Review: What Lies Between Us by H.D. Carlton

WHAT LIES BETWEEN US
Series:
Heartless Heroes Anthology
Genre: MM Romance, Dark Romance
Author: H.D. Carlton
Release Date: September 13, 2022

Some heroes want to save the world. Some will burn it down for the one they love.
Call them villains, anti-heroes, criminals, and monsters.
But these dark men love deeply and fiercely, and are ready to go to the ends of the earth to save their soulmate.

They will tempt you.
Captivate you.
Drag you into darkness, and leave you breathless.
They’ll show you how good love can be in the dark.

There’s a spark between these pages, and these Heartless Heroes will set your world on fire.

Morally grey is the favorite color of these twenty new and bestselling authors. Grab your copy now to read all the dark shades of love painted by these Heartless Heroes.

Authors in this set include:
J.L. Beck & C. Hallman, Sahara Roberts & Dori Pulitano, Sonya Jesus, H. D. Carlton & CE Ricci, Lola West, D.S. Wrights, Elizabeth Miller, Lily Wildhart, Morgan James, A.R. Breck, Brynn Ford, Indie Black & Sienna Cousins, Isabella Phoenix & Victoria Pauley, Suki Williams, Ashley Gee, D.W. Marshall, M.L. Philpitt, and Ember Evans

AMAZON

Review for What Lies Between Us by H.D. Carlton

“Which makes you angrier, golden boy? The fact that you want to fuck your sister’s ex-boyfriend or that you want to fuck her murderer?”

The second that I saw H.D. Carlton is writing a dark MM romance, I was immediately salivating. But I was not at all prepared for the savage chokehold this story would have on me.

This is a novella and a bit of preview to what will be a full length novel for Link and Echo. But what I loved is how H.D. is able to give us a deliciously addictive hook and have it be equally satisfying while still making you salivate for more. She gave readers just enough to get them hooked on this story, but didn’t drop your typical shock value cliffhanger and I could kiss her for it.

The set up for this story? OHMYGAWD! If I was more hooked I’d be hunting her ass down at her house and standing over her shoulder glaring menacingly until she finished the story and immediately gave it to her. What? The woman created Zade, I think she wouldn’t mind this. But I digress.

Echo is whispered about through the halls of the Godric University. But it isn’t for his sinful good looks or manwhore ways. He’s the guy who brutally killed his ex girlfriend and got away with it. Or so everyone thinks, even though he was found innocent. He’s used to the whispers, but they’re no less hard. Especially when he’s forced to deal with the violent hate from his ex’s twin bother and ex best friend. Who he kinda, sorta also has the hots for. Talk about complicated.

But I’m making too light of what this story was. Because it was full of signature dark and creepy undercurrent that only HD can write so well. There’s a dark mystery that runs parallel to the chemistry between Link and Echo of who truly killed Link’s twin and getting Link to see the truth of what Echo is saying.

The novella was enough to immediately hook you and I do mean immediately. I loved a dark academia romance and this one ticked all the boxes. I’m seriously salivating for the full dose of this story because the whodunnit mystery just may kill me in the wait.

Review: Brainwashed by Nyla K

BRAINWASHED
Series:
Alabaster Penitentiary #3
Genre: Dark, Erotic MM Romance
Author: Nyla K
Release Date:
July 7, 2022

 

Monster.
That’s what they call me.
Lock your doors, hold your loved ones tight. The Carver is on the loose.
Except I’m not. I was caught.
The days of allowing my inner depravity to run wild are over. I’ve been sent to prison for good, something of a celebrity in this dark, dank hell-hole they call Alabaster Penitentiary.
The only thing I have left to offer the world is my story, and unfortunately for me, the Warden has the rest of my life to get it out of me.
Being poked and prodded, examined and tested on isn’t something I enjoy very much. Until they send him…
The new doctor is here to study me and my crimes. And I’m beginning to think we might not be as different as it seems. He craves knowledge the way I crave the blood of my victims. Despite his robotic nature, there’s just something about him… Something I want.
But I’ll have to be careful not to smother it to death.
After all… It’s kind of my thing.


** Brainwashed is a dark MM doctor-patient romance with content that may be disturbing/triggering to some readers. Our protagonist is a sociopath. Please proceed with caution. While this story follows a new couple, it is strongly recommended to read Volumes 1-2 first, to avoid spoilers. **

AMAZON 

Felix Darcey is exactly that. A dangerous animal behind bars. And I just can’t help wanting to step inside his cage.

