Review: Ruthless King by Maya Hughes

RUTHLESS KING
Series:
Kings of Rittenhouse #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Maya Hughes
Release Date: January 10, 2019

A STANDALONE second chance, enemies to lovers romance.

My dick never got me in half as much trouble as my heart…

We were high school sweethearts. I was head over heels for her and no one could tell me we weren’t going to last forever. College? Going pro? My family’s money? None of it mattered. She was all I needed.

Then she ripped my heart out. But I’m not going to let that happen again.

She’s back. Invading my life and acting like she was the wronged one. The pain is still there, but I can’t keep my eyes off her. I can’t stop thinking about her and how much was left unsaid between us. Being this close is making me question everything I thought I knew about her.

This time everything will be on my terms. Everything…

AMAZON

I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

The second I read the blurb to this book, I knew this would be my first Maya Hughes read. I’m a sucker for a good second-chance romance, and this one checked all of my boxes.

Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she’d caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about.

I dove into this book without having read the previous two in this series, and while I had absolutely no problem enjoying it as a standalone, I’ll definitely be reading the other books if only because I’m intrigued by the characters and loved the author’s writing style.

As for this book? It was a mildly angsty read with plenty of feels that I fell in love with from the very first pages.

Emmett and Avery were high school sweethearts. They were everything to each other, and even though they were young, their love was one that should have been a forever kind. The reader doesn’t know what happened to rip them apart, but you know it was enough to plant a seed of resentment into Emmett that even years later he can’t get over.

When fate and circumstance throws them together once more, they are forced to acknowledge everything that happened between them, though it’s certainly not a smooth road. I’m not typically a fan of the continuous misunderstanding plot device in my books, but it actually worked here. I understood why Avery was hesitant to shed light on everything that happened in high school. And while I wanted to smack Emmett for his reaction to the bumps on their path to a HEA, I also couldn’t help understanding him either. These characters are both flawed in their own way, but in a very endearing way. Avery is extremely loyal to her family and I loved her fierce protectiveness and care for her sister. I understood why she did what she did.

Emmett, while being a successful pro-hockey player and having his pick of any woman he wants, is like a lost boy when it comes to Avery. She was the only woman he ever loved and he never got over her breaking his heart. I loved this vulnerable side to him.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters and the pacing of this book. I wished there was a little more angst beyond the constant misunderstanding between Emmett and Avery, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Maya Hughes is a new to me author that is now going straight to my auto-buy list and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Review: Third Strike by BJ Harvey

THIRD STRIKE
Series:
Chances #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: BJ Harvey
Release Date: January 10, 2019

Falling for your best friend’s sister has never felt so bad yet so damn right.

From USA Today Bestselling author BJ Harvey comes the third and final standalone in the Chance series, this time it’s the much anticipated story of Drew and Ashley.

***
I have a long history of acting first and thinking it through later. In fact, I’m the definition of a screw up.

Case in point – I’m having a baby with a woman I can’t stand, my ex is now my best friend’s wife, and I’m in love with a woman I can never have.

My biggest secret is falling for my best friend’s sister twelve years ago.

My biggest mistake is thinking I could live without her.

And now my biggest regret is the look on her face the moment I tell everyone I’m already married to the woman they hate most.

AMAZON

You’re my beginning, middle, and end, Ash. 

Oh.
Oh wow.
Oh my heart.
Oh the feels.
Oh the everything!
I simply loved this book.

There is nothing I love more than a flawed but completely redeemable hero. And it just doesn’t get more flawed than Drew. He’s so perfectly imperfect and with a heart of gold. The fact that you spend the entire book inside his head was one of my favorite things. You really get to see the heart of gold beneath the well-meaning intentions that turn out to be disastrous decisions.

Drew has always thought of his best friend’s family as his own after the loss of his mother. So he’s always known that Millen’s little sister is entirely hands off. There’s just one problem with that; he can’t stay away from her. The odds are stacked against them and there’s every reason why they can’t work, but sometimes love happens when you least expect it.

