his head.
But he was simply a large male shape.
And yet … she knew it was him. Would’ve known it blindfolded. Whether by scent or some more primitive means—perhaps an alchemy of souls—she felt him bone-deep.
Godric. Poised above her.
Godric. Withdrawing his cock in one long, pulling slide.
Godric. Flexing his hips back into her with a final twist at the end.
He was overpowering her senses, laying claim to her soul.

It caught her by surprise when it came, no slow buildup, no warmth diffusing through her body. This was fast and hard, a fire sweeping through limbs already weakened by the previous orgasm. She was dimly aware of her hands scrabbling at his sides, his shoulders, as she tried to urge him to do something. She was going to expire, to die, if he didn’t pick up his pace, didn’t take his cock and ram it into her.
And whether because he could sense her extremity or because he was there himself, he did it. He let her legs fall and braced himself on his strong, straight arms and slammed his hips into her, making violent, urgent, blissful contact with her. The bed rocked, the headboard banging rhythmically against the wall, and any other time she would have been mortified, but right now … right now she was in paradise. White light obscured her vision as bliss flooded her being, seizing her, shaking her, giving her life.
She could fly like this, perhaps live eternally.

He’d made it worse for himself; he knew it the moment her fingers curled into her pretty cunny. Her lips parted moistly, her head thrown back as she began to stroke herself, and it took everything he had to keep from spilling. To watch her pleasure herself as she rode his cock and not end this too soon.
“That’s it, darling,” he whispered low, coaching her, wanting to see her bring herself to fulfillment. “It’s sweet, isn’t it? Touching yourself, letting me watch. Do you like it? Do you enjoy putting on a show for me? Parting your pretty lips, letting me see how moist you’ve become, fucking yourself on me?”
The crudity seemed to jolt something within her. Her eyes widened, her back arched, and he felt the muscles of her sheath grip him tight, so tight.
Right before he lost control himself.

He seemed to take forever, widening her, burrowing into her swollen tissues. Then he made a final shove and she felt the fabric of his leggings brush firmly against her bottom.
He held himself there and she could hear the sound of his rough breathing in the quiet of the room. She bit her lip, mirroring his earlier grimace. She couldn’t seem to catch her breath—and he hadn’t even started to move.
And then he did, a slick, hard slide that rubbed against something wonderful inside of her. She couldn’t help the squeaking cry she gave, and as if her hips moved of their own accord, she began bumping back against him.
He huffed a rough laugh. “So impatient.”

His breath caught and he swiveled his hips, grinding against her, leaning close over her, whispering low in her ear. “You’re touching yourself, aren’t you?”
She swallowed, closing her eyes in bliss. “Y-yes.”
“God,” he muttered, and she wondered if he’d finally lost the power of speech.
Perhaps he had, for he suddenly planted one hand over her shoulder and shoved hard into her, pressing her into the mattress. He was pushing her body up the bed with quick, forceful jabs that spread her apart, made her see a starburst behind her closed lids.
A spike of near-painful pleasure bloomed between her legs, flowing and expanding through her, a river of sweet completion. She moaned, loud and low.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kobo | eBookMall | ARe | iTunes

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Review: Warrior by Kristina Douglas

Format: E-bookwarrrior
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Fallen, #3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Michael Angelo
Heroine: Victoria Bellona
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 24, 2012
Started On: January 24, 2015
Finished On: February 8, 2015

He wanted her. Needed her.
He wouldn’t take her.

Warrior by Kristina Douglas is the third book in the Fallen series. Warrior tells the story of Michael Angelo, the angel that has honed himself into a lethal fighting machine. It has been two centuries since Michael had last taken a mate and Michael has no intention of taking one until fate brings to his life Victoria Bellona, the Roman Goddess of War.

Victoria doesn’t believe in the fact that she is a goddess of anything, much less a Goddess of War. However, it is undeniable that her childhood up till now had prepared her in the art of fighting and she aims to fight dirty to gain her freedom from the life she has been subjected to, until she finds herself married off to Michael, a man whose very presence makes Victoria forget herself, until she learns that Michael is one of the Fallen and has no intention of ever truly making her his.