It’s official, this series is total CRACK. CRACK. Crack I tells ya. It’s sick, depraved, dark, disturbing, toe curling, finger licking GOOD. I mean, it’s just…GAH. I’m obsessed more than Felix was with his psychiatrist.

You know what it looks like?” I ask, turning my face to his.
“What’s that?” He breathes with my mouth hovering over his.
“It looks like I own you, sick boy.” My lips brush his and he quivers. “You’re my monster.”

Now if you’re thinking of reading this as a standalone, don’t. Trust me. While each book stands on it’s own, it’s all a puzzle piece of one uniquely fucked up world, and you need to read it in order. You will learn to appreciate every nod and nuance in the previous books as you read the next one. And I love the amount of thought Nyla put in the plotting of this because it shines like a beacon. And this reader? Devoured it!

Felix Darcy is the infamous serial killer known as The Carver. Do I have to tell you what he does to earn that nickname or can you use your imagination? The second the man arrived in Alabaster Penitentiary, he’s been a unique mystery. He’s a brutal killer to some, and a thoughtful friend to others. The fact that we’re introduced to him through his friendship with Dascha in Distorted really helped set the foundation of this character. But nothing prepared me for the full force that was him as the main character.

Dr Love is the antithesis to his last name. He’s a psychiatrist whose luck with love is worse than his believe in it. He’s also very straight. Until a very sick little monster tilts his world on its axis.

This is so much more than a dark romance. This is a twisted tale full of complex layers, secrets, betrayals, and enigmas known as The Warden. This is like the Hansel and Gretel of dark romance. There are bread crumbs dropped everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes peeled to pick them up. And when you do? Oh man. Addictive.

I loved the romance was deliciously satisfying. I loved watching Dr Love fall for his patient, in spite of his dark rep. I loved seeing the softer side to Felix. And I loved getting more and more of the gaps I had from books one and two be filled in this one.

But in typical Nyla fashion, for each of the gaps that she fills, she leaves the reader with at least double the questions. I’m already salivating for the next book because GAH. I’m addicted. Completely addicted.

DGRFave & Review: Joyless by Nyla K

JOYLESS
Series:
Alabaster Penitentiary #2
Genre: Dark, Erotic MMF Romance
Author: Nyla K
Release Date:
September 30, 2021

Alabaster Penitentiary, Volume 2

Correctional officers get a bad rep. But in our case, it’s fully justified.
We’re not 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 people… We’re guard dogs. As twisted as the inmates we patrol, courtesy of the monster who created us.

Prisoners ourselves on an island of manipulation, we’ve spent years drowning in vices to dull reality. If these walls could talk, I’m telling you… they’d scream.
They call me Velle, but that’s 𝘖𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘳 𝘊𝘩𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦 to you. Hands dirtier than my mind, I have no qualms with staying ruthless to keep these creatures in line.
And I’m not alone.

𝘑𝘰𝘺 𝘑𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘰𝘯 is my partner in crime, and my ex. Together we rule Alabaster Isle like Bonnie and Clyde, only prettier and far more dangerous. It’s the two of us against this wicked, secluded world.
Until he shows up…

Although we need him, the rookie is a problem. Flipping me upside down, using my own hidden desires to tempt me.
𝘙𝘰𝘰𝘬… with his green eyes and country boy smile…
He has no business luring me into something that will get everyone hurt.

Let it be known, denying myself and dominating this role is my default setting. But with him in the picture, I’m struggling to keep it intact.
The mask is slipping, control I can’t lose wavering as we welcome our newest psycho to the roster.

Let’s hope, for all our sakes, 𝙄𝙣𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙚 #101 doesn’t do anything stupid.

**Joyless is a MMF romance with its own HEA, and while it explores new characters, it is highly recommended that you read Volume 1 first, as the timeline mirrors that of Distorted and there will be references to Distorted in Joyless that could spoil book 1.**

AMAZON 

 

You’re like a rollercoaster, baby. Scary as fuck, but just the best shot of adrenaline.”

Holy.
Fucking.
Shit.

This book. I don’t even have the words right now. Gimme a minute here.

Being a self professed erotic romance addict for many years, I went on record a few years ago to state that I have steel plated ovaries. Like a book can be hot, but it’s not going to get me that hot because I’m desensitized to it. Ok. It’s what I thought. So what did I do? I read this fucking book in public. I was cocky and I miscalculated. Bite me.