Third Strike is a romance that spans 12 years; through heartbreak and devastation, life takes Drew and Ash through the ringer. I have to admit, had I not been inside of Drew’s head, I probably would have not loved this book as much as I did. This is a man that makes his fair share of mistakes. But understanding the root of them and his intentions, you can’t help but fall for his bumbling ways. He’s successful, sexy and sure of himself in every aspect of his life…except when it comes to Ash.

This story is no walk in the park. It’s painful, and tragic, and downright infuriating at times. But it’s also beautiful and emotional and a book that sucks you right in and doesn’t let you loose until the very last page. It owned my heart. It made me cry, it made me rage, it made me swoon. And there’s one scene in particular that I’m fairly certain made me spontaneously ovulate…

But I digress. If you read the first book in this series, you may have some thoughts on Drew’s character. But let me tell you, if you have doubts that you’d like him, you need to read this. He struggles with loyalty to his best friend and his love for his best friend’s sister. Every painfully beautiful memory between him and Ash owned my hear.

I still haven’t forgiven BJ for bastardizing my name with the twat of a character that she decided to name Lana, but man, even dealing with her was worth it for the experience of this book.

I’ve loved BJ’s romcoms, but she’s definitely stolen my heart completely with this beautifully angsty read. I loved it from start to finish and didn’t want it to end. I devoured it in a day and can’t recommend it enough!

#DGRFave & Review: The Kiss Thief by LJ Shen

THE KISS THIEF
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: L.J. Shen
Release Date: January 10, 2019

They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

AMAZON

Our hearts were tarnished. Stained. And guilty. Unpredictable to a fault. And bound to break.

I got two words for you here: Must. Read.

I know I say this each time I finish a book of hers, but this was my favorite LJ Shen book to date.

I was born into a glided cage.

If you like a modern day arranged marriage trope, welcome to your next addiction. This book? GAH! It had an anti-hero that only Shen can write; brutal and hard but completely redeemable. This is someone you won’t be able to help rooting for! This was like if Vicious and Sparrow had a baby, and that baby threw down the gauntlet of delicious angst and grit. A clashing of a ruthless politician and the mafia, and a young beauty used as a pawn that gets caught in the crosshairs of political agendas and blackmail.

Francesca Rossi was such a breath of fresh air. For someone so young, she had this endearing naiveté to her that was beneath her hardened persona. She’s not a doormat, even when dealing with an extremely dominant man. This is not a woman that takes things lying down. She’s sharp-witted and smart-mouthed. I absolutely loved her.

The Kiss Thief was a book that kept me riveted to the pages from beginning to end. It was unlike any book I’ve read in a long damn while and it was absolutely everything. EVERYTHING, I tells ya!

I know you’re thinking, Lana, you’re being vague as hell right now. But trust me, you don’t need or WANT to know more. This is a book that you NEED to go into absolutely blind, or you’ll do yourself a great disservice. So, you’re welcome 🙂

#DGRFave & Review: Faking It by K. Bromberg

FAKING IT
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: K. Bromberg
Release Date: January 8, 2019

Faking it never felt so good in this red-hot new standalone by New York Times bestselling author K. Bromberg—available in audio first!

Zane Phillips mistook me for his dog walker. It shouldn’t surprise me that the man with a suit more expensive than my rent would assume that I was there to serve him. The positive? I put him in his place. The negative? I missed my job interview because of it.

Now I find out he’s a rich Australian entrepreneur, and he wants to make up for tanking my interview. Yes, he’s impossibly hot – but he’s also an arrogant jackass—so . . . no thanks.

But after a little white lie I tell spirals out of control, I’m somehow offered the chance to play Zane’s girlfriend to help promote his new dating website – and the best part? He can’t say no because he’ll get caught in his lie too.

Little did I know this would entail sharing a tour bus with him for the next few months. The fact that the bus has just one bed isn’t the most ideal of circumstances, but this spokesperson gig might be the kick in the pants my career needs, so why not take a chance?

Famous last words.

Now I’m crisscrossing the country–and sharing that bed—with the one guy I can’t stand. And even worse, my traitorous body is wondering at every turn what it’s like to be down under the gorgeous Australian. But as the miles unfurl, so does our passion…and if I’m not careful, I might end up believing that fairytales really do come true.

