Review: Outfox by Sandra Brown

Format: E-Bookoutfox
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Drex Easton
Heroine: Talia Shafer
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 06, 2019
Started On: August 09, 2019
Finished On: August 13, 2019

Outfox by Sandra Brown tells the story of Drex Easton, an FBI agent who is determined to find a killer who has eluded the authorities for years. Drex’s hunt is a personal one, which makes him relentless, willing to bend the rules if they fit the purpose, all to hunt down a serial predator who has bested the system for far too long.

Drex’s hunt finally brings him to a man known as Jasper Ford, married to a Talia Shafer, which in itself is a deviation from the norm. But from the moment Drex meets Jasper, his hunting instincts go full throttle, being finally able to put a face to the man who had killed eight women or perhaps more, if the stealth under which this particular killer operates is anything to judge his kills by.

Drex’s encounter with Jasper is further complicated by the fact that his newly wedded wife, Talia Shafer, gets under his skin from the onset. So much so that his partners and loyal friends caution him against doing something that could derail an already delicately balanced operation. Things reach a climactic point when Jasper once again disappears, driving Drex to take measures into his own hands.

From the beginning, Outfox is a novel that throws the reader off course by a huge margin. One can guess as much as they want to, but apart from a few circumstances, I for one ended up being completely wrong on my hunches (when I am usually right), which made this a stellar read in my opinion.

In short, I loved Outfox and what it delivered. While I will continue to bemoan the fact that Ms. Brown only releases one novel per year now, the fact that what she does release into the market is always stupendous goes a long way towards easing those particular woes.

How Ms. Brown still manages to take my breathe away with every hero and heroine that she brings to life in her books is a factor that continues to confound me, even when I should know better. Her heroes are intriguing to a point where they are sexy without even trying.

There is vibe that her heroes give without even putting much effort into it. Ms. Brown does not have to go on describing each perfectly crafted muscle on the hero’s body to get the reader to sit up and take notice. He just has to walk into the scene and you are a goner. No matter how many books I have continued to read from Ms. Brown, I am still a sucker for her heroes and I would not have it any other way. In true Sandra Brown style, Drex threw every preconceived notion I had of him out of the window, even as the pages dwindled to reach the very last couple of paragraphs in the story.

When it comes to heroines, Ms. Brown creates women of class, seemingly out of thin air. It is in the way they carry themselves, with dignity and beauty to their character which is not just skin deep. There are many factors which makes a heroine stand out, and Ms. Brown does a perfect job of bringing together just the right ingredients to make Drex and Talia inevitable.

The suspense factor was really done well in the story. Outfox is an apt title for the story because somehow, you never quite figure out what is going to happen next. That takes mastery over storytelling that Ms. Brown has damn near perfected over years of publication. And I for one hope that she never stops crafting these gems. Jasper is a villain who was ingenious in the way he works the system, cunning in a way that makes the heart beat just a tad faster. It was not only Talia who felt uneasy during the scenes where Jasper is featured prominently. He is the sort of character who makes your skin crawl, without even trying.

Outfox is a novel recommended for those who love superbly crafted and tightly plotted thrillers. With just the right amount of romance in the mix to appease readers like myself, Ms. Brown seems to have outdone herself, yet again!

Final Verdict: Just when you think you have got everything figured out, Ms. Brown throws you for a loop until the reader is left running around in circles chasing their own tail. Ms. Brown only gets better with time and Outfox is a testament to just that.

Favorite Quotes

“Talia.” He bent his head lower and nuzzled her just below her ear. “This isn’t only doing my job.” He caught the lobe of her ear between his teeth.
She stirred and whimpered his name. He followed the soft expulsion of breath to its source, her parted lips, and covered them with his. Her mouth was hot and wet and receptive when he pressed his tongue inside.
Unlike when he’d kissed her before, this time she didn’t turn her head aside and angle away. Instead she leaned into the kiss, not just with her mouth but with her body.

When he didn’t think he could withstand any more, one hand didn’t slide off at the tip. It stayed. Fingers dripping lather made teasing rotations around the crest, over it, again, as though testing its tautness, and then something wicked was done to the slit.
Through clenched teeth, he strangled out, “When.”

He turned around and hauled her against him. He tried to pause and register all the incredible sensations that holding her wet and naked against him induced, but his brain was functioning on a more primitive tier.
He gathered up a handful of her hair and pulled her head back, tilting her face up to his. He looked into her eyes, then covered her mouth with his. It was a ravenous kiss. He couldn’t get enough of her, and she was as hungry.

He levered himself up and above her—and was shocked to see tears sliding down her temples into her hair. She reached for him, grabbing at him until their mouths were melded and he had pushed into her.
But he went only far enough to secure himself just inside. There he waited, wanting to commit to memory this moment of feeling her around him for the first time. Then he continued pressing into her until he was solidly imbedded.
She hugged him to her tightly, and it was fantastic, but he had to move or he was going to die. He buried his face in her hair. “If I get too rough, slow me, stop me. I want…I want…Oh, God…”
The mating instinct took over. In spite of his best intentions, his strokes became faster and stronger. A slight shift in his position enabled him to reach deeper, and he did. God, did he.

She opened her thighs and guided him in. He hissed swear words as she slowly sank down onto him and began rocking. He grunted with pleasure. “And I thought the first time was good.” He angled himself up in order to reach her breasts. His mouth was hot and avid, and left her nipples wet with loving.
When he lay back, he gripped her hips between his hands and coaxed her, coached her, cajoled her in the raunchiest language. Several minutes later, on short puffs of breath, he said, “Have at it. That’s what I said. But, sweetheart…God a’mighty.”

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

fantasticread

Review: Tailspin by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booktailspin.png
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Rye Mallett
Heroine: Brynn O’Neal
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 07, 2018
Started On: August 08, 2018
Finished On: August 18, 2018

Tailspin by Sandra Brown was released just August of this year. With elements that made for interesting reading, Tailspin takes readers through semantics involving the fields of aviation and pharmaceutical industry, mainly focusing on the very interesting concept of orphan drugs.

