Source: NetGalley.com

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Mr. and Mr. Smith – HelenKay Dimon – 5 stars

May 26, 2016 Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mr. and Mr. Smith – HelenKay Dimon – 5 starsMr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon
Published by Random House Publishing Group on May 24th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Military, LGBT, Gay
Pages: 210
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars
five-flames

Secrets and seduction make for an explosive combination in HelenKay Dimon’s edgy, thrilling new series, which kicks off with a novel about two men who can handle any threat—except the one posed by desire.

Fisher Braun knows how to keep a secret. As a covert paramilitary operative, his job—and his life—depends on it. He’s at the top of his game, ready for action and always in control. No enemy has ever brought him to his knees, but one lover has: Zachary Allen, the man currently sharing his bed. The perfect package of brains and brawn, Zach is someone worth coming home to, and Fisher hates keeping him in the dark about what he does. But the lies keep Zach safe. Until the day Fisher loses everything. . . .

Zachary Allen is no innocent civilian. Although he plays the tech geek, in reality he’s deep undercover for the CIA. In a horrible twist of fate, the criminal enterprise he’s infiltrated has set its sights on the man whose touch drives him wild. Zach would do anything for Fisher—except blow his own cover. Now, in order to save him, Zach must betray him first. And he needs Fisher to trust him with all his heart if they want to make it out alive.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

What do you get when you have two men who have an abundance of chemistry?  You get this book and all the sexy man on sexy man action that it contains.  All I have to say is “MORE MORE MORE CAN I HAZ MORE????”

We start by getting to see Fisher in the middle of his worst nightmare come to life.  He’s going to find out that what he thought was bad is infinitely so much worse than he could’ve ever imagined.  He’s such a hard soul to get to know but what this is hiding is a man who needs someone to just STAY.  He needs someone to love him for everything that he thinks he isn’t but is and show him that he can be their everything.  I loved how much he struggled with what happens but loved that HelenKay didn’t make him fold immediately.  We get to see someone truly struggle with what he feels, thinks he knows and projects on others around him because of his history.  His angst and struggle made everything hard on both men but honestly there wasn’t another way for this to play out.  If the struggle didn’t happen then nothing else would’ve worked.

Zach is having to do the one thing he never wanted to do but, like Fisher, he is struggling with his past.  He’s also struggling because he made a choice that has led to this breaking point even though there really wasn’t another way for this to go with who he is at his core.  You can feel how hard he just wants Fisher to listen to him, to believe him and to accept him but there’s also an undercurrent that he expects the worst.  His interactions with the team and Fisher will have you turning pages quickly because you want to know how this plays out.

The sexual tension between the men has a tendency to explode on the page which will keep you fanning yourself as you try to cool down but keep reading.  I also loved the storyline outside of the love story and need more about this especially H&W. *HINT HINT*  I mean if that gets told it’ll be something else because I think there is going to be an interesting twist there.  The whole idea of this organization existing even in its damaged state is something that will cause some havoc and seeing the team flush all of the rot out would be fun to read about.

Thank you to HelenKay and to her agent Laura Bradford because if Fisher and Zach didn’t make it to the page it would’ve been a great loss to readers.  These two were amazing to read!

five-stars

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Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 stars

March 9, 2016 NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fight to the Finish – Jeanette Murray – 3.5 starsFight to the Finish by Jeanette Murray
Published by Penguin on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Military, Romance, Sports
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars

The author of Against the Ropes takes her First to Fight series another round with a novel of a JAG officer who loses his cool, when love delivers a knockout punch...

Kara is a single mom working hard to keep life running smoothly for herself and her son, but a custody battle is wearing her down. When her friend suggests asking a JAG officer for some unofficial advice, Kara agrees—and soon finds herself officially head over heels...

As a Judge Advocate, Graham has seen his share of nasty custody disputes—and he plans on keeping his distance from this one. But this purposeful, passionate woman has a way of drawing him ever closer to the edge. And when Kara’s ex starts to throw his weight around, Graham will have to choose between toeing the line or stepping into the ring...

I admit that I have enjoyed this series because of the sexy boxers and the women who are strong enough to stand beside them.  We get to see strong, sexy men but also see women who do not let themselves be lost while being involved with strong personalities.

