Review: His Father by A. E. Murphy

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Sargent Wolf
Heroine: Tempest
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 01, 2018
Started On: July 25, 2020
Finished On: August 06, 2020

Having experienced the high that came with reading Becoming His Mistress, I quickly grabbed a copy of His Father by A. E. Murphy as this one seemed to be right up my alley. Younger heroine who meets the father of her best friend, and bam! The sparks fly and there is no looking back, even when the union is bound to be opposed and face a lot of turbulent times before reaching the ultimate happily ever after.

When Sargent Wolf’s son Maddox brings home his best friend Tempest, with whom Maddox had been backpacking all over the world, the reaction that the first introduction itself triggers in both Sargent and Tempest is one that cannot be denied. Sargent hides his obvious fascination with Tempest’s piercing and more behind gruff indifference, while Tempest tries her hardest to act as if its every day occurrence to meet a man who makes her wet with want with one searing glance sent her way.

Before long, Sargent and Tempest give in to their desire for one another, come what may. There is no denying that they fit like two peas in a pod, with Tempest answering a deep seated need in Sargent for acceptance and love, something that he would not have admitted to even with a gun pointed at his head. However, there are darker forces at play in Sargent’s life that he has to sort out before anything longer term can come of what is between him and Tempest, not to mention facing Maddox once the cat is out of the bag.

His Father, though not of the caliber as Becoming His Mistress, was a compelling read for the most part. I liked both Sargent and Tempest; Sargent is the kind of hero that I love best – gruff, demanding, and reluctant to face the truth of his feelings towards the heroine. Tempest was exactly what Sargent needed – kind and gentle, with a depth to her character which gives her a maturity that most people her age would not have.

There is a particular incident in the story as it reaches a pivotal point, which many readers may find to be a turn off. But I think I understood why what happened took place. There was literally nothing else Sargent could have done at that point in time, but give in. But at the same time, I found the turn the story took to reach that point a bit jarring. While it was understood that Sargent had had a tough time with Maddox’s mother, the whole drug sale affiliation tangent just seemed out of place, even though I suppose it served its purpose towards the end.

I loved the angst factor that came later on, and how Sargent came through at the last minute, lending the emotional depth to the story that I craved when all was said and done. The one thing that I missed was an epilogue – it would have meant so much more for the story had there been an epilogue at the end.

Recommended for fans of those who love age gap romances, when falling in love seems so wrong, but feels so darn right.

Final Verdict: With emotional depth, angst, and scorching hot sex leaping out of the pages, Ms. Murphy hits it out of the ballpark with His Father.

Favorite Quotes

“Jesus,” he whispers when he finally makes contact and slips his finger into the wetness between my thighs. I whimper, shifting on the soft rug as he drags the moisture to my clitoris and rolls it gently, only quickening his pace when I shudder.
I reach out and grab his bare arm as my aching, clenching, and burning body writhes from his touch alone.
“Please,” I beg on a whisper, aching to be filled, touched more, something. Anything.
When his mouth closes around my pierced nipple and his tongue rolls around it I grip the fur rug and come undone.

I crush my lips against hers, making her squeak with surprise. Making myself groan as she accepts me so willingly, tangling her tongue with mine perfectly. I grip her around the back of her neck holding her to me as I pull her closer, forcing her to slide her leg over my lap until she’s straddling me.
Her fingers push through my hair, it feels incredible and sends tingles down my spine and straight to my dick.
When she releases my mouth for a breath I kiss her throat, her collar, then yank down the front of her shirt, popping out the pierced breast so I can suck it into my mouth.
She gasps, and that goes straight to my cock too.

My body is trembling, almost weak as I fight to hold onto my control. She’s so good. She feels so good.
“A little more,” I whisper as her mewls get louder and her grip gets tighter. “I really need you to get there.” I’ve never not lasted the length required.
I’m going to blow it and she’s going to laugh at the experience with the old man.
Fuck that. I am not old. I have better stamina now than I did in my twenties.
I drive into her faster, my hips hammering at a speed I didn’t realize I was capable of.
“God,” she whispers, clutching me tighter.
Her pussy starts pulsing around my swollen dick and I know she’s there.

“Hold tight, angel.”
“To what?”
She gasps when I slam into her so hard she shoots forward, face-planting the mattress. I laugh, but only for a second as she starts to quiver around my hard dick that’s still firmly inside of her tight little cunt. She’s so wet, making it hard to manipulate her clit in the right way. Though I know I must be doing it right because she’s mewling like a fucking porn star and her entire body is shaking.
I pump slowly, circling my hips and then jackhammering into her quickly until I feel her nearing the edge. I’m teasing her but I love it. Her little curses and whimpers and moans are fuel to my already heated fire.

I reach between us for his belt and undo it quickly as he tugs my shorts down to my knees and I manage to wriggle one foot free.
He doesn’t wait, the second I palm him with my hand he nudges inside, filling me completely. I sigh happily, never feeling more aroused than when I’m with him.
His lips touch mine gently as he slowly glides in and out. Pushing himself to the hilt and withdrawing to the tip so slowly it’s all I can do to stop myself from mounting him and riding him in a way I know he loves.

I squeal, not expecting it at all but then I melt because he presses his palm against my clit as his finger sinks inside.
“Sargent.” I hiss his name but I don’t know if it’s because I want him to stop or I need him to continue. Both are tangling together on this web of pure lust, adrenaline, and arousal he’s brought me to.
My head lolls back as he fucks me with his hand, kissing my neck before watching my reaction as I come undone by his touch alone.
I choke out a cry with my orgasm. His satisfied, smug, aroused grin only powers my climax further. I can’t handle it all. It’s too much.

