Review: The Land Where Sinners Atone by V.F. Mason

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Zachary King
Heroine: Phoenix Hale
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 14, 2020
Started On: February 14, 2021
Finished On: February 19, 2021

“Sex is phenomenal. Love though? Love is scary as fuck.” – Zachary

The Land Where Sinners Atone by V.F. Mason is another dark, anti-hero romance from the author whose books answers the need in me to read stories featuring heroes that most would not even think are worthy of redemption. But I love them more so for the fact. I am no fan of overly sweet romances – I like the darkness, that raw edge, and the tension that courses through you, until you are on tenterhooks unable to turn away from the disaster that is imminent. And for that reason alone, I would always continue to read titles from Ms. Mason, as long as she continues to deliver the variety of heroes that speaks to my heart.

The Land Where Sinners Atone tells the tale of 32 year old Zachary King, his family being one of the most influential families in the world, who seeks revenge and vengeance on 29 year old Phoenix Hale, when she is accused of killing the beloved wife of Zachary. With Zachary out in full force to make her pay, the news that the DA cuts her a deal is the last straw for him.

It is punishment enough for Phoenix that nothing in her life would ever be the same again. Her career, the husband who promised to love and cherish her for all eternity, her friends and colleagues, all of them leave her in the dust, and there is no will left in Phoenix to fight to keep them, especially when she has to fight for the survival of someone more precious than all of them put together. But the long arms of the rich who seek vengeance reaches behind the prison walls, and it is heartbreaking what happens to Phoenix to finally break her.

At 32 years old, new evidence that comes to light sets Phoenix free, setting Zachary on her path once again, this time seeking her help to find the actual perpetrator. Zachary makes no apologies for what he did to Phoenix, and his sheer audacity in asking for her help sets Phoenix on the edge, not to mention the fact that he raises her ire in ways she would rather not define.

Ms. Mason weaves a tight plot for the most part, which entwines snippets of the past which shows how Phoenix strikes an odd friendship with a boy three years her senior, and how throughout the years that friendship is conducted via letters and emails. Phoenix at one point wants more, but that had been the first time fate had intervened, forcing her to choose a different path which led her to become an ex-convict who wants the man who put her behind bars in a way she never would have thought possible.

When the truth comes to light of what they mean to each other, of the secret that Zachary hides, and of the true intent and nature of the killer, it is a harrowing couple of chapters until we reach the finish line and turn the pages to the epilogue with bated breathe, praying with everything you are, hoping with every fiber of your being, that everything turns out to be alright.

For the most part, I loved the story that Ms. Mason delivered with this number. Zachary is the kind of hero that takes your breath away from just his sheer presence alone. There is a forcefulness to him, a ruthlessness that is enshrined in his DNA that speaks of violence if ever there is a need for it, and yet at the same time, a gentle side to him that really shakes you up in the midst. Phoenix is not the only one who is flummoxed by the many facets to his character, and as the reader I was feeling it every step of the way.

I think what detracted from my enjoyment of the story somewhat was the fact that I felt the story steered off course towards the end, and I think that it could have been much better had it been otherwise. Zachary too was perhaps not ultimately dark enough for my tastes, because lets face it, Ms. Mason has delivered much darker heroes in her stories such as Psychopath’s Prey, which was my first and most unforgettable book by her.

At the same time, I absolutely adored the bits and pieces on the entwined pasts interwoven into the story up to a point, giving the tale the lighter edge it needed. But even then, I wanted that connection to have come to light differently perhaps, while at the same time I could appreciate that the story’s fast pace meant that things were just happening and that there was no right or wrong time for it to happen. The heat between Zachary and Phoenix is off the charts hot, with their first coming together hot enough to singe the reader.

I fell in love with Phoenix from the very start – she basically makes the story what it is, her character carrying the kind of strength that makes you root for her, admire her, and want the best for her. Her psychology in terms of how she fared from a young age to her chosen career path, and her sheer brilliance at it – all of that and more makes her a heroine who is worthy of all my love and then some!

As usual, stories that depict the psychology of the depraved, the ones who lose their way because of childhood trauma left unaddressed, that is a message that resonates loudly as the story emerges from darkness towards light. We might think it is best for a child who has undergone severe trauma to ignore what happened to them, but the festering wound beneath manifests in different ways in different people. Not all of them turn out to be empathetic soul. Some of them, their souls are left too tainted for them to see the light in anyone else.

Recommended for fans of dark romances featuring anti-heroes and for fans of Ms. Mason’s work.

Final Verdict: Zachary and Phoenix’s coming together is as explosive as the need for vengeance that courses through Zachary, who sets out to destroy everything Phoenix holds dear. Adrenaline rush guaranteed!

Favorite Quotes

I pull her into me, our chests pressing against each other, but before she can dart away from me, I thread my fingers in her hair and arch her head back then whisper against her mouth, “Because of this, right?” And with that, I slam my mouth on hers, connecting us in a kiss.
One single kiss.
Yet it forever shifts the balance in our relationship and opens up possibilities I thought I’d never want again.