So there I was. Squirming uncomfortably in the waiting room while getting my oil changed. Paranoid as fuck that everyone in the room and also outside of it knew exactly what I was reading. With my loins burning and my ovaries hurting, rethinking my stupid steel plated ovaries statement to hell and back. But I digress. Let’s talk about the fuckery that is this book for a hot second, kay?

Welcome to Hell, rookie.”

Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT read this as a standalone. Yes it has different characters from Distorted, but just trust me. You want to appreciate what is Nyla K’s deeply twisted, depraved, evil genius mind by reading this series in order. The time lines overlap and you will miss some huge plot nuances and do yourself a big disservice by not reading Distorted first.

So what’s this book? It’s a super sizzling, super fucked up, super dirty and deliciously kinky MMF menage. And this bitch? I WAS SO HERE FOR IT.

The second Velle made an appearance in Distorted, I knew I had to have his story. The big, bad, tatted and pierced prison guard that takes no shit just had to have a good story arc, right? Wrong. It wasn’t just good, it was fucking amazing. MY GOD. But I digress again.

So what can I tell you without spoiling anything? This book brought it, ok. It bought it big time. The revelations. The secrets. The backstories of Velle and Joy and how they came to be guards at Alabaster Penitentiary really lays the foundation. We get more glimpses at the mysteriously evil Warden, and when I say I never thought I’d hear myself say that I’m desperate for that man’s book, well let’s just say I’m still shocked as shit. But here I digressed again. FOCUS. GOD. OKAY.

One of my favorite things about this story was the dynamic between Rook, Joy, and Velle. How neither one of them are what they seem on the surface. I loved Joy’s sexual freedom and how she just owns her sexuality. This is a woman that’s not shy about her sex drive, her body, or her desires, and we need more heroines like this in romance. But Velle. Oh my baby Velle. He was the most dynamic, multi-layered of the three. Velle with his dark secrets and darker desires. He completely stole my heart.

A-are you gonna… lick me?” My breathing is truly out of control. “No.” He bites his lip. “I’m gonna eat you alive.”

Now this is not a story for the faint of heart. And what I appreciate about Nyla’s story telling is that she’s not afraid to go there. She’s not afraid to really dive right into the pits of true depravity if it’s what her characters demand, and it just WORKS. This is a book that if anyone else wrote it, I’d say had way too much sex. But when I tell you that EVERY SINGLE sex scene added something to the story, well that’s talent, folks. Because there was a lot of sex. A LOT. It was hot. It was incendiary. Seriously. It was fucking sizzling as hell. My loins are still burning.

There’s also nuances that get revealed from Distorted, and hints dropped about future characters. And just OMG. I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK.

It’s dark. It’s fucked up. It’s seriously fucked up. And I loved every depraved page of it. And the set up for the next one? HOLY SHIT!!!

So if you like your book dark as hell, sizzling enough to set ovaries on fire, and fucked up enough to make you uncomfy while reading it? READ THIS FUCKING BOOK.

That is all. I’m now off to calm my tits. And I thank you,

Review: Saint by Sierra Simone

SAINT
Series:
Priest #3
Genre: Contemporary, Forbidden Romance
Author: Sierra Simone
Release Date:
September 7,  2021

 

I can’t have Elijah Iverson.

I can’t have him because he’s my older brother’s best friend. I can’t have him because I broke his heart five years ago; because he’s now engaged to someone else—someone kind and dependable who deserves his whiskey eyes, his soft mouth, his fierce intellect.

I can’t have Elijah because I’ve chosen God instead.

The Bell brothers, though . . . well, we don’t exactly have the greatest track record with vows. But I’m determined to do this monk thing right—to pledge myself to a cloistered life and spend the rest of my years in chastity and prayer. But now Elijah’s here. He’s here and he’s coming with me on my European monastery road trip, and between the whispered confessions and the stolen kisses and the moments bent over an ancient altar, my vows are feeling flimsier by the day.

And vows or not, I know in my heart that it would take more than a good and holy monk to resist Elijah Iverson right now. It would take a saint.

And we all know that I’m no saint.

(This is the third full-length standalone in the Priest Collection, featuring Father Bell’s brother, Aiden Bell. You do not have to read Priest or Sinner to read Saint.)

AMAZON

I can’t stop the tender shoots and slender, seeking roots of him, and I am his garden, his soil, his place, and it would be wonderful if I wasn’t supposed to be the garden of my god instead.