Rye Mallett is go-to pilot when you have cargo that needs hauling, no matter what sort of weather conditions might prevail. This is the reason why Dash, the owner of the airfreight company Dash-It-All finds Rye so useful. Along with the holiday season had rolled in a fog of the kind that had the meteorologists in a tizzy. So was Dash, with a cargo that had to be delivered to Howardville, under conditions that no other pilot taking jobs for him was willing to fly.

Rye makes it, only to crash land because of a sabotage attempt that makes him question the end goal to which he had been serving by taking on jobs that no other pilot would. Discovering that the Dr. Lambert he was supposedly meeting was a woman, and being suspicious enough about her involvement in the whole mess is how Rye comes off at first; surly, unfriendly, and rude; that is until he discovers that things are not quite what they seem.

Dr. Brynn O’Neal is on a mission of her own. A mission that is at odds with what her boss Dr. Lambert wants from her. However, she is willing to go that extra mile, damn the consequences. With Rye finally managing to get out of Brynn what it is that she actually wants to do with the precious cargo that he had been hauling, it is with reluctance that Rye gets involved, only to find that he is drawn to Brynn in a way he never thought possible for a man like himself.

Rye is a man who does not give a damn about much, except for flying, which he describes to Brynn through many of her inquisitive conversations with him, that it had been ingrained in him, that flying is a part of him which he cannot explain. So are the scars that Rye carries deep inside, so much a part of him that he cannot see beyond his ultimate goal – to shorten his sojourn through life on Earth as much as possible.

Taking readers through a journey that involves law enforcement officials who surprisingly were keen on doing their jobs and finding out what was actually going on, a Senator and his wife who were hellbent on ensuring that the drug comes their way and not where Brynn has decided it should go, with Rye and Brynn tossed into the midst of it all, made for page turning reading through the last couple of chapters.

Rye was a marvelous a character, a classic Sandra Brown hero if you ask me. Peeling back the complex layers to him and understanding what makes him tick? That was one of the most enticing aspects to the story. The unfounded guilt that Rye carries in his heart, pushing everyone away, believing that it is his death-wish that defines the risks he is willing to take; all of it & more made him a character worth unraveling.

Brynn’s character managed to surprise me as well, especially certain aspects of her childhood that must have been lonely and painful to endure. But the fact that Brynn had not let it define her life was what made me root for her. She is a strong character, whose moral compass is defined by the compassionate nature of who she is.

Including the voice of Violet, the child patient who was suffering from cancer was a brilliant move. Violet’s point of view was as insightful as they come, giving the story an edge that made it all that much more emotional. One of the things that I found disappointing was that Senator Hunt didn’t get to meet his comeuppance as did Dolores, who met the end of poetic justice at the hands of none other than the man whom she thought was slave to her, when in fact he had been all about loyalty. The twist involving Dolores was definitely not something I had seen coming, which is why Sandra Brown is known as one of the masters when it comes to the genre.

What intrigued me the most was the concept of orphan drugs as discussed in this book. I know that a lot of research must have gone into writing about it, in order for readers to understand pharmaceuticals that are usually bogged down in a lot of technical jargon. This novel brings to picture the stark reality of how major pharmaceutical companies operate, how they let profit margins dictate the sanctity of human life, and above all, the dirty machinations of the political elite, who would stoop to any level, just so that they can come out at the top.

Recommended for fans of romantic suspense, and of course, fans of Sandra Brown.

Final Verdict: Firmly entrenched in the subject matter of aviation & orphan drugs, Sandra Brown delivers a high octane tale of danger, lust, love, & intrigue in equally cataclysmic doses.

Favorite Quotes

The instant Rye slid his tongue between her lips, he acknowledged that he’d been waiting for any excuse to kiss her.
He heard a little catch in her breath, felt a small puff of it against his lips. Both were sexy as hell and encouraging. He angled his head. The deeper he explored, the better she tasted, the more carnally his intent was channeled. Somehow he’d known her mouth was made for this.

She made a purring sound as her body went lax. Her head was back, her eyes closed. She was biting her lower lip. He whispered, “Is that permission to continue?”
She opened her eyes and, clasping his head firmly between her hands, brought it to hers. Their mouths came at each other hungrily. This was no coy kiss. Her tongue was giving and receiving, and the way she drew his in was as erotic as hell.
The caveman in him was awakened with a vengeance. He wanted to claim her mouth, possess it, and to inflict pain on every other man who’d had so much as a sampling of it. He wanted to kill the wild Hendrix boy.

He withdrew his hand and stretched out on top of her. He kissed her neck, ravenously, but a bit awkwardly, as he fumbled with the wrapper and got the condom on.
Then—God, finally—he pushed into her in one long, uninterrupted glide, until he was completely, solidly embedded. Seized again by a primal possessiveness, he clamped the slender cord of her neck between his teeth and held it for several heartbeats, then raised his head and looked down into her face.
Her cheeks were flushed. Catching the dim light, her eyes shone silver as they looked into his. Breath rushed past her lips, made swollen and red and damp from kisses.
“Pride be damned,” she whispered. “I wanted this. I wanted this.”

With his nose, he pushed her hair aside and placed his lips against her ear so that she would hear every panted word, each curse, praise and blessing, every syllable of the sex-talk chant that urged her toward her orgasm, and his inarticulate, mating growl when he allowed himself to come.
The only thing he wished he could take back, the one thing he wished he hadn’t said where she could hear it, where he could hear it, spoken on a serrated sigh as he sank onto her in sweet repletion: Brynn.

Raising his head, and looking her up and down, he whispered, “How did you know that this is my favorite fantasy?”
“It is? Since when?”
“Since I walked in that door.”
With a groan, he stamped his mouth over hers, slanting it to the perfect angle. The forceful thrust of his tongue was no less thrilling and exciting than it had been the first time he’d kissed her. More so, if that were possible. It reignited her craving for his mouth, his hands, him.

He panted, “If you don’t ride me, there is no God.”
Smiling, she combed her fingers up through the fan of light brown hair on his chest as she bent over him and took him into her mouth. Sensations aroused by his elementally male scent and taste were intensified by the low animal sound of pleasure that vibrated through his entire body. She drew on him until he huffed her name and tugged her head up by handfuls of her hair.
“Now.” He took himself in hand, so that when she stood on her knees, he guided himself into her. As she sank down on him, he released a long exhale. Through the squint she was coming to identify with him, he looked at her with thrilling, possessive greed. “Damn, this is hot.”

