#DGRFave & Review: Brutal Vows by J.T. Geissinger

BRUTAL VOWS
Series: Queens & Monsters #4
Genre: Mafia Romance
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Release Date: April 28, 2022

An Irish mobster with a brutal grudge.
An Italian mafia princess with a dark secret.
Two enemy empires joined in sacred marriage vows.
Let the hating games begin.


Reyna

If this arrogant Irish mobster my brother sold my niece to thinks I’m going to play nice over this arranged marriage BS, he should think again.
I don’t care if this match with the Mob will make my brother capo of the Five Families.
I don’t care how much money, territory, or power it will gain us.
I especially don’t care that the Irishman is the sexiest man I’ve ever seen.
I won’t allow my innocent niece to suffer the same way I did.
Even if I have to kill him.

Spider

I’m supposed to marry sweet, beautiful Lili. So why can’t I stop thinking about her swamp witch of an aunt?
Reyna who hates me. Reyna who challenges me. Reyna with the guts of a Viking, the body of a fertility goddess, and the attitude of a feral cat.
Nothing good can come of what I’m feeling for a woman who’s not the one in the wedding contract I signed.
A woman I want so much, I’ll have to burn the whole world down to get.
If she doesn’t kill me first.

AMAZON

He’s a riptide and I’m swimming far out in dangerous waters, getting pulled under fast no matter how hard I fight to stay afloat.

This book was hands down. MY. TOP. FAVORITE. IN. THIS. SERIES. And quite frankly one of my top reads of the year. OMG. This banter. It was finger licking good! UTTERLY DELICIOUS!

She glares at me. “Your charm could sweep a girl right off her feet, you know that?”
“Wait till you see my cock. Then you’ll really be swooning.”

Did I mention the banter?

Careful. You’re dangerously close to breaking your promise about your temper already.”
“That’s because you could turn Father Christmas into the Grinch, woman.”
“What did I tell you about using the word ‘woman’ as a pejorative?”
“Something I couldn’t hear over how loud your resting bitch face was screaming.”

Because oh my GAWD the banter!

His voice low, he says, “I’ve been thinking.” “Really? Did you borrow someone else’s brain?” “Very funny, viper.”

Who would have thought that a man who was mostly unassuming until Savage Hearts would come in to steel the show like this? And here I thought no one could top Declan for me!

But you know what I love the most about this series? The sassy, spitfire heroines. And Reyna? How could one possibly top the sassy that was Sloane? With the black freaking widow! MY GOD. This woman was everything. A cosa nostra widow, who holds down the family while making her brother think she does. The woman who lived through hell and rose out of the ashes a fierce warrior who has no desire to rely on a man, god forbid ever marry one. So when her beloved niece gets arranged to wed a Irishman, she has some opinions about it. And the immediate chemistry between her and the man her niece is betrothed to? Highly inconvenient.

You bring out the bastard in me. Now let’s see if I can get you to do something with that mouth other than slice me to ribbons.”

I had no idea how the author would bring these two together, but it was the most satisfying thing I’ve ever read. Their chemistry, their banter, their BANTER. MY GOD THEIR BANTER. I lived for it.

THIS is the kind of heroine I love to read about. A woman with a set of brass ones that gives men a run for their money. And a hero who would burn down the world for her. I. AM. OBSESSED.

If you haven’t read this series, you haven’t lived. And if you haven’t read this book, I don’t even want to talk to you. I question your life choices.

Review: Devil’s Pawn by Natasha Knight

THE DEVIL’S PAWN
Series: Devil’s Pawn Duet #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Natasha Knight
Release Date:
February 22, 2022

Isabelle

Jericho St. James hates my family.

Powerful, wealthy beyond belief, he’s the most dangerous man I know.

And I belong to him.

He’s taken me from my home.
He’ll make me his wife.
And he’s made it very clear I’ll be sleeping in his bed.

But my beast has a secret.

His one weakness. One that makes hating him impossible.

He has a daughter.

And he’ll do anything to keep her safe.

Jericho

The Bishops stole what money cannot replace.

A life for a life. Now I’ll take one of theirs.

Isabelle is my pawn.

