ARC Review: Back To You Lauren Dane

Format: E-bookbacktoyou.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Hurley Boys, #3
Publisher: MIRA
Hero: Vaughan Michael Hurley
Heroine: Kelly Hurley
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 1, 2015
Started On: May 16, 2015
Finished On: May 18, 2015

The third book in The Hurley Boys series features the youngest of the boys, Vaughan Michael Hurley, whose divorce from the woman he loves and had done immense wrong to, has gone on for 8 long years. Vaughan thought it better to save his pride than admit to his wrongdoings and seek to reunite. But the news that Kelly is about to marry another and start over anew with Vaughan ‘s two daughters brings about the realization that he must act before its too late.

Kelly has, does and always would love Vaughan. But Kelly is done waiting for someone who refuses to grow up, someone who refuses to come back to her. But then Vaughan surprises her by turning up on her doorstep, wanting to be more of a part of their daughters lives. With little bits of arguments here and small bouts of misunderstandings there, Kelly and Vaughn work through the hurdles to give a story that was just okay.

Every author who has written multiple books tend to have certain “trademark” aspects to their writing. Lauren Dane is someone who I have identified as being able to deliver emotional and intensely sexy reads that has the ability to blow your socks off and then some. While the relationship between Vaughan and Kelly had so much potential, there was little angst, just a bit of acting out on Kelly’s part to show everyone that she was done being the doormat heroine who apologizes for every little thing, even when most of it hadn’t been her fault. While Vaughan is a pretty laid back sort of guy, I still expected him to ooze out the Hurley brand of charm and sexy which sort of failed to materialize.

To be honest, nothing stood out for me in this book. I know that authors and publishers, though they claim to want honest reviews from reviewers, tend to shy away from and can be quite antagonistic towards the “bad” reviews. But as someone who has promised an honest review at the end of the day, I have to say my two piece about what I’ve read.

Back to You was a book that just seemed to be filled with a ton of conversations that were repeated in different forms with different characters in the story. While Vaughn kept apologizing to death and atoning for his behavior, which I believe he did just the right amount of it, I can safely say that none of it put me through the emotional wrangling of the kind that I was expecting. And that proved to be a teensy bit of a disappointment. While most writers shy away from delivering too much angst for the fear of facing wrath from the feminist goddesses, I for one am a total and utter disappointment to the fairer sex because I thrive in it. So to see that there was none of it in a novel that could have had a bit of it to spice things up was disheartening.

The whole crazy bunch of characters in the series have all been nothing short of endearing. But I found myself left with just a general likeness for both Vaughan and Kelly while I expected their characters to invoke deeper emotions in me. It’s not easy writing about characters who are flawed and have made pretty screwed up judgment calls in the past owing to a lot of shared hurt and sense of betrayal and abandonment between them. I guess the problem lies with how much I actually expected the novel to move me, which it didn’t. After a while, you get tired of reading about the other characters, especially Ezra, whose addiction problems were mentioned all throughout the debut book and even this one. I wanted to read about Vaughan and Kelly, not the other Hurley brothers who have already got stories of their own.

Having read just the debut book in the series and skipping the second book to get to this one, I expected blistering and scorching heat of the kind that the Hurley brothers practically exude by their mere existence alone. But even that never truly did materialize with just small scenes of passion thrown in here and there that seemed to cement the deal and aid Kelly in getting over the hurt of a divorce that had left her in pieces. Perhaps the reason I felt such a lackluster reaction to the story was because the characters themselves didn’t seem to react all that passionately to the circumstances and the few curve balls thrown their way. So perhaps, in a way what I missed the most was feeling passionately about a story that seemed just a little short of bland.

Kelly and her struggles with the scars left behind by her mother who’d done a number on her self esteem issues was perhaps the only aspect of the story that truly stood out for me. It was evident that her struggle was real, that it was a continued struggle that she’d won inch by inch because of the person she is. Strong, determined and definitely not a pushover once the story began. Not many would have handled the whole Hurley situation with as much grace as Kelly and that was one plus point in all of the mundaneness of the rest of the novel.

Recommended for fans of Lauren Dane and fans of the Hurley Boys.

Final Verdict: A story that flows smoothly enough, yet doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Favorite Quotes

She’d ached for this. For years and years after she lost it. At times Kelly had wondered if that ability had died along with her marriage. And it was right here, all along.
Tipping her face up, she let herself be kissed.
She’d expected something slow and gentle. But what she got seared her. Stunned her as the raw, sexual heat of his mouth, his tongue and teeth destroyed every last bit of her remaining defenses against him.

He leaned his forehead to hers, breathing hard. “Give me a minute or two.” He took her hand and put it against his cock, through his jeans.
Kelly squeezed a few times. “You’re going to need a lot more than a minute so don’t get cocky.”
“Are you trying to kill me?”
“No. I plan to ride you until you sweat,” she whispered before she nipped his earlobe.