Their motions grew increasingly fast and urgent. He jackknifed up, burrowed his face into the open jacket, and sucked her nipple into his mouth. He worked his fingers down between them where they were joined, gathered moisture on the pads of them, then feathered, pressed, encircled. Again, again, and again until she came apart.
Her orgasm was long and intense. While aftershocks continued to ripple through her, he lay back down and carried her with him. Then, with his hands splayed over her bottom, grafting her to him, he thrust high and came.

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

greatread

ARC Review: Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookseeingred
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: John Trapper
Heroine: Kerra Bailey
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 15, 2017
Started On: July 02, 2017
Finished On: July 25, 2017

“Two minutes after you knocked on the door of my office, I was fantasizing your mouth taking me.”

Seeing Red, the latest novel by Sandra Brown was amazing in so many ways. From start to finish, Seeing Red delivered a story of the kind that is rare in the genre today. Ms. Brown has always been an author that pushed the boundaries of “convention” that many authors safely stick to when writing their books. So it is not surprising that when a new novel from Ms. Brown hits the stand, I am always eager to get my hands on it.

Seeing Red tells the story of John Trapper, ex ATF agent, whose mundane existence of a life starts to unravel the minute television journalist Kerra Bailey comes seeking him for an interview to do with his father. Trapper had been just 11 years old when his father, Major Franklin Trapper had become a hero in the eyes of the country owing to his daring rescue of victims of a hotel bombing that had shocked the nation. Trapper’s life had changed drastically, so had Kerra’s, and it is only when their lives entwine at this point that everything starts to unravel.

Seeing Red starts off with an introductory chapter that blows one’s mind, and it does not let up from that point onwards. Taking the reader to the days since before the event and then beyond, Seeing Red delivers a story that goes deep into understanding the lengths to which a cult-like society would go to in order to protect an age old secret. From one harrowing experience to another, Ms. Brown does an amazing job of weaving the multiple threads of the story together to deliver a story that was mind blowing in all the good ways.

Trapper, oh dear Trapper; he is the kind of hero that Ms. Brown has perfected along the years of writing romance novels. I have always been a fan of her hard-edged heroes who do not conform to the standards of behavior as is expected by majority of readers of the genre nowadays. This is exactly one reason why I adore Ms. Brown’s books. Because they never fail to deliver a hero that is delicious, sexy as they come, and can talk dirty like the best of them that makes you quiver on the inside.

Trapper has his own vulnerabilities and scars that he hides. However the ingenuity in the buildup of his character lies in the fact that he hasn’t grown bitter throughout what life had dealt him with. Taking second stage in his father’s life from a tender age had definitely left its mark, so had how his career had turned out, all because Trapper had not given up on pursuing what he had felt was right.

When his path crosses that with Kerra’s, for the first time in a long while, he starts to give a damn, which of course makes him irritable and then some. However, Kerra’s unrelenting nature and her way of standing up for herself means that for Trapper walking away was no longer an option. Nor was standing on the sidelines and watching Kerra get hurt in the aftermath of the can of worms that she had opened up with her interview.

The sexual tension between Kerra and Trapper was off the charts, and Ms. Brown delivered on that exceptionally well. On the suspense side, with all the twists and turns that came, the ending and the revelations were explosive enough to make me go “oh my god” every couple of pages. Yes, it was that good!

Definitely and absolutely recommended!

Final Verdict: Seeing Red is Sandra Brown at her exceptional best. A good Sandra Brown goes a long way towards curing all reading woes.

Favorite Quotes

“I’m not him. I’m not noble, not a gentleman, not a hero, understand?”
“That wasn’t so hard to deduce.”
She thought the putdown would anger him, but he retaliated by gently placing his palm against her cold cheek. He brushed his thumb across her beauty mark.
“I noticed this right off, and the whole time you were sitting there in my shabby office, wearing your city get-up, acting all sassy and know-it-all, you want to know what was going on in my mind?” He ceased the stroking motion of his thumb, stopping it right on the small mole. His mouth lowered to within a hair’s-breadth of hers and he whispered, “Figure it out.”

“Why do you ask? Do you know him?”
“By reputation only. Everything I’ve read about him says he’s secretive. Keeps his business private. Shuns media attention.”
“All true. I had to finagle him.”
His eyes narrowed to slits. “That sounds like really dirty foreplay.”
She laughed, but stopped laughing when he slid his hand under her hair at the nape of her neck and turned them until her back was to the door. Leaning in, his lips skimmed her beauty mark on their way to her ear, where he whispered, “I’d like for you to finagle me.”
She didn’t speak a word, didn’t move, didn’t do anything except give herself over to his body heat and largeness and maleness and sexiness, the blend of which seeped into her like a potent restorative.

He moved his hand up from her nape to cup the back of her head and held it in place while their mouths opened to each other. During the deep and greedy kiss he worked his free hand under her top and into the elastic waistband of the baggy pants. He lightly ground the heel of his hand against her hipbone while his fingers curved around the slope below her waist. He drew her hips forward. She gladly went along with his subtle invitation, and their parts fit together perfectly on the first attempted connection.
He groaned, “Christ, Kerra. Please tell me I’m gonna get to fuck you.”

“You never asked what I was thinking.”
“When?”
“In my office while you were sitting across the desk from me looking all prissy and disapproving. Did you ever figure out what was going through my mind?”
Sounding prissy and disapproving, she said, “I didn’t want to know.”
He grinned. “I was thinking about your beauty mark.”
“That’s it?”
“Disappointed?”
“Surprised. I thought it would be something crude.”
“No. I was focused on your beauty mark, thinking it looked like a speck of dark chocolate and wondering if it would melt against my tongue.” He dabbed his tongue against it now, then a second time. “Hmm. Still there. Guess I’ll just have to keep testing it.”