I will make her my wife.
I will bed her.
She will be mine in every way.

And once I take what I need from her, I will erase the Bishop family as if they never existed at all.

AMAZON 

Some things aren’t choices at all. Some are destiny. And my destiny is to ruin hers.

Ever since I binge read The Society Trilogy, I’ve been chomping at the bit to get more in this world. So the second I saw Natasha Knight announce this book, I couldn’t get to it quick enough. This is my trope candy, folks. Pure book crack. A secret society, a revenge years in the making, and the innocent young girl who’s stuck in the middle and used as a pawn with a marriage of…inconvenience.

“Freedom is just a few feet away.” He smiles wide and steps aside. “You’re considering it. I would too.” He extends his arm, gesturing to the door. “You can try, I suppose. You won’t get far, but you can try.”

I love Knight’s brand of anti-heroes. They’re broody, tortured, and deliciously cruel. And Jericho? He was all of those things and more. This is a man with demons, and he’s not above using an innocent girl as a pawn in his plot for revenge. The innocent girl? The half sister of the man who cost him everything. He’ll make him pay, and the first step in his revenge is to take her, force her to marry him, and make her pay for her family’s sins. GAH. The delicious pain and and angst of it all.

I love a good age gap, and this one checked all the boxes for me. Isabelle may be sweet and innocent, but she’s no pushover. She’s a fighter, even when her situation is impossible. She has no idea of the dark and convoluted family history between the St James and the Bishop’s. She’s not a true Bishop. Not really. She’s the half sister, the dirty secret, and there’s no love lost between her and her brother. Jericho’s cruel treatment of her just cranks it up a notch. I’m so obsessed with the IVI world, and this hit the spot so hard for me.

Devil’s Pawn was a page turner full of family secrets, bad blood, archaic society traditions, and revenge. Sweet sweet revenge. Jericho is an anti hero I loved to hate, and hate him I did. You want to jock punch him for some of the things he does. And that cliffhanger? DEAR GOD. I can’t wait for the grovel that has to come to follow that because GAH. This woman’s words are pure book crack. I couldn’t read this book fast enough and will slowly die a slow death in my wait for book two.

Natasha Knight is the USA Today Bestselling author of Romantic Suspense and Dark Romance Novels. She has sold over half a million books and is translated into six languages. She currently lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two daughters and when she’s not writing, she’s walking in the woods listening to a book, sitting in a corner reading or off exploring the world as often as she can get away.
 
 
AUTHOR LINKS
 
Website: http://natasha-knight.com
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Review: Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy

GOOD GIRL COMPLEX
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Author: Elle Kennedy
Release Date:
February 1, 2022

Full of romance, hijinks, and longing, Good Girl Complex is Elle Kennedy at her very best.

She does everything right. So what could go wrong?

Mackenzie “Mac” Cabot is a people pleaser. Her demanding parents. Her prep school friends. Her long-time boyfriend. It’s exhausting, really, always following the rules. All she wants to do is focus on growing her internet business, but first she must get a college degree at her parents’ insistence. That means moving to the beachside town of Avalon Bay, a community made up of locals and the wealthy students of Garnet College.

Twenty-year-old Mac has had plenty of practice suppressing her wilder impulses, but when she meets local bad boy Cooper Hartley, that ability is suddenly tested. Cooper is rough around the edges. Raw. Candid. A threat to her ordered existence. Their friendship soon becomes the realest thing in her life.

Despite his disdain for the trust-fund kids he sees coming and going from his town, Cooper soon realizes Mac isn’t just another rich clone and falls for her. Hard. But as Mac finally starts feeling accepted by Cooper and his friends, the secret he’s been keeping from her threatens the only place she’s ever felt at home.

AMAZON  | PAPERBACK 

I was half asleep until I met him.

Oh Elle Kennedy, how I’ve missed your writing. This book just hit all of the right spots for me, and I really do mean all of the right spots. I sincerely hope this is the start of an incredible new series because I’m seriously in love with the setting of Avalon Bay and all of the secondary characters introduced here. But I digress. Let’s chat Good Girl Complex. Because, man I loved this book.