The minute our tongues brush against each other, we moan and goose bumps break on my skin. He deepens the kiss, tilting me back until I’m angling my head to meet every glide of his tongue, the hot, passionate kiss vanishing all traces of guilt away and replacing them with a need so strong I can’t stop tightening my thighs around him. My nails scratch the back of his head as I open my lips wider to deepen the kiss even more… if it’s possible.

One minute, he holds me prisoner, and the next, I yelp when he sends me landing flat on my back across the counter, his body covering mine. Once again, his mouth lands on me, but this time the kiss is different.
Any gentleness is gone. Instead, the kiss is passionate and all-consuming, sending waves and waves of goose bumps breaking on my skin while his hard-on digs into my core, sliding up and down, giving me a brief hint of what it can do to me. Fusing our mouths, I hope he’ll end our misery and give us both what we want
so much.

Zach steps back, straightening up, takes out a condom from the back of his pants, and lowers the zipper on his jeans before tearing the foil packet open. He easily wraps his hard-on in it. My eyes widen for a second at the thick, long, angry flesh leaking precum at the tip, and then his hands are back on my hips, pulling me closer until I wrap my legs around him and his erection digs against my core. He rubs it all over my center and leans forward, licking away the tears on my cheeks, one by one, then swallows a piercing moan tearing out of my mouth when he thrusts into me, shifting me on the counter a little and stretching me so much I wonder if I’ll survive it.

My hands slide down his back, raking my nails over it, wanting to bring him pain, the same kind of agony mixed with pleasure he evokes in me while my pussy gets tighter and tighter around him, welcoming every drive of his hips until it all finally becomes too much. I arch my neck back, screaming when it finally hits me. A hot flash spreads all over my body, hammering me with pleasure over and over again, almost making me drown in it for how strong it is—it’s nothing like I’ve experienced before.
He thrusts a few more times and then groans into my ear, biting on my earlobe. He spills inside the condom and grips my ass cheeks so hard a moan slips past my lips.

“Zach, please,” I whisper. However, he is relentless and removes his fingers, replacing them with his tongue again, giving my core an open-mouthed kiss that should be forbidden for how much it makes me feel.
Digging my nails into the back of his head, I place my foot on his shoulder and close my eyes, starting to slowly roll my hips back and forth, finding the friction with him moving rhythm
ically inside me.

“Zach,” I beg and warn at the same time, wanting to finally reach the blissful oblivion without a care in the world.
“I know, darling. But you’ll come on my dick and not on my tongue. Because…” He enters me with just the tip, my pussy clenching around it. He groans above me. “Exactly that. I want the walls of your pussy to squeeze around me so much you won’t ever think this is a mistake. Because no one in this world can make you feel the way I do.” Before I can protest to that, he drives into me with one, swift move. I cry out as the headboard of the bed hits the wall and my body instantly clamps around him.

I’m hot, so hot, as his cock stretches me with each thrust, as if claiming its territory even if both of us know it’s temporary.
I palm his head, searching for his eyes, and when I find them, I connect our mouths with an incoherent murmur, and we lose ourselves in the kiss. His movements speed up, the pace pushing me to the brink, then closer and closer until finally it hits me so hard I still before throwing my head back and crying out, my core spasming all over him, sucking him inside and not wanting to let go.

Desire is a weakness wrapped in all-consuming emotion with the power to rule your every single thought. And although you know you will burst into flames if you’re not careful enough, nothing in this world can stop you when it calls your name, demanding surrender and acceptance.

“You are so beautiful. How can a man resist such a beauty?” His grip on my hips tightens, his fingers digging into my skin as his voice drops a few octaves. “Others can look, but no one is allowed to touch you. Do you understand?” The possessiveness lacing his tone and the flash of anger in his eyes snap me out of the haze he created around me, and with a gasp, I move to the side, wanting to escape him when realization of the situation settles in on me. “Especially Sebastian Hale.”
Unbelievable.
Putting my hands above his, I tug on them, trying to snatch them away from me, but they stay glued on me until I huff in frustration. “Stop this. Don’t act like—”
“Like who?” he asks, biting my neck and earning himself a groan from me. “Like a man who is obsessed with every breath you take?”
“Like you have rights to this body or me.”

Licking the nipple and coating it in my saliva, I tug on it a little, biting her harshly before instantly soothing it with more licks, all while my palm slides lower and lower until it reaches the hem of her panties. Without warning, I tear them away from her, the flimsy silk barely giving any resistance. “Zach!” she whispers through her moan, but I pay no attention to that, moving to the other breast where I repeat the action while my hand cups her dripping-for-me pussy. The heel of my palm digs into her clit while my fingers rub the walls of her pussy, spreading her juices all over them.

“What do you want, Phoenix?” he asks me again, his fingers threading in my hair and tilting my head back so I can look at him, and I know he sees a challenge in them.
I’m done telling him what I want, since he doesn’t listen anyway.
I’m going to take what I wan
t.

Holding his stare with mine, I circle his neck, bringing him closer to me until my lips touch his ear, and I whisper to him, “Make love to me, Zach.” His fingers bruise my hips when he settles between them and slams into me, making me cry out. My scream reverberates around the room, and my nails scratch his back.
His hard cock stretches my pussy that clenches around him, awakening every nerve in my body as he pushes deeper and deeper and then moves back, only to thrust into me again, rooting inside me over and over again as my body welcomes every jerk of his hips.