I hardly get the chance to think or protest when she drops to her knees, pulls me free of my clothing and sucks me into her mouth.
“Jees…” I murmur, placing my hand on her head as she goes to fucking town on my cock. Her warm, wet, willing mouth is so soft and perfect. I lean forward and push gently into her mouth. She sucks, licks, grips, and rolls in all of the right places and then she swallows the head of me and I am so glad I came home when I did.
I’m so close, my balls are so fucking tight it’s painful. I want to hold out and fuck her right here, but I also want her to swallow me, not just my dick but everything I give her when I come.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Becoming His Mistress by A. E. Murphy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Entice by Ava Harrison

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Grayson Price
Heroine: River Reed
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 14, 2019
Started On: July 16, 2020
Finished On: July 19, 2020

Ava Harrison is a totally new to me author, who I stumbled across in one of the book recommendation lists that I was going through. With Entice promising all those elements that makes up for an emotionally well rounded read, I was quickly hooked, making Ms. Harrison someone I am going to continue reading in the future.

36 year old Grayson Price has unfinished business to take care of when it comes to Tyler Reed, someone whom he considered once to be an older brother. Unable to say no to his sister, Grayson agrees to the meeting and finds himself with more than he bargained for when he comes face to face with Tyler’s daughter, 20 year old River Reed.

From the onset, there is a undeniable spark between the two which makes things precarious for Grayson in a way that he never would have anticipated. While River may want to throw caution to the wind and explore what it is between them, Grayson would like to believe that he is not ruled by the pure male instinct to claim River as his which scares him to no end.

However, even as Grayson tries to distance himself, none of it is to be helped as fate has a way of drawing them together time and yet again. It also does not help matters when River exposes her vulnerabilities to him, the way she responds to him, and makes him yearn for something that he has not thought he ever would consider as part of his future.

With every kiss and searing glance that renders both breathless, these two embark on a secret “affair” that slowly unfolds into something that neither anticipated. With River and Grayson both bringing their own baggage to the mix, it is no lighthearted joining, and it was incredible to witness the changes that they went through as a couple and individuals to reach their happily ever after.

Entice was a very mature, thoughtful, and meaningful read, all in a way that most taboo romances aren’t. There are very few authors who can do topics like this justice without making you cringe or worse. This is essentially what stood out for me when it comes to my first read from Ms. Harrison, and as I mentioned, definitely not going to be my last.

I enjoyed getting to know both Grayson and River, and that significant point in their past giving added meaning to the connection that is forged to life between them. Grayson was definitely all kinds of hot – the panty scorching variety of hot and I could not have asked for a better placed hero than Grayson in every single aspect.

What I loved the most was how the relationship between Grayson and River was fleshed out, the exploration of deepening feelings between two people who carry emotional baggage to last them a lifetime. The emotional depth added that pull factor to the story which had plentiful sex scenes which were tastefully done and sinfully hot!

Recommended for fans of huge age gap romances exploring “taboo” topics. Ava Harrison does this with a flare which makes for stupendous reading!

Final Verdict: Entice delivers to readers a story that captivates you from the start, with Grayson and River claiming a piece of yourself before they are through!

Favorite Quotes

My eyes are still aimed forward, but I’m watching him. I watch his Adam’s apple bob as I caress the skin.
I watch him swallow.
His chest rising and falling with each pass of my hand.
He looks torn, provoked, on the verge of something.
Something I’m not sure I can decode.
But I do see something I recognize very well. Loneliness. It bursts from him, alive and raw and pulsing like an injured animal. I can smell it. I can almost taste it. We are the same, yet we are nothing alike.

“You think I hate you?” he growls, taking a step toward me.
“Yes,” I whisper.
He advances, and I step back. “You really think that’s the problem?”
“It’s pretty obvious, to be honest. You haven’t been shy with your repulsion toward me.”
He moves in until my body is firmly pressed against his, his erection pressing against my stomach.
I let out a gasp.
“Repulsion, River, huh?” He grinds up against me. “That what it feels like? Or maybe it’s something else? Do you think my anger is something else?”
“What else can it be?”
“Self-preservation.”

Without a second thought, he crushes his lips to mine.
It feels like a series of fireworks explode inside me at the feel of his mouth. We are all teeth and tongue.
The kiss is desperate, and then he pushes off my lips. “Why do you do this to me?” he rasps. “Why do you torture me?”
I wonder if he will stop it now, if he will go back to pushing me away, but instead, I feel his fingers on my thighs, and his mouth touches mine again.
Each new swipe of his tongue makes me moan into his mouth and then when I feel his fingers teasing the hem of my dress, I swear I might die.

Then I feel him, pressing himself against my heat, probing my entrance. “I need to fuck you now,” he says through gritted teeth. He readjusts his hands to cup my ass as he begins to stroke me. “Tell me to fuck you, River. Tell me you want me inside you. I need to hear you say it.” The soft nudge is enough to make my inner walls quiver. “Dammit, River, say it. Tell me to fuck you.” He pushes forward, just the tip, torturing me.
I can’t resist. I want this. I’ve wanted him for so long that, like him, I can’t wait another minute. I want him to fuck me and make me forget everything else.
“Fuck me. Now!”
With one sudden thrust, he’s fully seated. I moan at the sudden invasion.
It feels so good.

My eyes roam over her body as I make the descent and then part her legs. I angle my body between them and kiss all the way up from her ankles until I meet the inside of her thighs.
I lick her.
Suck her.
Desperate moans escape her mouth. She purrs beneath me, begging me with her movement to pick up my pace, and so I do. I answer her cries and start to flick and then suck in a maddening pace that has her gripping my hair and falling over the edge.

“River, you know that’s not it. You see how they hound Jax. Hell, even you got photographed with him.”
“You knew about that?” I whisper.
“Of course I did. Wasn’t that the goal?” He’s trying hard not to sneer.
I look down and then back up. “I didn’t think you cared at the time.”
He steps into me, and my back hits the distressed and aged brick of the building. He lifts his arm to box me in.
“You think I didn’t care?”
“Yeah.”
“I cared,” he grits out.
“Why?”
“Why? Because you’re mine, not his. Since I first saw you in Malaga, I wanted you, and seeing that my younger brother, someone probably better suited for you, could be with you, drove me insane.”