Her nails dug into his back after she’d yanked his shirt off.
He let out a string of curses as he shoved his pants down to free his cock and then yanked her shorts and panties to the side, sliding into her hard and fast.
And naked. She gasped at the feel of him and then at the expression he wore as he held her still, his hands at her hips squeezing just shy of pain.

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ARC Review: The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

Format: E-bookthebestkindoftrouble
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Hurley Boys, #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Patrick Michael Hurley
Heroine: Natalie Clayton
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 26, 2014
Started On: December 22, 2014
Finished On: December 24, 2014

Natalie Clayton is the librarian of the small town Hood River. Natalie has a good life going for herself, a life in which she controls what happens to her and the situations that she puts herself in. She is not at all ready for someone from her past to come and shake it all up, be it that the person in question is Patrick Michael Hurley (Paddy) with whom she had had some of the best sex of her life fifteen years back.

Paddy is used to women fawning over him. Being a rockstar makes it easy for him to get any woman he wants. Almost too easy. When Natalie at first acts like she doesn’t remember him, Paddy is more than taken aback; he is intrigued. And an intrigued Paddy who becomes interested in pursuing a woman who seems determined to say no to him at every turn is something that Paddy can’t turn away from. Paddy remembers the good times that he and Natalie had shared and he wants that back with a vengeance that surprises even him.

The Best Kind of Trouble is my second read by Lauren Dane. The humorous undertone to the story as it kicked off gave off the vibes that this would be a read well worth delving into. And turned out I wasn’t wrong in assuming as I did. Paring someone like Paddy who is laidback, who has got all the confidence in the world when it comes to women with someone like Natalie is enough to keep the pages turning.

Unlike I presumed, the character who comes with the most baggage is Natalie. Her past, the fact that she had never been in control of her life back then proves to be a deterrent as she tries to forge her way into the future with Paddy. Coursing through uncharted waters, Paddy and his lovable family certainly helps along and one cannot be help but be enchanted by the various secondary characters that comes to light. I can’t help but want to read Ezra and Tuesday’s story which I think is up for grabs next. With equally screwed up pasts, their story seems to be one that would give quite the angst filled ride!

I loved the realistic edge to The Best Kind of Trouble. The stages through which Natalie and Paddy’s relationship developed was well delved into in my opinion. How they were individually two different people who could exist on their own just fine but together they become infinitely better was one that echoed through me as I read through the last pages. Natalie’s hang ups were well deserved and I totally understood where she was coming from. And I totally loved the fact that Paddy had to work to win Natalie’s affections when his effortless charm had pretty much guaranteed the ladies in his life before.

With panty melting variety of sex scenes in the mix, Lauren Dane brings to readers and her long term fans a series steeped with familial ties, humor, rock and roll and of course sex of the kind that would knock your socks off. Well worth a read!

Final Verdict: Downright sexy & a helluva lot of wholesome! Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

He lowered his head, and she went to her tiptoes to meet him halfway for a kiss.
Ha, kiss was such a mild word for what it was.
She wove her fingers through his hair and tugged to keep him there. If she was going to make a really bad decision, she wasn’t going to do it halfway.
Plus, he was really good at kissing.
He traced her bottom lip with the tip of his tongue and then nipped hard enough to make her gasp. That’s when he barged right into her mouth and turned her knees to jelly.

“I really need to come, Nat. But I won’t until you do. Do it for me.” He grinned, and she groaned, moving to lean her head on his shoulder.
“Is that your version of do it for America? Or just the tip?”
Startled, he snorted a laugh until her body tightened around his, and she bit his shoulder hard as she came. He snarled, pulling her down on him, holding her in place as he pushed deep, as hard and deep as he could and followed her.

His mouth dried up. “Are those…are you wearing… stockings?”
She looked down at herself and then back at him with a smirk. “I do believe so, yes. Can I tell you a secret, Patrick?”
He gulped and nodded. She laid the skirt on a chair and pulled her blouse off, leaving her in nothing more than a pretty bra, barely there underpants and stockings.
She moved to him, climbing on her bed, hands and knees to him. She straddled his lap, and he leaned for- ward, burying his face in her cleavage until everything was perfect.
“Tell me your secret, then, Natalie.”
“I like wearing stockings. I like it when the breeze blows up my skirt and I can feel the difference between where my legs are covered and where they aren’t. It’s like a dirty secret right there under the fabric.”

It seemed to stretch—climax and this moment between them where she was laid bare to this man, where he was open to her because he allowed her to see inside him. Whatever it was, she’d never experienced it before, and it left her raw. In the best kind of way.
He groaned, pushing so deep, the muscles in her thighs burned a little as he held them wide with his hips. Her name was a snarl on his lips as he came, and she liked it that way. Liked knowing she filled him with the same sort of savage need he did her.

