#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!!!

#DGRFave & Review: Moti On The Water by @LEYLAHATTAR

MOTI ON THE WATER
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Leylah Attar
Release Date: August 13, 2019

A Greek family. An Indian family. A summer wedding on the Aegean coast…

Meet Moti Ferreira—spectacularly jinxed from the day she’s born.

Saddled with an eccentric mother, she stumbles upon the one man who holds the key to her freedom—the best man at her cousin’s upcoming wedding.

All Moti has to do is overcome her fear of water, board a yacht to the Greek Isles, seduce the dreamy Nikos Manolas, and survive two weeks at sea with her oddball family.

The only obstacle Moti doesn’t see coming is Alexandros Veronis, the onboard chef and star witness to her awkward mishaps. He transforms onions into chocolate and aroma into nostalgia. Day by day, his alchemy works its magic on Moti. But she’s not the only one falling under his spell. Everyone has a secret, growing round and ripe at Chef Alex’s table. When the masks fall off, they spill out one by one, and everything blows up in their faces.

Now Moti’s truth is exposed, and worse, she’s hooked on more than Alex’s midnight snacks. But this time, screwing up could be the best thing she’s ever done…

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | iBOOKS

 

It was the strangest feeling—free-falling into someone else.

Are you looking for the perfect light-hearted summer read? Well look no further, friends, because it seriously doesn’t get any better then this book. Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding but with one side being a crazy and quirky Indian family and all of it set on the stunning and vivid backdrop of Greeke isles. Intrigued yet? Add into all that Leylah Attar’s colorful and magical story telling skill and what you’ve got is one unforgettable romance. Seriously. This was not just a romance, it was an experience. One where the story unravels like a stunning movie reel before your eyes and leaves you incapable of setting it down for even a setting.

There’s a magic formula between making your characters downright crazy and the perfect brand of eccentric. And Leylah Attar has found the secret sauce, because Moti and her family are something else. And oh my word, I loved it.

Some people will tell you that hunger is a sensation. Lies. Hunger is the mother of all emotions. Angry? Check how long it’s been since you last ate. Tired? You probably didn’t have enough to eat. Bored? You’re eating the same thing—same place, same time. Pretty much every disaster in human history can be traced back to the lack of a burrito.

Moti has spent almost all of her life trying to live up to her mother’s expectations of her. And the woman has some…interesting quirks to say the least. And when Moti finally meets a unicorn of a man at her cousin’s wedding, she thinks she’s finally got the key to freedom. Unfortunately for Moti, not everything goes according to plans.

Beyond the crazy families being stuck on a chartered yacht and Moti’s own eccentricities, there’s a bigger problem on board; her attraction to the chef, Alexandros.

I would’ve resented the dimple that formed on his cheek. When I was little, I prayed for dimples. And now I had them. On my ass. Naturally, people with properly-placed dimples irritated me.

I cannot tell you all just how much I adored everything about Moti. It wasn’t just her usual knack for catastrophes when she so much as breathes. Or her fear of water and disappointing her mother. Or her incredibly endearing inner monologue that I couldn’t get enough of. It was simply Moti. This imperfectly perfect character that had a smile on my face whenever she graced the pages. This is a woman that you can’t help but connect with because I think all of us have a little Moti in us.

Then there was Alex. Oh my swoon, this man. Can he BE any better? I think not. Between their sunset swimming lessons and his surprise midnight snacks with notes for Moti, I fell hard and fast for him. He was perfect. OH MY GOD he was perfect.

Moti on the Water was sheer magic set on a stunning backdrop and wrapped around a swoony romance; all of it told in Leylah’s unique voice made for one incredible read. This book is not to be missed and one I recommend for every romance reader out there. It’s easily one of my favorite reads this year!

Somewhere between the quest for a three-thumbed man, a cabin with no window, and a cloudless day on a rocky island, I fell for the chef.

Leylah Attar is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Best Selling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She is the recipient of the 2017 Indie Reader Discovery Award for fiction. Her books, which include Mists of The Serengeti, The Paper Swan, 53 Letters for My Lover (#1) and From His Lips (a 53 Letters novella #1.5), have been published in nine languages.

