Review: Descent by Natasha Knight

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

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

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

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

I didn’t know it then, but I do now.

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

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

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

And maybe I’ll keep her.

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

AMAZON

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Twisted Hearts by Cora Reilly

TWISTED HEARTS
Series: The Camorra Chronicles #5
Genre: Dark Romance, Mafia
Author: Cora Reilly
Release Date: January 7, 2020

Savio Falcone has a few non-negotiable rules when it comes to girls.
They need to be hot as f*ck.
Spread their legs without much prompting.
And leave as soon as the fun is over. Preferably minus any bitching or tears.
With his easy-going bad boy attitude, a last name that rules over Las Vegas and a body to die for, girls have always been at Savio’s disposal.
Unfortunately, the hottest girl in Vegas comes with a price Savio isn’t willing to pay. For Savio to get Gemma he’d need to seal the deal and put a ring on her finger. Settling down is out of the question, no matter how hot a piece of ass waits at the altar.
Gemma Bazzoli has had a crush on Savio from the first moment she came face to face with his arrogant smile, but for him she was always his best friend’s annoying little sister—until her hard-earned curves catch even his attention.
But Savio likes it easy, and Gemma is anything but. When she’s promised to another man, Gemma resigns herself to the fact that the man she’s wanted all her life, doesn’t want her badly enough.
Savio has to decide how much work he’s willing to invest, because bending the rules in his usual style might not be enough to get the girl that haunts his wet dreams.
– Can be read as a standalone-

AMAZON

Gemma was the hottest girl in the city and didn’t even realize it. She was the girl I wanted most and couldn’t have.

Ever finish a book and you struggled to feel any which way about it? This was that book for me. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. It was something of that middle of the road story that I don’t enjoyed reading, but also would never be something I’d come back to either. Does that even make sense? I hope it does, because there’s no better way for me to describe how I felt about Twisted Hearts.

I love mafia romance. I love unconventional love stories with imperfect characters that make their fair share of mistakes. And it just doesn’t get more imperfect than womanizing Savio. Savio and Gemma have known each other since they were kids. Savio was Gemma’s older brother’s friend and a boy that she crushed had on. Her crush was so obvious and at times desperate when she was a teen, that it was almost uncomfortable to read at times, admittedly. Luckily, she doesn’t carry that into adulthood either. Gemma lives in a highly traditional world of old-world mafia family where the women are kept innocent and naive and marriages are a contract and not of love. That doesn’t stop her from hoping beyond hope that Savio will ask for her, since his family is one of the most powerful business alliances her father can make. But Savio is much too concerned with sowing his wild oats with every single available woman out there to even think of marriage. That is, until Gemma is promised to another.

Now I loved the fact that the author stayed true to her character with Savio and didn’t have him turning a complete 180 the second he decides he wants Gemma. He’s not a perfect character and I loved that about him. What didn’t gel for me was the lack of everything else outside of the back and forth he and Gemma go through. The world, the suspense, the story all kind of fell sideways and got lost in the frustrating back and forth of I want you but I can’t have you and I’ll have you but won’t give you all of me. It started off so strong and then all just sort of fizzled for me. I was skimming parts and growing more bored with each page. And while Gemma did grow a backbone in her adulthood, I did also found myself wishing that she made Savio work for it in a different way than she did. Although, I do respect the hell out of her for the way she did handle their relationship.

Ultimately, the romance just didn’t grab me. I didn’t fully buy into it and I just didn’t love Gemma and Savio. They were entertaining, sure, but just not memorable characters for me. Did I enjoy the book? Sure. Most definitely. Was I glued to the pages reading it? Not really. A fun read, but ultimately not an entirely memorable one. But hey, different strokes for different folks right? Give it a read and judge for yourself.

Review: The Maddest Obsession by Danielle Lori

THE MADDEST OBSESSION
Series: Made #2
Genre: Contemporary, Mafia Romance
Author: Danielle Lori
Release Date: April 15, 2019

She fears the dark.
He rules it.