I stand from my desk and make my way to the other side. Crossing my arms in front of my chest, I wait.
She’s wearing a cotton dress. Slowly, she drops the strap off her shoulder, and once they are both dropped, the dress pools on the floor beneath her. Now she stands in front of me in her ballet flats, a bra, and lace underwear.
“What did you buy?” I hiss.
My heart beats rapidly in my chest.
She turns around and then bends down, and I get a perfect view of her ass. Almost bare except for her thong.
She lifts something. It looks like a scrap of material, and that’s when I look at the label on the bag.
Agent Provocateur.
Fuck.

“Get on the desk,” I grit.
She follows orders well, moving quickly to sit on the edge of the desk.
“Lean back.”
She does.
“Show me.”
Slowly, but as ordered, she spreads her legs.
My lips tip up, and I make my way, more like stalk, over to her.
“I don’t have time to taste you,” I say as I unzip my pants. I don’t bother taking them off or removing my jacket. Instead, I just pull my cock out. “I’m going to fuck you. And you aren’t going to make a peep. Do you understand?”
She nods.
“Good girl.”

Our eyes lock. And then and only then does he slowly push inside me. It feels too good; as though I’m complete once he’s fully engulfed in my heat.
His hands reach to cups my face, and as he starts to thrust, he peers into my eyes.
He moves inside me, never breaking our stare.
Over and over again.
Deeper and deeper.
But he never pulls his gaze away.
Not once.
Not as I cling to him.
Not as I scream my release.
Not as he reaches his own climax.
He never looks away.

“You won’t find anything,” he says. “And do you know why?”
I shake my head.
“Because there is nothing to find. Want to take a guess at the reason?”
Again, I shake my head, this time dropping my head. He doesn’t let me, though. Instead, he cups my jaw and makes me look at him.
“Because all I want is you. All I see is you. I’m obsessed with you.” His words are rough, abrasive. He hates himself for it. I can tell by the way he grabs me roughly and throws me down on his bed. Then he’s on me, pouncing and kissing me, telling me with his mouth, with his tongue, and with his teeth just how much he hates that he wants me.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Sheltered by Charlotte Stein

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Deeper than Desire, #2
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Tyler Vandervoort
Heroine: Evie Bennett
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 09, 2012
Started On: June 06, 2020
Finished On: July 06, 2020

Nineteen year old Evie Bennett comes from a strict household that translates into the kind of nightmare that a lot of kids often live through. Evie has no freedom to be who she wants to be, explore what it means to be a young adult, and make choices about her life and future as anyone at that age would want to. Life is tough, but Evie knows no other way, that is until fate comes calling.

When Evie meets Tyler Vandervoort, her whole world changes from the onset. With Tyler, the very opposite of everything that she is, Evie finds the freedom to explore her own sensuality and give free rein to the deep seated desire that he rouses in her. With every kiss that leads to unbelievably hot make-out sessions (which should be illegal because the buildup is too much to handle at times, I kid not!), Evie finds herself drawn to Tyler in a way that makes it hard to walk away from.

In the end, choices have to be made, one might say hard choices, but when it comes right down to it, I would say that it was a choice that needed to be made under the circumstances. Tyler might be the boy from the wrong side of town in the way he presents himself, but as the story continues and reaches its climax, Evie starts to realise that there is more to Tyler than meets the eye, and that they may have more in common than she initially thought.

As is the case with every Charlotte Stein story, there is not much else going apart from the sexual tension and culmination of all that desire that is between the main protagonists. Perhaps one of the reasons why this story was a bit thin in terms of characterisation and depth, which seemed to lack more so than the previous two books that I have read and loved from Ms. Stein.

But as always, Ms. Stein is able to draw you in and keep you riveted to what is unfolding in a way that few authors manage to do, especially when it comes to creating sexual tension of the kind that is all encompassing.

Recommended for fans of Ms. Stein’s work. There is a charm to her prose that is nothing short of mesmerising.

Final Verdict: Sheltered brings to readers the story of two protagonists who may seems worlds apart, but in each other finds a calling and solace that proves to be their undoing.

Favorite Quotes

He tasted like cinnamon, again, and every now and then he’d pull away, just a little—just enough to make her want to drag him back. Before giving her a teasing lick with that perfect, curling tongue of his.
It set all the nerve endings in her upper lip on fire. She had to stop herself from reaching up and rubbing something like normal feeling back into the area, before the urge to writhe against him grew too strong.

“Evie, stop,” he said between kisses. She should have been relieved. She should have, but really all she could feel was the heavy and constant ache between her legs. How warm it made her feel, how daring.
And of course it only got worse when he said, “God, baby, you’re so greedy.”
It didn’t even humiliate her. Somehow he made it sound like the sweetest, sexiest compliment, and when she pushed a hand through his hair and tried to get him to kiss her again, his lips parted. A ripple seemed to go through his body, as though it affected him as strongly as it affected her.

He lifted his shirt again—farther this time. If he’d been facing her she would have been able to see his chest hair, but as it was she had to make do with acres and acres of honey-colored skin. All of it so soft seeming she could hardly control herself.
Would he mind, if she just leaned down and kissed the almost apparent ridges of his spine? She suspected he would, but after a moment of staring and staring at the little black knot he’d had inked in the middle of his back, she stopped trying to control herself altogether.
She kissed him there, open-mouthed and wet. Tasted his warm skin, then licked when he tried to sort of shift away.