This man.
The man who I hate and love so much it borders on insanity, but I don’t mind as long as he shares this madness with me.
My pussy clamps over him tighter and tighter until he hikes my legs over his hip higher and starts to give me faster thrusts, one after another. I feel the hot flash travel all over me before it hits me full force, sending me flying over the edge with thousands of sensations breaking goose bumps on my skin.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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: A Governess Should Never… Tempt a Prizefighter by Emily Windsor

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Governess Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Senara Press
Hero: Seth Hawkins
Heroine: Matilda Griffin
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 09, 2020
Started On: November 26, 2020
Finished On: December 04, 2020

“But had I known such a love as ours existed, I would have searched forever to find you..”

A Governess Should Never… Tempt a Prizefighter by Emily Windsor as the title indicates, brings two very unusual protagonists together; a retired pugilist and his governess, whose backgrounds are as different as night and day. When 31 year old Seth Hawkins seeks a governess for his 13 year old daughter, the last thing he expects is for a lady like Matilda Griffin to apply for the position and turn his entire life upside down.

Matilda is on the run from her guardian, until such time that she regains control of her own life. She seeks refuge in the unlikeliest of places and finds it, by convincing her employer that she is more than qualified in the tutoring that Seth requires for his daughter.

As the days pass, a friendship is forged to life between Seth and Matilda, which kindles the slow burn of desire between them. Seth may be a retired professional boxer, who used his brawn and body to make his way and get out of the poverty ridden life he would otherwise have had to endure throughout his life, but he is a man who is keenly intelligent, with a heart that yearns for love as much as Matilda’s does. Matilda may have grown up in a more affluent household in comparison, but loneliness had been her one constant companion, which she had kept at bay through the books that enriched her life.

Finding common ground between herself and Seth is surprising for Matilda, but it doesn’t stop her from seeking more, to understand the complexity of the man who holds her heart. Their deeply meaningful conversations are one of the reasons this book stands out, especially the frankness with which Seth claims her after all is said and done. He is a gentleman to his very core and the man who answers the need that flares to life in Matilda as a woman of her own right.

I enjoyed my first Emily Windsor, even though I was a bit hesitant at first to pick this up because of a number of reviews which weren’t all that positive. But then, I don’t usually rely on other reviews all that much and choose to make up my own mind about what works and what doesn’t for me, and it has served me right for the most part as it did with this one. Like most romance readers, unusual main leads intrigue me in stories, and I am delighted that I did give this a chance.

I loved the slow awakening of desire and the emotions of the more tender variety that burgeoned to life along with it. I loved how both Seth and Matilda were protective of each other, how they saw the best in one another, and how they both yearned to spend the rest of their lives with none other than the other.

Recommended for those who love beautifully spun historical romances featuring the not your usual variety of hero and heroine. You won’t be disappointed!

Final Verdict: There is just something beautiful about historical romances done right, a magic that lingers in the air when you are immersed in the story. That is what I found in A Governess Should Never… Tempt a Prizefighter.

Favorite Quotes

Miss Griffin moistened her lips, and his jaw twitched, an involuntary tremor coursing within.
“May I?” she asked.
At his nod, she took a run for the nearest shelf and brushed a finger reverently over the book spines.
Seth shuddered and watched as her lips unconsciously curved in utter delight.

All might have been fine; it may well have ended there; he would have drawn back.
But her hand clasped his shoulder and then climbed till her fingers twisted in the short hair at his nape, nails lightly scratching, yanking him close and crushing their lips together.
Ferocious need erupted, spiralling his control and grinding it to dust.
He hauled her tight, a hand to her curvaceous rump so that she half-straddled him, a scalding heat upon his thigh, and he kissed down her neck, nipped her throat, the shadows a colluding partner to his endeavour.

“Matilda, I warn you, if you strip to your chemise, I will kiss you.”
“And I shall want you to,” she whispered, knowing it to be the truth.
His jaw firmed. “And if we kiss on this occasion, Matilda, I will not cease.”
“And I shall not want you to.”
His breath hitched, rumbled. “And if I do not cease, then fair warning, I will never let you go.”
“And I shall not want you to,” she whispered once more, conscious of what she was saying, that she wished for a lifetime of adventures with this man.

“May I?” he growled, elegant diction beyond his capability.
She smiled her acquiescence and he tugged laces, then wrenched, kissed the skin above her chemise – smooth and with the scent of meadows.
The corset fell away, in harmony with his breath.
Crisp white linen hinted at curves, shadows beneath implying treasure beyond his most feral imagination.
And oh, how he had imagined. Night after anguished night.

“Seth,” she gasped.
“My beautiful, exquisite Matilda,” he whispered, and with those words – ones no one else had ever applied to her – that tightness released and the rosemary-scented room ceased to be as her eyelids closed, rapture flooding to every tip of limb, submerging her beneath warmth and light.
With a rip of cotton, a heady, muscled weight was upon her, powerful hips and thighs parting her legs further before a thrust against her core, raw and rude and resolute.