Her dresses are too tight, her heels too tall. She laughs too loudly, eats without decorum, and mixes up most sayings in the book. Little do most know it’s just a sparkly disguise, there to hide one panic attack at a time.

Nobody can crack Gianna’s facade . . . no one anyway, until hecomes along.

Most see a paragon of morality; a special agent upholding the law. In the New York underworld, others know him as a hustler, a killer, his nature as cold as the heart of ice in his chest. Christian Allister has always followed the life plan he’d envisioned in his youth, beneath the harsh lights of a frigid, damp cell. With a proclivity for order and the number three, he’s never been tempted to veer off course. But perhaps one should never say never . . .

One winter night and their lives intertwine. She hates him—his stone-cold demeanor, his arrogance and too-perceptive eye—but over the years, even as their games consist of insulting each other’s looks and intelligence, she begins to live to play with him.

Nowhere in Christian’s plans had he ever prepared for Gianna. She’s chaos embodied, not his type, and married, but none of that can stop his eyes from following her wherever she goes.

All along, she doesn’t even know that she’s his—his frustration, his fascination.

His maddest obsession.

AMAZON

If you ran, Gianna . . .” The words were malicious yet somehow as soft and desperate as sex in a war-torn field. He pressed his lips to my ear. “I would find you.”

Where has this book been all my life?!!!! I’m talking about all of my favorite book crack in one story here, people! And it’s amazingly written. And it’s set in a world that I can’t get enough of. And it had Russian that was 100% correct. So for me, this was the holy grail of reads. Because let’s be honest here, I’m a ridiculously picky shit when it comes to Russian in books. But I digress.

Now I thought that I loved The Sweetest Oblivion, but nothing could prepare me for how obsessed I was going to be with this book. Ha! See what I did there? Ok, that was weak, but whatever. You see where I’m going here. The Maddest Obsession was addictive, enrapturing, and all consuming. One of those stories that you read that stay with you.

His eyes were what nightmares were made of, ice and fire, and filled with secrets no one wanted to know. He could only pass as normal because of his too-handsome face—otherwise, he’d be locked up somewhere, the world seeing him for what he really was.

A story with characters that are so vivid and unique, that they’re impossible to forget. And Gianna and Christian were definitely impossible to forget.

We all searched for strength in life. Unfortunately, mine just happened to lie at the end of a line of powder.

First of all, I highly recommend that you read The Sweetest Oblivion first. There are parts of the story here that run parallel to the events in the first one that are spoilers. You would certainly have a better appreciation for all the characters, if you read the series in order.

I was making a deal with the devil. And I couldn’t even find the grace to save myself.

If you read book one, then you definitely remember Gianna. Gianna grew up in the mafia life, and as such, she’s certainly been quickly broken of her innocence and nativity. She used to be Nico’s stepmother, while young enough to be his sister. Her husband’s infidelity and inability to care for anyone other than himself has ultimately broken her. She’s disillusioned by life and her role in it, and finds her oblivion in the additional hit of coke. But in her world, you don’t marry for love, and she’ll never put her heart on the line again.

He was cool, icy control. But something burned hot beneath the surface. Something shrouded by ice for so long. I wanted to watch it melt. To unravel him until I understood every layer. I knew it was dangerous. I even knew I wouldn’t win. But sometimes, even the best gambler doesn’t know when to quit.

If you thought Nico was intense, nothing can prepare you for the full effect of Christian. The man is a dark enigma. He’s cruelty and obsession all wrapped in one of the most deceptively handsome packages. A crooked fed that’s a law onto himself. He takes orders from no one, not the FBI, not the mob, and definitely not women. He has a rule of three when it comes to his lovers, and no one has ever tempted him to break his icy control.

It’s immediate sparks when Gianna first notices Christian. Their story spans many years, from her first husband to ultimately her second. Their relationship is complex game of cat and mouse, chock full of sexual tension, and witty barbs. They hate each other, seemingly. But beneath the glares and insults, there brews something intense and fiery.