Kara is someone we’ve seen around the periphery but getting to know her in this book was fun.  I liked how she has worked so hard to do what she loves but at the same time raise a strong son who has so many things against him.  She’s vulnerable and lonely but is resigned to living a life that isn’t 100% under her own control.  I do understand why she was determined to just deal with the cards she was dealt but loved how her attorney reacted when she finally found her voice.  She’s confused by what she feels for Graham but she can’t seem to let him go.  I loved how she decided to be honest with him and say it wouldn’t work but I hated that she kept the real reasons from him until late in the story.  Her reaction to his cave-ish man moment was a bit off the handle but she owned that which made me happy.  Did he deserve a bit of a dressing down?  Yes but… he really didn’t do anything wrong enough to warrant her knee-jerk reaction.

Graham was something else.  I did adore his acceptance of Kara’s son and all that his life entails.  He really wanted to be able to have her in his life and understood that this was part of it.  His kindness and understanding while being patient for her to finally come around was sweet while also being hot as hell.  I appreciated that he realized what she was to him very quickly and made his mission to be taking some of the load off her shoulders while still letting her be her.  He was also sexy as hell in the bedroom but what I appreciated more than anything was the fact that even in his cave-man moment… he really was trying to do the best thing.  He walked a thin line but walked it well as he tried to free the woman he loved from a life that wasn’t fulfilling to her.

This series was a lot of fun to read and I look forward to more from this author.

three-half-stars

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Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

March 8, 2016 Macmillan, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsKidnapped by the Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden
Published by Macmillan on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

Get lost in the deeply passionate, darkly sensual new novel from Jackie Ashenden, Kidnapped by the Billionaire.
He kissed her the way he’d run her down, conquering her, taking her…

A priceless plan. An illicit attraction.
Seven years ago, billionaire-turned-bodyguard Elijah Hunt lost everything he had—his family, his future—and now he wants revenge. But when he decides to kidnap the daughter of the man who ruined his life, Elijah gets a lot more than he bargained for. Violet Fitzgerald is nothing like her corrupt wealthy father. In fact, she’s so disarmingly independent—and irresistible—that she just might be dangerous…

And a love that’s too good to be true.
Violet never thought she’d feel a connection to her captor. But there’s something beneath Elijah’s steel-bodied exterior that makes her want to know him more deeply…and surrender to his every demand. But once Elijah’s erotic fantasies become a reality—and he and Violet develop a real romantic connection—he finds himself in a quandary: Is he still the one in control? Or has Violet imprisoned him—body and soul?

Jackie Ashenden's novels are:
"Sexy, emotional." -Laurelin Paige, New York Times bestselling author
"Tantalizing . . . explosive."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Mine to Take
"Not to be missed."-RT Book Reviews

Ok, Jackie is a master at making you want to hate the hero but then love him as you get to understand more about their demons and what has driven them to be the damaged men you meet.  Elijah is no exception as he is driven to a desperate act in order to complete his mission.  You’ll sort of hate him but he’s someone that was given one of the hardest moments that anyone could ever survive and came out the other side a different man.

We’ve seen Elijah in the previous books as he seemingly thwarts our other leads in their pursuit of their own revenge and answers but as we discover in this story he had his own ax to grind with our bad guys.  He’s now having to scramble to complete what he believes to be the best revenge for his loss but, as he discovers when he meets our heroine, perhaps what he needs has been standing right in front of him in the guise of a spoiled princess.  I loved how severely he lived his life because of his trauma but as we saw the walls tumble down around his inner self there is a man with such a deep heart and feelings that just needed to find a new mate.

I LOVED VIOLET *ahem* I really loved Violet and how she surprised everyone with how strong she is.  She really got to come in to her own true self and find out that she was ready to be seen as the strong person she was.  She really surprised me as she let go of her dreads which allowed her to hide and accepted that she couldn’t escape Elijah.  She tried but was smart enough to wake up quickly and embrace what she was stuck with.  As she opens her eyes and heart to a man that is not what he seems, she also has to realize who her family truly is and accept that her biological ties may not be what she should focus on.  I also appreciated that she pushed Elijah and accepted his dark side while working to make sure he saw the light side that deserved to live.  She’s insightful and isn’t willing to just take the easy ride if push comes to shove she can and will push hard.