I live for the Bell siblings. We’ve met Tyler Bell, the priest. We’ve met manwhore extraordinaire, Sean Bell who fell for a nun and his best friend’s younger sister. And now it’s Aiden’s turn. If you’ve read the previous two books, then you remember Aiden is the wild younger sibling. And if you’ve read Sinner, then you’d also remember the shocker of learning that he’s been having a secret affair with his brother’s best friend. That was definitely a delicious plot twist when I read it.

And now we meet Aiden Bell five years later, as a monk but also a man that never got over the love of his life.

Aiden,” he says softly, and I relish hearing my secular name from him, because it was the name that belonged to him, to his lips and thoughts and even his fingers when he was scolding or flirting over text or email.

If you’ve read anything by Sierra Simone than you know this author’s incredible ability to pack a heck of an emotional story that’s interwoven into scorching romance. This book was no different. The sexual charge between Aiden and Elijah is woven into every page, especially because it’s forbidden. Elijah may have loved Aiden once and had his heart broken by him, but he’s now an engaged man. And Aiden has given himself to god.

It was clear the amount of research that Sierra put into this book with her detailed story telling. However, I also felt like parts of the book did drag a bit for me and had a little more detail than needed. I found myself skimming a bit about midway through the book.

The romance, in typical Sierra Simone fashion, was EVERYTHING. It was packed with emotion, it was erotic, it was sensual, it was beautiful, and it was so satisfying. I found myself hurting with them. I found myself grieving their relationship with them. And I found myself loving with them.

This was easily my favorite book in the series so far. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, prepared me for the twist and reveal at the end. And now I’m desperately hoping that we get a certain someone’s book next because OMG!!

Sierra Simone is a USA Today Bestselling former librarian (who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk.) She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City

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Review: Distorted by Nyla K

DISTORTED
Series: Alabaster Penitentiary #1
Genre: Dark, MM Romance
Author: Nyla K
Release Date: March 18,  2021

This is Alabaster Penitentiary…
Where they send you when the world thinks you’re dead. And trust me, you’ll wish you were.
We’re the stain on society. The freaks, the creeps, your favorite Netflix documentaries come to life.
They lock us up and throw away the key, because we deserve it.
But not me. I’m just a lowly bank robber. I don’t belong here, surrounded by psychopaths and killers with no remorse… At least, I don’t think I do.
Getting by unscathed is my top priority. Unfortunately for me and my fellow prisoners, those in charge are more dangerous than we are.
You see, the guards run the show, and I seem to have caught the attention of the most twisted one.
He has a name, but it might as well be Officer. We move around one another like a sun and a moon, revolving in an axis of confused lust and torment until the truth is distorted, and the thing I once feared becomes that which I crave; my vile addiction, somehow so exquisite.
Reality warps in the dungeon, and I’m left wondering which prison is worse… the one holding my body, or my mind.

**Distorted is the first book in the Alabaster Penitentiary series. It is a full M/M romance, with HEA. Each book in this series is technically a standalone, though they are interconnected, so it will be recommended to read in order, as references to this story will be made in future books.

Distorted is intended for mature audiences and open-minded readers ONLY! If you prefer the same old story, this book won’t be for you. This story is dark, probably darker for some than others, so please proceed with caution, and if you’re easily triggered, steer clear.

AMAZON

If you’re stuck in Hell for eternity, it’d be wise not to poke the Devil.”

Oh.
MY.
GOD.

What in the ever loving hell did I just read? Why am I only now discovering this author? And how the hell are more of you not reading her?

Because holy hell. HOLY HELL Y’ALL!!!!

First of all, if you like a dark, taboo MM read with an epic mind fuck thrown in, READ THIS BOOK!
Oh my god! Why are you not running to grab this immediately?
I’m about to go violent recommendation on all of your asses here, people! DO IT!

But I digress. First of all, I’m seriously kicking myself for not discovering this author sooner and super grateful to my lovely friend Francis for telling me she’d be right up my alley. And being a huge lover of all things dark and twisted, I couldn’t agree more. This was one of the most epic mind fucks I’ve read in a long while, and I’m already desperate for my next hit in this series. But I digress.

This book. THIS BOOK. A convict falling for a prison guard with plenty of dub con thrown in. GAH. Be still my heart. I can actually feel my ovaries fluttering. But I digress again.

Dash is the furthest thing from normal as you can get. He has his issues and plenty of them and he’s no stranger to criminal activities. But one risky robbery finally lands him in prison, and it’s a hell unlike any other, reserved for the worst of humanity, and he’s convinced it’s a mistake. As days begin to bleed together, the one sanity that he realizes he has, is his personal tormentor who he knows only as Officer.