Connect with Leylah

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#DGRFave & Review: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

THE WALLFLOWER WAGER
Series:
Girl Meets Duke #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 13, 2019

They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

AMAZON

She was a fool. A naïve, trusting, sheltered fool. And Gabe wanted to corrupt her so damned badly, his bones ached.

See that pile of satisfied reader goo in the corner? The one clutching her kindle to her chest and making moon eyes at the sky? That, my friends, is this girl after downright binging on the absolute perfection that was this story.

I don’t know how it’s possible for Tessa Dare to outdo herself with each book in this series, but my GOD does she. I loved the first book and thought nothing can top it, then I felt the same about the second book. And now reading the third, I’m convinced that this author is a mythical unicorn that farts rainbows and creates pure swoony magic with her stories. Yes, I realize most likely it’s immense skill and talent, but just go with me here. I’m still on cloud nine after finishing this phenomenal romance.

Now let’s talk about this story and everything that it had.

First, the third wallflower that gives the word eccentric a whole new meaning. A spinster by choice and an animal lover by nature, Penelope has an innate ability to find the weak and wounded and nurse them back to health. And over the years, she’s developed quite the collection of animals.

Dear Mr. Duke,
As requested, here is an inventory of the animals in my care: Bixby, a two-legged terrier. Marigold, a nanny goat of unimpeachable character, who is definitely not breeding. Angus, a three-year-old Highland steer. Regan, Goneril, and Cordelia—laying hens. Delilah, a parrot. Hubert, an otter. Freya, a hedgehog. Thirteen kittens of varying colors and dispositions.

But Penny’s skill of attracting the wounded and lost doesn’t just stop with animals. Enter Gabriel Duke, or the Duke of Ruin as he’s known to the lot.

Three things, however, never altered. He always woke with the dawn. He always woke hungry. And he always woke up alone. He had a set of rules when it came to sexual congress—he didn’t pay for it, he wouldn’t beg for it, and he damned well wasn’t going to wed for it.

I say this every time I read a book from this series, but I swear Gabe was my favorite hero to date. Broody, tortured, and hiding a heart of gold, this man absolutely stole mine. There’s something so vulnerable to his intensity. Beyond the ruthless and cold demeanor there’s a boyish charm to him that you can’t help but gravitate towards.

Then there’s Tessa’s signature brand of banter that will leave a goofy smile on your face and completely incapable to set the book down.

Every time I speak three words, you look as though you’re going to swoon into my arms.”
“I do not,” Penny objected, knowing very well that she probably did.
“You sigh like a fool, blush like a beet. Your eyes are the worst of it. They turn into these . . . these pools. Glassy blue pools with man-eating sharks beneath the surface.”
“I hope you’re not planning a career in poetry.”
“For the good of us both, you have to cease gazing at me.”

Penelope has made a deal with the devil when she agrees to allow the Duke of Ruin to help her meet the terms she’s promised to her aunt in order to not be forced to go back to her brother and eventually be forced to marry. Those terms? Finding a loving home for her beloved animals while letting the Duke introduce her back to the ton as something more than the quirky spinster.

The story is full of lovable secondary characters, including past favorites, and some of the most memorable and funny animals to grace the pages of a book. I couldn’t get enough of this!

Did I also mention the cameos?

I’ll look. I’m not afraid. I intend to be there for every moment of the miracle of my own child’s birth.” He crouched and squinted. “And . . . I’ve changed my mind.” Chase retreated to the far corner of the stall and sat on a crate, his pallor having turned a pale, sickly green.
“Fine,” Ashbury said. “I’ll do it. If I could stomach my own injuries from that rocket blast, I can stomach this.” He went to look, then reeled a step backward. “Oh, God. Something’s coming out.”
“Of course something’s coming out,” Gabe said. “A baby goat.”
“No,” Ash said grimly. “No.”
“If it’s not a goat, then what is it?”
“It’s a punishment for all my earthly sins, is what it is.”

