Review: Bullseye by Monica James

BULLSEYE
Series:
The Monsters Within Duet #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Monica James
Release Date: February 20, 2020

For twelve long years, I’ve breathed, I’ve bled for only one thing…

Revenge.

Four men took something from me, something which can never be replaced. That one night changed the lives of so many and taught me that monsters are real.

But I also learned I’m the biggest monster of them all.

Nothing and no one will stand in my way of redemption because those men…they’re now three. The fourth—he is the reason they call me Bullseye. They can run, but sooner or later, I’ll find them, just as I did with their friend. They’re already dead…they just don’t know it yet.

My plan was simple until I met her. A fierce tiger who had the power to break my heart. Lucky for me…she can’t break what’s already broken. I am no longer a man because the world is a jungle, and we’re all just animals—ready to tear one another apart.

AMAZON

This is me. A coldhearted bastard. A depraved animal. My story doesn’t end with Prince Charming saving the princess and living happily ever after with her because…I killed the fucking prince.

Holy hell, Monica James. I’m equal parts terrified and in awe of your author brain right now. Because this book? It was all sorts of f*cked up. And I. FREAKING. LOVED. IT.

You know what I love about a good dark romance? It’s that feeling that it gives you. You know the one? When you’re reading and you have this feeling in the pit of your stomach. When your gut churns and your throat gets tight and you’re almost scared to turn the page for fear of what happens next?

I want to watch the world burn with me. But the monster inside me has always lingered. It was just waiting for the right moment to slither out of hell.

This book was dark. I mean it was DARK. What I really loved about it is that Monica wasn’t afraid to go there. She takes the reader out of their comfort zone. Vividly. And keeps you at the edge of your seat until the end. I remember reading All The Pretty Things trilogy and thinking even though it was categorized as dark, it never got there. I loved those books, don’t get me wrong, but I was waiting for that…edge…that darker stories had. I got it with this one. Holy hell, y’all, it’s like James finally cut her teeth on dark romance with Saint and she came out swinging with Bullseye.

After serving twelve years for murder, Bullseye is out and only has one thing on his mind. Revenge. His mission is simple, find the men responsible for his greatest pain, and make them pay. He has no intention of going back to prison and no delusions of surviving his mission. He’s not the boy that went into prison. He’s a man with a dark void. Haunted by demons, blood, and pain. He’s a shell of a man and the only thing that drives him is vengeance and death.

Setting his plan in motion, he ends up working at a strip club where he meets Tiger Lily. Tiger is a complication that he can’t afford. She’s beautiful and innocent, even if she stirs all his demons to come out and play.

I’m possessing her, owning her, and she lets me.

Their relationship is a complex game of push and pull, hate and lust, pain and desire. Bullseye is vicious at times and downright cold at the others, but beneath his cruel exterior beats the heart of a man that yearns for things he can’t have.

Tiger is dealing with demons of her own past. She’s a single mom struggling to make ends meet for her and her son. Bullseye is everything that she doesn’t need, but there’s just something about him that calls to her.

This was an absolute page turner, filed with twists and turns and all of the chaos. It was dark, gritty, and suspenseful. I was glued to the pages from the beginning, but as the secrets begin to unravel, I was completely hooked. And then that ending happened and I was about ready to climb the walls in my need for the next book. If you’re looking for a dark romance with an anti-hero that you’ll love to hate almost as much as you’ll hate to love, you need to meet Bullseye.

Review: Kingpin’s Property by Julia Sykes

KINGPIN’S PROPERTY
Series:
Captive #4
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Julia Sykes
Release Date: January 21, 2020

Carmen Ronaldo is my enemy, an influential player in a rival cartel. She’s also been the object of my twisted obsession for years. Her wickedly sharp mind and fierce demeanor have fascinated me for over a decade, but it’s her carefully concealed, sweetly innocent nature that I’ve come to covet. The thorny contempt she displays for me is nothing more than armor, a means of protecting her gentler soul from the monsters that inhabit our cruel criminal underworld.

Monsters like me.

When I decimate her organization, I’m not merciful enough to spare her. For too long, my ruthless instinct to possess Carmen has been denied. I want her sweetness all for myself, and I will mercilessly employ the most deviant methods to earn her surrender.

She’s my trophy, my prize of war. I intend to cage her and tame her; a symbol of my absolute victory and dominion over my newly conquered territory.

Carmen is no longer my enemy. She’s my pet, my plaything.