Now let me tell you guys, this book is dark. Like seriously DARK, okay. There’s triggers for a good reason, so if you’re sensitive to those things, you’ve been warned. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s twisted. It’s perverse. It’s DELICIOUS. What else it is, is completely unputdownable. It’s 450+ pages of unpredictable story with a romance so delicious, you don’t even see it coming. To say I’m hooked on this series is an understatement. This series is crack and Nyla K just became my favorite dealer.

Spotlight, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway: On The Wings of War by Hailey Turner

On the Wings of War by
Author:
Hailey Turner
Series: Soulbound V
Release Date: Print & ebook – September 2, 2020
Length: 109,151 words
Subgenre: LGBTQ Urban Fantasy

Remembering the dead will always give them life.

The coveted Morrígan’s staff is up for sale on the black market to the highest bidder, and SOA Special Agent Patrick Collins will do whatever it takes to ensure the Dominion Sect doesn’t get their hands on it. Returning the weapon to its rightful owner is another step on the long road toward clearing Patrick’s soul debt, but he won’t walk it alone. Jonothon de Vere won’t let him.

Obeying the gods means Patrick must travel to London. For Jono, it means facing a past he thought he’d left behind forever. His return to England isn’t welcome, and neither is their pack, but Jono and Patrick will face the antagonism together. Politics aside, their priority must be the mission, but the bone-chilling secret they uncover in the London god pack will have far-reaching repercussions no one can ignore.

A race against time takes Patrick and Jono from the streets of London to the bright lights of Paris, where hospitality is thin on the ground, the air is filled with whispered prayers for the missing, and the Morrígan’s staff will end up in the one place it should never have gone—a graveyard.

For beneath Paris lie the long-forgotten dead, and when they rise to walk again, the living can only hope to die.

On the Wings of War is a 109k word m/m urban fantasy with a gay romantic subplot and a HFN ending. It is a direct sequel to A Vigil in the Mourning. Reading the first book in the series would be helpful in enjoying this one.

About On the Wings of War by Hailey Turner: This is an exciting sequel that builds on the series plot and makes readers keep wanting more!

AMAZON | AUTHOR SITE

A loud knock on their hotel room door had Jono opening it after Patrick dropped his wards and indicated it was okay. Wade wrinkled his nose in greeting, then held up a stolen bottle of air freshener.“I came prepared,” Wade said, brandishing the bottle at him.

Jono rolled his eyes. “Don’t be rude to housekeeping. Put that back where you found it.”

“I need it more than they do right now.”

“You spray our room, I’m dumping all your snacks in the trash,” Patrick threatened as he finished knotting his tie.

Wade gasped loudly before narrowing his eyes. “You wouldn’t.”

Jono snagged the bottle of air freshener from him. “Where’s Sage?”

“We were gonna wait for you guys downstairs, but she sent me back up because there’s an asshole waiting for you.”

Jono tossed the bottle of air freshener into the hotel room, not caring where it landed. “Who?”

“That Bryson guy.”

Patrick swore and went to grab his suit jacket from the wardrobe. “What the fuck does he want now?”

“Uh, breakfast? Like me? Sage said our table is ready, and I’m hungry.”

Patrick looked fit to murder someone, but he didn’t raise his shields. Jono could still smell him—the underlying bitterness that was Patrick’s own scent, along with the scent of them together and the pack on its own. The mix was better than any cologne on the market as far as Jono was concerned.

“Let’s go,” Patrick ordered.

Jono let him leave first, enjoying the view of Patrick from behind. The suit was decently tailored and fit him well, and it wasn’t every day Jono got to see him clean up nice. Jono figured Nadine probably had a hand in it at some point since it was reasonably on trend.

He let the door close and latch behind him before hurrying after Patrick and Wade. They took the lift down, exiting into the lobby. Sage stood near one of the chaise lounges, dressed casually, with a tote bag on her shoulder. Bryson stood a meter away from her, hands at his sides, not showing throat but not looking like he wanted to fight.

They strode across the lobby, and Jono watched as Bryson turned his head to look at them, eyes hidden behind sunglasses. Beyond the hotel’s sliding glass front doors, it looked as if the sun from yesterday had been swallowed by clouds.

“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t knock your ass into the street?” Patrick demanded in a low voice once they got within arm’s reach, mindful of the front desk workers nearby.

“Because it would go against pass-through rights when I’m not here to fight,” Bryson drawled. He sniffed unsubtly, jaw twitching a little from whatever he was picking up from Patrick.