AMAZON

Just face it, Harlow . . . you can’t resist me.”
“Resist you?” I laugh. “I can barely stand you.”

That hot cover and enticing blurb don’t even come close to doing this book justice. And that’s saying something because that cover and blurb are EVERYTHING. But this book is also so much more than just a relationship of convenience trope. It’s a swoony, humorous, perfectly paced, deliciously blended romance cake with plenty of sexual chemistry as the sprinkles on top! I loved the ever loving EVERYTHING out of this book. EVERYTHING!!!!

Harlow Nicks spells trouble for me in every sense of the word. She has my every wire crossed. And she’s made me hesitate to step over a line I thought would be a no brainer to cross: sleeping with her.

K. Bromberg has long been an automatic one-click for me, and Faking It just solidified why. The woman can write her heart out to deliver a bad boy hero that you can’t get enough of and a bold and smart-mouthed heroine that you’ll never stop rooting for. It’s an opposites attract romance that’s effortlessly developed and impeccably paced to deliver a one-two punch straight to the feels and have the reader hooked from beginning to finish.

Everything about Zane Phillips rubs me the wrong way. Even when I’m thinking about how good he can probably rub me the right way.

Now I love me a bad boy. Make that bad boy a self-made millionaire womanizer with a cockiness to boot? DROOLING! But then also make that bad boy something so much more? I’m putty in your hands. And that’s exactly what Zane was. He’s an irreverent womanizer. But there’s something more than meets the eye to him. There’s a depth to him that you only get glimpses of as the author sucks you deeper and deeper into his orbit. You begin to see there’s some much more to Zane than a bored playboy that’s trying to make his new business venture a success. A matchmaking site launched by a man that doesn’t believe in love? Color me intrigued.

As for Harlow? What’s not to love about a heroine that’s not afraid to put this bad boy in his place every chance she gets. This is a woman that doesn’t get played. She’s not afraid to throw the gauntlet and boy does she!

From their very first meeting, I was instantly hooked on this couple. I loved their banter, I loved the hate lust that was sparking out of every barb they threw at one another. I also loved the way that Harlow went after what she wanted. This is a woman that isn’t afraid to to play the player at his own game. But what starts out as a mutually beneficial agreement of a fake relationship until the successful launch of the business, soon begins to turn into something more. The lines get blurred and even when both of them do their best to try to ignore their feelings, it’s not long before they realize the chemistry that’s been slowly building between them from the start is about to become explosive.

I think the pacing was my absolute favorite part of this romance. It was a slow, delicious build up. The banter between Zane and Low serving as foreplay and I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved the fact that Harlow never shied away from being herself and saying what she wants. This is a woman that called Zane on all of his bull, and it was AWESOME.

If you’ve never read a K. Bromberg book before, you couldn’t find a better one to start with. Faking It was EVERYTHING! A light hearted, swoony romance with plenty of depth. It brought a goofy smile to my face for the entire time I was reading it, and I never wanted it to end. I devoured this book and loved every minute of it!!

Review: Untouchable by Sam Mariano

UNTOUCHABLE
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Sam Mariano
Release Date: December 16, 2018

The bully isn’t supposed to win.

Senior year was off to a rough start: lube in my locker, panties on my front porch, unimaginative name-calling. See, I got a player suspended from the football team for harassing me, and in my small Texas town, you don’t mess with the football players—even if they mess with you first.

I didn’t care if it was an unpopular thing to do; I stood up for myself… and in doing so, opened Pandora’s Box.

I never dreamed I would attract the attention of locally worshipped star quarterback, Carter Mahoney. Never imagined his coveted attention would turn out to be such a nightmare. Beneath his carefully constructed façade lurks a monster, a predator looking for the perfect prey to play with. Now, since I’m the girl no one likes or believes, I guess I’m the perfect target for his dark games and twisted desires.

After surviving my first encounter with his casual depravity, all I really want is for Carter to leave me alone.

But all he seems to want is me.