I loved this story beyond words. Gianna was such a broken and imperfect heroine, and I couldn’t get enough of her. She may appear broken, but she has the heart of a lioness. She’s smart, strong, and gives as good as she takes. The woman has been through hell and back in her young life, but she doesn’t let it break her. She’s just shattered in parts.

Christian was just….GAH. My god. The man was everything. Intensity oozes from his every pore, almost as much as his sexuality does. And the two of them together? Sweet mother of all that’s holy. They’re incendiary.

The story was twisty, dark, and full of grit. It was a page turner, edge of your seat sort of read that I couldn’t bear to put down for even a second. This is a book that I would recommend for all mafia romance lovers out there. If you haven’t been introduced to Danielle Lori’s brand of awesome, you’re definitely missing out.

Review: Damage by Natasha Knight

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

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

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

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

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

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

He takes care of what’s his.

And I am his.

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

AMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N | KOBO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I do.

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

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

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

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

Connect w/Natasha:

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New Release & Review: Collateral by Natasha Knight

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

Gabriela

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

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

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

He’s come to make good on his promise.

He’s back to take that something precious.

Me.

Stefan

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

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

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

And she is most definitely mine.

AMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N | KOBO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect w/Natasha:

Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon | NL Signup

 

Review: A Cruel Love by SM Soto

A CRUEL LOVE
Genre: Dark Romance, Mafia
Author: SM Soto
Release Date: May 9, 2019

As a hitman for hire, Percivale is no stranger to violence.
From the moment he saw Blossom Jaymes through the window of her bakery, he knew he was in too deep. Not only was she as sweet as her perfectly crafted treats, but she was a soft-spoken, golden-haired angel that shone like a bright beacon in his dark world. And Percivale didn’t deal in angels. He dealt in death and crime. The even bigger issue? Percivale’s next hit is on said sweet little baker who doesn’t seem to realize how much danger lurks around her with each passing day.
If he doesn’t get the job done, who will?

When Percivale has to decide what’s more important to him—the life of a woman who may very well be innocent or getting his revenge on the men who murdered his family—the lines become blurred. Morals are twisted and a deathly chase ensues that can only result in one thing—Blossom buried six feet under.

Or can it?

Can Percivale let his lust for revenge go in order to save Blossom from the bounty on her head, or will the power she unknowingly holds over him be what gets her killed?

AMAZON

I’m going to enjoy breaking you, Blossom. Piece by fucking piece”

I hate myself a little right now as I write this review. Because here’s the thing; I really REALLY wanted to lovethis book. The blurb and the cover hooked my attention right away, and I was SO ready for a gritty and dark mafia romance. Sadly, that’s not what I got. And you know what? It seriously sucks being the black sheep that didn’t enjoy a book that so many others clearly did. Le sigh.

Now look, if you haven’t read very many mafia or even dark romance books before, I have a feeling you’ll really enjoy this. As for me? I’ve read enough to be extremely picky. And A Cruel Love was rough for me from start to finish. My first clue should have been that I had no problem putting it down. As a matter of fact, I stopped reading it at 5% originally. Then I picked it back up and stopped at 30%. Then I decided to try and power through it, while that annoying inner voice of mine kept screaming “I told you so” the entire freaking time.

The story and the characters were one giant cliche after another. None of it made sense to me. The characterization was so inconsistent that it made my head spin. Here you have a mousy, introverted, scared out of her whits heroine that gets kidnapped by a stranger after shooting a man that tried to rape her point blank in the head in front of her. Said man is also a mafia hit man that was sent by his boss to kill her because she’s been asking too many questions about her missing (actually now dead) neighbor. So this heroine then goes from crying hysterically, trying to make a run for it, being threatened to die by our hero at every turn, crying hysterically, having odd sassy outbursts that revert just as suddenly back to her crying outbursts, to lecturing the man threatening to kill her about his motel room choices and second hand smoke.
Oh and through all this, and Percivale’s constant hot and cold behavior, cruel treatment of her, shackling her to the bed and leaving her for hours on end, and constant reminders that he’ll kill her if she so much as steps out of line, she still can’t help but be sexually drawn to him. I just didn’t buy it. Here’s a woman that’s basically been shying away from anything sexual since a terrible assault in high school, yet a man that’s killed several people in cold blood in front her get her engine revving.