This book was everything I’ve come to expect from the amazing Tessa Dare and so much more. It was romantic and heart warming. It had a tortured and protective hero. It had a quirky heroine with an understated inner strength that you can’t help but connect to. And it had the most swoony romance full of laughs that you never want to end. In a word? PERFECTION. An absolute must read for any historical romance fans out there!

Review: Lost In You by @authorlexiblake

LOST IN YOU
Series: Masters & Mercenaries: The Forgotten #3
Genre: Romantic Suspense, BDSM
Author: Lexi Blake
Release Date: August 6, 2019

Robert McClellan was forced to serve as a soldier in a war he didn’t understand. Liberated by McKay-Taggart, he struggles every day to reclaim the life he lost and do right by the men he calls his brothers, The Lost Boys. Only one thing is more important – Ariel Adisa. The gorgeous psychologist has plagued his dreams since the day they met. Even as their mission pushes him to his limits, he can’t stop thinking about taking his shot at finding a life beyond all this with her.

Ariel Adisa is a force to be reckoned with. Her performance in Toronto proved she’s more than just a brilliant mind, but Robert still acts as if she is a wilting flower who needs his protection. Joining him on the mission to Munich should be the perfect opportunity to test their skills and cement their relationship. She and Robert are an excellent match. But when a stunning secret from Robert’s past is revealed, their world is turned upside down and nothing will ever be the same again.

While they chase dark secrets across Europe, Robert and Ariel realize that the only thing worse than not knowing who you are could be discovering who you used to be…

AMAZON

I don’t know about your other patients. I’m sure many fall in love with you because you’re an angel, but I want to bring out the devil in you. I want the dirty, nasty Ariel who will rock my world not with the power of her mind—but with every drop of the sexuality I intend to bring out in you

That shocked reader there, the one currently picking her jaw off of the floor? No, not that one. The OTHER one. Yes, the one that’s currently stalking Lexi Blake for any breadcrumbs from the next book. No, not that one! The other one! The one that’s currently rocking in the corner while slobbering something incoherent that sounds like ‘I need the next book’. Yes. Yes, that one. The pathetic looking one that’s clutching her kindle to her chest. Yep. That’s me! And don’t you judge me either! Because this book blew me away! AWAY I tells ya!

This was, hands down, bar none, my absolute favorite book in the series so far. And yes, I know I also said that about the last book. So that’s saying something, mkay? So. Freaking. Good.

Robert and Ari have been desperate for each other for years. Ever since Robert was first rescued from the clutches of the evil Dr. McDonald. But he knew his violent urges and inability to control the darkness in his mind made him dangerous to the beautiful psychologist. But Ari is so much more than she seems.

I’ll tell you guys, that I was afraid I was going to be bored considering there’s such a substantial connection that’s already established with this couple through the first two books. And the fact that they get together quite quickly made me nervous. I’m a reader that likes my angst and enjoys that delicious burn of anticipation for the couple to finally get together. But of course Lexi Blake made me eat my words. Because the romance was phenomenal!

There’s so much that’s happening as the team continues to try and unearth the secrets of their pasts and prevent Levi Green from getting his hands on the mind erasing drug that took their past lives away from them. Lost In You was non stop action with so many twists and turns, it will leave your head reeling.

In the midst of all that high octane action, you also get more details about Solo and Ezra, which left me damn near rabid for their book. Think Ian and Charlotte times ten! YES. It’s that good. Then there’s the development behind Tucker’s past and who really is Dr. Razor. And boy oh boy, let me just tell you, it’s delicious!!! I’m practically dying for that book.

Ari and Robert together were incendiary. Their connection is so strong, but with the secrets that Ari is keeping and the hidden truth of Robert’s past still standing between them, it’s not an easy road for them. I devoured this book, y’all! Like downright devoured. I couldn’t put it down for even a second. There’s so much that happens. Secrets unearthed. Truth revealed. Twists thrown in. It was totally and completely unputdownable. I’m utterly rabid for the next book!!!

Review: The Simple Life by @TaraSivec

THE SIMPLE LIFE
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Tara Sivec
Release Date: October 19, 2018

*A standalone romantic comedy with a lot of heart*

Brooklyn Manning thought her life was perfect in every way, until it crumbled down around her and turned into a dumpster fire. With her pride wounded and her tail tucked between her legs, she leaves New York and goes back to her tiny hometown of White Timber, Montana.