The longer she went at this, the looser and more relaxed about it he appeared to become. He even turned his head after a little while and found her mouth with his, kissing in a way that forced a fresh flood of slickness to soak through her already embarrassingly wet panties.
He did it with a lot of tongue. And he kind of moaned at the same time, though the moans didn’t stop at her mouth. They vibrated down, down through her body to her oh-so-sensitive nipples and her swollen sex, searching out that little bud that she never on pain of death touched.

“I want you to look at me,” he said, which seemed like the most unbearable thing of all. She had to rub through all of this mortifying mess, while he watched her and she watched him?
She couldn’t. She couldn’t.
“I can’t.”
“You can. Here. Here. Like this,” he said, then covered her hand with his and urged it over her slick mound. Of course, the effect was immediate. That little bud swelled beneath her fingertips, pleasure jerking upward from it too quickly. Her toes curled, her back arched, she tried to tell him no again.
But he just pushed her hand down harder, until she couldn’t stop herself from circling that stiff shape. Just a little—no one would have to know. Except for Van, of course, who seemed to be breathing far, far too hard.

Words actually wanted to come out this time, but she didn’t have the breath to lend them. Everything had seized up inside her, so tightly that for a second she panicked. This wasn’t like the orgasms she’d had prior. The orgasms prior hadn’t hurt the way this one was doing, and they hadn’t made her stop breathing, and oh God, what if a person could die of coming?
She was sure she’d heard that on the news, one time. Sure. But no matter how tense and out of control her body got—by this point, she’d practically started rutting against his mouth—he didn’t let up.

She hadn’t the first clue about how to do this thing. He’d had tricks, and ways of going about it, and the magical ability to transport her into transcendental ecstasy. She had some vague idea about maybe sucking him a bit.
The two didn’t match up. He was going to laugh at her efforts, even though he didn’t seem to be laughing now. He didn’t even crack a smile when she looked up at him—he just stared down at her with that tortured, overheated gaze. Mouth a mean line. Shoulders hunched, body still shaking.
And then he told her all the things she most needed to hear.
“Just suck me,” he said. “God, just put your mouth on me.”

She didn’t know how such a thing was possible, but it happened, even so. And all the way through, she hung on fiercely, most of her moans more like grunts. Thighs squeezing too tightly around his body. Hands grasping at parts of him she probably shouldn’t have been grasping.
And best of all—she felt herself clench down hard, on his still-working cock.
“Oh Jesus, Evie,” he panted, almost automatically. Swiftly followed by a tightening of his grip on her back, her ass. His face pressing against the side of hers, as he moaned all hot and wet right into her skin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review: The Duke’s Treasure by Minerva Spencer

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Arrangement, Anthology
Publisher: Kensington
Hero: Beaumont Halliwell
Heroine: Josephine Loman
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 28, 2020
Started On: June 22, 2020
Finished On: June 22, 2020

The Duke’s Treasure by Minerva Spencer delves into a marriage of convenience between 35 year old Beaumont Halliwell, Sixth Duke of Wroxton and 23 year old Josephine Loman. Beau having returned from war to find his family impoverished and in need of finances of the kind that Josephine’s father has to offer in return for his hand in marriage. These two are opposites in every way, with Beau being sinfully good looking from the ton while Josephine is plain and has no beauty to offer.

As she enters the marriage, Josephine carries a secret close to her heart that she vows never to let be known. That she has fancied Beau from way back when they had first met, the incident which had not even registered for Beau. With the marriage having taken place, Beau expects nothing more from his wife than bed-sport and companionship, having no expectations beyond that when it comes to a union that he had been forced into.

However, from the very first night of their marriage, Beau is taken by surprise when it comes to the chemistry that sizzles between them, and how different his marriage turns out to be from the get go. However, trouble is not afar, as his past comes calling, trying to win his affections over once again, creating friction in the fragile ties being forged between him and his spouse.

This was a very sensible marriage of convenience story for the most part, with communication between the Beau and Josephine doing away with the misunderstandings that would otherwise have been plentiful in a marriage such as theirs. For the most part, Beau is the one who gets ahead of the misunderstandings that may arise, because he chooses to explain to Josephine where he is coming from and comes clean on whatever secrets that maybe buried in the half truths that comes to light during the course of their marriage.

The story did actually have the fundamentals in place to deliver a good and healthy dose of angst, but in the end, even without it, I enjoyed the story that Ms. Spencer delivered via this novella. The heady sensuality that was interwoven into the story made it so, the connection between Beau and Josephine an undeniable one that made for scrumptious reading. The only thing I could have wished for was for this to be a full length novel, which could have been ideal for bringing a healthy dose of conflict and angst to the story.

Recommended for fans of historical romances with that bite of sensuality that takes you by surprise, all in a good way!

Final Verdict: The Duke’s Treasure is a surprisingly delicious morsel of a story, recommended for those who love a healthy dose of sensuality in their stories!

Favorite Quotes

“Yes, Josephine, take what you want—use me,” he whispered as a second finger joined the first, the uncomfortable burn only momentary before the friction was pleasurable, the motion hypnotic.
Jo hadn’t even noticed he’d lowered his body over hers until she felt the puff of hot air on her sex. Before she could move or close her legs or do anything, his tongue pushed between her folds and his lips closed around her throbbing peak. Jo sobbed as he sucked, his hand still moving in controlled thrusts, until her hips began to buck wildly.
He gave a breathless laugh and pulled away just as a wave of pleasure slammed into her. And then again and again.

“You’re small—so tight,” he purred, his hips beginning to pulse, only lightly at first. “I want to fill every part of you,” he hissed, his thrusts smooth and strong. “Tilt your hips, Josephine—take me deeper, as deep as you can.”
Jo did as he bade and he groaned, his hips beginning to drum.
Jo clenched her teeth but reveled in the signs he was losing control—his movements less precise, his breath coming in harsh gasps, and the part of him that was inside her was so very hard. This was all her doing; she was the reason he looked less and less like a cool aristocrat and more like a feral, earthy, primitive savage.