Warning: This book is provocative. It is categorized as DARK ROMANCE for a reason. It will not be for everyone. If you are a reader with certain triggers or sensitivities common to the dark romance genre, please heed the author’s note at the beginning of this book.

AMAZONSpoilers to follow…

It’s terrifying, his disregard for right and wrong. The pleasure he gets out of making me powerless.

I have sat on the rating for this book for a solid week, totally and completely conflicted. On the one hand, the writing is solid and the story interesting enough to have me continuing after the HOLY SHIT DID I JUST READ WHAT I THINK I DID in the first 5%. Yes, the warning does a good job of preparing the reader and making them understand that this is not a typical angsty high school romance. It’s dark (but not in the usual sense). Yes, the author does an incredible job of painting two very well developed characters that you can’t help but be curious about. Yes, it had me reading well into the night to see how it all ends.

But…and this is a big BUT. I’m talking about the but of all buts here, people. You may argue with me that this is fiction. You may argue with me that you have to suspend your disbelief because you’re reading a darker book. But here’s the thing, no matter how you spin it, FOR ME, this book romanticizes sexual abuse. It is not, I repeat, NOT a dub con. It is sexual abuse. Pure and simple. And there is nothing dark, interesting, captivating, or intriguing about the hero to me. He’s a rapey asshole. No matter how much the author tries to justify him, or explain his actions (and she does) at the end. He’s not an anti-hero I can get behind, because there is just nothing redeemable about him to me.

I’ll be honest, this is a book that you will either love, or hate. There is no middle ground. No gray area.

HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW SPOILER This “anti-hero” forces the heroine to give him a blowjob as part of sexual blackmail/bullying in the first 5% of the book. And no, it’s not the kind of blowjob where she secretly wants it but he can see through it. She hates it. She doesn’t want to do it. And he forces her into performing the act in front of his two other jock buddies that have been making her life miserable in high school after she reported one of them for touching her inappropriately and getting him kicked off the football team. END SPOILER

I’ll let you think on that for a second here. Is that a character you can read about? If so, you’ll fall into the side of readers that would love this book.

And if you’re like me and couldn’t see past this for the entirety of the book? Welp. I’ll tell you that this book just isn’t for you.

And here’s the thing. He CONTINUES this behavior for the entire fucking book.HIGHLIGHT TO VIEW SPOILER [He takes her virginity because HE decides that she’s ready even after she repeatedly asked him not to and told him she wants to wait. He repeatedly fucks her without a condom even when she begs him to wrap him up and is scared to be a teenage pregnancy statistic. END SPOILER

And the heroine? No matter how smart, sassy, strong willed, or backboned she is…just takes it all.
Again, you’ll say to me, but Lana, it’s fiction, calm your tits.

And I’ll say to you that what it is, is tone-deaf. It spins a tale of a completely fucked up rapey asshole and shows that all he needs, is to find a woman that “understands” him and doesn’t want to change him. Because that’s just who he is, and so long as she “gets him”, it’s all ok. And it’s all ok because he only does that to her. He doesn’t feel those urges towards any other unsuspecting female victims women. Just her.
And in the midst of the #MeToo movement, I’m quite honestly shocked that a book like this is written.

I’m not a delicate snowflake. I LOVE a dark romance and I’ve read my fair share. Just take a look at my shelves. But this book is just not one I can get behind. Nor do I even consider to be a dark romance. Aside from the rapey aspects of the book, there is nothing dark about it. Perhaps if it was written as a true dark romance, it would have been a different case entirely. The author is clearly a talented writer, and I’ll be trying some of her other books. Sometimes a character just isn’t for you, and this was that case for me. Again, it’s a matter of taste. And as I’ve said, you’ll either love or hate it. So read it and judge for yourself.

Review: Absolution by Keri Lake (found in Outlaw Anthology)

ABSOLUTION
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date: January 8, 2018

 

Absolution is part of Wanted An Outlaw Anthology.

According to canon law, it is forbidden for a priest to betray the penitent for any reason. Even murder.

The consequences?

Excommunication.