Through all this, Percivale’s characterization is incredibly inconsistent as well. I couldn’t help but feel he was just one giant dark romance cliche. The constant cigarette smoking, the smirks, the reminders of his cruelty and darkness. And then he also discloses to Blossom what happened to his family years ago to make him into who he is today. At a point of the story where it made absolutely ZERO sense for him to disclose such a hugely personal and private detail. He also uses the term “seed”. *shudders* I didn’t buy the reasons for the hit on Blossom. It was weak and hard to believe. I also struggled to connect to them as a couple since I feel like that wasn’t as developed as it could be. It struck me as being very sudden.

There’s too much necessarily obvious descriptions when it comes to the darkness of this book. Like this:

We’re the Cavalieri Della Morte. We surround ourselves with danger, and we’re all the same, violent and deadly.”

And way too many things that are so far out of the realm of believability that I struggled to keep reading. Like a point of the story where Percivale gets stabbed in the stomach and then proceeds to fight in 5 back to back fights to the death. I mean….yeah.

I get that it’s fiction and I should suspend my disbelief somewhat. But there still has to be a hint of SOME believability for me to buy it and connect to it. And sadly this book skated on the skirts of it until finally skating right out of the rink entirely.

The characters were such extremes that it felt cliche. The sweet, somewhat innocent, good heroine that lectures a hit man about second hand smoke and hasn’t seen the right end of a razor in her female area for years. The extremely dark, super violent and cruel hitman with a penchant for chain smoking. It was all just too much for this reader.

I wanted to love this book, guys. I really, really did. But sadly, I’m just way too picky when it comes to my mafia and dark romances, that I spent the majority of the book picking apart almost everything. It’s a problem. I know. But I just couldn’t help myself.

Do I think the majority of readers would enjoy this book? Absolutely. I’m just a picky asshole here. Clearly. So take what I said with a grain of salt and read it and judge for yourself.

Review: Bad Saint by Monica James

BAD SAINT
Series: All The Pretty Things Trilogy #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Monica James
Release Date: May 6, 2019

I was kidnapped on my honeymoon by three masked men.

Blindfolded.
Bound.
Destination unknown.

I was told to stay silent and abide by their rules. But they didn’t realize I wasn’t a victim…not anymore.

The open sea was my backdrop for nine torturous days. During that time, glimmers of my fate were revealed by a man with the mysterious chartreuse-colored eyes. He should have scared me, but he didn’t.

He intrigued me. And I intrigued him.

He punished me when I didn’t listen, which was every single day. But beneath his cruelty, I sensed he was guarding a grave secret.

I was sold.
And in a game of poker, no less.

My buyer? A Russian mobster who likes to collect pretty things. Now that I know the truth, I only have one choice.

Sink or swim.

And when one fateful night presents me the opportunity, I take it. I just never anticipated my actions would leave me shipwrecked with my kidnapper.

He needs me alive. I want him dead.

But as days turn into weeks, one thing becomes clear—I should hate him…but I don’t.

My name is Willow.
His name is Saint.

Ironic, isn’t it? He bears a name that denotes nothing but holiness yet delivers nothing but hell. However, if this is hell on earth…God, save my soul.

AMAZON 

He’s leading a lamb to the slaughter, but the one thing he doesn’t realize…is that I’m not a lamb. And I never will be.

Alright. Accountability time. Why have those of you that knew that I’ve never read a Monica James book not slapped me upside the head with one of her books yet? hmm? You should be ashamed of yourselves! Ashamed, I tells ya! Because this girl? Is currently kicking her own ass for only now discovering this author.