She’s just mine.

Note: Kingpin’s Property can be read as a standalone dark romance novel.

AMAZON

I won’t stop, not even when you beg me to. You will weep for mercy, and you’ll find that I have none. I will shatter you.” 

This series has quickly become one of my favorite guilty pleasures. There’s just something so satisfying about Julia Sykes intensely possessive antiheroes. And I mean INTENSELY POSSESSIVE. Kingpin’s Property is the story of Carmen and Stefano’s story.

Now I will say that pretty much every antihero in the Captive series is almost borderline sociopath with their lack of empathy and violent streaks, there’s just something so charmingly enigmatic about Stefano. While the previous men in the series have been dark, broody, and utterly terrifying, Stefano is different. Well, he’s still dark, broody, and utterly terrifying. But he’s also charming, in a borderline sociopathic way. Does that even make sense here? Roll with me on this. What I mean is, the man knows how to layer on the charm, while still being the violent and menacing cartel boss that he is.

This story picks up immediately where Pretty Hostage ended, with the siege of the Ronaldo cartel. Carmen thought that in exchange for her help to get Sofia away from the clutches of her cruel brother, she’d make a deal with the devil. She promised Adrián to help his men access their territory, allow them to kill her brother so that she may take over as the head of the cartel. Unfortunately, Adrián’s got a deal of his own with Stefano. And Stefano? He wants Carmen. To take her. To have her. To own her. But Carmen will not go easy.

What I really loved about this book was how fierce Carmen was. Faced with impossible odds and having survived horrors that still haunt her, the woman is a fighter until the bitter end. She gives as good as she gets and she’s not afraid to goad and torture Stefano, even if she thinks it’s to her death. Stefano is a bit of an enigma. He lacks empathy allowing him to be the deadly cartel boss that he is, but his feelings for Carmen confound him.

This was a delicious game of cat and mouse. Reaching the push and pull between these two was incredibly entertaining. There’s also two new secondary characters that are introduced and I’m so excited to get their book next. But as for this one? Satisfying to the last page.

Review: Descent by Natasha Knight

DESCENT
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Natasha Knight
Release Date: January 20, 2020

Persephone Abbot is in my debt.
Exactly the way I want it.

The sins of the father should not be inherited by the daughter. It’s unfair, I know, but since when has life been fair?

The events that brought us here began on Halloween night more than five years ago in that chapel ruin. I saved her that night. Carried her home through the storm that was the omen warning of what would come.

I didn’t know it then, but I do now.

Her father destroyed something precious. Someone innocent.
I don’t believe in an eye for an eye. I won’t just balance the scales of justice, I’ll tip them so far in my favor his legacy will topple.

I’ll take that which is most precious. His daughter. I’ll own her. Make her mine.

But I’m not the only monster lurking in the dark corners of her world. She’ll sleep in the bed of the beast but I’ll keep her safe. Protect her fiercely.

And maybe I’ll keep her.

Set in the Benedetti Mafia World, Descent is a brand new Standalone Enemies-to-Lovers Romance.

AMAZON

Persephone Abbot belongs to me. She always has. And now, she belongs in my bed, too. And I’ll make sure she stays there no matter what I have to do.

Natasha Knight books are like crack for me. I devour them in one sitting and can never get enough. Her stories are sexy and addictive, and Descent was no exception. It was deliciously sinful, gritty, and with a dark undercurrent that I was immediately hooked on.

Hades.
He was my savior once.
Twice.
Now he’s become my tormentor.
And I don’t ever want him to let me go.

Persephone is reeling in the aftermath of her beloved father tragic accident and trying to hold together the pieces of his crumbling empire. Hayden “Hades” is a boy that she was enraptured by in her past, but is now the man that threatens everything she holds dear. He now holds the key to her father’s company, house, and he’s not above making her beg for it. A deal is struck, Persephone, in exchange for her continuing to live in her family house that Hades now owns, and keep the name of her father’s company that now lies in Hades’s ownership as well.

Hades has a clear axe to grind with the Abbots, and Persephone is a convenient collateral. He’s wanted her for years, and now he intends to have her. Even if he has to buy her to do it. He knows something that Percy doesn’t about her father. But Percy also has secrets of her own. Dark secrets that could unravel everything.