Michael fights a losing battle when it comes to Victoria. Michael’s honorable intentions take a hard hit when it comes to her. When Michael is forced to go after Victoria, all bets are off when both Victoria and Michael finally give in to the hunger that courses through them every second that they are together.

With every searing kiss and scorching touch, Michael knows that there would be no turning back for him when it comes to Victoria. But the Fallen’s number one enemy is still eager as ever to break them up, make them all bow down to him and in the process, destroy what they’ve built millenniums ago. Will Victoria make a difference or will she be the one that helps their enemy finally and once and for all bring them down?

Though not as good as the first two books in the series, it is hard to remain detached from a tale spun by Anne Stuart. She brings the variety of wicked humor and nerve tingling passion alive in her books that are hard to forget. Michael and Victoria, though at the surface might seem like they don’t want anything to do with each other, fights an attraction that burns through their blood, a calling that runs through their soul for each to claim the other. Half the fun lay in Michael trying to resist Victoria and the passion that ignited when he finally succumbed to the inevitability of it all.

Recommended.

Final Verdict: A grumpy & reluctant angel finds his match in the brave goddess of war that entices him unlike any other.

Favorite Quotes

He stood at one end, his face cool and impassive. Such an arresting face on the man. Angel. Whatever he was. Exquisitely beautiful. Exquisitely cold.
In the bright sunlight I could see him clearly for the first time. He was wearing white as all the others were, a loose open shirt, though he’d rolled up the sleeves, as if even a so-called wedding required hard work. I looked at his strong forearms, and for the first time I noticed tattoos snaking their way up beneath the white cloth. The shirt was loose at the neck as well, and there were more markings on his chest, his throat, twining around to the back of his head, markings I hadn’t seen before. I halted, momentarily fascinated, and then Allie caught my arm and gently urged me forward.

She must have heard him come in. She rose on one elbow, looking at him, and the sheet fell away, exposing one small, perfect breast. And he needed to suck at it, to slide his hand between her legs and feel the wetness of her desire. He’d tried everything he could to fight this.
For the first time in his limitless existence, he had lost a battle.

“You’re not paying a debt,” he said. “Are you?”
She hesitated. “No,” she said, and leaned back against the pillow. “And you aren’t doing your duty, are you?”
“No.” He knelt on the bed, straddling her carefully. There was barely enough room for the two of them. It didn’t matter. They were going to be so close they wouldn’t need extra space. “No,” he said again, moving between her legs, lifting them. He took her mouth, her sweet, inexperienced mouth, with his, and then simply pushed inside her, hard, knowing she’d be wet and ready for him.

He pulled out almost completely, and she let out a cry of loss. He slid his hand down her stomach to her clitoris, touching her as he suddenly slammed into her, and she shattered, her body clamping around him. She shrieked against his shoulder, in shock, in pleasure, her fingers digging into him so tightly he would have thought she’d draw blood. That was another arousal, and he thrust, again and again, hard, riding her orgasm, prolonging it, and when she finally fell back, limp, he let himself go, releasing his seed into her, filling her, his head dropping to the pillow beside her as his wings unfurled to lock around them, cradling them in softness.

Darkness. Thick, enveloping darkness, with his strong body surrounding me, his hot, wet mouth on mine. All arguments fled. I wanted this. Needed this. Ever since I’d left his bed, a part of me had been missing, and now it was found again. He had come for me. And I was his.
His tongue slid into my mouth, and I felt unaccountably shy even after last night, but it didn’t seem to matter. When I tentatively moved my tongue against his, he let out a low growl of unmistakable approval, and I wanted to get closer. I wanted him inside me again, I wanted to take his cock into my mouth the way they did in the books I’d read. I wanted everything.

So many contrasting emotions were flooding me that I felt dizzy. Lust and irritation went without saying. But . . . he’d come for me. He’d died for me. He had my blood inside him, making him strong. He had me inside him.
And in willingly giving him my blood, my life force, I was afraid I’d given him more than that. I had given him love.