This is your opposites attract, rich girl meets boy from the wrong side of the tracks but with a twist. Cooper and his twin brothers are guys with a definite rep in their town. Oh and icing, they’re twins. Yep. You read that right. TWINS. But I digress again. Coop is sick and tired of the rich trust fund kids that flood their college town with their entitlement and egos. So when particularly vapid one causes trouble at the bar Coop bartends end, and it results with the kid throwing his weight around and Coop getting fired, he’s pissed. He’s beyond pissed. So what’s a guy to do to get revenge? Why target the douchebag’s equally rich and gorgeous girlfriend, get her to fall for him, so he can dump her and get to rub it in the rich a-holes face of course. DUH. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Mac is the furthest thing from the stereotypical rich girl. She’s only in college after a gap year to appease her parents who don’t exactly support her entrepreneurial ways. It doesn’t matter that Mac is the mastermind behind a website that made her a millionaire. All her parents want is for her to marry the right man like her equally rich boyfriend, and be the good little wife. Ah stereotypes.

Coop and Mac meet and become fast friends. Mac is yearning for something more, and her life is slowly suffocating her. Coop allows her the freedom she’s been unknowingly yearning for. And the chemistry between them? DELICIOUS.

This is very much a slow burn, and as we slowly get to know each layer of these characters, we see the connection between them grow into something neither of them expected. Mac as she slowly acknowledges her attraction to Coop and grows into her own beyond the chains of her responsibilities. Coop as he realizes that what started as a bet is so much more. And this girl? Devoured every page of it.

This is the New Adult gold in a way that only Elle Kennedy can write. It was opposites attract deliciousness that I devoured from cover to cover and left desperate for more. And while I would have loved an epilogue, I simply adored this book and these characters. There’s so many secondary characters that I’m hoping get their own books in this town, including Coop’s twin. If you’re looking for an incredibly written New Adult romance, you seriously cannot miss this one.

DGRFave & Review: Hunting Adeline by HD Carlton

HUNTING ADELINE
Series:
Cat and Mouse Duet #2
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: H.D. Carlton
Release Date:
January 28, 2022

The final installment to the Cat and Mouse Duet…

The Diamond

Death walks alongside me,
But the reaper is no match for me.
I’m trapped in a world full of monsters dressed as men, and those who aren’t as they seem.
They won’t keep me forever.
I no longer recognize the person I’ve become,
And I’m fighting to find my way back to the beast who hunts me in the night.
They call me a diamond,
But they’ve only created an angel of death.

The Hunter

I was born a predator,
With ruthlessness ingrained in my bones.
When what’s mine is stolen from me in the night,
Like a diamond hidden within a fortress,
I find that I can no longer contain the beast.
Blood will paint the ground as I tear apart this world to find her.
And bring her back to where she belongs.
No one will escape my wrath,
Especially not those who have betrayed me.

Warning: This is the second and final installment to the Duet. You must read Haunting Adeline first.

AMAZON  

I may own every breath in your body, but make no mistake, Adeline, you own mine, too. I am yours to command. To bend and break. To mold and manipulate. Do you think that makes me weak? Or do you think I’m strong enough to admit that even though my body can physically live on without you, I would never get my fucking soul back?”

It’s a rare occasion that I get to say this, but I loved this book even more than the first. And considering I 5 star loved the first book, that’s really saying something. For the hours that it took me to devour this book, it owned me. Fully and completely. And when I finished, I simply didn’t know what to do with myself. How do you even move on from this? How, I ask you?!

You’ve never been a good man,” I whisper, reiterating the exact words he’s told me so many times before. “No,” he agrees. “But I have always been yours.”

While I found Haunting Adeline to be more gray than dark, this book made me eat my words. This was dark. Like the very pits of hell dark. Like sick to my stomach, goose bumps, fist in my throat sort of dark. It was pitch fucking black, okay? And holy shit, did I love it!

We’re all fucking damned anyway, forced to live outside of heaven’s gates. I find I like it better living in the darkness next to my shadow.

Am I going to tell you anything about this book that you can’t get from the blurb? Absolutely not. You want to go into this blind. Trust me. But be prepared for one rollercoaster of emotion, because this story puts you through the ringer and then some.