Descent was a page turner full of secrets, plot twists, and sizzling romance. It was sinfully sexy and deliciously dark. There’s plenty of secrets that get unraveled here, but it also left me with quite a few questions. I’m not sure if the plot just wasn’t finished and may be continued in the next book, or if it was meant to be that way. It felt a little…rushed towards the end and there were some gaps that I had hoped would be addressed. But that aside, I enjoyed this story thoroughly. And can’t wait for more in this world!

Review: In Peace Lies Havoc by Amo Jones

IN PEACE LIES HAVOC
Series:
Midnight Mayhem #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Amo Jones
Release Date: November 5, 2019

My name is Dove Hendry.

𝘔𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘒𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘯 𝘈𝘹𝘵𝘰𝘯.

I was captured by darkness.

𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴…

They groomed me for Midnight Mayhem. Like a trained possession, weak against their control.

𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴. 𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘪𝘵 𝘺𝘦𝘵…

But Midnight Mayhem was the stained glass that concealed a very dark culture.

𝘈 𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧.

The Brothers of Kiznitch come in fours, and they’re not happy about me being hustled into their acts.

𝘖𝘳 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦? 𝘊𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘶𝘭, 𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘉𝘪𝘳𝘥. 𝘈 𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯…

Mind-tricks.

Stunts.

Deceit.

𝘗𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳.

But there’s something uglier that has been haunting me for years upon years. So ugly that I have never seen it’s face. I never had to. I’d hear his whispers through my internal screams, feel his shadow brush against my nightmares. He was my the monster that tormented me.

𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘦𝘥…

When I started Midnight Mayhem, his presence faded.

His whispers were silenced.

His shadow dissolving without a trace.

I wondered why that was.

𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨…

AMAZON


This is neither a circus nor a carnival. This is what happens when the clock strikes twelve and all of the monsters you thought never existed expose themselves.”

Well, hot damn, I did not expect this. I’ve been eyeing Amo Jones books for too long, and the blurb of this one just spoke to me. The second I read the blurb for this book, I knew this would be my first book by this author. And you know what? I’m completely hooked.

The story was so completely out of left field, and everything I never knew I wanted. I don’t even know how to begin categorizing this story. Dark? Fantasy? A total and complete mindf*ck? All of the above? Suffice it to say I spent the better part of the first half asking myself what the hell I was reading and what in the ever loving hell was happening. The first half was one convoluted mindf*ck, but yet I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I was completely captivated and riveted to the pages.

Love is a battlefield, and my knight is a villain.

Dove has been through plenty in her young love. After brutally losing her parents, she’s coasted from foster home to foster home, and is now making ends meet as a stripper. Dance has always been a love of hers, and this is the one form of it she can allow herself. But her living and waking nightmare has been haunted by a shadow; a presence that’s as threatening as it is alluring and mysterious.

You see, when I was a little girl, a shadow chased me. An entity. Instead of stepping out from behind it to feel the sun against my skin, this shadow ruined every expectation I had of seeing the light.

Then suddenly the presence that she’s felt in the dark corners constantly watching her isn’t just a figment of her mind. It’s all too real, when she finds herself taken and thrown into the dark and mysterious world of Midnight Mayhem. It’s not a circus, it’s not a carnival, it’s something altogether other, and at the heart of it are The Brothers of Kiznitch. All four are darkly handsome and hauntingly dangerous, but only one of them makes her heart beat a different rhythm every time he glares in her direction; King.

Now here’s the thing, at first I questioned the connection between these two. Dove was too much of a pushover for my particular tastes. She would cave at the simplest push when it came to the brothers. There was a backbone somewhere there, and I was desperately hoping that she would let it show sooner rather than later. But as the puzzle pieces began to click in place around the 70% mark, I began to have one ah ha moment after another. All of the questions I had in the first half began to get answered and I couldn’t tear myself way.

Now I will say that because I’m ultimately a picky shit, I did come across one too many continuity issues that bothered me. There were parts that also just didn’t make sense. Like in on one page we learn that Dove barely speaks due to trauma in her past and in the next breath she’s revealing this trauma and explaining her symptoms in perfect detail to a perfect stranger…and then it never comes up again. It’s like she never had it to begin with.

But here’s the thing, at the end of the day, I just couldn’t bring myself to care less about any of this because I was completely enraptured by this story. Amo Jones is clearly one devious mind, and knows how to weave one screwed up tale. And for this reader? It’s absolute catnip.