“I might’ve been thinking about more than just your beauty mark,” he whispered. He shifted closer, covering half of her, and used his nose to nudge aside the collar of the tracksuit jacket so he could nibble her neck, then lowered his head and nuzzled her breast, rubbing his open mouth against the hard tip, taking love bites of it through her t-shirt, pushing at it with his tongue.
“You’d blush to know all the places my wandering mind has taken me. I’ve touched you, tasted you…” He wedged his hand down between them and cupped her sex. “…everywhere.”

“I want to take you like that,” he whispered as he dragged his open mouth down her neck to her collarbone, then lowered his head and rubbed his face against her breasts.
“I haven’t forgotten how you feel inside. I want to be there. In you deep.” His voice was rough and low, his lips aggressive against her raised nipple under her t-shirt. “It may never happen, but the mere thought of any other man being on you, in you…I’d want to kill him.”

Taking her face between his hands, he fused his mouth to hers, pressing his tongue deep, thrilling to the way she hummed her pleasure. He might have gone on forever just kissing her if not for a greater hunger that he must gratify or die.
He worked her top up over her breasts. Her bra was lacy and sheer and only half there to start with. The cups were easily lowered. He took a moment to cradle a breast in each hand. “I freakin’ love that,” he murmured.
“What?”
That they get so hard so fast.
The words were in his mind, but he didn’t say them aloud because by the time he thought them through he was already taking one nipple into his mouth and toying with the other, deriving pleasure from the pleasure he was giving her.

He dipped his head and sucked her nipples in turn, causing her to whimper.
Even during this love play, he didn’t stop pumping into her. He probably had been this hard before, probably as strained and blood-infused and lust-mad and unable to command the instinctual mating movement of his hips.
But if so, he didn’t recall it, because this was the only time that mattered. He wanted this time to be an exorcism and possession at once. Doom and salvation. He wanted it to be both carnal and sacred.
He wanted this to be the fuck Kerra would remember for the rest of her life.

His voice low, Trapper said, “It felt good, Kerra.”
“It did,” she whispered back.
It was simple, but, in its way, profound. He wasn’t one to make romantic declarations, and if she said anything now, it would be more than he would want to hear.
She was perilously close to letting this evolve into something that would leave her heartbroken. She was perilously close to becoming like Marianne. But she wouldn’t take back having made love to him. Not for the world.

He took her hands and stretched her arms above her head. Fitting her palms into his, he linked their fingers and began to stroke her inside. As before, he wanted her to remember this, because it would be engraved on his memory: the feel of her around him, the way she hugged his hips with her thighs, the sexy undulation of her belly against his, the sight of his chest hair dusting the hard tips of her breasts.
The kiss.
He kissed her, and, of all the other mind-blowing sensations, it was that of her mouth so greedily taking his tongue that caused his control to burst. When it did, she arched up and ground against his straining pelvis and brought on another soul-rending orgasm.

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

fantasticread

ARC Review: Sting by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booksting
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Shaw Kinnard
Heroine: Jordan Elaine Bennett
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 16, 2016
Started On: July 12, 2016
Finished On: July 14, 2016

I have been so excitedly looking forward to the next big thriller by Sandra Brown, an author who has continued to rock my world with most of her published works, with very few misses in between. Sting is exceptionally plotted in this regard as well, with enough twists and turns to make for a riveting read.

Shaw Kinnard is a hired mercenary who is recruited to kill Jordan Elaine Bennett (Jordie), sister to and only living relative of Joshua Raymond Bennett, a much-sought-after criminal who escapes from Witness Protection, putting Jordie’s life in danger, because of those elements that wants to get to Joshua through Jordie. When the sanctioned hit goes horribly wrong, Shaw takes Jordie hostage, determined to make a deal with who hired him. After all, Shaw has been in the game far too long to be taken for a fool.

From the moment Jordie lays eyes on Shaw, she knows he is more trouble than worth thinking about. But then, the choice is taken from her hands when she becomes captive to the very man she responds to in a way that leaves herself questioning her sanity, which brings forth a pretty interesting dynamic between Shaw and Jordie.

The craftiness of the plot lay behind the ending of the story, a twist that I never foresaw coming! While I could guess to the truth behind Shaw’s character from the start, having read a hero with similar background in a prior novel of Ms. Brown’s, the ending pretty much blindsided me with how brilliant it was!

While I had a wee bit of a problem in connecting with either Shaw or Jordie on an emotional level, I felt that Sandra did more than justice to the story by giving readers an ending that they would mull over for the time to come.

Recommended for fans of thrillers and romantic suspense!

Final Verdict: Delivers a plot of great ingenuity & attests to why Ms. Brown is a renowned master of the game!

Favorite Quotes

“I’m telling you everything I know. Please believe me. Believe—”
“Hush, Jordie.”
The command was softly spoken but imperious. He brought his mouth down on hers ungently and without restraint. The back of her head was encompassed by his hand and held in place with inescapable strength. His other hand settled on her neck.
While his thumb stroked the sensitive underside of her chin, his stern lips pressured hers to separate, and when they did, the sleek glide of his tongue against hers caused an overspill of heat throughout her. Angling his head the other way, he made an even deeper foray into her mouth.
But then he groaned with frustration and raised his head. “I had to do that. Just once.”

“Stop it. I mean it, Shaw. I don’t want this.”
“No, you don’t want to want it. Big difference.”
Then he angled her head and kissed her the way he’d imagined, the way his drugged mind had fantasized it, the way he’d craved to from the first time he got a good look at her face.
He didn’t care how many ethics codes he was violating, or how many federal agents were in the next room, or—God forgive him—if Billy Panella himself was on the other side of this door, unless she put words into action and stopped him, he was going to get carnal with her mouth. He was going to mate with it for as long as she and time allowed.

She let go of the duffel bag. It dropped softly onto the toe of his boot. He pushed it aside, inched closer to Jordie and leaned into her, making adjustments in alignment that fit them together like puzzle pieces and caused her breath to catch. He hated the damn bulletproof vest that shielded her breasts from the pressure of his chest.
Her hand came up between them. She ran her thumb across the scar on his chin, then scraped it lightly with her teeth. He took a love bite of her wet, plump lower lip. Then they were kissing again, frantically. Maybe it was the mad recklessness of this whole thing that made it so goddamn good.