“Your attitude leaves much to be desired. How many of you have been ordered to spy on us?” Sage said.

Bryson’s mouth twisted a little before he shook his head. “I came by for a chat and to check up on you lot.”

“You mean you came to spy.”

Bryson shrugged expansively, the smile on his face brittle. “Are you surprised? You left an impression.”

“We could leave another one,” Patrick said, one hand in a fist.

 

Hailey Turner is big city girl who spoils her cats rotten and has a demanding day job that she loves, but not as much as she loves writing. She’s been writing since she was a young child and enjoys reading almost as much as creating a new story.

Connect with Hailey Turner:

Newsletter: You can keep up with Hailey’s future projects by joining her newsletter, where you can instantly download several free short stories: http://bit.ly/HaileyTurnerNews

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Giveaway: to celebrate the release of On the Wings of War by Hailey Turner, we are giving away three e-books to kindle email addresses from Hailey Turner’s back catalogue. Open internationally, must be 18 to enter and win.

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Review: Missing In Action by Kate Canterbary

MISSING IN ACTION
Genre: MM Romance
Author: Kate Canterbary
Release Date: March 30, 2020

Former Navy SEAL turned covert agent Wes Halsted spent his days—and weeks and months—being someone else. But with his cover blown and his injuries requiring months of recuperation, he must learn how to be himself again.

Only…he’d rather save his issues for another day and get to know a stressed-out, suited-up businessman instead.

Tom Esbeck has everything under control. Meal plans, workout plans, project plans, five-year plans. A plan for everything and everything according to plan.

Except there’s no plan for a surprise—and shirtless—encounter with the built-for-sin spy he’d crushed on years ago.

But crushes—and spies—burn out fast.

MISSING IN ACTION is a full-length steamy contemporary romance standalone with strong ties to the Walsh Series.

AMAZON 

I want to be the man who gets to love you …
I want that job. I want the right to call you mine and I want to be yours, and I want to do this with you.”

If you’re a fan of character driven romance, this one is truly cream of the crop. This is only my second book by Kate, but I can safely say that the woman knows how to write some of the most multilayered characters I’ve ever read.

Wes is a covert agent who’s currently recovering from an almost lethal injury after his op went bad. His job is all he’s ever known. He’s used to the shadows and the secrecy that comes with his daily life, and now being normal is a struggle. Being around his happily married and meddling brother is another struggle. But worst of all, it’s his sister in law’s incredibly handsome business associate that’s the problem, because he wants him beyond reason.

Tom is the definition of buttoned up. His life is all about order, where Wes is pure chaos. Tom has everything planned from his days to his meals, and he doesn’t deviate. Their attraction is instant, and their connection is the definition of opposites attracting. The story is a slow burn romance that peels back the layers on both of these characters, and they have many layers. Tom may be all about order in his life, but that doesn’t mean his life has been perfect. How can he be with a man that makes it clear he has no intention of staying? Wes is a man that’s struggling with what his new normal may be when he comes to terms that his covert career may be blown to smithereens.

I really enjoyed the story, though admittedly, I did skim a bit through parts. I like a good character driven story, but I was bored in some parts. Luckily the story does come together beautifully, and I can happily say that I enjoyed it quite a bit,

Review: Hook by Gina L. Maxwell

HOOK
Series:
Neverland #2
Genre: MM Romance
Author: Gina L. Maxwell
Release Date: October 29, 2019

Journey back to Neverland, NC with NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Gina L. Maxwell as she turns your favorite villain into the hero you never knew you needed.

THEY CALL ME HOOK

I’m Captain of the Pirates; a villain by design and a loner by nature.

I don’t need anyone. More than that, I don’t want anyone. Especially Officer John Darling who insists on seeing the good in everything, including me. If there was ever any good inside of me, it was snuffed out long ago.

I’ve avoided him for years, but now I need his help to save my brother’s life and take down Fred Croc, the monster from my childhood and my current employer.

Now Darling is undercover in my crew, living in my loft and forever working out shirtless. Taking Croc’s operation down from the inside is dangerous as hell, but Darling’s probing gaze and the natural way he defers to my dominant side might just be the end of me.

But I’ve lived in the dark for too long, and no amount of light can save me. Not even one as bright as Johnathan Darling.

HE CALLS ME DARLING

I’m a Task Force Officer with the FBI; a protector of the innocent and a man in love with a villain.