It was too much and not quite enough until he nudged her feet apart and the head of his cock pushed against her, entering her in one slow but insistent thrust.
The joy of it filled her, arced up her spine, swelled her heart. He held her, bringing her pleasure as he made love to her. And as dirty and hard as it was, it was making love. Even when it was fucking, it was that. She wasn’t a faceless, nameless groupie; she wasn’t mean- ingless or a person he was with to pass the time. She was someone with him.
Someone to him.

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ARC Review: Cake by Lauren Dane

Format: E-bookcake
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Gregori Ivanov
Heroine: Wren Davis
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 15, 2013
Started On: September 5, 2013
Finished On: September 5, 2013

Gregori Ivanov is an artist whose bad boy image keeps at bay and hides his true nature from the clamoring fans who always seems to want one thing or the other from him. His marriage and the divorce that had followed suite, together with the destructive relationship he tends to have with his ex-wife seems to have driven up the walls that protect his heart and emotions with iron bars.

Wren Davis is an art student, working as a part-time messenger to pay the bills which brings her to the home of the ultra gorgeous Gregori who makes her want and crave for him in a way she has never craved anyone ever before. The friendship and the flirty relationship that has been going on between Gregori and Wren for the past year or so reaches its breaking point and tumbles over when Gregori is driven to take a bite of the woman who has been driving him slowly crazy for the past couple of months. Wren is determined that she would make Gregori give in to the heat and obvious connection that is way more than just physical between them. And Gregori finds out the hard and delicious way that he is indeed no match for a determined Wren from getting all that she wants.

Cake though a short read proved to be an explosively good one. There is of course the hero Gregori who made me practically salivate with that bad boy charm of his and that predatory soul that comes to life within him when Wren is in the picture. Gregori might want to resist Wren with everything that he is for all the wrong reasons and that is exactly what gives this story the edge it required.

Wren was a lovely heroine. I loved her for her independence and her resilience when it came Gregori which made her put her foot down and work for the man she had fallen for. While the sex was of the scorching hot and panty melting variety, it is the connection between them outside of the bedroom that made my heart melt and made me root for them big time!

With just the right amount of body tingling variety of scorching hot sex and a hero who slips to  muttering in Russian in the throes of passion, I couldn’t have found a better way to spend the one hour it took to devour this scorching goodie! Highly recommended!

Final Verdict: Sizzling chemistry and a Russian hero = Win!

Favorite Quotes

He tasted like…well like everything she’d imagined he’d taste like. The spice of the Turkish tobacco in the French cigarettes he smoked. A little bit of vodka. Some cinnamon, probably from the gum he’d been chewing. And something else she couldn’t define but was all his anyway.
Heat raced through her veins. She nipped his bottom lip and he groaned again. She laved the sting with her tongue and tasted the kiss, the need between them and it was her turn to groan.

She climbed into his lap and he drew a shaky breath.
“I felt just how much you wanted me then.” She rolled her hips, grinding herself against his cock. “I feel it now. Question is, Gregori, do you enjoy me as much as you enjoy cake? And how can you know unless you take a taste?”
She brushed her lips over his mouth and his eyes snapped open. “Indeed.”
His muscles, which had been tense, loosened and then he pounced. He wrapped his arms around her, hauled her closer and kissed her.

She grabbed his waist, working his pants open. He swore when she took him in her hand, fisting, sliding up and a down a few times.
He muttered in Russian, drawing aside the straps from her camisole and bra, kissing the bare skin he left behind.
More muttering in Russian. Hearing it made her so hot.
“What? What are you saying? You’re giving me a complex.”
He snorted, tipping his head to look into her face. “I can’t get at all of you adequately here.”

“He’d better not fuck and dash.” Zoe sniffed as she cracked her beer open.
“He’s not what he tries to portray to the outside world. He’s a nice guy. Yes, he’s bossy and imperious and totally spoiled. But there’s more to Gregori than what you see at first glance.”
“Speaking of that. So… equipment wise you’d say? Standard? Deluxe? Premium?”
“Presidential suite.”

He drove her up fast. Relentless and when she came it was hard, rushing up from her toes to the top of her head as she clamped down around him. She heard the growl, a snarl of a sound as he followed, the hand at her hip tightening just shy of pain.

He watched the ghost of their reflection in the window, the way her lip caught between her teeth. Wanton. Even as he had her, he wanted more. He knew even as he came that he’d want her again within minutes.
She tightened herself around him and he growled. “Don’t think I didn’t miss this.” “You’d better have.”
She pushed back hard and fast, tightening up again and it was too much, he tumbled down, coming, his head back on a snarl of her name.

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