Lifting his face away from hers, he whispered roughly, “I’m going to have you, Jordie.”
Her eyes were still angry, but now also lambent with arousal as she stared into his.
“You know it as well as I do, don’t you?”

“All I’ve thought about,” he said, breathing the words against her neck, “being like this…inside you.”
Her response was to clench.
“Ah, dammit, Jordie, don’t. I don’t want to rush it.”
“Neither do I.”
“But I can’t help moving.”
“Neither can I.” She arched her hips up and rocked against him.
He groaned, planted his hands above her shoulders, and levered himself up. Then, as he’d promised her, he told her straight out: “I’m gonna fuck you now.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BAM | BookDepo | eBookMall | iTunes

greatread

Review: Deadline by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookdeadline
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Dawson Andrew Scott
Heroine: Amelia Wesson née Nolan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 24, 2013
Started On: December 26, 2015
Finished On: January 27, 2016

Deadline by Sandra Brown is another masterpiece by an author whose books rarely turn out to be a miss where I am concerned. Whether it be just plain romance or romantic suspense, Sandra has a way with putting the story out there that leaves the reader on tenterhooks. Deadline was such a book for me. While I felt that there was a brief lull towards the middle of the book, the revelations at the end that knocked me off my feet, made up for it in more ways than one.

Dawson Andrew Scott is a news reporter for NewsFront. His recent stint in Afghanistan, covering stories in the region had come with its own price. Suffering from PTSD which Dawson refuses to talk about or seek help for, it is Dawson’s godfather and FBI Agent Gary Headly that comes to his rescue with the tantalizing lead on a possible story that acts effectively as bait where Dawson is concerned.

Dawson turns up at the Chatham County Courthouse to follow the developing story on a murder trial that involves Marine Captain Jeremy Wesson, a decorated war veteran who is presumed dead. When Amelia, widow of Jeremy and mother to his two boys takes the stand to give her testimony, Dawson feels as if he has been sucker punched in his solar plexus. The reaction he has towards Amelia is one that he knows can cloud his judgement when it comes to following the particular vein of the unfolding story that he is interested in.

Dawson maneuvers his way into Amelia’s life without knowing just how close to danger he is skirting. Though Dawson resists the connection that exists between him and Amelia from the onset, the series of events that reaches its explosive conclusion is one that refuses to let Dawson remain unaffected. The ending when it came, delivered a book worth every moment of agony and helplessness that both Amelia and Dawson are subjected to throughout the story.

Deadline is a book that delivered one of the most explosive endings that I have read from Sandra Brown to-date. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I reached that point, having had to go back and re-read the passage a couple of times before the reality of it all could actually sink in. It was that good, that riveting and I truly never saw that coming, which was the best part.

Dawson is the hero of the variety that Sandra Brown excels at. Earthy, sexy and alpha in a way you can’t help but be drawn towards. Dawson’s character grows on you because of the PTSD he battles, and because he has that quality which ensnares you helplessly as you read on. Amelia’s finest quality is her protectiveness towards her sons. Having dealt with a husband who had suffered from PTSD and made life a living hell on Earth for her before, makes Amelia wary of putting herself in the same position again. But as circumstances would have it, none of what Amelia sees nor has experienced is what it seemed to have been and before the story is through, Amelia finds herself falling for a man who is determined to do just the opposite. Amelia’s adorable kids gives the story that wholesome edge which gave it the charm factor.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: The explosive ending alone, carves in stone, the sheer genius that is Sandra Brown.

Favorite Quotes

“Pictures of me and my children, taken by a total stranger. You bet they made me uncomfortable. Especially since you failed to explain the reason for them.”
“I didn’t explain?”
“No. And I asked.”
“Oh. I took them so I could study you.”
“As part of your research?”
“No, so I could get to know you.”
“I don’t want you to know me.”
It could have been a trick of the lights along the dock, reflecting off the water. Or his gaze really did move down to her mouth when he said in a low and stirring voice, “That’s too bad.”

“Then why are you here? I told you that I wouldn’t cooperate with any story you intend to write. Why don’t you just go away and leave us alone? You weren’t even all that interested in the story of Jeremy Wesson. You said you were about to reject it and move on to something else more interesting. Why didn’t you?”
“Fair enough. You want to know why?”
He slid his hands under her hair behind her neck and drew her forward until her body was flush against his, his legs sandwiching hers, their faces not quite touching. “Why didn’t I leave this goddamn story alone?” He brushed his thumbs across her lower lip. “Because you walked into that courtroom.”

Her head tipped back. Taking that as encouragement, his kisses on her neck became more fervent. By the time they reached her ear, there was intent behind them, and she responded. Tension escaped her on a sigh. Her body settled, ever so slightly shifting closer to him. Tentatively she placed her hands on his shoulders.
He eased his head back and looked into her eyes. “I’m not him, Amelia. I’m not like him. I swear to you, I’m not. I have it under control.”
“I’m not afraid you’ll lose control.” Her voice was low and husky, and he wished it was something he could touch, stroke, taste. “I’m afraid I will.”

With a rasped curse, he cupped her head between his hands and claimed a kiss that was unapologetically deep from the start. There was no buildup to the intimacy, because he’d been thinking about making love to her mouth from the moment he saw her in the courtroom.
She didn’t shy away, but kissed him back in kind, with heat, her fingers alternately kneading his shoulders and tugging handfuls of his hair. Her unrestraint was as much a surprise as it was a delight.

Amelia rubbed against him seductively, each movement sweetly feminine and small but breath stealing. He wasn’t as subtle. His hands roved selfishly and impatiently, greedy for the feel of her skin. He pushed his hand into the loose waistband of her pajama bottoms and caressed the curve of her hip. In response, her thighs shifted, separated. He fit himself into the notch.

“Hmm?”
“We can’t.”
“I know.” But he didn’t stop at her collarbone. He continued down, placing soft kisses on her chest.
“Really,” she said weakly.
“I know.”
Through the thin cotton tank top, his hand cupped her breast and pushed it up to swell above the neckline. He rubbed his rough cheek against it, then turned his face into the plumpness and kissed it open-mouthed. Hard with arousal, he fit himself into the V between her thighs. The sensation was so intense, she gasped.