“My Matilda,” he bit out, low and agonised. And he dragged back, only to plunge anew, a guttural grunt locked in his throat.
The tightness caused a sharp inhale but the rapture of before still simmered, and as he rocked, gentle and short, that hurtling bliss returned – faster and tauter.
“More,” she gasped, aware he held back from whatever he wished to do, aware his strained arms and clenched teeth hid a sharp longing. So she caressed his back, scratched those magnificent buttocks.
His hips jerked, and a growling Seth began to pound. A broad hand claimed her thigh, hitching it aloft as she cried out, and he plunged deeper.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Love Unexpected by Q.B. Tyler

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Dominic Callahan
Heroine: Stassia Rae
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 12, 2020
Started On: September 29, 2020
Finished On: October 10 , 2020

Love Unexpected by Q.B. Tyler is another romance featuring taboo themes, reason enough for readers like myself to pick it up. Love Unexpected brings to readers the story of 41 year old Dominic Callahan and 18 year old Stassia Rae, with Stassia having fallen in love with Dominic the very moment she had laid eyes on him. She had been just a mere ten years old then. Before long, her dreams of had been crushed by the fact that Dominic had fallen in love with her mother and within a year, they had gotten married.

Years later, Stassia still struggles with her wayward feelings for Dominic, but keeps them under wraps through sheer force of habit that she had cultivated through the years. However, things change when tragedy strikes, leaving Dominic a widower for the second time in his life and Stassia with a gaping hole in her life that would never be filled.

Somehow along the way, lines are crossed, words are spoken that can never be taken back, and before long Stassia is on seventh heaven with Dominic showering her with the kind of attention that she has always wanted. It is a precarious and dangerous road that these two embark on, especially with Stassia’s biological father turning up, trying to weasel his way into Stassia’s life.

There is a lot of sex happening between Dominic and Stassia and little else I would say, apart from the guilt factor rearing its ugly head every now and then. Dominic tries to do the right thing, but finds that he cannot walk away from Stassia ,while for her, it has always been Dominic and no one else. Stassia is not willing to give up what she has with Dominic and she is willing to fight, even if it means fighting with the man she loves, for his love.

I picked this up to read pretty excited about the premise and my past experience with Ms. Tyler’s work. However, I found that I did not feel close to what I experienced through the journey of reading Unconditional. I felt a huge disconnect from both Dominic and Stassia for various reasons. With Dominic, I never did understand his reasoning when it came to wanting Stassia. I wondered when his feelings had started to change, I kept trying to understand why when he had obviously doted on his wife, he did not spend at least some amount of time mourning the loss that was left in her wake.

When it comes to Stassia, I just found her to be too immature for Dominic. A romance and/or love between two protagonists who have a huge age gap to contend with, works well when there is a sense of maturity to both characters. I cannot fathom an adult relationship which involves anything less surviving through the hardships that life throws your way. Perhaps Stassia would mature in time but I wanted to see more substance to her character and emotional growth than the story provided.

My inability to connect with both Stassia and Dominic proved to be why I did not end up liking this as much as I thought I would. I really wanted to, but alas, that was not to be the case.

Recommended for fans of Q.B. Tyler and fans of taboo themed romances.

Final Verdict: Love Unexpected perhaps is the most apt way to describe this book; the love that strikes between two people whose feelings would be frowned upon begins just like that; unexpectedly!

Favorite Quotes

“You wore this dress on purpose. To tease me.” My nose is pressed against her skin, smelling her sweet perfume and my hands are still gripping her hips so tightly I won’t be surprised if I’m leaving bruises through her dress. Her hands have found my biceps and she’s squeezing them equally hard as she shifts back and forth between feet. “If I lift your dress up, will your panties be soaked?”
“Yes. Yes. Yes,” she whimpers, assumedly as an answer to all of my questions. “Touch me and see for yourself.”

“Have you come yet?” His pulse flickers in his neck and I can see his tongue dart out to wet his lips.
I shake my head to tell him I haven’t and without another word, he removes my fingers from inside of me. He stares at my hand for a second before they’re in his mouth, his tongue swirling around my coated fingers, and then his eyes find mine. “Put your hands on the headboard.”
“Why?”
“Because, Princess, you need leverage for when you ride my face.”

“Stop thinking so much, baby. I’m here with you. Stay with me.”
“I’m here,” I whine. I’ve been climbing towards the peak for what felt like hours and I know this will be the culmination of the night. The most powerful and most intense orgasm of them all.
“Fuck, this pussy is mine. You know that. Even if we never do it again. Even if you go on and date other men or fuck other men or marry another man. This pussy will always be mine because I laid my claim first.”
“Oh God,” I cry out. My vision blurs as tears well in my eyes and slowly cascade down my cheeks as the orgasm flares in my belly and shoots through me. “FUCK, Dominic!” I scream. I press my face into the pillow and bite down, and scream again, muffling the second sound just as Dominic succumbs to his own orgasm and lets out a guttural groan.

“I see your pulse flickering in your neck. You want this, don’t you?” This is the first time I’m really up close and personal, and he’s right, I do want it. I want to suck his dick into my mouth and down my throat. I want to show him just how far he can go and how good my gag reflex is. I nod and wet my lips before letting my mouth fall open in invitation.
Fuck. He mouths as he continues to stroke his cock from root to tip before moving up one stair to straddle my hips and hold his cock towards my mouth. I lean down angling my head and take one slow lick up his hard shaft. A hard hand grips my hair almost painfully and he jerks his dick towards my mouth.
I move my head back slightly, even though I’m desperate to sheath my lips around him. “Now who wants it?”