This story was truly the evolution of Adeline. It’s one thing to deal with her obsessed stalker. But when she gets thrown into the pits of hell with true monsters, it’s the true test of her sanity and strength. And this woman has strength. One thing I’ll say is that I loved that Carlton didn’t shy away from the details. She didn’t graze over the difficult things, and go from one extreme to the other. You get to see and experience it all. But what I loved the most, is the aftermath. This isn’t glazed over as it can be in some dark romance. You get to experience all of it with Adeline, the ups and the downs, the painful and gut wrenching. All of it.

Heaven isn’t a place you go to when you die, it’s inside the person that’s worth dying for.

Zade is just as captivating and intense as ever. I fell even harder for this man here. This is the man that will happily walk into hell for his woman, and take on the devil himself. Some may even argue that Zade is the devil, and I loved that about him. This is a man with many layers. He’s firmly rooted in the gray, because while he has a good cause, he’s not a good man by any means. This is a man that does bad things for a good reason, but never loses any of his intensity.

Jesus,” I breathe.
He smirks…“He’s not the one you should be praying to,” he murmurs darkly, sending shivers rolling down my spine. “Only I will be your salvation.”

Now let’s also talk about the secondary characters because OH MY GOD. I’ve always been intrigued by Sibby, and I think that’s now turned into a full obsession. But we get additional secondary characters like a particularly bad man, and some brothers, that I’m desperate for a story for. I won’t tell you the names, because I don’t want to spoiler anything, but GOD. I’m desperate for a certain someone’s book. Talk about your broken men that do bad things for a good reason. I will sell my soul for his story. *desperate sob*

If you’ve been as eagerly anticipating this conclusion as I have, it is worth every painful second of the wait. HD Carlton knocked it out of the park with this book, and I am fully obsessed!


Review: Getting Real by Emma Chase

GETTING REAL
Series:
Getting Some #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Emma Chase
Release Date:
January 24, 2022

 

A sexy, hilarious, emotional, new romance from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Connor Daniels never thought he’d be starting over at dating square one. His career as a successful doctor, and his three boys, are everything to him. It’s not exactly a set-up conducive to a scorching love life—but he’s giving it a shot.

ER nurse Violet Robinson never intended for Connor to find out she’s had a crush on him forever. It was a dirty little secret only meant for her dirty dreams. Her heart trips every time he’s around—and so do her feet.

When Connor sees Violet coasting across the grocery store parking lot—and she falls on her face—he starts falling for the gorgeous, young nurse right back.

Dating can be tricky. And life can be beautiful and crazy and unpredictable. But when it gets real, you discover what matters most . . . and the one person you want loving you through it all.

AMAZON  | PAPERBACK | NOOK | iBOOKS | KOBO | GOOGLE

Sometimes life can be a straight-up asshole . . . but then it gets better. And that better can end up being more perfect than you ever dreamed.

I swear, this woman can write a grocery list, and I’ll happily read it with a goofy smile on my face. I’m not a reader that gravitates towards sweet and fluffy, unless Emma writes it. This woman can write the fluffiest book on the planet, and I’d love it to pieces. And considering I’ve loved the first two books in this series, is it any wonder that I adored this one?

I’ve been waiting for Connor’s book since meeting him as a secondary character in Getting Schooled. There’s just something about a male character in his 40s who has his sh*t together that just does it for a girl every now and then. And while I love me my alphaholes, Connor hit the spot just right. This divorced father of three was simply amazing. His divorce wasn’t great, but it didn’t turn him bitter. And I just loved the dynamic between him and his sons.

Violet was simply adorable. She’s an ER nurse who’s been working with Connor for two years, and been crushing on him hard just as long. I loved the way she pined for this man without reserve. Poor Connor and his awkward assumptions of what a woman in her 30s wants. And poor Violet in her thinking that Connor isn’t interested.