This series has been so wonderful to read and I look forward to much more from Jackie.  I know she will push me to the dark side but then deliver heroes that love their partners with no reserve once they accept that this is truly theirs.

four-half-stars

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The Queen – Tiffany Reisz – 5 stars

November 2, 2015 Harlequin, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Queen – Tiffany Reisz – 5 starsThe Queen by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Mira on 2015-11-01
Genres: BDSM, Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 448
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

Once upon a time, Nora and Søren made a fateful deal—if he gave her everything, she would give him forever. 

The time has finally come to keep their promises. 

Out of money and out of options after her yearlong exile, Eleanor Schreiber agrees to join forces with Kingsley Edge, the king of kink. After her first taste of power as a Dominant, Eleanor buries her old submissive self and transforms into Mistress Nora, the Red Queen. With the help of a mysterious young man with a job even more illicit than her own, Nora squares off against a cunning rival in her quest to become the most respected, the most feared Dominatrix in the Underground.

While new lovers and the sweet taste of freedom intoxicate Nora, she is tempted time and time again by Søren, her only love and the one man who refuses to bow to her. But when Søren accepts a new church assignment in a dangerous country, she must make an agonizing choice—will the queen keep her throne and let her lover go, or trade in her crown for Søren's collar?

With a shattering final confession, the last link in the chain is forged in The Original Sinners saga. It's the closing chapter in a story of salvation, sacrifice and the multitude of scars we collect in the name of ecstasy—and love.

Ok I am going to do a rare thing and use gifs to help a bit with summing up my thoughts going in to this book…

This was me as I processed the end of the Original Sinners series…

Which was closely followed by:

You see like many others I DID NOT want to let these characters go but Tiffany gives us a great story that ends in a way that made me very happy even as I was sobbing because it was over.

I can’t say much without possibly spoiling some of it but we get:

  • Confessional Sex – not a spoiler because Tiffany promised us this and YEP she delivered.
  • Kingsley being his usual self with all the personality in the world and such a deep love for our beloved priest even when he was at odds with him.
  • A sense of the gamesmanship between the trio and how that impacts those around them.
  • A better idea of the dynamics between Nora and Søren as they struggled to understand what they were to one another.
  • Did I mention confessional sex???  Cause…  if not…  CONFESSIONAL SEX….  yes I went there… *fans self*
  • An amazing scene that made me all sentimental and was such a great way to address certain items.  (Can I be any more vague? *cue evil laugh*)

All in all this was a story of a woman finally coming in to her own, a man who is driven to do things because of his need to punish that which he loves the most, a man who loves but won’t open his eyes and mind to what his love really needs or who they are, and a glimpse at the incredible people they have become after so many years near and with one another.

I hate that we are done with the series but Tiffany hasn’t completely closed the door to additional stories with these characters but instead has closed the door, for now, to longer glimpses at their lives.  We may still see them popping up in other places but for now I must accept that Søren is taking a small break from us to continue being with those he loves the most and  I can always go back and read those stories again.

I must say thank you so much to Tiffany and all the people who worked so hard on this series.  You’ve made me more comfortable with experimenting with things that seem outside my comfort zone which means I have expanded my horizons in reading and life.  I cannot thank you enough for opening these doors for me.

five-stars

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Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars

September 1, 2015 NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Begging For It – Lilah Pace – 5 starsBegging for It by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin on 2015-09-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

Some secrets should only be shared in the dark.

Jonah and Vivienne’s erotic bond—living out raw scenarios of captivity and force—began as no-strings sex between strangers who shared the same desires. Now the intimacy between them is turning into love, but it’s a love built on fantasies so extreme that exploring them makes guilt inescapable. But the risks they're taking are far more dangerous than they'd imagined.

A stalker is terrorizing the city, and one of Jonah’s ex-lovers names him as a potential suspect to the police. Standing by a man under suspicion could cost Vivienne everything. But when Jonah’s stepfather takes advantage of the scandal to seize control of the Marks family fortune, Vivienne is drawn into her lover’s broken family and twisted past. Only then will she learn how dark the truth really is...