King was the ultimate villain and the anti-hero that I loved to hate. He runs hot and cold. He’s dangerous and brimming with barely restrained violence. I couldn’t get enough of him. There’s plenty of secondary characters that were equally enigmatic that I can’t wait to learn more about in the next books.

As for this one, while it may not have been prefect, it was entertaining AF! With every detail that was revealed, I fell further and further under the spell of Midnight Mayhem. Now if total alphaholes aren’t your thing, this book probably won’t hit all the right spots for you. But it sure as hell did for me. Dove came more out of her shell in the last part of the story and her behavior in the beginning certainly made more sense.

Amo Jones, you’re an evil genius, and I for one can’t wait to see what that devious brain of yours will think up next!

Review: Stealing Beauty by Julia Sykes

STEALING BEAUTY
Series:
Captive #2
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Julia Sykes
Release Date: January 15, 2019

Valentina loathes me as much as I despise her. That doesn’t stop me from kidnapping her, stealing her away for myself.

She was brought into my home when we were teenagers, her virgin body sold to my father to pay a debt. She was meant to be his plaything, but I claimed her innocence for myself.

Now, ten years have separated us, and hatred has festered in my heart. The girl I once loved is a stunning woman, and she thinks she belongs to someone else.

As the most notorious, sadistic drug lord on the west coast, I thrive on power and control. Her defiance tempts and torments me, and I’ll never tire of devising devious punishments to keep her in line. She can’t escape my cruel touch and harsh discipline.

No one will take her from me. I’ll kill anyone who tries.

Valentina was always meant to be mine. Nothing will stop me from possessing her, body and soul.

Note: Stealing Beauty can be read as a standalone dark romance novel.

AMAZON

I could be sadistic, but that didn’t mean I loved her any less. If anything, my love for her was so obsessive that it drove me to the brink of madness.

Oh, this was so deliciously dark and captivating. I’ll admit that I really read this series backasswards, like I normally do. I started with Pretty Hostage (book 3) and then dove into this one. And everything that I felt was missing for me in book three, this book had in spades.

Adrián was EVERYTHING. He was intense, brimming with barely restrained violence, and positively oozing sex. I loved everything about this man. His possessiveness and protectiveness that goes right along with his rough edges and anger. Adrián and Valentina have a history of love and betrayal, but he knows just one small piece of everything that Valentina has been through and survived at the hands of her “husband”.

Valnetina has lived through hell over the last few years. Given as payment for a debt to a violent and brutal man, the only peace she knew was in the company of handsome boy. But then that boy was gone and she was left with a monster. Now Adrián is back, he’s kidnapped her from her captor, but he’s determined to make her pay for sins that she hasn’t committed.

I really loved the way that this story played out. I loved watching Adrián fall harder and harder for Valentina. I loved that Valentina is still a warrior and survivor even after everything she’s been through. I loved the two of them together. And I loved the dark edges of this story. Everything weaved together perfectly to make this an absolute page turner. It was dark and dangerous, sexy and turbulent. It was everything I enjoy in a dark romance and I can’t wait for the fourth book in this sinfully addictive series!

Review: Pretty Hostage by Julia Sykes

PRETTY HOSTAGE
Series:
Captive #3
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Julia Sykes
Release Date: November 12, 2019

A Standalone Dark Romance
“She’s yours now.”

With those three words, my boss gives me a gift: permission to kidnap and keep the woman I’ve wanted for years.

Ever since we were teenagers, I’ve denied my desire for Sofia. Despite her father’s involvement in running our cocaine empire, Caesar Hernández has carefully sheltered her from the brutal realities of our world. She’s always been far too innocent and pure for me to drag her out of her charmed life and into my depravities.

But Caesar chose to betray my ruthless boss, Adrián Rodríguez. He’ll have to prove his loyalty once again if he doesn’t want any harm to come to his beloved daughter. I have her now, and he’s well aware of my sadistic proclivities.

I tried to save her from this, but I can’t fight my savage nature when Sofia is in my home and under my command. She’ll learn to obey me unquestioningly if she wants to earn any of her freedoms back. Sofia’s going to be my good girl, fulfilling all the dark fantasies I’ve suppressed for years.

I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my pretty hostage. If anyone tries to steal her from me, I’ll start a war to protect my most precious possession.

Sofia is mine, and I’ll never let her go.

AMAZON

By the time I was finished with her, she would beg to be mine.