Ten minutes later, Dawson rejoined her in the kitchen. He went straight to the glass of tea she had dutifully poured and drained it without taking a breath.
“Well?”
“Well,” he said, stretching out the word, “they’ve both experienced what I assured them was a perfectly normal biological phenomenon.”
“Ah. I thought that might be it. I’ve noticed that phenomenon on occasion, but always pretended not to, as any lady would.”
“Hunter experienced a rather, uh, stubborn one today. He was afraid it signified something terribly wrong with him, which he wanted to keep from you so you wouldn’t worry or get upset.”
“That sweetheart.”
“Grant was just as considerate of your feelings. He felt you should be told about the affliction in case they both died of it and you found them dead in their beds without knowing what had killed them.”

She fumbled with the buttons on his fly and then her hand was claiming him, her fingers tightly squeezing, massaging their way up until her thumb was at the tip, pressing—
“Jesus.” Gasping with pleasure, he ground his forehead against the wall behind her shoulder in an effort not to come. “Wait, wait.”
The fabric of her skirt was as light as air against his hands as he slid them beneath it. He worked his fingers under a wedge of lace. She was soft and warm and wet. He quickly rid her of the underpants so he could luxuriate in the femaleness, the snug, silky, wonderful feel of her.
She pressed down hard on his exploring fingers, moaned his name, whispered, “More.”
He lifted her up to straddle his thighs and thrust into her, fully, completely, and without caution.

He fucked her. He gave, took, told her with every stroke what he hadn’t been able to convey with words, communicated what he’d felt from the moment he saw her enter the courtroom, and knew, in that instant, that he’d been blessed and doomed in the same heartbeat.
He changed the angle and the tempo to favor her. She clutched handfuls of his hair and squeezed his hips with her thighs. And when her orgasm pulsed around him, he came and came and came.

“So, is that it?” she purred. “Have we run out of fantasies?”
“Hell, we’re just getting started.” Sliding his hand beneath her bottom, he tilted her up. “Going real slow, like now.” He kissed her, his tongue sliding into her mouth with the controlled intensity with which he was pushing into her. He pulled out, almost entirely, before sinking into her a little deeper than before. And again.
She made a small, wanting sound and breathed his name. “What exactly do you call this particular fantasy?”
He buried himself inside her fully and, just as he kissed her again, whispered, “Making love.”

With very little movement, he pumped into her rhythmically while in shockingly coarse terms he described how it felt to be enveloped by her and the pleasure his fingers and mouth derived from pleasuring her. Soon his lyrics changed to those of poets, but the subtext was as erotically charged.
When both were on the brink of implosion, his voice became rough with emotion. His breaths became bursts of air against the back of her neck. In the language of raw need, he gasped, “Squeeze me. Tighter.” His body strained, and each shudder was marked with the harsh, choppy cry of a man in the throes of release that went beyond the physical. Finally, as his body relaxed and enfolded hers, he sighed her name like a benediction.
She fell asleep with all those wonderful words echoing in her heart.

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

greatread

Review: Low Pressure by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booklowpressure
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Denton Carter
Heroine: Bellamy Lyston Price
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 18, 2013
Started On: December 24, 2015
Finished On: December 26, 2015

I have been putting off reading some of the standalone romantic suspense titles by Sandra Brown that had been published of late because some readers have attested to the fact that some of the titles were pure suspense with very little romance in them. Though I love a thriller every now and then, I need my dose of romance in novels to satisfy the closeted romantic deep inside of me. Which is why Low Pressure proved to be such a delicious surprise because the romance between Bellamy Lyston Price and Denton Carter burned hot and bright and as a reader I couldn’t have asked for more.

Bellamy comes from old money, one that had afforded her a cushiony lifestyle though she is not one to rely on that to get by. It is publication of Bellamy’s novel Low Pressure, a fictionalized version of a true story that involves not just Bellamy’s family, but that of many a person who would rather not see the truth of that particular incident come to light that kick starts the story. When Bellamy starts receiving threatening messages, she returns to her hometown where she runs into none other than Denton Carter, the man who had starred in her adolescent dreams, her sister Susan’s boyfriend when she had been murdered and left in the cold in such a brutalized fashion.

Denton is a man who lives with no commitments to his name. Drowning his demons in the bottle and cheap women, sometimes both, Denton chooses to live as he does because nothing apart from flying gives him joy in life. That is until Bellamy and her book Low Pressure stirs up the ugly memories once again, bringing the chip on Denton’s shoulder to the forefront where Bellamy and her family are concerned. However, when both Bellamy and Denton come under fire from an unknown assailant who seems hellbent on revenge, it makes Denton take a second look at Bellamy and her book, which means he gets enticed into looking deeper into the incidents that had unfolded on that fateful day. The deeper Bellamy and Denton dig, the more confusion it throws on the events that had taken place, until it all comes to head in one breathtaking conclusion that brought a twist that at first I never saw coming.

Sandra Brown is a legendary figure in the writing circles because she creates stories that makes you sink your teeth into them and enjoy every morsel of it and in the end leaves you begging for more. Her heroes and heroines are characters you root for – never perfect, but flawed and human. Her heroes are especially drool worthy; I kid you not. Sandra Brown creates heroes of the variety that you can’t help but sigh and moon over and Denton was no exception to this rule. They are earthy, sexy, dominant and very alpha and they deliver that sizzle factor to the novel from start to the very end. Denton’s playful nature in particular, got to me. Most of the time, Sandra’s heroes tend to be on the more serious side and Denton was a refreshing change in that regard.

Low Pressure’s mystery was one that was well done. I loved the twists and turns it took to take me to its ultimate conclusion, leaving me in awe once again to the sheer talent that are authors like Sandra Brown. This story in fact reminded me a little of a novel I read, loved and reviewed recently, Into the Waning Light by Loreth Anne White. There were certain similarities to the concept of the plot though the two stories couldn’t be any more different in the way they were delivered. Needless to say, I loved both these stories and cannot recommend both enough!