For years, I’ve listened to your confessions. I know your darkest secrets, and have swallowed your sins in silence. In return, I’ve offered you forgiveness in His name. But behind the partition that separates us, I’m nothing more than a man who has long questioned his own faith.

Your contrition is my invitation: to mete out the kind of justice you pray will never come. I’m neither pious, nor merciful, despite what you see. I’m an imposter, an abomination to all I represent. A quiet executioner who’s kept below the radar.

Until her.

She’s seen what I’ve done. She knows the man beneath the cloth and my every mortal sin. She has witnessed the uncontrollable vices she hopes to use against me in order to get what she covets most.

Yet, I know her sins, too. Ones she doesn’t bother to confess. The kind, for which, there is no absolution.

AMAZON

C’mon, pécheresse, let me hear you scream.”
“Oh, God!”
“There is no God here, Ivy. Only me.”

Bless me, father, for I have sinned. Oh how I’ve sinned! I’ve sinned So. Freaking. Hard. And I’m not even a little sorry. Absolution was a deliciously thrilling ride that skirts the edge of propriety and was so good, it was downright sinful!

Moans muffle into the pillows, while she rolls her head and claws at the bedding as if possessed by demons. Maybe she is. Surely, God isn’t present here, while I f*ck her with the kind of reckless abandon that’ll land my soul in hell.

If you’ve never read anything by the immensely talented Keri Lake, then this is the story you need to start with to get a good taste of her addicting story telling. And if you’re a fan of taboo romance, that you definitely need this book in your life!

Father Damon is not all that he seems. There’s a dark undercurrent to this man of the cloth and a history riddled with demons that have followed him into his present. When a man steps into his confessional to describe a crime that’s horrific beyond words, it sends Damon into a tailspin of repressed anger and vengeance. Then a a beautiful woman with her own dark secrets puts his faith to a true test.

Absolution is a sizzling story full of grit and a dash of darkness with a heavy layer of taboo. It was a page turner from beginning to finish. A high paced thrill ride of vengeance with a deliciously sizzling romance.

Ivy is a character that I wasn’t sure I’d like at first but boy did she grow on me as the story progressed. Her reasons for getting to Damon aren’t exactly altruistic. This is a woman with a hidden agenda, but one made out of utter and complete helplessness. She’s desperate to get away from a demon of her own past and she’ll do anything to escape him. Even make a sinner out of Damon…

With plenty of mind-blowing twists and turns that I’ve come to love and expect from this author, Absolution was one unputdownable read that I recommend for any fans of gritty taboo romance.

Review: The Wrong Man by Natasha Anders

THE WRONG MAN
Series: Alpha Men #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Natasha Anders
Release Date: September 4, 2018

No commitments. No expectations. No way this could possibly go wrong…right?

Former special-ops soldier Sam Brand is used to getting what he wants. What he wants is to unbutton the buttoned-down, sweet, and shy Dahlia McGregor. He’s hot to find her wild side. She’s eager to let him explore it. So he makes his proposition—no strings, no hurt feelings, and no promises—save for one: she’ll have the time of her life.

After a broken engagement, Lia’s looking to someday find the right man and settle down. That’s some day. Now it’s all about the night. A hot, meaningless fling with a magnificently weathered blue-eyed stud like Sam couldn’t hurt: he’s sexy, and sure he’s arrogant, but best of all, he’s here. In other words, he’s perfect…for now.

But when Sam is wounded in the line of duty and left in Lia’s tender loving care, all bets are off. Because the more time they spend together, the more it becomes clear: this “one night” deal is getting steamier and lasting longer than they counted on. It started as a fun little game. Is it possible they could be playing for keeps?

AMAZON

I was your rebound guy, now let me be your final fling guy. Let me be the last wild thing you do before you settle down.”.

I knew when Sam first graced the pages in The Best Man that he was going to be my favorite Alpha Man. After finishing this book, I can also tell you that it was my favorite in the series! I love a good unrepentant womanizing alphahole, and Sam definitely brought his A-game as the commitment phobic alpha with a sharp tongue and no small lack of insults. While I can see that he may not be a hero for everyone’s likes, he definitely did it for me and I couldn’t wait to see him fall for the sweet and proper Lia.