“Did you wear this hideous nightgown to express your displeasure?”
She gave an adorable gurgle of laughter. “Yes, is it terribly obvious? I just thought—”
“I want it off. Now,” he said, standing and lifting her to her feet along with him. “Do you want to dress in a way that pleases me, Josephine?” he murmured as his fingers made quick work of the few buttons.
“Yes, of course.” Her voice was flatteringly breathy.
“Then you will wear this for me in the future.” He lifted her gown over her head and flung it aside.
“I want you waiting for me in nothing from now on.”

“Watch me as I take you,” he ordered her, his heavy-lidded eyes dropping to where he was pressed against her opening. And then he entered her in one smooth thrust.
Unable to look away from the place where they were joined, Jo cried out as her body struggled to accustom itself to his thick length.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he gritted, holding her impaled for a long moment before pulsing his hips in sharp thrusts. “I’ve thought about being inside you all day long,” he said while they stared at the mesmerizing sight of his slick shaft sliding in and out of her body. “Did you think of me today, Josephine? Did you want this?” He lifted her hips up until only his crown was inside and then brought her down hard.
“Yes,” Jo gasped, shuddering at his powerful assault.

“You are so wet for me,” he murmured into her neck, biting and kissing and licking while he pulled her tightly against his chest and drove her ruthlessly toward her climax.
When she began to shake and cry out he kneed her thighs apart and entered her with a punishing thrust, riding her hard while teasing another orgasm from her just before burying himself to the hilt and emptying deep inside her.

“Have you pictured yourself spread out on a bed like that ever since, Josephine? Naked, exposed . . . vulnerable,” he whispered, his hand never stopping. “Am I the man in your fantasy? I hope so. Am I cruel? Wicked? Relentless?”
Jo bit her lip hard enough to taste metal. She would not—she would not—
“I would tie your wrists . . . restrain your ankles . . .” he murmured, his voice hypnotic, his breath coming in rapid, heated puffs on her throat. “If I had you bound that way . . . what do you think I would do . . . Josephine? Do you think I’d make you . . . come?”

“Shhhh, I’m not going anywhere, my lovely, needy darling,” he whispered, positioning something bigger and hotter against her entrance. “This is what you want,” he told her.
“Yes.”
“Yes,” he agreed, “and I’m going to give it to you. Hard.”
He took her with agonizing slowness, making her feel each and every inch, his body sinuous and undulating, his thrusting slow, lazy, deep.
“Tell me the way you want it,” he said, his voice strained, his body slick with the effort of resisting his own need, but his motions smooth, thorough, controlled.
“Please,” she whispered.
“Tell me,” he ordered through gritted teeth.
“I want you . . . hard, Beau.”

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Review: Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Phenomenal Fate, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Jonas Cantrell
Heroine: Ginny Lynn
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 17, 2020
Started On: June 20, 2020
Finished On: June 21, 2020

Reborn Yesterday is Ms. Bailey trying her hand at a new sub-genre in romance. I have to say that Ms. Bailey takes to this change exceptionally well, crafting characters that are to die-for and bringing to the forefront a love that knows not the bounds of time nor reason. The debut book in the Phenomenal Fate series, Reborn Yesterday is beguiling in the way it is told, with Ms. Bailey’s talent in delivering panty-drenching sex scenes enmeshed deeply within the story that unfolds.

25 year old Ginny Lynn is the funeral home director at P. Lynn Funeral Home in Coney Island. It is through her job that she “meets” Jonas Cantrell; the extraordinarily handsome deceased man ending up on her embalming table. When Jonas “wakes up”, it is to find himself at the receiving end of a joke that his friends play on him every birthday, with this year’s prank changing the course of his life in a way that he never saw coming.

Humans are not supposed to know of the existence of the likes of Jonas, vampires who hug the shadows of the night close to them. For the most part, Jonas has never had trouble walking away from a human, wiping their memories of him when it comes to that crucial moment. However, with Ginny, none it works the way he plans it, and before he knows it, Ginny is in his life; his to love, his to protect, his to call mate for life.

Romance readers who have ventured into the urban-fantasy genre or read paranormal romances must have gone through their fair share of worlds built around vampires, ghouls, angels, and whatnot. Ms. Bailey’s take on the vampire world carries itself differently, though the basics of vampirism itself remains the more or less the same. I found myself totally enchanted and intrigued, and I loved every single second of being part of the journey that was Jonas and Ginny’s towards their happily ever after.

I loved Jonas – no questions about it. I fell head over heels in love with both protagonists early on in the story and there was no looking back for me. Jonas has a savagery to him that is tamped down, and yet at the same time, there is nothing he would not do, no stone that he would leave unturned, if harm were to befall his one and only.

At the same time, Ginny, who is thrust into a world she is clueless about, having never led a life of excitement up till that point, finds herself drawn to the danger and thrill of it all, her fate being entwined with that of Jonas from the beginning. If I had to use one word to describe this book I would choose the word exquisite; Reborn Yesterday had everything going for it in all the ways it matters.

Recommended for fans of Tessa Bailey, fans of vampire romances, and fans of romances in general. This was beautifully delivered from start to finish.

Final Verdict: There is a tender savagery to Reborn Yesterday that is in direct contrast with and yet meshes well with what Ms. Bailey delivers in the new sub-genre of romance she has taken to writing like a fish to water. Keep em’ coming Ms. Bailey!