A truly masterful storyteller is one that can lull you into thinking that you know where the story is going to be headed. But then bam! Low Pressure made me sympathize and empathize with the “villain” when all was said and done because I could understand where the character was coming from. It is human tendency to paint the dead in a more favorable light than people would view the person when they were alive. That plays a role in Low Pressure as well, with Sandra Brown dealing tactfully and honestly in stripping away the misconception.

Highly recommended for fans of romantic suspense!

Final Verdict: Low Pressure is a book that would cause you many a sleepless night. You will never see it coming!

Favorite Quotes

As a virginal preteen, and as a woman who’d taken lovers, she had daydreamed about kissing Denton Carter. While writing her book, specifically the sex scenes between him and Susan, it hadn’t been her sister he was kissing, caressing, and taking with adolescent fervor. It had been her. The fantasies had left her aroused, but irritated with herself. Surely her imagination embellished how good lovemaking with him would be.
But now she realized that her daydreams had actually been tepid. His kiss was delicious and darkly erotic. It delivered. It promised more. And the substance of what it promised made her wet, feverish, and needy.

“This visit with Steven could be awkward. It won’t help if you’re pouting over what happened, or didn’t happen, last night. There. It’s out. Let’s not make it an unsightly wart that’s there but no one acknowledges.”
“Don’t sweat it, A.k.a. I asked, you—”
“Funny. I don’t recall you asking.”
“Maybe not in so many words, but, just FYI, in a crotch-grinding embrace, when a man’s got his tongue in your mouth and his hand on your ass, it’s a pretty safe bet on what he has in mind. I asked, you said no.”

“You could fly corporate jets.”
He waited for a moment, then, acting on impulse, reached across the distance separating them. He slipped his hand beneath her shirt and curled his fingers inside the waistband of her jeans. Pulling her out of the chair and toward him, he said, “Buy one. I’ll fly you.”
Positioning her between his thighs, he pushed up the hem of her shirt, undid the button on her jeans, and spread open the two ends of the waistband with his thumbs.
“Dent . . .”
“We related on your level, Bellamy. It’s time we came down to mine.”
Then he pressed his open mouth against that wedge of pale, smooth skin.

Then his eyes turned dark. Because she had touched him. At first just a few tentative brushes with her fingers, to indulge her curiosity about the various textures, but, encouraged by his unsteady breathing and that smokiness in his eyes, she took him in her hand. Guided by his gruff whispers, and instinct, she pumped him until he grew incredibly tight. Hot breaths struck her hair as he bent his head over hers and groaned her name.
A drop of moisture leaked from the tip. She took it on her thumb, sucked it off, and pressed her thumb against the center of her lower lip, which he’d told her was sexy. Raspily, he said, “Disappointed, my ass,” then covered her mouth in a fierce kiss that left her mindless.

He sank into her a little deeper and her throat arched up. “That feels amazing.”
“To me, too.”
“But you haven’t . . .”
“Not yet.”
“Why?”
“Because you were drifting in euphoria. And I want you to remember this. With perfect clarity.”
She touched his rough cheek. “I could never forget this.”
“Me either.”
“Only because you had to work so hard for it.”
“Nope. Because you’re so damn beautiful.”

A second later, he was sheathed completely, his fingers were entangled in her hair, and his breathing was loud and ragged against her neck. Sliding his hands under her ass, he tilted her up and pushed into her as deep as he could possibly go.
“Jesus, Bellamy.” He hoped that with that guttural moan he’d made her understand just how tight and hot and incredible she felt.
Because when he began to move, he was quickly lost.

He watched the lips of her sex close around it, then looked into her eyes as he began to stroke her with a circular motion that caused her body to quicken and involuntarily thrust against his thumb. Tilting her face toward the ceiling, she closed her eyes and lost herself to the sensations.
Without inhibition, she gave over to her impulses, moved as her body was dictating, and allowed herself to be governed strictly by her senses. She heard Dent’s hiss of pleasure, felt the fervent, wet tug of his mouth on her nipple, the flicking of his tongue in concert with his thumb’s caresses.
She arched her back and cried out his name.

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

awesomeread

Review: Friction by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookfriction
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Crawford Hunt
Heroine: Holly Spencer
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 18, 2015
Started On: August 19, 2015
Finished On: August 22, 2015

“You don’t have a claim.”
His eyes narrowed. “I kinda do.” He started walking toward her, and for each step forward he took, she took one back until she came up against her desk. “That unreasonable, unrefined fuck on your sofa gave me a claim.”

Sandra Brown is one of those authors that I always look forward to reading. Since Ms. Brown publishes just one novel a year of late, her stories have become that much more coveted. Because in a genre that is overburdened with stories that don’t really make the cut, Ms. Brown still manages to deliver highly readable ones, worth every penny they cost you.

Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt is pursuing the battle of his life, i.e. the battle for custody of his daughter Georgia. On the day of the verdict, like a nightmare that you can’t wake up from, a lone gunman bursts into the courtroom, firing his weapon, not giving much of a consideration at who might be hit. Acting on instinct, Crawford saves Judge Holly Spencer’s life, the woman who actually stands between him and the custody of his daughter.

Unwillingly, Crawford is drawn to the investigation surrounding the lone gunman, a hero to the public owing to his fearlessness, a person of interest to the lead investigators on the case, all because of a personal grudge with Crawford. To make matters more complex, Crawford and Holly’s reaction to one another definitely goes beyond a matter of “conflict of interest”, made that much more vexing by Holly’s campaign for renewal of judgeship.

With a multifaceted cast of secondary characters that gives the story an added richness, Ms. Brown throws all your senses haywire, the mystery behind the shooting turning taking more puzzling turns as the clock ticks. I had my theories about where the story was headed. Whether Holly was the target as initially thought to be or not. It’s always a delight when an author juggles multiple characters with fascinating aspects to them that gives a story that ultimate grandeur making it unputdownable. I like a book that makes my brain whirl around, trying to put the pieces together and Friction did that for me. 