Let’s be real here. The mere second that I laid my eyes on that blurb and this cover, I knew this would be my first Monica James book. I’m a sucker for a dark romance. But add in a good captive scenario and stick a fork in me. I’m done!

Having never read this author, I had no idea what to expect from this book. I know that I tend to be ridiculously picky when it comes to dark romance and I was a little nervous with reading it from a new to me author. But my worries soon floated away on the waves of emotion that this story brought! Holy…WOW.

While you spend the majority of the book in Willow’s head, you also get an incredibly unique glimpse of Saint. And let me just tell you, friends, you will be frothing at the mouth for this man. He’s an incredible enigma of violence and hidden pain. Everything about him is shrouded in mystery and you’re utterly desperate to peel back all of his many layers and get an answer for the million questions that will be running through your head as you turn the pages.

I need the darkness to survive. It’s the only way I can live with what I’ve done.”

If you’re like me, and like your heroines to be fierce fighters that don’t give up in even the most dire of circumstances, you’re going to love Willow. Here’s a woman that gets kidnapped on her wedding night, thrown on a boat, threatened within an inch of her life, and told she’s going to be the property of some cruel Russian mobster, yet she never stops fighting. The more you learn about the puzzle pieces that led to her current picture, the more desperate you’ll be to get to the next page.

Saint is certainly no saint in Willow’s world. This is a man that’s responsible for her current circumstances. He’s cruel, cold, and conditioning her for a man that’s promised to be even worse. But beneath that rough masked exterior, there are glimpses of a man that’s something…more.

How do you fall for a criminal who you never even get to understand beyond his words and actions as seen through Willow’s eyes. I don’t know, but I know that I did. There’s just something so magnetic about Saint. Something so vulnerable that you can’t help but glimpse in his actions and words. You want to hate him for the things he does, but you just can’t.

There were a few parts of the story where I felt like the descriptions became too much and got in the way of the story’s pacing. But ultimately, I was just too invested in the story to pay it much mind.

Bad Saint was deliciously dark and utterly captivating. I was totally enraptured in this world and by the time the ending came, my emotions were so up and down, I didn’t know what to do with myself. And then that ending happened!!!! SWEET MOTHER OF ALL THAT’S HOLY I NEED THE NEXT BOOK!!

#DGRFave & Jenn’s Review: Debase by Rachel Van Dyken

DEBASE
Series:
Elite Bratva Brotherhood #1
Genre:
Contemporary Romance, Dark
Author:
Rachel Van Dyken
Release Date:
April 30, 2019

Debase, the final book in the Eagle Elite Series and the first new book in the Elite Bratva Brotherhood by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Van Dyken.

With blood on my hands, I held her.

With death in my soul, I took from her.

With the devil in my heart, I coveted her.

There are many definitions of Hell.

My list was exhaustive, my definitions tragic.

Tonight I was adding something new to the very top.

Girl number six thirty-two.

She arrived on my birthday, the same day, every year, I play Russian Roulette and pull the trigger.

She was my omen.

My end game.

She made it personal.

And for the first time in my life, I gave in.

A virgin mob boss with no soul.

My name is Andrei Petrov.

They call me the devil.

All I want is for the pain to end.

All she wants is for me to share it.

I am the last remaining heir to a dynasty that should burn in Hell.

And my last wish remains for it to die with me.

AMAZON | NOOK | iBOOKS | KOBO | SMASHWORDS

I slid my tongue into her mouth. I tasted, I took, I was greedy with each kiss. With blood on my hands, I held her. With death in my soul, I drank from her.

With the devil in my heart, I coveted her.

I wanted closer.

More.

My gloves felt too hot for my hands.

My hands too big to contain the weeping leather as I pulled away from Alice and stared into her big blue eyes.

“You don’t want this,” I whispered.

She bit down on her swollen lip and reached for me, I stood still as her warm hands touched both of my cheeks. “Lie.”

I let out a hiss of air at her touch. “Walk. Away.”

“Kiss me again.”

“I can’t do that.” I needed to stop doing that.