Favorite Quotes

Their tongues greeted each other like star-crossed lovers, demanding and bereft over their separation. Ginny’s eyes flew open to find the same wonder blazing in Jonas’s, before his lids drooped along with hers, the kiss taking over, sensations making demands and hunger sinking in its claws.
At the next slide of their tongues, Ginny’s knees drew up involuntarily and Jonas rolled forward with a growl, locking their lower bodies together. Pressing. Straining. The vast difference in their strength was obvious. As it was also obvious that he tried valiantly to hold his in check, his body shaking with the effort.
Unfortunately, Ginny’s body couldn’t seem to stop tempting that inhuman strength. Her inner thighs rode up and down his hips and thighs, sobs catching in her throat, releasing into his hot, seeking mouth. Lord, his mouth. It was at once skilled and frantic, like he knew damn well what he was about, but couldn’t keep up with the onslaught of lust.
Yes. God, this was lust.

Their hands wrestled above her head, only to be pinned by Jonas. His hips rocked, the hard ridge of his sex riding to the start of her feminine flesh—and pressing down. Right there. Even through the material of her dress, she caught enough friction to cry out—and the threadbare sound did something to Jonas.
He leaned harder into the kiss, befuddling her senses with long, sensual slants of hard lips over soft, animal groans kindling in his strong chest, his fingers locked so tightly with Ginny’s above her head, she knew his willpower waned.
Good.
More.
Good.
Never stop.

With a growl of pure hunger, Jonas lowered his head and licked the trickle of blood from her neck, bringing it into his mouth and swallowing the way someone might with a fine wine. Almost immediately, his body fell forward on top of her. He caught himself with shaking arms right before he could crush her.
A throttled rendition of her name left him. What was that sound?
There was a muted throbbing between them and at first she thought it came from her own rollicking heartbeat, but no…no, it came from Jonas.
He balanced on one hand, tearing at the left side of his chest with the other.
Was his heart beating?
“Mate,” he gasped, fangs elongating another fraction of an inch. “Mate.”

He leaned down and licked the side of her neck, long and slow. “Mine,” he breathed, planting a hot, open-mouthed kiss over her pulse. “Inevitably, undeniably mine. May God help us all.”
Ginny braced herself for pain—and she got it. The shocking sting made her body jolt and twist, but a flood of numbing warmth ensued so quickly afterward, she stilled. As if on command. Stilled and felt the sharp fangs sinking into her. Heard Jonas’s muffled exclamation against her skin, followed by an exultant groan.
She’d been caught.
Possessed.

A volcano of bliss erupted inside of her, trapping a gasp in her throat. His words stabbed at her composure like little daggers and she bore down, prolonging the rush of relief by grinding up and back on his thickness. “Oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord,” she whimpered, raking her nails down his back. “It feels so good.”
“Remember that feeling,” he said, pressing his bared teeth to her cheek. “You only get it from your mate. Ever.”

He wore jeans. Dark ones, much nicer than the pair he’d donned the night they met. Along with boots, a white shirt and an overcoat of soft, chocolate brown.
Flowers. There were flowers in his hand.
For her.
“Ginny,” he breathed, stopping in front of her. “I’m sorry I’m late.”
She nodded. Or shook her head. Hard to be sure.
He handed her the flowers, then cupped her face in his hands, brushing her cheekbones with adoring sweeps of his thumbs. Their lips met and they both shuddered, the cellophane crinkling beneath her grasping fingers. Ginny didn’t have to look around the room to know they were the center of attention and she couldn’t have cared less anyway. She only saw Jonas.

His muscles bunched on a rasp of her name, his fangs slicing out.
“Need.”
Knowing exactly what he meant, she relinquished her right hand’s grip on the bedclothes, sank it into his hair and instinctively drew him to her thigh. “Yours. It’s yours. I’m yours.”
With an expression rife with possession and unholy thirst, Jonas pressed a second finger into her body and bit down hard on her inner thigh, groaning brokenly at the taste of her.
Ginny whipped headlong into an orgasm.
It was all the more brutal and beautiful for its unexpectedness.

He stroked into her deep, the new angle allowed that slick, thick part of him unfettered access to that spot—and she couldn’t move her hips to meet him or grind up, she simply had to take it. There was a loud sound coming from a distant land and it took her several guesses before she realized it was the entire bed rebounding off the wall.
The wildness of it was her undoing.
Or maybe it was watching Jonas sink his fangs into the small of her wrist, followed by the further swelling and jerking of his flesh inside her. Knowing he was close to finding unimaginable pleasure after a lifetime of going without. His body stiffened at the same time as hers, his mouth released her wrist and fingers clutched at skin eagerly, pulling one another’s bodies closer any way they could.

Her thighs wrapped around his hips automatically, her toes digging into his taut backside. No choice but to cling, squeeze him between her legs. Her core was so sensitive, so exposed. “Jonas, Jonas, Jonas.”
“You don’t want to make love, Ginny.” His teeth raked over her nipple, tonguing the sting while he made blistering eye contact. “You want to fuck, don’t you?”

“I’m incapable of denying you anything. Anything.” He reached down and fisted his thickness, notching the smooth head inside of her—and ramming himself home to the tune of Ginny’s strangled cry. For a moment, Jonas said nothing, his mouth open against her ear. Then, “You’re even tighter when you’re pissed.”
A tickle roared downward in her belly, her thighs jerking violently as the orgasm whipping through her. “Oh my God.” She squirmed, desperate for an anchor, a branch to grab onto while being shot down the raging rapids. “Oh my God.”

He slammed his mouth down on top of hers, kissing her with the passionate brutality she was starving for, the door rebounding hard off the frame behind her. Bambambambambam.“I’m sorry, my love,” he said hoarsely. “My fucking life.”
Ginny pitched over the edge so fast and so hard, her climax was almost painful. Her thighs shook around Jonas’s hips, her body arching off the door, her scream echoing off the bathroom walls. He pressed his forehead to hers, looking her in the eye as he followed her off the cliff, hips jerking wildly, Ginny on his lips. Behind him, the bathroom bulbs shot sparks and went out, leaving them in the barest light where it crept in from beneath the door.