He shook me again, gripping my wrists so tightly that my hands were growing numb. “Had enough?” he demanded furiously.
“Not even close,” I snapped back.
And then we both froze. He looked down at me, bafflement and rage fading from his face. His mouth was bleeding. “Oh, shit,” he said.
He released my wrists. I didn’t know if he was going to try to pull away, but I wasn’t going to give him that chance.
“Oh, shit, indeed,” I said, my eyes daring him.
His mouth on mine was hard and angry, and I could taste his blood. It should have horrified me. It didn’t.

I shattered, letting out a low, keening wail, and he caught the cry from my mouth, drinking it in. Distantly I heard the clang of his belt buckle and the rasp of his zipper, and then he was inside me, sliding deep, pulling my legs around his narrow hips. I was already wet, aroused, my body accepting, and I clung to him, shocked. I felt like a boat on a stormy ocean, adrift in a tempest of sensation so powerful I could focus only on his body and what it was doing to mine.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | eBookMall | iTunes | ARe
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Review: Demon by Kristina Douglas

Format: E-bookdemon
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Fallen, #2
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Azazel
Heroine: Rachel Fitzpatrick
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 31, 2011
Started On: December 11, 2014
Finished On: December 12, 2014

“Who is Sarah?” […]
“My wife,” he said. “She died seven years ago. And I will not replace her with you.”

What happens when you find a series that just begs to be read? On top of that, what happens when it is written by an author who always delivers, even in her not so stellar stories? Well, that is what has happened in the case of The Fallen series written by Kristina Douglas aka Anne Stuart. I finished reading Raziel, the first book in the series just two days back. Being the fan that I am, and given the intriguing ending to Raziel, I just couldn’t help myself but quickly pick up the second book to read.

In Raziel, the first book, we meet Azazel, the Alpha of The Fallen, who has acted as their leader for eons. Giving the secret behind Azazel’s leaving would be spoiling it for readers who are interested so I will just say that it is heartbreaking what happens to Azazel, who leaves Sheol, the hidden realm on Earth in which the fallen angels reside. Anger and fear drives Azazel to seek out the female demon Lilith, who is rumored to be all things evil. Azazel’s fear stems from a prophecy as old as time itself, and he knows that the only way to prevent that from coming true would be to kill Rachel Fitzpatrick.

Rachel is a woman who leads a life even that she can’t remember much. There are echoes of memories that linger around in her mind. She doesn’t tend to stay around one place for long, some age old instinct driving her to run when the time comes. When Rachel finds herself face to face with Azazel who has the weirdest theory about who she is, and wanting to kill her, none other than Rachel is more surprised by the fact that she wants the man whose cold eyes speak of an intention to end her life.

Azazel would be kidding himself if he were to think that he is immune to Rachel. Though she hides behind baggy clothes and assumes a nonthreatening posture, the lure that she presents to mankind itself is one that even Azazel is not immune from. That doesn’t mean that he gives in from the moment he lays eyes on her. Rather he fights and fights dirty to keep her at bay, going as far as to betray her in a way that would have been hard to pull off if not for a writer of Anne Stuart’s caliber.

Mark my words, Azazel is ruthless. Ruthless in a way that some readers might not appreciate. But I think Demon is a perfect portrayal of his character the way the author intended him to be. I hate books where at the beginning of a series, a particular character is portrayed as this tortured and ruthless man that would be hard to take in, but oh so good when all is said and done. And then when his book arrives, from the minute his intended show up, he loses every single character that defines who he is. That is not realistic in my opinion and it cheats the readers out of a lot of anticipation they have been storing up for that particular character. Which is why I love Kristina Douglas aka Anne Stuart. She has no problem with delivering her characters as they are. And she ends up doing quite a fantastic job out of the storytelling with them.

Though I fell in love with Raziel’s story a tad more than I did for Azazel’s, Demon nevertheless is a book not to be missed. It has got a story that you’d either love or hate; there is no in between. Once again, combining first person point of view with view points from other characters in the story in third person, if every story written in first person were to be like this, I definitely wouldn’t have a problem! Recommended!

Final Verdict: Lust, redemption, betrayal and love; Kristina Douglas definitely delivers!