This was one of those lighthearted, low angst, feel good sort of reads that you devour in one sitting and leaves a huge smile on your face. There’s no crazy drama. And I especially loved the dynamic with Connor’s ex and the growth there. But more than anything, I just loved Violet and Connor together. I loved how sweet they were to each other, and the chemistry between them. I loved how Violet takes care of Connor and how he falls for her almost instantly. I just loved these two together. Their chemistry, their banter, their everything.

Did I read this in one sitting? I sure did. And that ending? Sheer perfection!

Review: The Words by Ashley Jade

THE WORDS
Author: Ashley Jade
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 20, 2022

From USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ashley Jade comes an edgy, enemies-to-lovers standalone romance about mistakes, forgiveness, and second chances.

He was the talented bad boy everyone wanted.
I was the irrelevant geek everyone hated.

He was the sun…drawing all of us in.
I was a black hole…taking up space.

He was destined to be a star.
I was destined to remain an insignificant no one.

Until he made me believe I was special…

And then he destroyed me.

I never thought I’d see Phoenix Walker again after he broke my heart, but fate had other plans.

One tour. Eight weeks. Forty shows.

Countless opportunities to make him pay.

The world thought he was a God…
But I knew the truth.

AMAZON

Once upon a time, Phoenix Walker made me believe I was special. Then he destroyed me.

Lennon Michael is my biggest craving and my biggest regret.

For the blur of hours it took me to devour this book, it owned every part of me. This is by far, hands down, my favorite Ashley Jade book to date. I am absolutely ruined. RUINED.

When I tell you I binge read this in one sitting, I mean I stayed up until 4 am reading it. And as I write this review bleary eyed and coffee high the next day, I have zero regrets. Because this book was simply EPIC.

As a reader, I love broken, tortured and imperfect characters, and this story delivered this in spades. My heart bled for these characters and their pain.

When Lennon and Phoenix first meet, they’re in high school. Phoenix is the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and Lennon is the girl with the seemingly perfect life…but who’s constantly bullied for her weight. Theirs is an unlikely friendship that forms when Lennon agrees to tutor Phoenix, that grows into something so much more as they get to know each other. Until the day when he completely shatters her heart.

Four years later, Phoenix is a famous rockstar who’s quickly spiraling out of control in drugs, women, and partying. Desperate to keep him out of the tabloids and on the straight and narrow, his manager reaches out to the one woman that’s not going to fall for his charm. She’s also the one woman that wants nothing to do with him.

Phoenix took everything, and her heart from her. Now given the chance at a huge pay day to play babysitter and to get revenge, Lennon agrees to go on tour with him and his band for 8 weeks.

When I tell you that both of these characters are damaged, I really mean it. There were times where I wanted to scream to the ceiling and shake both of them. They’re as far from perfect as they come, and their decisions show it. I wanted to hate both of them for some of the stupid things that they did. But they’re also authentic, multilayered, and so well developed, that you simply can’t help but fall further under their spell. Phoenix and his tortured soul, and Lennon and her hidden insecurities and broken heart.

Their road to a HEA is full of pain, heart ache, betrayal, mistakes, and angst. And when I say angst, I mean ANGST. If you want faultless characters who don’t make their share of stupid mistakes, this book isn’t for you. I love how the author wasn’t afraid to go there with this story and her characters. Yes, they’re damaged, but I loved them and their imperfections. I loved the tension with Phoenix and Lennon almost as much as I loved the incendiary chemistry when they finally give into the inevitable. And the grovel and grand gesture at the end? OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD.

I also fell incredibly hard for all of the secondary characters, and already salivating for both Memphis and Storm’s books. This was honestly one of my favorite rockstar romances I’ve read in a long, long while, and I cannot recommend it enough. Just be prepared for a book full of messy emotions, unforgivable betrayals, and a once in a lifetime love. I’m absolutely obsessed!!

Review: The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart

THE PLIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Author: Kate Stewart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 19, 2021

Clark Griswold was onto something, at least with his annual holiday meltdown. And since the last three weeks of my life have been riddled with humbug—another breakup, a broken toe, an office promotion I deserved and didn’t get—I’m not at all in the mood to celebrate nor have the happ, happ, happiest Christmas EVER.