It’s over…  *sigh* … It’s really over… unless we can talk her in to letting us see them again Jonah and Vivienne’s story is over..  *SOBS*

As I work to come to terms with the fact that there isn’t another story of theirs coming out I have to share what I thought of this one.  We get more of the people surrounding our pair in this story but we also finally get to see Jonah completely…  YAY!!!

Vivienne still has a messed up family who choose to believe that she went after her rapist and that she wasn’t raped.  I mean who cares as long as the facade is kept.  I mean who cares that you chose to ignore her when she did try to say something and when he basically admitted it when Jonah stood up for her.  She’s not being honest right???  Right???  I mean I wish we didn’t have to deal with them at all in this book but it did help finally let her see that nothing was going to change and as much as she adores her niece there comes a time when she has to do what is healthy for her.  I felt for Vivienne in this story as at the beginning she has to take a stand (I must say BRAVA) and let Jonah know she wants it all or nothing.  She also proves her worth by standing up for him when everything looks bleak and standing up for them when he falters.  She gets her strength completely back in this book and finally comes to terms with something that her therapist has been trying to get to all along.  I enjoyed seeing her grow as the story went on and finding a healthy balance in her mental state.

Jonah…  my dear tortured Jonah.  I adored him in this even when I wanted to scream at him.  He’s such a good man under all of his issues there is a general goodness that the years of torment cannot touch.  I loved seeing his family other than his stepdad and how hard they all work to bring the asshole down.  He’s right when he wants more than just the games with Vivienne and what he does to work towards a completely healthy relationship shows he’s in it for all the right reasons.  He has a long way to go to come to terms with his own past but I think he’s in good hands with Vivienne and her therapist.  This story also underscored how easy it is to take things out of context and twist them in to something that makes someone look evil or depraved.

The side-story of abusive relationships made me sad and I was glad to see him starting to heal from going down that path.  *I’m not saying who cause I think it helps the story not to say who*  This also makes me want his story and see him find his match.  I’d also like to see our loved alcoholic get his one and only but hey I’m greedy…  LOL

five-stars

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30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars

August 31, 2015 Kensington, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30 Days – Christine d’Abo – 3 stars30 Days by Christine d'Abo
Published by Kensington on 2015-07-28
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars

For years, Alyssa has been going to bed with a memory. Is she ready to wake up with a fantasy?

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mate, but not Alyssa Barrow. She met Rob at nineteen, and they were set to live happily ever after—until he became ill. In his final days, Rob urged his beautiful, young wife not to abandon happiness—or pleasure. He even left her a special gift, a sexy game plan to help her move on: Thirty cards with instructions for thirty days of passion. You'll know when the time is right, he'd said. Now it's two years later, and when Alyssa meets her hot new neighbor, Harrison Kemp, she begins to think the right time is right now…

From his sculpted thighs to his devilish grin, Harrison is the kind of man women want. Before she can lose her nerve, Alyssa tells Harrison about her long-ignored cards…and asks him to help her fulfill them. It's a favor he's more than happy to, um, perform. With his skillful touch, and the hot press of his lips against her skin, Alyssa finds herself re-awakening to life—and a host of other sensations. But what began as not-so-innocent fun soon grows into true intimacy, and Alyssa realizes she's opening herself up not just to sex…but to love. When it comes to a future with Harrison, what's really in the cards?

Saucy, heartwarming, and insightful, 30 Days explores the agony—and the ecstasy—of starting over, and how a little encouragement, and a little courage, can go a long way…

Be ready to tear up a little bit as you read this but also be ready to have a couple of issues with both the hero and heroine…

I’m struggling a bit with this one…  I liked it but I didn’t like how little we got to see of who Harrison is and what he wants other than thru her eyes.  I didn’t like that we really had limited time with him outside of what they did in bed or when they were fulfilling one of the cards.  I liked what we saw of him but I found myself wanting more of his time than of her time.  We just get a glimpse of a good man that has his own demons to put away but I just don’t see how they can be in love without more from him.