Favorite Quotes

“You are everything that is evil. I should have left you to the Nephilim.”
[..]
“Why didn’t you?” My voice was almost a whisper, as if I knew what he was going to do and I was afraid to startle him. Distract him. Stop him. I knew what he wanted, and God help me, I wanted it too.
His deep-blue eyes were shadowed, and I thought I could see a streak of blood on his mouth. Whose blood? “Because I am a fool and a half,” he whispered as well, the night air all around us. “Because I know who and what you are, and I want you anyway.”
And he kissed me. His mouth was rough, pushing mine open as his hard body pressed me back against the car, and I felt heat, desire, sweep through me, not knowing if it was his or mine.

I kept my mouth shut, wondering whether I could bite him hard enough to draw blood, wondering why my breath was coming fast and my heart was racing. It wasn’t fear. I’d told the truth—I was no longer afraid of him. I remembered his kiss from the dockside, the rush of desire that had suffused my body.
As it did now. My pulse raced, my skin heated; I was wet and ready. I thought, Fuck it, and opened my mouth for him, taking the sweet invasion of his tongue with a shock of pleasure, and I knew I’d been waiting for this, longing for this without knowing it. Longing for him, my enemy.

He brought his hands up to cradle my head, as impossibly the kiss deepened, and I wanted my clothes off—now. I wanted to strip him naked and feel him inside of me, pulsing and thrusting. I could sense it, anticipate it, feel the thick push of him, and I cried out against his mouth as a small climax startled me.

I felt his teeth then, a small bite against my skin, barely painful, and my muffled arousal was suddenly full-force, sweeping over my body. I put my hands on him, on his damp, silky hair, pressing him against me. The room wasn’t dark the way I wanted, but it didn’t matter. It was all right to want him, all right to feel overwhelming desire. There were no witnesses, and he didn’t care what I was feeling. We were doing this, it was out of my control, and his mouth was wonderful against me.

“Oh, God,” I whispered as he licked me gently, carefully, teasing me until I wanted to scream at him. And then his mouth fastened on me with such deep, drawing hunger that I felt a hot spasm between my legs and, straddling him, pressed my naked body against his. He hadn’t lied. He was most definitely aroused, and I rocked against him instinctively, feeling him against my sensitive flesh.

I looked down between us, at the joining. I could see my nipples, tight and hard. See him buried inside me as I felt my body grow accustomed to his. He hadn’t moved, and slowly I raised my eyes to look at him.
For a moment we simply stared at each other, frozen in time, his eyes and mine, more powerfully intimate than the joining between our legs. “Move,” he said, his voice raw.

I dug my fingers into his shoulders, wanting to get away, but he wouldn’t let me. “Do not fight it,” he whispered. “Embrace it.” He slid his hand down my stomach, touching where we joined, and a jolt of reaction swept through me.
I heard my own muffled cry, and he surged up into me again, and again, and he touched me once more, hard, and his voice was a growl.
“Come,” he said. And I did.

Pulling the long skirt up, exposing my legs in the stormy afternoon, so that I felt the rain pelting against them, and I knew I should care whether someone was watching. I did care, just not enough. Not even when he reached for my panties and with one rough yank tore them off.
He put one hand under my butt, lifting me up, pressing me back against the door, and I heard the rasp of his zipper, his muttered curse as he freed himself, and then he pushed inside me, not waiting to see if I was ready for him.
I was. More than ready.

His hands were on my bare thighs, holding me up, and he pushed into me again and again. I could hear the wet slap of our joining, and it was another jolt of dark pleasure. He kissed me, hard, and I could taste blood, his or mine or both, it didn’t matter. He couldn’t get enough of me and I couldn’t get enough of him.

One more crash of lightning, and the sky opened in a deluge. He slammed back into me, and I went over the edge as I felt him jerk and pulse into me. I have no idea why I did it, only knew that I needed to; my mouth opened, and my teeth sank into his strong, powerful throat, breaking the skin, tasting the rich sweetness of his blood.
I heard his deep groan, felt him swell inside me, and then nothing more as sheer sensation washed over me. I shook, convulsing, lost in a place that terrified me, with only his arms and his body supporting me as I flew.