When Mom insisted that we all gather at my Grandparent’s ancient cabin for an old school family Christmas, I fully intended to get into the holiday spirit with the help of the three wise men, Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam. But those boys did absolutely nothing to offset the shock or temper the sting of seeing my EX on our doorstep the first day of our holiday soiree.

Apparently, Santa missed the memo, and this elf is pissed.

Stuck for a week with the man who obliterated my heart nearly two decades ago, I did the only thing I could do and put on my game face, thankful for the home advantage.

I knew better than to drink that last cup of eggnog.

I knew better than to get tongue tangled beneath the mistletoe with the only man to ever break my heart.

I knew better than to sleep with Satan’s wingman on the eve of the Lord’s birthday.

I could blame the nog. I could blame the deceitful light blue eyes, thick, angelic hair, and panty evaporating smirk…but mostly, I blame Eli because he always knew exactly which of my buttons to push.

I foolishly thought a family Christmas filled with nostalgia was going to turn my inner Scrooge around, but this year’s festivities went up in flames. Leave it to the ghost of my Christmas past to be the one to light the match.

Fa la la la la, la FML.

AMAZON

What are you missing? I think it’s me, and I think I’m missing you, and I think we’ve been missing each other for a long fucking time.” .

Oh.
My.
WORDS.

This book. Is Kate Stewart even capable of writing a book that doesn’t completely own your world as you’re reading it? This was the second chance romance to beat all second chance romance. And it came with a hilarious family, banter, and forced proximity goodness. If you’re looking for THE holiday romance, this is it. THIS IS IT.

You can pretend all you want that I haven’t been inside you, but I refuse to.” .

After losing the promotion that she rightfully deserved to a man, Whitney finds herself in her feels. She recently broke up with her boyfriend because she wasn’t feeling it, much like she hasn’t felt most of her relationships. And her car barely makes it to her parent’s house for Christmas. What else can possibly go wrong? Well, how about her college ex boyfriend showing up as her brother’s plus one? The same college boyfriend who was the love of her life and shattered her heart, and she’s never quite moved on from. The same college boyfriend who never stopped thinking about her either.

Throat burning, I unravel before her. She’s mine. She has to be because my heart is hers and always has been. It’s never been so clear. I loved her then, soul-deep. I love her now, perpetually..

I loved the way that this story combines a slow burn second chance romance with the quirky family antics and dynamics. I fell so hard for this family and their individual plights. I was equally rooting for Whitney’s siblings as I was for Whitney. The banter, the laughs, their love for each other was simply heart warming and laugh till you pee yourself inducing.

The romance was very much a slow burn, and I mean slooooooow burn. And rightfully so considering the history these two had. But man, I loved watching Eli fight for her. I loved him prove to her the man that he is now. And when all the details come out, it’s heart wrenching. But if ever there was a man with a reason, this man is it. I loved him so hard.

Have you lost your mind?” I toss over my shoulder.
“Yes. And it’s your pussy’s fault. Now go.” “I am not dusting, Eli.” “Please, don’t argue with me right now,” he whimpers. “I don’t want your Dad to know that while he was worshiping his lord and savior, I was defiling his daughter. Please just…dust.”.

And for those who have read other books of Kate (and I won’t spoil and say which ones), you will SERIOUSLY appreciate a certain cameo in this book. I think I may have screamed out loud when they were revealed. GAH. SO good.

This book was pure perfection. It brought everything; the feels, the laughs, the holiday spirit, and the once in a life time romance. I simply adored it.

Review: The Wrong Heart by Jennifer Hartmann

THE WRONG HEART
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jennifer Hartmann
Release Date: August 10, 2021

When my husband died, he left my broken heart behind.

He left another heart behind, too—his.

I know it’s wrong. I shouldn’t be contacting the recipient of my husband’s heart. I don’t even expect him to reply…

But there’s a desperate, twisted part of me that hopes he will.

No names.

No personal details.

Just a conversation.

The only thing I have left of my husband is inside him.

***

‘The Wrong Heart’ is an angst-filled contemporary romance standalone. This book deals with heavy themes, such as loss of a loved one and self-harm/suicide.

 

AMAZON

You said I look at you like I’m trying to fix you,” she says softly, her eyes scanning my face, searching for a crack. A hole. A way in. “You look at me like you’re trying to break me.”