Before I was even old enough to understand it, I had a crush on the broody teen called Captain Hook, following him around like a puppy and hoping he’d show me the slightest bit of attention.

He never did, though, not for years. Not until I became his only viable option for getting his crew member back and throwing Croc behind bars. Now he can’t ignore me, and he can’t hide the desire burning in his eyes when I sink to my knees, eager to serve my Captain however he needs.

But secrets are hard to keep in close quarters, and when I discover the darkness lurking in his past, eradicating the evil in Neverland is no longer my only mission. Come hell or high water, I’ll make Hook see that he’s never been the villain of this story…he’s the hero.

*Trigger Warning for readers sensitive to characters with sexual assault in their pasts. Please read the Author’s Note in the beginning of the book for more details.

AMAZON

He is my Captain. And for as long as he’ll have me, I am his.

If you know me or follow my reviews, than you already know just how much I love a good tortured hero. And let me tell you, it doesn’t get more tortured than James Hook. The man is tortured personified. He’s utterly broken in the most captivating way. The second he appeared on the pages of Pan, he stole the show, and I was counting down the days until I could get my hands on his story. I’ve read a few modern fairytale retellings, and I’ll say that this one stays pretty darn close to the details. I especially love the way that Gina incorporates little pieces of Peter Pan into this book. From the evil crime boss, Fred Croc, to his loudly ticking pocket watch, everything came together flawlessly.

Hook is the Captain, or essentially the boss of his merry band of bandits or pirates as he calls them. In order to save his little brother from the evil clutches of Croc, he made a deal with the devil, at the expense of his soul. From the very first, you know there’s something darker to Hook’s history, and while the author alludes to it in the first book, she throws you into the deep end of his painful past in this one. Hook is a man that you can’t help but love. You know that his callousness and hard exterior hides the soft heart of a wounded man that’s never known affection. Hook has known nothing but suffering, but he’ll take it ten times over in order to spare the others and his brother especially.

John Darling is a cop that has been crushing on Hook ever since they were boys and he followed his sister sneaking to the School of Lost Boys to see Pan. Now he’s a grown man and understands that the child’s crush he had runs much deeper. John is determined to bring Croc’s operation down, and he’s not above maneuvering Hook in order to set up his cover as his new pirate.

Now full disclosure, Gina does make a foreword letting the reader know to suspend your disbelief when it comes to procedural details of this book. I didn’t have any problems with that. But I did have one asshole reader moment over a detail that plagued me for the entire book. You have a cop working with the FBI that goes undercover to catch a ruthless crime boss, and he uses fake tattoos. Like the stuff that can flake off when he gets into a fight or sweats or showers. And try as I might, I just couldn’t get past it. I’m sorry, okay?! I love Gina’s words, but the struggle was real here. I was on the struggle bus for the entire undercover gig. I just couldn’t with this detail. I’m an asshole when it comes to certain details, and this just ate at me. Le sigh.

Having said that, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book. The story that we get here is a beautifully and gripping, emotional and oh so steamy. Darling and Hook set the pages on fire with their chemistry. I absolutely loved them together. Gina treads the line of darkness by giving the reader just enough details of Hook’s past to build a devastating feel for why he is the way he is, without getting into the super gory details. She doesn’t spare your heart strings, though, and plays those like a violin. My whole heart!!!

I fell so hard for John and Hook’s story and romance and couldn’t get enough of them. I absolutely adored their road to a HEA and couldn’t have dreamed a better ending and epilogue. I’m so hooked on this series (see what I did there? *snorts*) and can’t wait for more!

Review: Heat Stroke by Tessa Bailey

HEAT STROKE
Genre: Contemporary, MM Romance
Series: Beach Kingdom #2
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date:  March 16, 2019

Marcus “Diesel” O’Shaughnessy is a brash, oversized CrossFit enthusiast with a naked lady tattooed on his rippling forearm. Jamie Prince is a private school teacher with an extremely low tolerance for bullshit. The two men have zero in common. Well, except for three things.

They’re both moonlighting as lifeguards for the summer.
No matter how hard they try, they cannot stay away from each other.
And both of them have secrets they’re determined to keep.

But what happens in the shadows of the Long Beach boardwalk can only remain hidden for so long, before the July sunshine reveals the hot, unrelenting connection they never expected, forcing Marcus and Jamie to decide if they’re simply caught up in a temporary heat stroke or if they’ve found something worth rescuing…

AMAZON

Christ, he loved when Jamie ordered him around…

I will never, and I mean ever, get enough of Tessa Bailey’s brand of sexy. The woman can write a romance with sizzling chemistry, witty banter, humor and her signature dirty talk like no one’s business. And I’m currently on cloud 9 after finishing this book. I thought I loved Mouth to Mouth, but man oh man, I wasn’t prepared for the level of obsession I was about to get with this one. GAH!