His hands slid down, covering them, and I cried out with the sensation, a raw, rough sound, and then I made no sound at all as his mouth closed over one taut nipple, drawing it in tightly, his tongue dancing across the beaded top as he sucked, and I wondered if I could come simply from his mouth at my breast. And then I remembered his hoarse, one-word command, “Come,” and my body went rigid as a small climax caught me.

The pull of his mouth at my neck, sucking, drinking, lost in my taste, the sweet hot rush as he filled me were too much. I was dying, and I didn’t care. We would die together, destroyed by a desire that was elementally wrong; they had warned us, and neither of us had cared. I was dying, and I was in his arms, and that was all that mattered.
There were feathers, feathers closing around me, soft and blessed, drawing in the darkness, and as I tumbled back to earth I let myself rest in their gentleness, at peace.

His hands slid down to cover my breasts, his fingers plucking my nipples, and the banked fire roared to life again. I pressed my butt against him, rubbing, and his sudden growl was pure animal need. Something that vibrated within me as well. I turned in his arms, and he kissed me, his mouth still tasting of the salt water, and I wanted to drink him in. Wanted to suck at him, as he had sucked at me, and I knew what I was going to do.
“Oh, God,” he muttered weakly, and I remembered he could read my thoughts. My body heated with a rush of embarrassment, but he only laughed, low in his throat, and shoved the covers off me.

“I want …” she whispered in that lost, broken voice that filled him with shame and sorrow, “… I want to change positions.”
He managed a crooked smile. “Of course,” he said, starting to turn and pull her on top; but she resisted, pushing at him.
“No,” she said. “There’s another way.”
He held very still. “There are many other ways,” he said finally, his own voice sounding as damaged as hers.
“I … I …” Embarrassment colored her voice, and he knew she couldn’t find the words.
“You want me to guess?” he said with strangled amusement.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | eBookMall | ARe | iTunes

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ARC Review: Her Holiday Man by Shannon Stacey

Format: E-bookherholidayman
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Will Broughton
Heroine: Christina Forrester
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 3, 2014
Started On: October 29, 2014
Finished On: October 29, 2014

Will Broughton returns to his hometown, this time for good, after a couple of years away from home. The thought that his mother would be all alone during the coming holidays and even though Will knows she would put up a good front to not let anyone know how alone she was feeling is what makes Will’s decision for him. After the tragic death of his wife and unborn child, Will had found it hard to put up with the sympathy and pity of the people he’d known all his life and he’d taken off.

Christina Forrester has basically lost everything that she has known in her life. Coming from a wealthy family and marrying into even a wealthier one, Christina had never had to worry about where her next meal would come from. That is until financial ruin and scandal leaves Christina the sole caretaker of her son, juggling a job to make ends meet. The minute she meets her kindly neighbor’s son Will, Christina knows that the essence of what makes her a woman had not died along with the ashes to which her entire life as she had known it had burned to crisp right in front of her. Will makes her want thing she would rather not, and ignoring the mounting feelings hardly seem to work when the answering light of desire burns in Will’s eyes.

Will doesn’t want to do serious. Will believes that his heart wouldn’t be able to take being torn apart a second time. But even then, Will does find it hard to stay away from Christina and her adorable son. Feelings Will had thought had died along with his wife comes back in full force and it isn’t long before Will is battling his inner needs with more cold showers than he can count. The holiday spirit explored in the story lends a helping hand along the way to make both Will and Christina take a second chance at love and happily ever after.

I liked Her Holiday Man and the story it had to offer though it didn’t make my heart race and pulse pound. This was a slow moving romance, sometimes brought to mind novels of Betty Neels that I used to read a long time back. Will is the type of hero readers would swoon over. He is gentle, giving and handsome. Christina turned out to be a beautiful woman, inside and out. One would expect someone like Christina to be spoilt due to affluent life she had led but turns out Christina had just gone through the motions of her life and had never known that life could be more rewarding when you are surrounded by people who genuinely care about you.

Recommended for fans of Shannon Stacey and those who love feel good holiday romances.

Final Verdict: Slow and sweet!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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