I love a romance that can make me feel. A story that can break me and put me back together again while forever engraving itself on my heart and memory. And boy did this book do that and more.

We are not responsible for the choices that others make. It’s human condition to latch onto the whys and what ifs because that gives us power when we feel like we have none. But we’re looking for power in the wrong place,” she explains. “The power is not in the past—it’s in the present. It’s in how we choose to move forward, and how we can mold our grief into something useful. Something beautiful.”

I have one major pet peeve when it comes to books with a dead spouse, and it’s when that spouse is made to be something…less. You know what I’m talking about. Either they’re villanized, or the love is less intense, anything to justify the new love being…more. Why is that? Because it’s not easy to pull off having one great love that passes, while also making the new love be just as real. So kudos to you Jennifer Harmann, for not just doing this, but doing it beautifully. I tip my hat off to you madam.
Melody is desperately in love with her husband. He’s her everything and he loves her with the same selfless intensity. Until one day where she loses him in the most tragic way, irrevocably changing the course of her life.

What I loved most about Melody’s character, is no matter how hard and dark her road is in the wake of her husband’s passing, she’s not bitter. She doesn’t let this tragedy define her. Her heat and soul shines through this story, and I simply adored her quiet and unobtrusive strength. That doesn’t mean she’s not broken. She’s devastated at the loss, and barely sees through her grieving. Until one day, she does something that really forces her to wake up. Joining a group for other broken souls (I’ll keep this vague for spoiler reasons), she meets Parker. The broody, grumpy man who has demons he doesn’t believe he’ll ever be able to fight. He’s a man that’s irrevocably broken by the darkness of his past and childhood. He wants nothing to do with anyone, and the sweet and sunny woman determined to get past his defenses is among those things. Yet she still manages to make it past the cracks.

This book was beautiful, in the most tragic of ways. These characters are so vivid and multilayered. My heart broke for both of them, but especially my poor broken Parker. This is a man with some serious demons who allows the ghosts of the past to color his present. The angst, the emotion, the gut wrenching emotion was EVERYTHING. Their budding romance was full of pain and hurdles. And I loved watching them fight through it to get their HEA. And wow was it beautiful. I cried, I sobbed, and I fell head over heels in love with this incredible story. And that epilogue?! MY GOD. What have you done to me, Jennifer?!

If you’re looking for a romance that will be a straight punch to the feels and that will stay with you for a long while, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

Review: Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton

HAUNTING ADELINE
Series: Cat and Mouse Duet #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: HD Carlton
Release Date: August 12, 2021

The Manipulator

I can manipulate the emotions of anyone who lets me.
I will make you hurt, make you cry, make you laugh and sigh.
But my words don’t affect him. Especially not when I plead for him to leave.
He’s always there, watching and waiting.
And I can never look away.
Not when I want him to come closer.

The Shadow

I didn’t mean to fall in love.
But now that I have, I can’t stay away.
I’m mesmerized by her smile, by her eyes, and the way she moves.
The way she undresses…
I’ll keep watching and waiting. Until I can make her mine.
And once she is, I’ll never let her go.
Not even when she begs me to.

While not required, it is highly suggested to read the novella, Satan’s Affair, first.

This book was previously banned on Amazon due to the trigger warning. It has been replaced with a blanket trigger warning, but you can find the previous one below.

Trigger Warning: This book ends on a cliffhanger. It is a dark romance that contains graphic violence, dub/non con, and deals with subject matters such as child trafficking and human sacrifice. If you have ANY triggers at all, this may not be the story for you.

 

AMAZON 

One day, you will realize that you are not trapped in a prison,” he murmurs roughly. “You are in my church where I am your God, and you are my equal. I’m not a jail, little mouse, I am your sanctuary.”

This book has been recommended to me by everyone, their dog, and their uncle Harry. And this? This is my public apology for not listening to all of them sooner. Especially the imaginary uncle Harry.
If you follow my reviews or know me even a little bit, then you already know I live for all things dark romance. Now throw in a stalker, dub con, and a vigilante cause? I. Am. PUTTEH. Putteh I tells ya. Where has this book been all my life?!