No more twenty-four-hour taco trucks, no more shopping at the best designer stores within walking distance, no more giving taxi drivers the finger when they angrily honk at her. She didn’t think it could get any worse. But then Clint Hastings walked into the room and insulted her.

Her arch nemesis from high school is no longer a nerdy computer whiz, masturbating to pictures in PC World magazine in his free time (allegedly). He’s grown up to be a hot-as-hell cowboy, and she has no other choice but to be a smart ass right back to him. After all, it’s what they do. It’s what they’ve always done, and twelve years apart hasn’t changed anything.

Only this time, getting under each other’s skin is a hell of a lot more fun than it used to be.

AMAZON

Fighting with you every day for a month has made me happier than getting along with someone else all my life.”

The queen of RomComs strikes again with this golden nugget of a book! It combined some of my biggest reader catnips; enemies to lovers, sassy heroine, and a single dad. And yes, it IS as delicious as it sounds.

Brooklyn Manning couldn’t wait to escape the simple life of her small home town. Now she has it all; a great career, a great boyfriend, parties in Manhattan, and a rocking wardrobe to boot. Until her entire life turns on it’s stiletto heel when her boyfriend turns out to be a cheating bastard, her career is ruined, and while she keeps her rocking wardrobe, she now gets to rock it as she licks her wounds while crawling back to her home town with her tail tucked between her legs. But even through all that, she never loses her sense of humor.

Yes, I’m still holding a grudge about that shit. Grudges and I are old friends. We have wine together every Thursday and talk about old times and all the people we hate. It’s a very therapeutic relationship.

But not everything is bad. She gets to see her bestie who still lives there and she has a job set up by her grumpy father. Unfortunately for her, it turns out that her job is wrangling two little monsters who happen to be the adorable children of the man that she’s bumped horns with since she was a child.

And then there were sparks!

Clint Hastings is no longer the computer nerd that clashed with her in her youth. He’s now the uber sexy cowboy that clashes with her in her adulthood. If ever there was hate lust, these two have it. I mean GAH! So good!! I loved the sassy barbs that constantly flew between them. And when Clint finally pursues something between them? DELICIOUS.

Clint’s adorable little trouble makers of children were the perfect secondary characters. I loved watching Brooklyn unwilling bond with them. The romance was perfectly paced and so incredibly satisfying. The humor adding an added zest to it that took it from delicious to finger licking good.

If you’re looking for a sexy romcom that will keep you giggling from beginning to finish with perfectly flawed characters in a charming small town, look no further. This one is a must read!

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.

Connect w/A. Zavarelli:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Bookbub | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter Signup

 

#DGRFave & Review: Another Sky by Jayne Frost

ANOTHER SKY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jayne Frost
Photographer: Lindee Robinson
Models: Alexis Susalla & Nick White
Release Date: June 25, 2019

LIGHTNING ON MY SKIN
THUNDER IN MY SOUL
HEAVY ON MY HEART
YOU WERE MY PERFECT STORM


My world stopped turning six years ago.
My best friend. My best girl.
A burning field in the pouring rain.
I survived, but I left the biggest part of me with them.
And now I sift through the rubble of my broken life.

I didn’t want a second chance.
Redemption. Closure.
Not for me.

Until Gelsey.
A dancer. A dreamer. Everything I’m not.
She’s the light to my dark.
The sun from another sky.

But sunny days never last.
The storm is coming.
And this time when darkness falls, I might surrender.

AMAZON

WATCH THIS EXCUISITE TRAILER FOR ANOTHER SKY NOW!

https://youtu.be/DVJXUvtJx0o

MILESGravel crunched under the tires as my truck coasted to a stop on the shoulder of the two-lane highway. Cutting the engine, I sank against the leather upholstery and looked out at the open field.

And for a moment, the thin veil separating then and now slipped away, and it was six years ago.

On my back beneath the smoke-filled sky, I’d waited for death to claim me. To put an end to the pain.I was sure it would.

But then I heard the voices. First Rhenn’s—so faint it was nothing more than a whisper.