I’ve been eyeing this series for a while. I’ve loved some of the older Julia Sykes books I’ve read, so I let my one-clicker loose on this series and in my usual back-asswards ways, started with book 3 firs. I’m sure my ‘must read everything in order’ book friends are having heart palpitations right now. But you know what?
Sadly, this one didn’t quite hit the spot as nicely as I was hoping. The blurb did all sorts of things for me. But when I started reading? Mostly a whole lot of meh feelings were floating up all around.

This felt like the non-darkiest dark romance I’ve read. Yes, I know darkiest isn’t a word, but just go with me here. The set up is delicious. Mateo is a ruthless enforcer for his even more ruthless crime boss. He’s been silently lusting after his boss’s business associate’s (Caesar) innocent daughter for years. And when that business associate makes the grave error of crossing Adrián and sets the wheels in motion for his woman to be taken by a rival, it’s an eye for an eye. Mateo has orders to kidnap and hold Caesar’s daughter, Sofia.

Sofia is beyond innocent and naive. In full disclosure, this tends to be my kryptonite in books. I typically can’t with the sweet and innocent daughters of ruthless crime lords that are completely blind to their father’s doings. She also has no idea that her beloved father has secretly promised her hand to a cartel boss in order to firm an alliance. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for her, Mateo has no intention of letting this happen.

Honestly, the dynamic of their relationship played a big hand in my meh feelings towards this romance. Mateo is much older and treats Sofia more like a disobedient toddler at times than a woman he lusts after. Yes, I get that he wants to protect her, but it’s just weird. Or at least it was to me. Here you have this ruthless badass that surpasses his baser urges and treats a woman he wants with kid gloves. I suppose it could have been romantic, but it did nothing for me.

I would fuck Sofia soon, but not before breakfast on her first day as my hostage.

Dude.
Seriously?

I still binge read this in one sitting, so it wasn’t all bad. It just didn’t hit the spot for me as much as I’d hoped it would after reading that blurb. Luckily it did the trick in hooking me on the series (I already read and loved the second book and salivating for the 4th).

Review: Damage by Natasha Knight

COLLATERAL
Series: Collateral Damage #2
Genre: An Arranged Marriage Mafia Romance
Author:
Natasha Knight
Release Date:
October 15, 2019

We’re a match made in hell, Stefan and I.

He took me to exact his revenge. I went from being a pawn to my father to being a pawn to Stefan. The only difference is I have a ring the size of a boulder on my finger and a husband I don’t want.

And the hardest part is I thought he was different. I thought I was falling in love.

I guess my father was right. I’m not a very smart girl.

Stefan is a powerful man. He doesn’t play nice, not if you’re his enemy. But I’ve learned one thing about my husband.

He takes care of what’s his.

And I am his.

His enemies have become my enemies, but he’ll never let anyone hurt me. He’s fiercely protective. It’s the predator inside that scares me.

AMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N | KOBO

It’s midnight when we’re back at the house and I carry her to my room. She doesn’t resist when I strip off her clothes, her underthings still damp, and put her in the shower under a flow of hot water. I strip too and step in beside her and there’s no resistance when I kiss her. When I take her in my arms and kiss her as the water washes sea salt from us.

She opens to me and I cup the back of her head. I don’t ever want to stop kissing her. Don’t ever want to stop holding her like this.

When the water begins to cool, I switch off the shower and dry her then myself before lifting her up and carrying her to my bed. I lay her down and lie down beside her, shifting so I’m on top of her but keeping most of my weight on my forearms so I don’t crush her.

I slide one hand down and cup the mound of her breast. I run my fingernail over her nipple, and she moans into my mouth. When I pull away, it’s to look at her.

She licks her lips, reaches up to touch my cheek, slides her hand down to my chest and sets it against my heart.

We don’t talk. We don’t say a single word. Not for a long while. We just kiss and kiss and look at each other. And I can’t get enough of touching her. Tasting her. Can’t get close enough to her.

“Christ, Gabriela,” I start. “I want you.” I roll off her and onto my side to slide my hand down over her belly.

She cups my cheek, touches her mouth to mine. “Kiss me again.”

I do.

But she is who she is. The devil’s daughter. And I just brokered my own deal. I’ve stolen her. And I’m not finished yet.

I’m pretty sure I almost had a damn heart attack after the cliffhanger in Collateral. I was absolutely hooked on the story and salivating for more. There was something so intense and addicting about this enemies to lovers romance. It was especially delicious considering how slow burn the romance was. Stefan and Gabriela burned up the pages together with their chemistry, and we didn’t even get a taste for the romance yet. So to say that I was anticipating the second and final book would be a mild understatement.