“I can’t wait and I’d rather come in your pussy than your mouth.” He drops his dick and yanks me hard into the water before pushing me against the wall of the pool.
I wrap my legs around him on instinct and just as his lips land on mine he enters me. Memories of last night flood through me and I already feel myself building despite the soreness in my sex. I pull at the hair at the nape of his neck, threading my fingers through his silky strands as I feel my orgasm pooling in my belly.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
With each thrust, I feel him everywhere.
Marking me.
Branding me.

She frees my cock and stands, straddling me again and sliding herself agonizingly slow down my length. I groan with every inch she takes of me and the second she’s completely full of me, with that delectable ass resting against my thighs she begins to move up and down using my shoulders as leverage.
She’s been having sex for two days and she’s a fucking goddess. Jealousy surges through me at the thought that someone else will get to see this side of her. That despite the caveman attitude I’ve had, she isn’t mine.
She’s mine in this moment.
That’s all I have.
This weekend.
This moment.

He turns his head and gives me a smirk. “Tell me what you want. We don’t have time for everything.”
“I know.” The thought that I won’t get to feel his tongue in my pussy makes me want to cry but I know I need his dick more. “Fuck me,” I pause, “with that.” I point at his crotch and he unbuttons his jeans and slides them and his briefs down as he moves his seat back. I’m climbing over the console into his lap and sliding down onto him before the seat is even done moving.
“There’s my baby. God, I’ve missed you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review: The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Lady Sherlock, #3
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Lord Ingram Ashburton
Heroine: Charlotte Holmes
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: October 02, 2018
Started On: April 26, 2020
Finished On: April 27, 2020

The third installment in the Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas, i.e. The Hollow of Fear, begins where the second book ends, and continues several months after the fact, with Lord Ingram Ashburton being implicated in the murder of his estranged wife. For the first time since the series started, readers get to see Charlotte Holmes “emotionally” affected in a way she never has been before, even going as far as to lose her appetite for her beloved cakes and desserts.

As the story continues, readers like myself who covet Ms. Thomas’ romance novels are rewarded with just barely enough entanglements of the nature taking place between Lord Ingram and Charlotte. There is so much push and pull factor happening when it comes to Ingram and Charlotte. There is much left unsaid, much yearning, and the desire between the two at times is almost a palpable thing. For someone like Charlotte who lives inside her mind most of the time, it is rather intriguing to see Lord Ingram through her eyes, the way she views his character, their shared history, and the parts of his life that are far removed from hers.

The ending as always, “surprised” me the with who the villain turned out to be. Having watched enough movies and TV series based on the character of Sherlock Holmes, you kind of tend to think along the lines of wo would be the most unlikely villain of all.

I liked The Hollow of Fear better than the first two books, perhaps because the characters themselves are being fleshed out more through each installment and of course there is the fact that things “progress” between Lord Ingram and Charlotte in a way that had me on tenterhooks. I would always look for romance in whatever Ms. Holmes writes, and I guess I am a glutton for punishment in the way I seek out the tidbits that hints as much when it comes to Lord Ingram and Charlotte.

Though at times I wished for the story to be less intensive in terms of dialogue and included more on actual investigations, I did understand partly why the books are crafted as such. For the most part, these plots are centered around the ingenuity or cleverness and the mind games that play out based on Charlotte’s superior powers of deduction.

Recommended for fans of Sherlock Holmes mysteries and fans of Sherry Thomas.

Final Verdict: The Hollow of Fear brings important milestones to life when it comes to Charlotte and Lord Ingram. Enjoyed the twists and turns that heralded the end of this installment.

Favorite Quotes

He did not move again. Not because he might startle her—she had ever been imperturbable in these matters. But because he was startled. He had thought he knew everything there was to know about his desire. Had considered it, so long fettered and trammeled, as tame, or at least manageable.
When it had always been feral. Primal.
Her lips touched his nape, just above the rim of his collar. He spun around, cupped her face, and kissed her on the mouth, a kiss that he might never be able to stop.

He looked at her. She smoothed the back of a spoon across the jam glaze on top of the tart, returning his gaze. He stood very still—no fidgeting for him. But in the rise and fall of his chest there was agitation. Inquietude.
“Why are you nervous?”
He hesitated. “You make me nervous.”
“Why?” She was not nervous at all. “You must have done this hundreds of times—at least.”
“Not with you.”

“I have much to learn,” she said happily. “I wonder if Mrs. Watson can impart any wisdom.”
Good God. “How about I tell you exactly what I like?”
“Really?” She batted her eyelashes at him, needlessly long lashes that would have been a lethal asset had she any interest in flirting. “I’m astonished, my lord. You never tell me anything except what you don’t like.”
“In that case . . .” He placed his lips against her ear and whispered for some time.
When he pulled back, her eyes were slightly glazed. “I was rather hoping, given how starchy you are in public, that in private you might be a man of varied and somewhat depraved tastes. I must say I’m not disappointed.”