Dahlia was a heroine I wasn’t sure I’d like, but ended up absolutely loving. She’s sweet, thoughtful, innocent, but not overly naive. This was definitely a formula that worked for me. She’s the sweetest of the three McGregor sisters, and I was rooting for her from the very beginning.

After her engagement to an a-hole of epic proportions goes up in flames, Lia gives into something that’s completely out of character for her; a one-night fling with a womanizer that she never expects to see again. Sam makes no secret of his love-them-and-leave-them preferences, and he makes it crystal clear that he will never be Mr. Right. Lia is determined to find her forever man, and when a series of catastrophic (yet comedic) dates leave her disillusioned and giving up, seeing Sam again make her willing to pick right up where they left off.

Sam never expects to be back in the small town or to see Lia again. But when his job leaves him wounded and unable to fend for himself, what better way to heal that to hire the beautiful Lia to care for him and take the opportunity to try to lure her into his bed once more.

I loved the combination of Lia’s sweetness and Sam’s snark. These are two characters that don’t really make sense on paper, and yet their chemistry is off the charts. I loved seeing Lia slowly cave to Sam’s alluring nature and Sam slowly fall unwittingly for Lia’s sweet and endearing one. What starts off as a fling to scratch an itch soon begins to turn into something so much more for both of them. Natasha Anders crafted two incredibly well-developed characters with this book. As much as you want to hate Sam for the things he does and says, you simply can’t. You see just enough of his vulnerable side that he keeps cleverly hidden behind a smart-mouthed persona to know there’s a lot more to him than the initial playboy that meets the eye.

The Wrong Man had a little bit of everything; humor, steam, and plenty of emotion. It was incredibly satisfying. And even though I wanted Sam to work for it a little harder at the end, I couldn’t help but love their HEA. The epilogue was especially wonderful. It was the perfect conclusion to the series and it couldn’t have ended with a better book.

Review: It’s Not Over by Grahame Claire

IT’S NOT OVER
Series: Paths to Love #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Grahame Claire
Release Date: August 3, 2018

Daniel

I have two lives.

One with the woman who owns me. The other tied to a past I can’t escape.

For eight years, I kept them separate, knowing one day their collision was inevitable.

That day has come.

She’ll have to accept it.

It’s over.

Vivian

He has two lives.

A beautiful one with me. Another shrouded in ugly secrets.

It didn’t matter, until now.

I don’t know why he’s destroyed us,

But fighting for him will be the battle of my life.
It’s not over.

AMAZON

Even if we never see each other again, it will never be over. Never.”

If you love powerful second chance romances and strong heroines, this book is not to be missed.

You want me to bare my soul? Tell you all my deepest, darkest secrets?” His voice was laced with sarcasm.
“Yes,” I answered without hesitation. “I won’t be with somebody who won’t let me know them. I want a partner. I don’t need a body to keep me warm at night. That’s what blankets are for.”

From the very first page that I read, I knew this would be a book I’d devour in practically one sitting. This author went straight to my auto-buy list. I’m addicted to her words!

I’m a sucker for a well-written second chance romance, and this one had all the ingredients for a phenomenal read! It was emotional, gripping, with a splash of suspense and a whole lot of sizzle. Told in alternating past and present, it painted a powerful story of a once in a lifetime love that stood the test of unimaginable odds.

Daniel and Vivian had a love that seemed to be unbreakable, until Daniel’s past clashes with his present and he cuts Vivian out of his life. Unable to imagine her life without him, Vivian isn’t one to sit back and watch it happen. She’s prepared to fight for him, if only he’d fight for her right back…

The book alternates from past to present to tell the story of how they met and the path that inevitably brought them to where they are now. I absolutely loved Vivian’s character. Here’s a woman that’s not afraid to state what she wants and owns it. She makes Daniel fight for her heart when they first meet. She isn’t satisfied to take the initial crumbs he offers and will take nothing short of everything. You really can’t help but be in awe of such a strong heroine. She’s just the right amount of strength and vulnerability. She’s hard-edged without being brash and I loved that about her.