All I want to do is break her. Shatter her into pieces. And then arrange those pieces to fit against my own. I don’t care if they don’t fit—I’ll fucking make them.

God but this was deliciously dark and depraved with an anti hero that’s simply to die for. Literally.
But you know I like them crazy. Anyhoo, I digress.

Z, our anti-hero is everything my dark dreams are made of. He has intensity oozing out of his pores and he’s absolutely lethal. And when he sets eyes on Adeline, he becomes completely obsessed. Which is also how I love my antiheroes; obsessive, possessive, and deadly. I’m talking about offing a man and cutting his hands of for daring to lay them on you sort of obsessed. But don’t judge him too harshly, there were some extenuating circumstances behind there.

The story also has some deliciously well written dub con, and I really do mean true dub con. And this reader found it finger licking good. Like I couldn’t get enough of the dark chemistry between these two. Just something about Z’s dark shadow lurking outside of her house, where all that you see is the cherry of his cigarette and his dark smirk did something to me. ALL OF THE THINGS. It did ALL OF THE THINGS.

And the organization Z works for? That may have been my favorite part. Seriously.

I loved everything about this story; the chemistry, the suspense, the dark depravity, the dub con. And then the romance that blooms from the darkest of places where you know it’s wrong but it just feels so right. Suffice it to say I absolutely loved it and eagerly anticipating book two. HUGELY recommend for all my dark romance lovers.

Review: There Is No Devil by Sophie Lark

THERE IS NO DEVIL
Series: Sinners Duet #2
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Sophie Lark
Release Date:
December 1, 2021

I Couldn’t Kill Mara…

But that doesn’t mean Shaw won’t.

She’s living in my house, always with me, always under my control.

The more I push her, the more she pushes back.

She’s peeling away my secrets, one by one. And I’m tempting her to do things she never thought she’d do…

Shaw won’t stop hunting her.

When the time comes to act, will Mara be ready?

The Lark Notes:
I was so pleased how many women identified with Mara’s character – with her sensory issues and history of trauma. It sounds crazy to call this an “inspirational story of murder”, but at the end of part two, I hope you will indeed feel inspired by Mara’s journey. — Sophie

 

“There Is No Devil” is the second half of the Sinners Duet. Reader be warned: this is a dark and steamy serial killer romance that may be triggering to some.

AMAZON

The man who never cared about anyone is fixated on the girl nobody gave a shit about. In some twisted way, we’re made for each other.

Holy.
Fucking.
Hell.

Sophie Lark, you evil genius you. The shit that must have gone on in your mind as you were writing this duet. I don’t even want to know. Ha! But damn if I don’t want more.

Now look, this book is dark. Ok? Like super dark. It’s fucked up in all the wrong ways…and all the right ones too.

I want all of you. Every single part of you. I want to know everything about you: all your history, and every thought that comes into your head. Every desire, no matter how dark or how perverse. Every fantasy, no matter how impossible it may seem. And most of all, Mara, I want to occupy your thoughts like you occupy mine. I want you obsessed with me, bound to me, dependent on me. I want you to live for me, not just with me.”

Is it possible to fall for a fictional sociopath serial killer? Welp, considering my first fictional crush like this was Dexter, it’s safe to say yes, yes it is.

Cole is a sociopath and a serial killer, and while he may kill without feeling, he has a bit of a moral compass…however broken and gray it may be. As the story progresses, you get to glimpse more and more into this man’s human side. And while he’s the furthest thing from normal, you also begin to understand him. You get to see how he became who he is. And you also get the glimpse into the beginning of all of it, including his rivalry with Shaw.

Now one thing did make me nervous about reading the conclusion of this duet. That was the fact that Cole is a sociopath in every meaning of the word. How would you ever buy a man like this feeling anything, least of all love. But Sophie managed to pull it off. So much so, that I’m still reeling.

This was an action packed, fucked up ride of a story that I almost didn’t want to end. And the conclusion? Morbidly satisfying. If you’re looking for a seriously dark and fucked up read, look no further. This one will check ever box you didn’t know you had.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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