Heat Stroke brings us the straight laced Prince brother who moonlights as a lifeguard in his family’s business when he’s not teaching at a private school. Jamie is reserved and private, and the exact opposite of resident loud mouth, Marcus “Diesel” O’Shaughnessy. They are polar opposites in every possible way. Jamie is studious and smart, where Marcus struggled with everything school related. Jamie is reserved, where Marcus is as in your face as they get. Jamie is straight laced, where Marcus is the gym hopping muscle guy who is constantly underestimated.

Marcus O’Shaughnessy wasn’t scared of anything. He was six foot four and he could probably bench press a medium-sized gorilla.

But most importantly, Jamie is gay, and Marcus is…confused.

First of all, while this is a standalone, there are some things that carry over from the first book. The main thing is the dynamic between the brothers and the events that led to his younger brother’s arrest and what inevitably changed everything for Jamie. The relationship between Jamie and Marcus all happens on the pages of this book. What I’m saying is, I highly recommend you read the first book for a truly enjoyable experience.

As for this book? I loved it, y’all. I loved that Marcus was essentially a big ole’ sweetheart that just needs someone to believe in him. And I loved that straight laced Jamie is the exact opposite in the bedroom. The man is BOSSY. Raaarrrrrr!

But beyond the obvious sexiness of the book, I adored Marcus and Jamie’s road to HEA. I loved watching Marcus come to understand his feelings for Jamie and what it means. I loved watching him come to terms with who he is and I loved the way he handles it all. But most of all, I loved seeing just how much this mountain of a man cares for Jamie. He’s an adorably bumbling goof at times, but he also has a heard of gold. And while he may be a loud mouth, he’s not all talk. Marcus was easily one of my favorite parts of this book. I couldn’t get enough of him.

I devoured this book in one delicious sitting and couldn’t put it down for even a second. I’m in love with the Prince brothers, and I’m already itching to get my hands on Andrew’s story.

Heat Stroke was everything I’ve come to expect from the queen of dirty talk, and so much more. It was emotional, humorous, and totally and completely addicting. I absolutely adored it!

Review: Riven by Roan Parrish

RIVEN
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Author: Roan Parrish
Release Date: May 29, 2018

Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

AMAZON

He was lust and heat and power and I fucking loved it.

Have you ever read a book for the cover alone? What? Now don’t look at me like that. Have you seen this cover? There’s just something about it that’s utterly magnetic. It lures you in. And then you read the blurb, and INSTANT HOOK!

This was my second book by Roan Parrish and I’m definitely a fan. Riven is an emotional, character driven story that was as gripping as it was raw. Now normally, I don’t really enjoy a romance where the main characters hook up in less than 20% of the book. But that’s what happened when Theo first stumbles onto Caleb. The unwilling rockstar that’s trying to escape his reality meets a brooding recovering addict and sparks fly immediately. After no more than some conversation over their love of music and a romantic walk, they fall into bed together. But yet somehow it totally worked in this story.

The chemistry between Theo and Caleb may have been instant, but it also progresses over the course of their courtship. Caleb struggles daily with his sobriety. He was such an endearingly imperfect character. This is a man that’s as far from perfect as it gets, and he knows it. After several failed stints in rehab, he hopes his third will be the charm. Cutting himself off fully from his previous life is the only way he sees of serving sobriety this time around. And Theo and his fame threatens everything he’s worked so hard for.

Theo was absolutely adorable. There was something so vulnerable about him that you can’t help but fall for him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and his emotions all over his face. He’s one of the most genuine characters I’ve read in a long while. His fame is still a shock to him and something he struggles with. He loves music, but hates the notoriety that has come with it and the weird vibe that he seems to have with his bandmates. Caleb is his escape from his own gloom reality.

Theo had burrowed deeper than I’d realized, dug barbs into me. And when he’d ripped away—when I’d pushed him away—it had felt like they all tore loose at once.

This was a bit slower paced than I normally like, but it still worked for me. I loved the characters, and I absolutely loved the story. It may not have been my normal cuppa, but it was one I enjoyed from beginning to finish. Caleb and Theo were adorable together and oh so sexy. If you’re looking for an emotionally charged, character driven story, this is a definite must read.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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