And then Tori’s.

But not Paige.

Never Paige.

Shifting my gaze to the passenger seat, I almost expected to find her there. But the space was empty. Except for the sealed bottle of Maker’s Mark. Rich, amber liquid whispering promises of peace. Of oblivion.

Lies. All lies.
Because no matter what I drank or smoked or swallowed, peace eluded me. Tranquility had died in this field all those years ago. Crushed under the weight of twisted metal and drowned in the pouring rain.

Grimacing, I dug my fingers into the muscle on my thigh, right over the area where the bone had come through the skin. My leg had suffered the worst of the trauma. Broken femur. Dislocated knee cap. A spiral fracture to my tibia.

Maybe if I weren’t a drummer, it wouldn’t have mattered. But the injuries had silenced my beat. Sadly, there was no grave to mark its passing. No monument to the lost rhythm. Just this empty field.

I guess that’s why I always ended up here. In the place where the music died. Right alongside my best friend and my best girl.

Blowing out a breath, I stashed the bottle in the inner pocket of my leather jacket. Two stints in the psychiatric ward at Millwood, and I knew better than to dance this close to the fire. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t planning on drinking it.

Throwing open the heavy door, I braced a hand on the steering wheel and slid off the seat, making sure to land on my good leg. I didn’t bother with my cane. There was no need for pretense.

Not here.

As I waded into the dried brush, “Blackbird” blared from my phone’s speaker. Tori. I’d lost track of how many times she’d called.

And yeah, I got it. She was concerned.

Less than twenty-four hours ago, we’d been on stage at Zilker Park, capping off the biggest rock festival Austin had ever seen. A Damaged reunion. One last hurrah for the fans. And closure for Tori and me.

Finally.

Except…nothing felt closed.

And as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t talk to Tori about it. Not now.
She’d finally moved on from her grief. Fallen in love again. And in some strange way, that had brought us back together.

After the accident, we’d drifted apart. And that was a good thing. Something we’d needed to do. Because when we had been together, sharing the same space, it was like the sum of our losses was too big. All-consuming.

Knowing that Tori was out there in the world with a heart as heavy as mine had made my own burden a little easier to bear.

But now I felt the weight of it more acutely than I had in years. A fact I was determined to hide. So, I’d been avoiding her calls.

Reaching the far end of the field, I eased onto the soft ground beneath the burned-out shell of the elm tree where I’d found Rhenn and lost him minutes later.

“Hey, buddy. Guess you know about that gig last night.” My voice fell to a whisper, and I looked down. “Of course you do.” Squeezing my eyes shut, I blew out a staggered breath and pulled the whiskey from my pocket. “It was weird, you know, not having y’all there to celebrate. So I thought I’d bring the celebration to you.”

Twisting off the cap with shaky fingers, I fought the urge to bring the bottle to my lips.

One drink. What could it hurt?

As I pondered throwing away years of sobriety, a gust of wind blew across the field, kicking up topsoil and dust.

Chuckling, I rubbed the sand out of my eyes. “Message received. You don’t have to get all testy about it.”

I wasn’t an alcoholic. Or a drug addict. But booze was still a slippery slope. A year after the crash, I’d landed in rehab from an “accidental” overdose that wasn’t an accident at all. It only took the counselor a week to get to the root of my real problem. Soul-crushing depression—the clinical kind.

They’d fixed me up with medication that kept the dark clouds at bay. Mostly. But I never told anyone about my diagnosis. Somehow it was easier to let people believe I was a drunk.

With a sigh, I turned the bottle upside down. “Miss you, bro.” After the last drop of liquor soaked into the hallowed ground, I hauled to my feet. “See you on the other side.”
Taking a last look around, I stopped breathing when I spotted a little patch of wildflowers some twenty yards away. Most of the blossoms had wilted on the stems. But a few buds remained.

Red, like Paige’s hair.

After all this time, I’d found her.

My feet moved swiftly with little protest from my bad leg. Brushing a hand over the velvety soft petals, tears spilled onto my cheeks, surprising me. Because I’d never cried for Paige. She didn’t visit me in my dreams. And I couldn’t see her face when I closed my eyes.