Damage starts off with a bang and is a non-stop, twisty, page turner full of dark secrets and betrayals. I was riveted to the pages and couldn’t wait to see how everything comes to a head. And let me tell you, people, there’s some real whoppers of twists in this one that had my head reeling. I love a good mafia romance, and this one spared no details on the dark underbelly of the world. I may have set the romance up too much in my head, because I was a little disappointed with how it concluded here. I just didn’t click with Gabi and Stafan here as much as I did in the first book. It seemed like they went from 0 to 60 in a turn of a page, and I had a hard time buying into it. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. But I think my own personal bias was at play here and I just set up my expectations too high. This was still one high-octane and sizzling read, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, Natasha Knight specializes in dark, tortured heroes. Happily-Ever-Afters are guaranteed, but she likes to put her characters through hell to get them there. She’s evil like that. 

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New Release & Review: Collateral by Natasha Knight

COLLATERAL
Series: Collateral Damage #1
Genre: An Arranged Marriage Mafia Romance
Author:
Natasha Knight
Release Date:
September 23, 2019

Gabriela

Stefan Sabbioni showed up uninvited in my bedroom on my sixteenth birthday. He stood in the shadows smelling of whiskey and death and wrapped a broken, blood-crusted necklace around my neck. I thought he’d strangle me with it.

That night, he left a message for my father. He said he’d be back to take something precious.

I never delivered that message, though. I wonder if things would be different if I had because now, two years later, he’s back. And he’s not hiding in any shadows.

He’s come to make good on his promise.

He’s back to take that something precious.

Me.

Stefan

Marchese is the manipulator of my family’s tragedy. I won’t just bring him to his knees. I’ll bury him for what he did.

Taking his daughter is only the beginning. I’ll do it knowing I’m starting a war. I’ll do it knowing my enemies will become his allies. They’ll stop at nothing to destroy me and he’ll stop at nothing to get her back.

I’ve never shied away from war, though. I’m not one to play nice and I don’t share my toys. I’ll demolish you if you touch what’s mine.

And she is most definitely mine.

AMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N | KOBO

You’re in my world now. And in my world, I make the rules and you obey them. I. Own. You.”

The second I read the blurb to this book, I knew I had to get my grabby little hands on it as quickly as possible. I’m a sucker for a good arranged marriage trope, and when you add in a dark and gritty mafia romance, I’m practically frothing at the mouth in my need.

I’m ridiculously picky with my dark romance reads as of late. There’s just too many books out there  masquerading as dark, when they’re anything but. There’s just something about a well written dark romance that has a feeling to it, an electric current that transfers to the reader. And this book? Oh this book had it in spades. It practically vibrated with a dark electricity that made my fingers tingle with every turn of the page.

What I loved most about it was the utterly slow burn of the developing romance. Gabriela and Stefan are not exactly a love match. They’re a marriage of convenience, a convenience suitable only to Stefan. With years of bad blood between their families, there’s enough dark and hidden secrets that ensure everything ends in bloodshed. Gabriela has always been one thing in her life; a pawn. She was a pawn that her mafioso father used as needed and no one cared of her feelings about it. She’s been hidden away, but she’s not sheltered. She may only be 18 years old, but she’s no where near naive. She know who and what her father is and she’s made peace with her life. When she finds out that her father agreed to give her to Stefan in an agreement she doesn’t quite understand the intricacies of, she’s non too pleased. She may do as she’s told, but she won’t take her fate lying down.

I loved the dueling parts of vulnerability and strength that Gabriela has. It made for an incredibly enchanting and endearing character. This is a woman that has been through so much in her short life, and it certainly sharpened her edges and her tongue. I loved her fierceness. She fights for supremacy with Stefan, even while knowing that’s it’s a failing battle against his dark intensity.

While the romance is a pulse through the story, it doesn’t quite flesh out in this book, and I really loved that about it. It made it that much more believable. There’s just enough to make the reader feel the brewing chemistry between them and give enough of a taste to leave you begging for more.

I’m seriously itching to get my hands on the next book to see how it all comes to a head. BRING IT ON!

USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, Natasha Knight specializes in dark, tortured heroes. Happily-Ever-Afters are guaranteed, but she likes to put her characters through hell to get them there. She’s evil like that. 