“Can’t or won’t?”

I told myself one more kiss, one more touch. I told myself it would be okay, that I was still in control.

That I was above this.

That no woman had ever owned me.

No woman had ever taken everything.

My chest heaved as I stared at her mouth, unable to move, completely rooted to the floor.

Alice moved her hands to my jeans and slowly unbuttoned them. I didn’t stop her, I needed to fucking stop her, but it was like I’d drank this paralyzing poison from her lips and couldn’t function, could only watch her as my soul floated above my body, mocking my inaction, telling me that this would be the end of me.

The very end.

Letting her in.

Keeping her there.

I would give her everything.

And then I would lose control.

Lose my mind.

Lose my heart.

I would lose.

So would she.

“Alice…” My voice cracked. “I wish…” Her hands stilled on my jeans like she was ready to pull them down. “I can’t. I wish I could. I can’t.”

How could she possibly understand?

How could I explain the gut-wrenching fear of looking in the mirror and knowing that one choice kept me sane. One choice.

And that was sex.

He’d made that choice.

I wouldn’t.

I couldn’t.

I couldn’t trust myself, couldn’t trust it wouldn’t happen to me too, and hurt someone like her.

Someone so very… perfect.

Without blinking, Alice gripped my jeans, indecision etched on every pretty part of her face.

She was beautiful.

So damn beautiful.

I gripped her wrists with my hands and pulled them away from the very real temptation of getting completely naked and sinking into her, feeling her clench around me, her tight heat.

Shit.

I pulled her into my arms, and she rested her head on my shoulder. Just because I couldn’t let her touch me, couldn’t cross that line, didn’t mean I couldn’t make her happy, I would kill to watch her face in the throes of multiple orgasms.

I quickly gripped her by the hips and put her up on the cold granite countertop.

“Andrei what are you doing?” She looked down at me uncertainty in her blue eyes.

I moved my hands to her ass and pulled down the black leggings she’d been wearing, all the way down to her ankles, right along with a pair of lacy underwear that were bright pink, and perfect.

“Andrei?”

“Yes?”

“Seriously, what are you doing?”

I gripped her knees with my hands and then spread them wide. “What’s it look like I’m doing?” I smirked. “I’m feasting.”

Her eyes widened.

Never underestimate a virgin with an extremely vivid imagination and heightened sexual appetite.

I wasn’t a fucking monk.

I would like to think I knew more than most men, because I’d seen it all, watched it, inadvertently studied it.

If someone gave me a diagram of a woman, I could point out over twenty-two ways to get her off — with my tongue, a feather, my fingers, take your pick.

“You don’t have to—” She let out a gasp, gripping the edge of the granite, turning her hands white.

I chuckled darkly against her right thigh and bit. “I’m sorry, what was that? I don’t have to?”

“I’ve never, nobody has ever… done. This.”

“Tell me,” I asked gently before I dipped my tongue inside her and flicked.

Her entire body jerked.

“Tell me he never touched you like this, tell me nobody has ever touched you like this.”

“Never,” she rasped. “You.” That word was like a gunshot going off in my soul. “Only you, Andrei.”

“Me.” I flicked my tongue again, and gripped her by the ass, pulling her almost completely off the counter while I sat beneath her and sucked her off in the most primitive aggressive way I knew how.

With every ounce of energy I had in my physical body.

With my soul.

I used every weapon in my arsenal.

632 stars!!

Bear with me because this is series is hard to review without spoiling, but I promise no spoilers!

Dark. Twisted. Raw. And yet….Funny. How am I laughing during all this darkness? Because Rachel Van Dyken creates these terrible yet…loveable characters who embrace their darkness and just lie in it. I adore the banter between these guys from all of the previous books. I could read an entire book (or text message chain) of just these guys talking to each other!! Rachel takes all of her characters with her in this series, so we can follow them and always get more of each couple/character. Because I ALWAYS WANT MORE!!