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Review: Her Best Friend’s Baby by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Format: E-Bookherbestfriendsbaby
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Maitland Maternity, #9
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Morgan Tate
Heroine: Mary Jane Potter
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 23, 2001
Started On: October 21, 2019
Finished On: October 26, 2019

Her Best Friend’s Baby by Vicki Lewis Thompson is a novel that explores the concept of surrogacy, friendships, and crossing lines, which makes this for an emotional read. 22 year old Mary Jane Potter is carrying her best friend Arielle’s baby, the woman who had been a big sister, mother substitute, and her closest friend in the entire world.

When 31 year old Morgan Tate, husband to Arielle arrives on her doorstep late one night and gives her the devastating news of her best friend’s passing, that is the night when lines are crossed bringing these two together. Highly emotional and in need of human warmth and touch at such a time of deep grief, Morgan and Mary give into physical desire, complicating their relationship from then on.

While Morgan is adamant that a repeat of what happened that night is not possible, however as Morgan and Mary spends more time together and discover aspects of each other’s character they are both drawn to, the tug of attraction between them strengthens to a point where it is impossible to ignore. However, both of them do try valiantly for strength for as long as they can, until of course they give in.

It is not easy to accept that you have fallen hard for the husband of your best friend, a woman that you had put on a pedestal for the whole of your life. Morgan’s behavior is impeccable, the strength to his character and discipline evident for all to see, when he tries to do the right thing even at the cost of his own happiness.

There were many things that I loved about the book. Primarily Morgan who was such a sweetheart in every single way that counts. Not to mention Mary Jane, who infuses the story with a vitality that tugs at your very heartstrings. Vicki Lewis Thompson’s take on the concept of surrogacy and identifying the toll it could take on the surrogate mother was superbly done. Especially when it comes to someone like Mary Jane who would make a wonderful mother in her own right.

One thing that drew me to Mary Jane was her total and unabashed honesty which helped Morgan to move forward and accept things as they turned out to be. The fact that both Morgan and Mary Jane acted like mature adults rather than going the road of miscommunication with each other and creating needless problems between them as a result was welcome. Morgan being pulled from an otherwise lackluster life was one of the best bits about the story and the sexual tension and delivery on that front was done just right, totally deserving of what was blossoming to life between him and Mary Jane.

At first, I thought that the story line would not work because Mary Jane and Morgan get together too soon in the story. I was proven wrong because that was an elementally human response to the sudden loss of someone whom they had both loved and held dear in their own way. There was no ickiness factor because of what happened, and for that alone, I would say Vicki is a genius in writing about complex human emotions.

Recommended for fans of Silhouette romances and those who love stories that brim with hope in the best way possible.

Final Verdict: A story that brims with love, heart, and all the good stuff in between. Vicki Lewis Thompson definitely knows how to deliver a deeply and emotionally satisfying story.

Favorite Quotes

“I’m not trying to make you feel better, damn it.” He could tell from her expression she didn’t believe him, and that’s when he finally lost it and kissed her.
Oh, God. She tasted like…the richest hot fudge sundae he’d ever had. He sort of went crazy—kissing her, and kissing her, and kissing her some more. He was afraid he also used his tongue quite liberally as he continued to enjoy her full, sexy, incredibly sweet mouth. His hands found their way to her bottom and pulled her in tight, and boy, oh, boy, did she fit.
She filled his arms in a way they’d never been filled before. He’d never held such energy, such excitement, such heat.

There’s nothing logical about the way I’m feeling right now.”
“Exactly.”
With a groan he pulled her into his arms. And heaven help her, she let him do it. Worse, she dug her fingers into his hair and coaxed his head down. She wasn’t going to be able to blame any of this insanity on him.
“I’m wild about caramel, too,” he murmured. Then he settled in to prove it.
During their first kiss in her kitchen she’d felt as if someone had pulled the pin on a grenade. This time it was as if someone had detonated a bomb.

He lifted his head. “We should go into your—”
“Stairs are nice.” She finished with his shirt and started on his belt buckle.
“But you need—”
“You.” She unzipped his jeans.
“A bed.”
“Later.” In an inspired move she slipped her hands inside the waistband of his briefs and slid to a sitting position, pulling his jeans and briefs down as she went. The maneuver gave her perfect placement.
“Mary Jane.”
She wrapped both hands around his solid penis. No wonder he’d felt so wonderful deep inside her that first night. She caressed him lovingly, and then she leaned over to kiss the straining tip.

Suspended halfway between sleep and wakefulness, drifting in a sensual haze, she closed her eyes. Lying on the bed limp and relaxed as a rag doll, she allowed Morgan to do as he would with her. He seemed to know exactly what to do with her, and he apparently required no participation from her to achieve his ends. He might even think she was still asleep and her body was automatically responding to his touch.
What a wild sensation, to be coaxed and kissed awake in every sense of the word. He cupped her belly with both hands, caressing her lightly as he continued his assault right where it counted the most. She was in heaven.

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

greatread

Review: A War like Ours by Saffron A. Kent

Format: E-Bookawarlikeours
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Inc.
Hero: James Alexander Maxwell
Heroine: Madison Smith
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 24, 2017
Started On: August 27, 2019
Finished On: August 30, 2019

A War Like Ours by Saffron A. Kent is one of those novels that does not make for light nor easy reading. It is heavy in a way that makes you think, deep in a way that makes you wish the story would just continue for all eternity, and darkly delicious and sinfully delightful in the way that only Saffron can deliver.