That was my penance. The price I’d paid for rejecting her that final night.
But she was here with me now. Her scent on the breeze, and her warmth on my skin. And she gave me the one thing I’d been searching for, even if I didn’t deserve it.

Forgiveness.

 

 

Tell me something no one else knows about you,” she said, her voice a soft whisper.
I thought of all the things I kept hidden. Dark thoughts. And darker intentions. The lure of nothingness. And the fear that one day the clouds would return and block the sun forever.
Tightening my grip, I let her warmth seep through me. “I like ballet.”

My heart right now.

My.
Whole.
HEART.

This book. I have no words for what I just experienced. NONE. It was magical, heart wrenching, emotional and completely unforgettable.

If you think this is just another rockstar book, think again. Miles is also not your stereotypical damaged rockstar. The depth of his character is unlike anything I’ve read in a really long time. This is a man that experienced the ultimate heart break and never really recovered. He’s broken and he doesn’t want to be fixed. His scars run so deep that not even those closest to him know the depth of his pain. For the past six years, he’s been existing. Living but not quite alive. Shattered. Lost. Not letting anyone close enough to the dark crevices of his soul long enough to shine light on them. Especially not a woman.

Gelsey is a beautiful ballerina eight years his junior and completely unexpected. All she’s ever wanted to do was be a dancer like her mother. Working through debilitating pain and unrealistically high expectations of her mother’s fame are her reality. Water therapy is how she’s able to make it through, and it’s also how she meets the grumpy and standoffish rockstar, not even knowing who he is.

A struggling ballerina down to her last dollar, a rich rockstar buried in his own pain, an offer that she can’t refuse, and a chemistry that can’t be denied set the pace of this story. And it was PHENOMENAL.

Lightning on my skin
Thunder in my soul
Heavy on my heart
You were my perfect storm

This was one of the most gripping and memorable romances I’ve ever experienced. And I do mean EXPERIENCE. The slow burn turns into incendiary chemistry that turns to undeniable love. What I loved is how the author manages to build a love story that doesn’t diminish the love that Miles lost. She’s able to build on top of it and create one of the most touching love stories.

I loved watching Miles unravel his layers with every new chapter and let Gelsey in. I loved Gelsey’s sweet naiveté and watching her come into her own under Miles’s wing. I loved how they brought each other’s broken pieces together. I loved how they balanced each other out. But more than that, I loved the incredibly emotional and poignant story of Miles’s past and present. This is one character that’s impossible not to fall completely head over heels for. The romance one that’s impossible not to root for. And a story that’s impossible to put down.

I grew up in California with a dream of moving to Seattle to become a rock star.

But when the grunge thing didn’t work out (I never even made it to the Washington border) I set my sights on Austin, Texas.

After quickly becoming immersed in the Sixth Street Music scene…and discovering I couldn’t actually sing, I decided to do the next best thing—write kick ass romances about hot rockstars and the women that steal their hearts.

Connect w/Jayne

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#DGRFave & Review: Manipulate by Pam Godwin

MANIPULATE
Series: Deliver #6
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Pam Godwin
Release Date: June 25, 2019

Tula Gomez is in the most ruthless prison in Latin America.

She only drove to Mexico to help her sister. She did nothing wrong.
But her quiet life changed in an instant.

To survive the violent, cartel-controlled prison where men blend with women, she pledges her loyalty to the notorious leader in exchange for the one thing she needs most.
Protection.

When she agrees to seduce the suspicious new inmates, Martin Lockwood and Ricky Saldivar, she doesn’t expect to enjoy it. Sure, they’re gorgeous, irresistibly alpha, and insanely talented with their hands and mouths. But they’re the enemy. She can’t fall for them.

Torn between her cartel loyalties and two men who want her as deeply as they want each other, she questions who is manipulating whom. Her search for answers leads to a passionate ménage, a soul-crushing secret, and an impossible choice.

BOOK 6 in the DELIVER series.

DELIVER series (HEAs with no cliffhangers – must be read in order):
Deliver #1
Vanquish #2
Disclaim #3
Devastate #4
Take #5
Manipulate #6
Unshackle #7
Dominate #8
Complicate #9

AMAZON

They owned her. No matter what happened, she would always be theirs.