Andrei. The tortured anti-hero. Well, and the anti-hero who also like to torture. Torture is his specialty. Andrei’s history is dark and unthinkable, but he is trying to come out of that darkness. Unfortunately, he has to endure it until he can be free of it completely. He has a plan to be free, but one girl is getting in his way, in his mind….and in his pants. Andrei is constantly wearing a mask, hiding who he really is and his scars. He doesn’t allow himself to trust others easily.

There is a clear comparison between Phoenix and Andrei. As a lover of everything Phoenix (He’s mine!), I quickly became obsessed with Andrei as well. They have a similar past, and Phoenix helps Andrei in his own twisted way, helping Andrei find some light in all of the darkness.


Alice. I love the heroine in this book. Much like the previous heroines, Alice is a strong woman. But unlike the previous heroines, she isn’t jaded. She has been through the unthinkable and struggles trusting people, especially men. But this doesn’t stop her from seeing the (potential) good in Andrei. Of course, Andrei is always pushing her away because he doesn’t want to taint her in any way, but he can only resist for so long. Andrei ends up having to protect her and the rest is for you to read and find out what happens. 😉

This is technically a spin-off of the Eagle Elite series, so I am uber excited about where she is going with this spin-off!! BUT I would definitely recommend reading the previous series because ALL of the characters are included in this book. I love the multiple points of views because there is always something happening, and she keeps you guessing the whole time!

Blood in. No out.

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Connect with Rachel:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/RVDNewsletter
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachvd
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2cNVwL9
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/RVDGR
Rachel’s Rockin’ Readers: http://bit.ly/RachelsRockinReaders

Review: Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly

TWISTED PRIDE
Series: The Camorra Chronicles #3
Genre: Dark Romance, Mafia
Author: Cora Reilly
Release Date: April 16, 2019

Remo Falcone is beyond redemption.

As Capo of the Camorra he rules with a brutal hand over his territory – a territory the Chicago Outfit breached.

Now Remo is out for retribution.
A wedding is sacred, stealing a bride sacrilegious.

Serafina is the niece of the Boss of the Outfit, and her hand has been promised in marriage for years, but kidnapped in her wedding dress on her way to church by Remo, Serafina quickly realizes that she can’t hope for saving. Yet, even in the hands of the cruelest man she knows, she is determined to cling to her pride, and Remo soon understands that the woman at his mercy might not be as easy to break as he thought.

A ruthless man on a quest to destroy the Outfit by breaking someone they are supposed to protect.

A woman intent on bringing a monster to his knees.
Two families that will never be the same.

AMAZON

Pride was the only weapon I had, and I would hold on to it until the very end.

Mafia romance is my jam. The darker, the better. And when I first saw the blurb to this story, I knew this had to be my first Cora Reilly book.

After finishing, I’ll admit I have very conflicting emotions about how I feel about it. On the one hand, I struggled to connect to the heroine and the way she was painted to be so naive and complacent in the beginning. On the other hand, the more I read, the more connected I felt to the story.

What begins as a twisted game of revenge soon begins to turn into something more. Remo and Serafina both come from the same world but they live on opposite sides of it. Where Serafina has been sheltered, Remo has seem the depths of human depravity and violence. So much so, that it’s twisted and tainted him into the Capo that he is today. The dynamic between them was a delicious one, however. I loved the push and pull of their unwanted attraction. Serbian should be a means to an end to a man like Remo. He doesn’t care about anything but his family. But there’s something about her that reaches into the hidden depths of him. It’s not instant. It’s a slow burn of realization as he discovers that Serafina isn’t the sheltered and soft beauty that she seems. That she’s got a core of strength and a pride beneath that delicate exterior. That he yearns to break her in all ways possible.

Now here is also where I struggled with the book; the characterization. It soon became apparent that I did myself a great disservice by reading this book without reading the others. There’s clearly a continuing story arc that follows the brothers, and even though the author attempts to give the reader bits and pieces, it still felt like I was missing huge chunks of their backstory. The incredible amount of redundant descriptions of Remo were a huge irritant for me. I lost count of the amount of times that I read about his cruel smile, cold voice and brutal acts. I’m not even kidding. The word cruel is used over 60 times in the book to describe either his smile, his eyes, or his general being. And yes, I counted.