Madison Smith and James Alexander Maxwell’s paths cross each other under the most innocuous of circumstances. Madison who lives with her girlfriend and believes that men aren’t for her, and James who hides from secrets that he harbours, lying to himself and the one person that matters to him the most, day in and day out because he knows he would not be able to handle the aftermath of facing the truth.

What brings these two together is James’ daughter, who brings a lightness to the otherwise at times dark themes explored in the story. There is Madison’s girlfriend who continues to subject her to the kind of toxicity we have been brought up to believe happens only in heterosexual relationships. Madison’s inability to face the truth of the effects of her past which had left a resonating mark deep within her, makes it extremely difficult for her to accept her burgeoning feelings towards James.

James might not like the fact that he is drawn towards Madison, but that does not stop them from exploring the explosive passion that rises forth between them. Madison and James communicates with each other through their coming together, each of them leaving a bit of themselves with the other every single time. Neither of them admits to what is happening between them, that is until things come to an explosive confrontation whereby each lays down the dark and harrowing scars inside them, punching the reader in the gut with the rawness of the emotions that seeps through the story.

While I do not know how I felt about certain aspects of the story, one thing is for certain. I have never read any other book like this where both protagonists are equally flawed and broken to a point where you weep for their pasts and anguish over their future while at the same time, a part of you hopes against hope that everything works out. This is perhaps darker than the other Saffron Ken books I have read thus far, and that is saying something.

James with that visceral guilt of his that had manifested and grown under the abject lack of care from the one person who should have given it to him unconditionally, resulting in the kind of warped psychology that would have broken most completely, was fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. There is a gentleness to James even then, and there is a ferocity to his need and love that speaks to you on so many levels.

It truly broke my heart when James did the bravest and the hardest thing any parent might have to do in his life. While I know deep in my heart that it was for the best, there was always that tiny part of me that wanted a different resolution in terms of what had happened on that front. But I also know the courage it took for James to do that. So for that and more, I love him, forever more.

In the deepest corners of my heart, I see James and Maddie married with 2.5 kids and nothing but happiness plaguing them. Because they have had more than their fair share of suffering and abject misery to last them for multiple lifetimes.

Maddie’s spunk and protectiveness of James was endearing even in the destructiveness that was the theme of their non-relationship, which I believe was the reason why I fell for Maddie and rooted for her through and through.

Recommended for fans of dark romances which explores aspects of mental health that proves to be insightful. Every single time I pick up a Saffron Kent novel, I am amazed by how her words speak to my mental health issues. For that and more, I would always continue to come back for her stories, whenever they maybe published.

Final Verdict: A story of destructive forces, emotional turmoil, psychological aftereffects of childhood neglect and trauma, and the healing power of love – none of what James and Maddie goes through makes for easy reading, but these are characters who would claim your heart and leave you better for having known them.

Favorite Quotes

I didn’t know who made the first move. But suddenly his hot lips were on mine and I was kissing him, sucking them into my mouth.
He shuddered, and I was right there with him. That first contact felt life-changing, breath-stealing, colorful behind my closed eyes. His taste was just as it should be, masculine, minty with a touch of tart apple juice and metallic blood. I fisted his shirt to bring him even closer. Hard planes of his chest cut into the soft curves of mine.
His arms wrapped around my waist and squeezed tightly, to the point where I filled his mouth with the last of my breath, moaning. It felt like I was dying, and my skin came alive, buzzing and humming.

All while feeding on my lips, he encircled my neck with one hand and tugged my hair with the other. The rough texture of his fingers drove me crazy, making me scratch his shirt-covered back as I locked my thighs around his waist. I pushed my core into his. It was wet, starving for him. Growling, he dug his torso into mine, making me feel his cock through his pants, big and hard.
I’d forgotten how good it could be with a man, how rough and unpolished. It’d been four years since I’d experienced something so dynamic and feral.

“Hurt me. You know you want to.” Her words, dampened by her breath, misted over my lips, and I forgot everything else.
Madison’s fingers tangled in my hair, and she jerked my face down, smashing her lips against mine. My hand slipped from her neck and wrapped around her waist. There was no stopping us—stopping me—after that. I bit into her again, as if she were my forbidden fruit, drinking her moans and lapping my tongue inside her mouth.

I pulled her hair in a sudden grip and yanked her head back, making her moan. I dragged my lips down to the tender part of her neck and sucked her skin into my mouth, gnawing at it. I felt the vibration of her moans in her throat, against my cheeks.
My cock was so hard, the hardest it had ever been, so extremely painful that it was pure pleasure. I dug my teeth sharply into her neck, and she whimpered and shivered, rubbing herself against me. Her skin was so hot, hotter than the summer outside. She loved this just as much as me.