I want a partner. I want trust and respect and honesty. Someone who will face life with me head on. Sometimes he’ll carry me, and sometimes I’ll carry him. We’ll laugh together, fight together, give each other everything. I don’t need a fucking white knight on a horse. I can save my own ass, and I can buy my own flowers. The only thing I want is you. If you can’t give me that, there’s no need to go any further.”

Daniel is a hero that captures your heart right away with his incredibly powerful and magnetic presence. There’s just the right amount of darkness that lurks under his handsome looks that lures you into his orbit. This is a man that has lived a hard life and will sacrifice everything to protect those that he loves.

I also absolutely adored the secondary characters of Miriam and Stone and cannot wait to dive into their story. As for this one? I enjoyed it cover to cover. It was perfectly paced, with a dash of grit, and a heavy dose of suspense. This was my first book by Grahame Claire and I know it definitely will not be my last.

Review: Defiance by Cherise Sinclair

DEFIANCE
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands
Genre: BDSM, Romantic Suspense
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Release Date: December 4, 2018

Z’s day begins with sadness
A phone call from a dying friend leaves psychologist Zachary Grayson determined to fulfill the old survivalist’s request–a send-off that will comfort his grieving sons.

And then turns deadly
The death threat is only the beginning…because the letter isn’t a hoax. Z walks out of his office into a barrage of bullets. He can take being shot at, but when the second shot splinters the empty child-seat in his car, he’s shaken to the core. The horror of what would have happened if his little girl had been there spurs him to action.

Master Z is a Dom, a husband, a father—every instinct drives him to protect those under his care. When the police can’t catch his stalker, he must take matters into his own hands.

He must keep danger far from those he loves.
Secrecy and distance is the key. The funeral in Alaska is the perfect location, especially since Z won’t be alone. The survivalist’s sons have grown into men with lethal skills. With their help, he can trap the shooter and keep his family safe.

As long as his impetuous and all-too-observant wife, Jessica, doesn’t discover he’s using himself as bait.

AMAZON

Mako had been a master of war, but he’d known love was the strongest force in the universe.

Defiance was essentially a transition novella that introduces four brand new characters that will launch a new series from the queen of BDSM. It really had the perfect combination of things; a visit to one of my favorite Shadowlands couples, Master Z and his kitten, a cameo by one of my favorite sadists, deVries, and a suspenseful plot that introduces 4 intriguing new characters in a brand new series. It doesn’t get any better than that!

When Master Z receives a call from a dear friend to let him know that he’s dying, he doesn’t expect that his death would be as sudden as a car accident. Then when a stalker threatens his life, an escape to the wilderness of Alaska for Mako’s funeral seems like a great opportunity to take the threat as far away from his beloved family as he can.

The story introduces the reader to Mako’s four foster sons; raised as survivalist and each with their own story of pain that hooks you immediately and reels you right in. With Gabe’s story being the first in the series, you get a much longer peek inside his head in this book. And I’m already chomping at the bit to get my hands on his story.

The novella was perfectly paced, with plenty of romance, action, and suspense. I loved getting another visit with Master Z and Jessica. I also couldn’t get enough of the four foster brothers. I can already tell that series is going to be amazing. Fans of Sinclair will not want to miss this book!

Review & Excerpt: The Darkest Captive by Gena Showalter


The demon possessed beast wants his beauty back, and he’ll do anything to win her. Even war with a god king.

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Gena Showalter, comes THE DARKEST CAPTIVE, a new novella in her addictive bestselling Lords of the Underworld Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights!


THE DARKEST CAPTIVE
Series: Lords of the Underworld #14.5
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: December 4, 2018

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter comes a new story in her Lords of the Underworld series…

For centuries, Galen the Treacherous has been the most hated immortal in the Underworld. With good reason! This bad boy of bad boys has lied, stolen, cheated and killed with abandon. Possessed by the demons of Jealousy and False Hope, he has always lived for a single purpose: destroy everything.

Then he met her.