Holly and Crawford’s reaction to one another was the coup de grâce for me. All of it was nothing short of hot and all consuming! From the very first time these two get together; and I was ready to throw iPad at the wall thinking Ms. Brown had cheated out on us by just referring to the brazenly hot quickie, I was a goner. Holly the judge whose job makes her see things in black and white and the big bad Texas ranger who always colors in between the black and white and operates with his own set of rules. Both are characters you fall in love with from the very start and that’s how you convince readers of the fact that they belong together, even though they seemingly have nothing in common and have insurmountable odds stacked against them. Ms. Brown is a wizard at delivering just the right touch, where its needed.

Crawford deserves a few lines of his own if you ask me. So effing hot. No two ways about it. Just the kind of hero that Ms. Brown is famous for delivering, in almost all her stories. Tall, grey eyed, commanding, handsome and the list goes on; Ms. Brown creates heroes of the kind that you fantasize over, over & over again. Crawford’s brand of seduction works – works so well that I definitely craved for more! Georgia’s character too deserves a mention. Adorable is the word I would use to describe her and I believe no reader would be left untouched by the charm her character delivers to the story.

Fear not if you think that Friction might have the sort of ending the story Lethal did. Friction delivers a well rounded ending to a tale that had my gut churning from all the nervous anticipation, not to mention the moments of fear upon facing the sheer evil that drove Crawford to the lengths he had to go to. In other words Ms. Brown, splendid, as always.

Definitely recommended. For fans of suspense with that bite of romance, commanding heroes & long lasting love that defies everything!

Final Verdict: With Friction, Sandra reasserts her mastery in a genre that she continues to dominate!

Favorite Quotes

“No problem. Better now?”
She nodded and when she did, her forehead brushed against his chest and then rested there. His hands stilled on her shoulders, then moved to encircle her neck, his fingertips gently kneading the back of it. She set her hands at his waist and leaned into him. A deep inhale caused her whole body to shudder.
“Shh.” He hugged her closer and sent his fingers up into her hair until he was cupping the back of her head in his hand. His other slid down her back and began stroking her spine. On one downward trip, it slid past the small of her back and settled on the curve of her hip. And stayed there.
Suddenly neither of them was breathing.
After what seemed an endless time of absolute stillness, she tilted her head up.
Crawford looked down into her brimming green eyes and thought, Oh fuck.

“I’m as much to blame for that as you.”
“That’s not what you said earlier tonight. You suggested I’d had an ulterior motive.”
“That was wrong of me. I know you didn’t plan it. I know you regret what we did.”
“Hell I do,” he growled. “I only regret what we didn’t.” Keeping his hands on the wall, he pressed into her softness with unmistakable implication, bending his head, and claiming her mouth with his.
For crissake, we didn’t even kiss, he’d said.
He rectified that now, fiercely and possessively, and she let him.

She smiled. “You made rather obvious your aversion to him.”
“What gave me away?”
“You stormed off without a word to anyone.”
He looked angry, then chagrined, then angry again. “He sailed in and acted like he owned you.”
“He hugged me.”
“He held you.”
“What’s the difference?”
“Where he put his hands.”
“He and I were together for a long time. We’re familiar.”
“He’s familiar, reasonable, and refined. But I’ve got a caveman mentality. When he put his hands on you, I wanted to rip out his throat. Mine are the only hands I want touching you.”
“You don’t have a claim.”
His eyes narrowed. “I kinda do.” He started walking toward her, and for each step forward he took, she took one back until she came up against her desk. “That unreasonable, unrefined fuck on your sofa gave me a claim.”

“This plan to ‘cancel it,’” he said, “how’s that working for you?”
“Not very well.”
He placed the heels of his hands on her hip bones and curved his fingers around her bottom. “For me either.”
In a hushed voice, she said, “I wish I still had it to look forward to.”
His eyes searched hers. “Do you remember it the way I do?”
“How do you remember it?”
“To tell you, I’d have to get really graphic.”
“Blushing terms?”
“Gutter terms.” He leaned in closer and whispered, “Wanna hear how tight you were?”
She closed her eyes momentarily. “Crawford.”

In a shockingly short time, she was gathering fistfuls of his shirt, then her hands moved up to his shoulders, where they held on, her fingers digging into the firm muscles. Her back arched and held in a silent plea for one more stroke…one more glide…one more… And she came.
The instant he felt her helpless clenching, he surrendered to his own climax. The intensity of it caused his arms to collapse. He settled heavily on top of her, pulsing inside her, his breath hot and damp against her neck as he groaned, “Christ, christ.”

“Crawford…”
The moaned admonishment was so halfhearted, he continued, kissing his way past her collarbone to her breast. He nuzzled the tip through the damp cloth of her t-shirt.
She exhaled a sharp breath. “I woke up this morning dreaming about it.”
He gently cupped her other breast. “Good dream?”
“Sinfully good.”
“Holly Spencer, bad girl.”
“I think you must be right. The dream was exactly as it happened. I was eager, and you were very…decisive.”
The smile he felt in his heart never quite reached his lips because they were lowering to hers. “I had to be inside you. Just had to be.”

It wasn’t until she groaned his name that he obliged her, but tantalizingly, applying his tongue so softly, so exquisitely that her breaths evolved into moans, and her body drew up tight. Attuned to her, he centered the caresses, concentrated them into ever-shrinking spirals, until the sensations painted onto her coalesced into a burst of pleasure so intense, she couldn’t contain it.
He levered himself up and, with one strong thrust, he was inside her, appeasing her craving to be stretched, filled. He trapped her orgasmic cries inside a kiss and then let her drift down and rest while he sipped at her earlobes, her eyelids, her lips.

He was stingy with the pressure of his thumb on the outside, drawing out the pleasure, holding off until she released a low keening, and then he curled his fingers forward inside her, creating a gentle squeeze between the two pressure points.
She clamped her lower lip between her teeth. Her back arched as she raised her hips and ground against his hand. Into her ear, he poured a litany of love words, sexy words, dirty words. Finally she coasted down, and her lazy eyes fluttered open.
He laid a soft, tender kiss on her lips. “Beautiful.”
“You are.” She reached up and pushed her fingers into his hair. “And much sweeter than you let on.”
“Me, sweet?”
“Hmm. With your daughter. With me.” She outlined the shape of his lips with her fingertip. “You’re not so tough.”
“Say things like that, you’ll ruin my reputation.”

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

fantasticread