My cock leaked pre-cum, and I wrapped my arms around her waist, locking her in place. We both stared at each other, barely breathing as I pulled her forward to me and, at the same time, shoved my cock inside her. Her head fell back as she gasped, exposing her bruised neck. I groaned, losing the battle to be silent as her tight heat gripped me. It spasmed around me. I squeezed her waist to control myself, or I would come right that second.
I stared down at the juncture where my cock was shoved up inside her liquid core, unmoving. The thick base smeared with her wetness, her core stretching over it, the smell of sex—it hypnotized me. My mind filled with a blank, ethereal space, like everything I knew was wiped from existence. Rationality, beliefs, my very name.

My body hummed with excitement. I bent down and took her nipple in my mouth, sucking on it. I opened my mouth wider, took in as much of her breast as possible.
She was rocking, pulling my hair, begging me to move by lifting and rubbing her hips on mine. I did not move, remaining still inside her. I barely rubbed her clit. I simply sucked on her nipple and played with the other one. I knew she could come like that. She was extremely responsive. I dug my teeth around her nipples and bit down.
Madison screamed and came. She throbbed against my cock and convulsed in my arms. I leaned away and watched her. Her neck craned back as her breasts jiggled with her orgasm. Just like that.

I flicked my finger over her wet curls, looking for her clit. She moaned low as I found it. I kept flicking. She had opened my shirt halfway down and scratched my chest. Without warning, she seized against my cock again, and her eyes fell closed as she came, moaning, writhing, like she was fighting to stay alive. She jerked up the counter, once, twice, thrice as her core drooled and gushed.
A ball of heat originated in my stomach, spread over to my spine, and slid to my cock. I came then, spurting my cum deep inside her.

I coiled my arms around his neck, gripping his hair, and kissed him hard, coating his mouth with my tart juices. He turned hungry, devouring my taste. I took advantage of his distraction and pushed him on the floor. Still kissing him, I unbuttoned his pants and pushed them down. I took his raging cock in my hands, long, thick—it felt longer and thicker though when it was inside me. My pussy contracted, and I slammed down and jammed his cock inside.
His head dug on the floor as he arched his back, his fingers tearing at the flesh of my hips. We grunted in unison, high and out of control. I felt what he felt. A simultaneous burst of pleasure or something equally cheesy that you never understood until it happened to you.

Without taking his eyes off me, his lips searched and found the bruise I’d showed him earlier. He bit down at the puckered skin and I barely suppressed a howl, my mouth falling open, my body convulsing as if electrocuted. My eyes watered. I scrambled to get away from him, from the pain as a kneejerk reaction. But he wouldn’t let me and then my core rippled in a roaring orgasm. My back bowed and shivered under him.
He nibbled on the bruise as he slid in and out, gently. He lapped my blood up and I came again, losing my breath as pleasure tore through my body.

His eyes had turned intense, making my breath shudder. Slowly, he made his way over to me until his body was warming up mine. “I don’t need homework to be able to have exceptional skills, Madison.”
“Are you saying you’re a natural?”
Without answering, he advanced on me and I backed up until my back hit the wall. “I don’t have to…” he whispered, putting his arms around me. “Your screams say plenty.”

He rested his forehead against mine and licked my trembling lips. “Tell me, Madison, do you ever imagine how dying must feel? Knowing that, no matter what you do, it’s not going to be enough?”
I shook my head. No, I didn’t imagine dying. Who would? But now I wanted to. For him. In any case, with his cock hard against my pussy, his fingers around my neck, I couldn’t think much of anything. Then he moved away, only to push my shorts and his pants down our legs so he could thrust inside me in one smooth motion.

He heaved me up by the waist and all but pushed me down to the ground. He tore at my clothes, shoved his cock inside me, fucking me into oblivion.
Those were the times when we truly realized what this was all about. The conversations, the accidental intimacy that had come between us these past days clouded the real purpose of it all. It was simple, really. We were two people who couldn’t not fuck each other.
These small manipulations, these tiny wars kept everything in perspective. They gave us hope that we wouldn’t lose ourselves in each other.

Then he stopped and studied my torso. I imagined it streaked with red. He thumbed my cheek and whispered, “You’re beautiful like this. Crying and bleeding.”
He bent down and lapped my wounds with his tongue. I almost came right then.
We had sex out in the open for anyone to see. And I didn’t care. He moved inside me, sometimes fiercely, sometimes tenderly. We never looked away from each other.
And when I came around his hard cock, a tiny whisper tore out of my soul. “James…”
He came a second after me. He tucked his face in the crook of my neck and sighed against my skin, “Madison…”
We had finally shed our limits, like sloughing off useless skin. Tears that had stopped streamed freely now from the sides of my eyes, down to my hair.

“I’m hungry,” I murmured distractedly, wondering if she’d taste like citrus—tart and sharp.
“Are you asking me to cook you something?” She frowned. “I’ll have you know I cook for no man. I wasn’t built that way.”
“I think you were.”
“Well, I beg to differ. I won’t cook for you even if you pay me.” She cocked her hips and scoffed.
“I don’t think I’ll have to pay you.”
“Is that right?”
“Mmm-hmm. I think you’ll do it for free.” She opened her mouth to say something, but I gripped the back of her neck and pulled her to me, smashing my lips over hers, almost melding them together. She held on to my shoulders and kissed me back.
Breaking the kiss, I whispered, “You’re it.”
“What?”
“The thing I want to eat.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo

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Review: In the Dark by Loreth Anne White

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Colder Than Sin by Toni Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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