Former demon turned human femme fatale — Legion Honey — sought to kill Galen, but ended up parting with her virginity instead. Afraid of their sizzling connection, she ran away…and ended up trapped in hell, tortured and abused in the worst of ways. Now she’s free, and a shell of herself, afraid of her own shadow.

Galen’s hunger for Legion has only grown. Now the warrior with nothing to lose must help her rekindle the fire that once burned inside her. But as desires blaze white-hot, will Legion run again? Or will the unlikely pair succumb to love at long last?

AMAZON

Shocked to the bone, Legion performed a slow-mo 360. Galen’s kitchen had been transformed into an Arabian Nights paradise. Flickering candles filled the entire room. Multi-colored scarves cascaded from the ceiling, intermixing with strings of beads. A coffee table had replaced the kitchen table, jewel-toned pillows acting as chairs. Covered platters dominated the table’s surface, a gem-encrusted genie lamp the centerpiece.Your wish is my command…

The scent of corn dogs, chili cheese fries, and cotton candy saturated the air, and her mouth watered.

As Galen stepped past a sheer purple curtain, electric pulses awakened every nerve in her body.

He looked her over. “You are stunning, Leila.”

His husky timbre sent shivers rushing down her spine. And when he looked her over a second time, taking in the frilly dress with a cinched-in waist and mid-thigh tulle skirt paired with ballet flats, his irises heated—and so did her blood.

Galen wore a dark, perfectly tailored suit, the polished veneer only enhancing the savagery of his soul. Awareness of him eclipsed her fears, and it was nice. Better than nice. Wonderful! For a moment, she felt like the old Legion again.

“I’m guessing I am stunning, too?” he prompted.

Did she detect a thrum of uncertainty? How adorable. The saucy, ultra-confident Galen cared about her opinion. Meaning she had power over him. How delicious.

“You are,” she admitted. “I think you’ve hijacked my thoughts.” And she was glad for it. Once, she’d made a deal with the devil because she’d dreamed of falling in love, being loved in return, and discovering why humans were so obsessed with getting naked and rolling around in bed. Here, now, she realized a part of her still yearned for those things, despite everything that had happened.

Fear had put her life on pause long enough. She deserved pleasure.

If she wanted better, she had to fight for it. Had she picked the right man for the job, though? Someone who would be patient with her, who would ease her back to life, and give as much as he took?

Time would reveal the truth, one way or another, but her hopes were high. Galen was strong. He would cross any line to get what he wanted, and for some reason, what he wanted most was a chance to keep her safe.

Unless he decided to bed her, even if she said no.

 


Galen might have been created for war, but he lived for Leila.

Years. YEARS I’ve been waiting for Galen and Legion’s story. It’s been the most torturously painful foreplay right after William (and now Hades). What I’m trying to tell you here, is that I NEEDED their book. And while I was definitely disappointed we wouldn’t be getting a full novel for them, the novella was still satisfying enough to appease this reader.

She had the face of an angel and the body of a porn star, and he wanted to pray and sin at the same time.

The nice thing about this novella, is that readers that are new to the series can enjoy it as well. But if you’re like me and have read the entire series, than you’ll certainly have a different sort of appreciation to Legion and Galen’s journey.

Admittedly, I struggled with Legion as a character after Aeron’s book. I mean, an almost childlike demon turned beautiful seductress? I wasn’t sure if I bought into it. But she’s won me over with her strength and perseverance throughout the series. Her do anything for those she love attitude is what got her on Galen’s radar and I couldn’t wait to see how it all concludes.

Galen has been THE baddie for the first half of this series. And if there’s anything I love, it’s a good redemption story. After a sizzling encounter that was only supposed to be a means to an end, it ended up changing the course of things for both Galen and Legion. Legion has been trying to heal her mind after the torture she endured in hell. And Galen has been obsessed with finding and finally wooing her back into his bed once and for all.

I really loved Legion and Galen together. I did find myself wishing that it was more fleshed out into a full story, as it did feel a bit rushed at points. But at the same time, I still highly enjoyed it despite that quibble, so I can’t complain much. Now if you’ll excused me, I’m off to go rock myself in a corner until William’s book finally comes out.

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans

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