Don’t get me wrong, I still really enjoyed Remo’s dark depravity. But I also got tired of constantly being reminded of it. It felt like being slapped in the face with his personality. I get it! He’s cruel and brutal. Let his actions and behavior be the reminder. Not his description.

Aside from that, I really did enjoy the story. It was action-packed, gritty, and after the 30% mark, a complete page turner for me. And while I struggled with some parts, I still liked it enough to know I want to read the rest of this series. I definitely need Adamo’s story soon! That was a secondary character that I couldn’t get enough of.

New Release & Review: Because You’re Mine by Claire Contreras

BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Claire Contreras
Release Date: July 12, 2018

From New York Times best-seller Claire Contreras comes a new, sexy stand-alone novel . . .

When you grow up in the most feared mafia family, it’s easy to identify the kind of men that are bad news.

They’re the ones with experience.

The ones with secrets.

The ones that exude sex just by saying your name.

From the moment I laid eyes on Lorenzo, I knew he wasn’t just bad news.

He was the headline.
But my head and my heart are at war.
He’s too mysterious, too gorgeous, too wild, and now, he wants me.
I should run far away. So why am I racing toward him?
I’m totally going to get burned. I know it. A man like Lorenzo won’t leave me unscathed.
He’ll make ashes of me.

AMAZON

I stare at this infuriating, gorgeous man. This liar, thief of a man, because that’s what he’s done. He’s stolen my senses entirely. 

When I saw that one of my favorite authors will be writing a mafia romance, I was all over it like white on rice. I didn’t even bother reading the blurb before adding it. And then when I saw the cover? I was basically frothing at the mouth to get my grabby little hands on it. Admittedly, it’s not often where a book can live up to a ridiculously hot cover for me. But not only did this book do it, it exceeded them!

Some men pretend they want control. They play with handcuffs and floggers and remind you continuously that you’re theirs. Men like Loren don’t need to play games to remind you that you’re at their mercy.

Because You’re Mine was a page turner from beginning to finish. It was a sizzling, aciton-packed thrill ride full of twists and turns. I was immediately enraptured with these characters and their story.

Catalina grew up in the mafia world, but when tragedy struck, she ran from it. For ten years, she’s run as far as she can from everything to do with it and focused all her energy on her career as a ballerina. With her father still deep in the life, her sister and her brother are the only ones that she has any relationship with. But then a favor for her sister tilts her world on its axis.

He silences me with a kiss. It’s not a soft kiss that’s asking for anything, but a hard, demanding kiss. One that speaks of a loyalty I haven’t asked for, blood that hasn’t yet spilled. 

Lorenzo oozes danger from every pore and screams heartbreak waiting to happen. But there’s something about him that draws her like a moth to a flame, and it’s not long before the fiery passion between them begins to consume them both. But they each hide dangerous secrets from each other, and it doesn’t take long before Cat’s past catches up to her in the most deadly of ways.

To say that I devoured this book would be an understatement. Loren was a hero that I was starving for every morsel of information about. There was something just so darkly captivating about him that I couldn’t get enough of. He’s an enigma wrapped in danger and cloaked in erotic magnetism. In a word, he was utterly delicious.

Catalina was a heroine that I clicked with right away. While she has her vulnerabilities, she has a great core of steel to her as well. She has no problem giving as good as she gets, even if she is completely incapable of resisting Loren even when she should.

The romance is wrapped flawlessly around an action packed suspense. There’s secrets to be revealed, revenge, and blood feuds to be paid. I eagerly devoured every page. There’s also a slew of secondary characters that are introduced that were just as captivating; Catalina’s sister and brother being the front runners. And since this looks to be the start of a series, I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on their stories. The foundation for it was already set with this book, and damn does it sound to be a good one.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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