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ARC Review: Cold Cruel Kiss by Toni Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended for fans of the Cold Justice series.

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

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Review: The Vanity of Roses by Lily White

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Callan Rose
Heroine: Lisbeth Rebel Rose
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 17, 2020
Started On: June 15, 2020
Finished On: June 19, 2020

I have forgotten how I came across The Vanity of Roses by Lily White. Not that it matters, but I like remembering how a book came to my attention. Perhaps it has got something to do with the fact that this book promised to deliver a ruthless hero who in turn would give the story the angst that I so crave in my romance novels. But alas, all of what I was hoping for never did materialize in the story as I wanted it to.

The Vanity of Roses begins at a point where a tragic event takes place at the Rose Estate, home of Lisbeth Rebel Rose. The hero, Callan Rose was a servant boy in the family back then, at the beck and call of none other than Lisbeth who made his life a living hell. Ten years later, the roles are reversed and gives Callan the perfect opportunity to get back at Lisbeth for all the pain and misery that she had put him through.

However, even as Callan is at his most ruthless self, he loses his edge when it comes to delivering that needed lesson to Lisbeth. At the same time, Lisbeth fights back, until at long last, she gives into the push and pull factor between them, what she had perhaps craved all along and never quite accepted at heart. As the story plunges to its end, the stakes have never been higher, especially with both their hearts on the line; the question being, who will fall first into the deep abyss that is love?

While I found Ms. White’s writing style to be one that is highly readable, for the most part, The Vanity of Roses was filled with repetitive inner monologue that was tiresome so much so that I skipped parts of the story to reach those bits where things were actually happening. Lengthy descriptions trying to portray the hero as the badass character that perhaps Ms .White envisioned him to be also proved to be tiresome. Heroes are ruthless by showing to readers what they are capable of through their actions, not by painting a picture of the same without concrete action to back it up with.

The secrets when they were revealed about what took place that fateful day, which served to be the whole premise of the novel, was an overblown one in my opinion. We all get it. The family is dangerous, but to prove that point, to commit a crime so heinous – that to me was totally unrealistic, not to mention the fact that there was a noticeable lack of any mention of an ongoing investigation into the event, which for all intents and purposes remained unsolved.

I am guessing that above all of that, my biggest discontentment about the story arose from how I felt about main protagonists. For one thing, I found the Lisbeth to be quite awful at the beginning and for the most part. The way she thought that a mere apology would suffice for her bullish and cruel behavior was just unacceptable to me. She did nothing to redeem herself in my opinion, and I found her attempts or apologies to be half-hearted at best.

Callan also fell way below my expectations. I went into the story, pretty excited by the blurb and expecting a hero that would blow me away. He was big, brawny, good looking, and scarred in the way that makes for the most exquisitely crafted heroes. But alas, there was nothing about him that showed the growth of his character as the story progressed. At first, his revenge on the heroine or the way he at least tried was interesting, but it was evident from the start that he would not be able to see it through.

All in all, I ended up believing that neither Callan nor Lisbeth deserved the other. Or perhaps they do, because I found them both to be equally disappointing. The saddest part though was the fact that this could have gone in a totally different direction, had the main protagonists not being so unlikable.

Recommended for fans of mafia themed romances. There is a reason I steer clear of them. This one says it all.

Final Verdict: The Vanity of Roses fell short of every expectation I had when I first picked it up. Proved to be disappointing, most of all the main protagonists.

Favorite Quotes

Quickly stuffing towels away, I slowly pushed to my feet as I filled each shelf, my eyes seeking each tiny slit to peek through as I stuffed the last towel in.
I was at my full height when I dared look one more time and found a pair of whiskey eyes pinning mine through the slat. My heart stopped with a painful rattle.
Oh my God…
Callan’s dark stare didn’t waver. His body didn’t stop fucking that woman’s face. And she had no idea I was standing here.
But he did.

“I won’t be gentle,” I warned, my finger pressing down to find her panties were soaked.
She shook again, her mouth seeking the violence of my kiss.
We were balanced on a precipice with the threat of falling over, our eyes locked, our lips brushing, our bodies ready to give and take despite the hate we felt.
When she didn’t answer, the last cord of self-control I had snapped.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
I flicked her panties aside at the same moment my mouth took control of hers, and while my tongue swept in to taste her for the first time, my finger dove deep inside her body.
Victory was the flavor of her first sensual moan.

Breathless, I asked, “Don’t you think this is a bad time to have this discussion?”
I could feel him smile against my skin. “I think this is the best time, actually.”
Notching the tip of his cock at my entrance, he lifted his head to lock eyes with mine.
“Why’s that?”
One long thrust and he filled me completely, his cock so deep that I swore I could taste him in my throat. His hand locked on my thigh to push my legs open wider, his hips so frustratingly still that I thought I might scream.
Leaning down, his mouth brushed mine as he answered, “So that neither of us make the mistake of forgetting what we’ve done to each other and fall in love.”
“I won’t fall in love.”

Our bodies slapped together again, the orgasm I’d been chasing finally igniting inside me until my body shook against his, my mouth opening on a silent scream as pleasure flooded every cell.
Callan’s hand slid from my breast to my throat, his teeth sinking down, the scruff on his jaw so rough on my skin that it competed against the hard planes of his body claiming mine.
He held me there while wave after wave of the orgasm broke me to pieces, the release shattering me, the tremors as violent as him.

I released her throat when panic flooded her body, shoved my pants down with one hand and grabbed her breast with another. And while she coughed to finally have air fill her lungs again, I drove myself inside her, her cunt clutching me, desperate to be filled, greedy.
She surprised me with her raspy words. “Again. Do it again.”
My head snapped up, and I met her sultry stare, my hips going still while my cocked remained sheathed inside her.
I spoke carefully in response.
“You like that edge, don’t you? The one between life and death.”
Lisbeth nodded, insanity behind her eyes.
In that we were the same. I loved it, too. A little too much.