Devastatingly gritty, emotionally gripping, and stunningly dark, Manipulate was everything I’ve come to expect from the brilliant mind of Pam Godwin and SO. MUCH. MORE. This was an edge of your seat and keep you up well into the night sort of read.

Three hearts without walls fused into a single soul without bars. Lost and found. Locked up and freed. Together.

I’ve been waiting for Martin and Ricky’s book for what feels like forever. And man, was their book worth the wait. It was even better than my expectations. And that NEVER happens.

The book starts with the introduction of the heroine, a woman that we haven’t met yet in the series. Her story is full of twists and turns, and devastating experiences that mold her into the woman that she is today; someone locked up in one of the most violent prisons and completely on her own.

Martin and Ricky get put into the prison in order to gather information on a brutal cartel boss that runs one of the worst human trafficking and slave rings. The stunning beauty is not someone they saw coming when they entered the prison full of murders and the worst sort of human scum. But she may also be the one that has all of the answers that they seek.

On a squeaky rusted cot, in the most violent prison in South America, he experienced the best orgasm of his life.

The sexual tension in this book was EVERYTHING. As much as I was dying for more glimpses into Martin and Ricky together and exactly what makes Martin tick, I couldn’t get enough of they dynamic with Tula. She seemed to complete a puzzle piece that neither one of them thought was missing.

Holy fuck.” She moaned against his mouth…
“That’s right, baby. What’s my name?”
“Oh, God.” She clawed at his back.
“God is good, aren’t I?”
“So good.” She made him feel like a god. In her arms, under Martin’s heated gaze, he caught fire.

Martin was a beautifully broken enigma for a long time in this series. I was salivating for just a little more of a peek into what made him who he is today; a man that’s on a hair trigger when it comes to anything sexual. And let me tell you, when his whole history comes to light, I wanted to throw up. It was gut wrenchingly dark. Ricky was the light to his dark, even though he doesn’t exactly have an easy past himself after the painful tutelage of Van during his slave training years.

There’s so much that happens in this book that made it completely impossible to set it down for even a second. I love that Pam NEVER writes heroines that need rescuing. She writes these incredibly broken, yet strong and persevering women that you can’t help but connect with and root for. Tula was certainly not an exception to this. Her story was dark and painful and oh so twisty. I loved every page of it. I loved her and Martin and Ricky together. I was addicted to every page of this book and was dying for more when I finished. I can’t wait for the next installment after the revelation in the end.

Every touch was a sacrament, every caress a solicitation for more. Through it all, they held an impenetrable stare, eating each other with their eyes, wanting, panting, the need in their bodies growing voracious.

#DGRFave & Review: Written With You by @AlyMartinezAuth

WRITTEN WITH YOU
Series:
The Regret Duet #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Aly Martinez
Release Date: June 13, 2019

When I was fifteen, a single bullet changed my life. I spent the next decade trying to outrun the devastation of my past, building an empire that would shield me from whatever life could throw at me.

But all the money in the world couldn’t help me when I found a screaming newborn abandoned on my doorstep.

I’d never wanted to be a father. Passing the sludge that ran through my veins down to an innocent child seemed like a tragedy. But there she was—pink cheeks, red hair, and mine.

Somehow, against all logic, that little girl became the best thing that ever happened to me. It was impossible to stay lost in the past when I was the only one who could protect her future.

Which is exactly why, when her mother came back four years later, I was ready for battle.

If only I could stop myself from falling in love with her during the war.

AMAZON

I lived in the seconds. One emotion. One tick of the clock.

If there’s one thing Aly Martinez can do, it’s write one unpredictable story that will grip you by the heart and keep you at the very edge of your seat. And this book? MY GOD! It was EVERYTHING. Seriously all of the things. An emotional powerhouse of love and secrets, pain and regret, and second chances. Written With You owned me. Absolutely owned me. Beginning to finish. I never wanted it to end.