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#DGRFave & Review: Absolution by Keri Lake

ABSOLUTION
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date: August 27, 2019

 

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.

*The short story first appeared in the Wanted: An Outlaw Anthology. This is the full-sized novel, which includes the conclusion to Damon and Ivy’s story.

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!

This was originally published as a novella in a limited time anthology and it’s now been expanded to be a full length novel and it packs an even bigger punch. If you’ve read the novella, then you’ll definitely want to get your grabby little hands on this because it delivers on the satisfying conclusion that was missing in the novella. There has been an entire second half added that takes the reader beyond Ivy’s revenge and deep into the dark bowels of Damon’s.

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. Even more so in the second half. 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…

In her signature gritty style with an undercurrent of darkness, Keri delivers on the side of Damon we barely got a taste for in the novella. Here you get to know the man he used to be and the man he becomes along with the sacrifices he makes along the way. There’s so many twists and turns, it will leave your head reeling.

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. Trust me, people, if there’s one book you need to read right now, it’s THIS ONE!!!

Review: Convict by @AZavarellibooks

CONVICT
Series: Sin City Salvation #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Dark
Author: A. Zavarelli
Release Date: July 22, 2019

From the shadows, I’ve tracked her every move.

I was just supposed to watch her. But now, I can’t stop.

She’s my obsession. My addiction. My poison.

Watching her isn’t enough.

The savage in me won’t be satisfied until I take her and make her mine.

One taste and I’m hooked. Too bad for her… I’m never letting her go.

 

**

Stalked. Hunted. Captured.

He took me from my life and locked me away in his compound.

The ex-con. The big bad biker. Inked, bearded, and inhumanely sized.

And yet, every time he looks at me, I melt.

This broken beast hides demons behind those brutal eyes. I hate him… and I crave him. His touch, his words, his lips.

When my enemies come for me, he vows to protect me as long as I do what he says. I’ll be secure in this prison he created for me.

But who will protect me from him?

 
AMAZON

 

Birdie Blue was my fucking nightmare and salvation wrapped up into one terrifying package. She’d left her mark on me, branding it into my rusted up broken-down heart.

I’ve been itching for Birdie’s story ever since she was introduced in Confess, but I never expected for her story to blow me away quite like this. I was riveted to the pages. I was rabid in my need for more. I was addicted to the story and the characters and I couldn’t get enough. Convict was one deliciously gritty ride that was packed full of emotion and an unorthodox kind of romance that you can’t help but root for. It was freaking fantastic is what I’m trying to tell you here, people!!

Zavarelli is one of my go-to’s when it comes to dark romance. This series is somewhere in the middle. It’s dark, but not too dark. It’s gritty. But it’s certainly not a walk through the park either. It’s perfectly balanced and I loved that about it.

Ace owned my attention from the second he appeared on the pages of Confess, but when you get a peek inside his head? Stick a fork in me, I’m done! This beautifully broken man that’s damaged almost beyond repair stole my heart and I never want it back. You know that this man has been through something dark in his past, but nothing prepares you for the reality of it. He’s this perfectly imperfect character that you can’t help but fall for.

Birdie is quite the damaged character herself. If you’ve read the first book then you already have a pretty good idea about her dark childhood. But what you didn’t know and discover here, is the amount of depth she has. This is not quite the happy go lucky little sister that you think you know from the previous book. This is a woman with her own hidden demons and a heart of gold. She’s strong and a fighter and I connected with her from the very first page.

Now when you put the two of them together? Instant fireworks. Ace essentially kidnaps Birdie and keeps her on lockdown for her own protection. But there’s plenty of secrets that Birdie has that throw a few wrenches in those plans. There’s so much that happens here that I can’t even begin to describe nor do I want to, because you simply must experience it.

But what I’ll tell you is that it’s action packed and quick paced and darkly spell bounding. It was a page turner from beginning to finish. The chemistry between Ace and Birdie is incendiary. i couldn’t get enough of the two of them together and the author did an incredible job with the pacing and the development of their relationship. It was perfect. In short, I fucking LOVED this book!
Zavarelli is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author.

She likes all things chocolate, books that come with warnings, and putting her characters through hell. Her tales have been known to flirt with darkness and sometimes court it unabashedly altogether. Revenge themes and tortured souls are her favorites to write and this gives her an excuse to watch bizarre and twisted documentaries in her spare time.

She currently lives in the Northwest with her lumberjack and an entire brood of fur babies.

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