Thrusting inside her with one hard shove, I buried myself to the balls, practically sipping on the scream that tore from her throat, part anger at what I’d said and part lust.
That’s the thing with bitches: they’ll pretend they want to be worshipped when the truth is they want to be stripped of their power and fucked dirty against a wall.

“Ride my tongue, beautiful. Show me how much you want this.”
My body bucked as the tip of his hot tongue flicked the swollen skin, my hips moving as if on their own, directing him, riding his mouth as he licked and nibbled, driving me just to the edge of ecstasy before pulling back.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Cold Wicked Lies by Toni Anderson

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice: Crossfire, #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Payne Novak
Heroine: Charlotte Blood
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 08, 2020
Started On: June 13, 2020
Finished On: June 14, 2020

Cold Wicked Lies is the third book in the Cold Justice: Crossfire series by Toni Anderson. Ms. Anderson is one of my go-to authors for romantic suspense because, for the most part, she always strikes the right balance when it comes to juggling romance and suspense, delivering emotive and intelligent reads that speaks to the heart.

In Cold Wicked Lies, highly skilled operative and HRT leader Payne Novak finds himself forced to work with FBI negotiator Charlotte Blood in trying to end a standoff between law enforcement and a sealed off compound that is an implosion waiting to happen. While Charlotte tries to defuse the situation by doing what she does best, Payne who finds it difficult to not take charge in any given situation is forced to take a step back and watch Charlotte work her magic.

Not being a believer in the soft tactics, Payne is in for a surprise where he finds himself filled with admiration for Charlotte and all that she stands for, not to mention the slow simmering attraction that flares to life between them, which needs very little to ignite into undeniable passion.

While the danger inside the compound mounts, it is up to Charlotte and Payne to sift through the seemingly straightforward picture that emerges at first from the ground, with one wrong move having the potential to tip the scales in the wrong direction.

I loved Cold Wicked Lies for many reasons. I found both Charlotte and Novak to be refreshing in a way that was endearing. While the antagonism between the two is tangible at the beginning of the story, it is evident as the story progresses that they are both skilled professionals, able to put their personal feelings aside and work for the best outcome possible when it comes to their jobs. That won points from me for both of them.

On the other hand, I loved how Toni brought to light the reverse “sexism” that can exist in society. Whereby we women can judge men based on their looks, the way they carry themselves etc. when we as a gender cry foul at them for doing the same thing to us. Perhaps it is true what they say, we do become what we hate if we are not careful about where our personal prejudices take us.

I definitely love how Toni can create such strong and independent heroines without sounding preachy about it. She manages to drive home well intended messaging across to her readers without us wanting to turn our e-readers off. Because lets face it, we are bombarded enough as it is on social media and all available platforms about what we should be thinking, how we should be thinking, and where that thinking should lead us to. Freedom of conscience, anyone?

I also loved the angst and the surprising twists and turns that the story took, along with the heart thumping variety of mind blowing scenes of passion in the mix. A few well placed words here and there, with deft touches in terms of characterization, and Toni manages to do what most erotic novels fail to bring out in readers; the ability to feel for their characters and be the moment right alongside with them as the tension mounts, the heat builds, and the explosions happen.

While I would have loved to read a bit more on the pasts of Charlotte and Novak, nevertheless, I enjoyed Cold Wicked Lies for what it delivered in spades, leaving me with the urge to read the next one in the series, right after.

Final Verdict: Cold Wicked Lies is Ms. Anderson just as I love her books; informative and intriguing, featuring relatable and earthy characters, while delivering a well paced and sensually charged read!

Favorite Quotes

He angled his mouth across hers, and she opened willingly, tangling her tongue with his, absorbing him. He wished he could capture the feeling in a bottle and keep it with him forever. That silky volcanic heat. The sharp edge of teeth, the sweep of her tongue into his mouth.
His pulse crackled along his veins. His hand found its way to her breast, molding the cotton of her shirt over the perfect handful of flesh. He reveled in the hard press of her nipple against his palm.
Blood headed south, and his dick was so hard he was in danger of passing out. She brushed against him and holy shit, that felt better than the past five years of his sex life.

Her fingers wrapped around the length of him, and she made a little pleased humming sound that for some reason made his cheeks burn.
He cupped her ass, rubbing her clit against his hard length, and feeling her push against him.
“Wanna be fucked against the wall, Charlotte?” he whispered. His hand slipped along her seam, his fingers easing inside and finding her hot and ready. “Or on the bed?”
“Both,” she whispered back, taking a gentle bite of his ear lobe.
His knees almost dissolved.

The effect of slow, sensual thrusts dragged out the erotic sensation, and the need to climax built inside him in small incremental steps up a very long spiral staircase.
He wanted to give her endless pleasure. Wanted to make this good for her. His competitive spirit was finding an outlet he hadn’t thought of before. He didn’t simply want to have great sex with Charlotte Blood. He wanted to be the best lover she’d ever had.

She started to make a sound, and he kissed her harder, holding her breath captive in his lungs, swallowing her groan, feeling her shatter around him a second time.
It broke him. He drove harder, but the noise was too loud, so he pulled them away from the wall, planted his feet wide apart and held her in place, as he pounded into her deeper and harder.

His eyes never left her face, searching it for clues as to what worked for her and what didn’t.
Spoiler alert. It all worked for her. The perfect complement of fullness and friction.
She gripped his ass and pulled him even closer, fighting him every time he tried to retreat. It turned into a beautiful synchrony of frenzy, and an orgasm ripped through her. She opened her mouth to scream, and Novak planted his hand over her mouth as he pounded harder. The lack of springs in the mattress meant they were almost silent, and she wasn’t sure she’d have cared even if they hadn’t been.

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