Admittedly, I struggled a bit with the heroine in the first book. Alright, so I was judging the hell out of her, okay?! So sue me. But if you’ve read the book, than you’ll know exactly why I had problems fully connecting to her. But this book was a total game changer. After the cliffhanger that leaves you reeling in book one, book two finishes you off with a one two punch straight to the feels. Holy mother of everything!!!

I don’t want to give anything away, because to be honest, the entire thing is a dang spoiler of book one. And I wouldn’t want to take that experience away from anyone. I typically struggle with duets and trilogies, but never with Aly’s books. Somehow her second book is always even more powerful than the first. And let me tell you, the first was no walk in the park. It was gut wrenching.

Our entire lives were one impossibility after another.

This was filled with so many twists and turns, it will leave your stomach in knots and your head reeling. I devoured it in one breathless sitting and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s different. It’s gripping. It’s addictive. And it will own you, heart and soul, from one devastating page to the other.

Review: The Fadeaway by @RebeccaJenshak

THE FADEAWAY
Series:
Smart Jocks #2
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance
Author: Rebecca Jenshak
Release Date: March 14, 2019

This college jock is a total player. He’s used to getting who and what he wants. Until her. . .

Katrina
The hottest guy on campus won’t stop asking me out. I know that sounds like a good problem to have, but this guy… this guy has no idea how complicated my life is trying to juggle being a single mom and college student.
Every Thursday, he shows up at the café where I work. His cheesy pickup lines and arrogance should have me completely annoyed. I’m not. I can’t say yes, but Thursday is my favorite day of the week.

Joel
The hottest girl on campus won’t go out with me. I know, I know, that sounds presumptuous, but this girl… this girl has gotten under my skin, and I can’t seem to walk away.
Every Thursday, I show up at the café where she works. She’s fed me every excuse in the book. I should give up and bang one of the many girls blowing up my phone. I’m not. Even when she says no, Thursday is my favorite day of the week.

AMAZON

Come on. I’ve been asking you out for five months. Throw a guy a bone.”
Or, you know, let me stick mine in you.

OH MY GOD! Where did this book come from?! I have so many feelings! SO MANY FEELINGS! Marry me, Rebecca Jenshak. And read me bed time stories like this forever. What? Too much? Fine *huffs*. I’ll tone it down. Maybe. Probably not. WHATEVER. Stop judging me. This book was fantastic, ok?!

Now look, it’s no secret that I’m a picky s word. I own it. And I’m especially picky when it comes to New Adult romance. But this book? This was EVERYTHING I love about this genre. It was utterly charming and completely unputdownable. It was refreshingly sweet with just the right amount of sexy. It was humorous and a touch quirky. It was all of the things, people! ALL OF THEM!

I love me a playboy hero, and you can’t spell playboy without J-O-E-L- M-O-R-E-N-O. OK, so you can, but I’m trying to make a point here so just go with me on this. Joel caught my attention the second he appeared as a secondary character in The Assist and I’ve been itching for his book ever since. What’s more delicious than the man that can get any woman he wants on campus having to work for it with a woman that seems to want none of his charm while secretly mooning over him? NOTHING. That’s a trick question. NOTHING IS MORE DELICIOUS.

Katrina is too busy jugging being a single mom of an adorably sweet three year old boy and college to give the time of day to the campus womanizer. Joel may be a hot jock with charm oozing out of every pore, but he spells bad news for her. Unfortunately for her libido, it’s been a while, and Joel is nothing if not determined to wear her down.

There is nothing more charming and entertaining to read that Joel’s wooing of “Kitty” and finally agreeing to go out with him. Actually, there is one thing, and that’s Joel showing her the real man underneath the manwhore persona. Under the good looks and playboy demeanor lies plenty of depth, and I was ravenous to unravel every layer.

Joel and Kitty together was pure magic. There was so much chemistry between them, it was downright incendiary. Katrina’s son was one of the best secondary characters and of course I loved the cameos by the rest of the team. I’m already dying for Z and Nathan’s books.

If you’re looking for a New Adult Sports romance that’s the whole package, look no further. The Fadeaway has everything; the charm, the feels, the humor, and all of the romance. I loved it from beginning to finish and I’m not officially obsessed with all things Rebecca Jenshak.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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