My biggest issues were with the heroine and her obsession with the past.  I get that she lost the love of her life… I really do… but I struggled with how much we had to hear about him and what he meant to her and blah blah blah.  Okay that sounds a bit harsh but come on really????  In real life there are these sorts of stories but I guess we have uncovered that in my fiction I don’t want to constantly hear about the ex or see the heroine obsess over her dead true love.  I mean we are in the story to see a couple develop and to be quite honest I felt for Harrison as he was fighting a ghost.  Granted what let him in to her life was her wanting to use the cards the man left her but dammit…  I wanted to understand more about the pull they shared which was constantly interrupted by the musings she had about her dear, sainted dead true love.

Yeah I guess I am a meanie but overall the story wasn’t bad but wasn’t something that I adored.  I liked the idea of the cards and the way it could bring someone back to life but dammit I want my couple to be a couple without a constant ghost cropping up.

three-stars

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Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 stars

June 15, 2015 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 starsDeadly Strain by Julie Rowe
Published by Carina Press on 2015-06-15
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Fiction, General, Military, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 242
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-half-stars

Book one of Biological Response Team

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob "Sharp" Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace's most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can't watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

79,830 words

Interesting story about modern day biological warfare and those who work to keep us safe.  I look forward to more from this series as the work that went in to researching the biological weapon and special forces personnel showed in a believable threat with action that kept me interested during the story.

Grace just wants to do her job and do it well.  She wants nothing more than to save lives and make a difference to those she works with but she’s also haunted.  She will never forget people she’s served with and lost but one loss haunts her more than any other.  When they get a call to go check out a suspicious set of deaths at a relatively remote outpost, she has to come to terms with not only her past but the man who wants to be there for her future in order for any of them to have a future.  She’s driven and damn good at what she does which shines thru even as she doubts herself because of survivor’s guilt.  I liked how she would work herself to the bone in order to get answers but mainly liked that she does what she has to in order to survive and complete the mission.  She is someone that I would want in my corner should the worst happen as you know that she will sacrifice herself if it means more survive.

Jacob..  *swoon*…  he’s something else but I would expect him to be all that and a bag of chips.  He’s Special Forces but he’s also a man who has discovered the woman that makes him a bit crazy.  He’s driven to protect Grace from not only outside threats but also herself as he discovers more about how driven she is.  When he pushes her you understand her frustration with him but you also see why he pushes her to let go.  She needs someone who will act as a relatively neutral voice of reason in order to get her to eat and take care of what her body needs.  She really does need a babysitter in some respects but the way Jacob goes about it occasionally made me laugh.  He was someone that while driven to defend his woman also realized that she was quite capable of holding her own.  He didn’t coddle her but instead worked to make her see his side even as much as she hated that.

Overall this was an interesting story with some information that will frighten those who haven’t kept up with modern or heck even old-school biological warfare.  The weapon described is frightening in nature made more so by how much of a possibility this is.  I hope that we never see something like this created but one never knows what evil is out there.

 

three-half-stars

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Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/Contest

June 1, 2015 Berkley Trade, Contest, NetGalley, Read in 2015, Tours 1

Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/Contest

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Asking For It – Lilah Pace – 5 stars – Excerpt/ContestAsking for It by Lilah Pace
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on 2015-06-02
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.” 

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.

Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker...

Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

This is going to be a very long post as I want to get you excited to read this one….  I was blown away by this title and hope that people will be drawn to it like I was.  This is NOT for everyone and the warning should be heeded.

My review:

I think all of us that have read this struggle with the same thing which is “How do we review this?”  I mean this is an incredible story but the subject material isn’t for everyone but the way Lilah is able to show you how torn Vivienne is about her needs makes the story oddly compelling.  The thing that spoke to me most throughout this book is the way we see her crave the rough usage from our hero even as she finds her needs disgusting and wrong.  She’s got a lot of work to do to realize that while her needs are the same as everyone else’s they aren’t wrong nor are they something to be ashamed of.  The key is that she has to come to an understanding about her past and perhaps finally get someone to believe her about the incident from her past that colors everything.

Vivienne is a character that made me wince, cry and cheer as she finally gets something that makes her stronger.  The ability to find someone that can fulfill her darkest desires unlocks the true woman she is.  She finds strength in this new relationship that makes it where she actually wants her connection with our hero to be more than just the fulfillment of her desires.  As she navigates her own mental recovery she is compelled to understand why her partner is also drawn to this as he seems to be struggling with demons as well.  I am being careful in this review to not spoil things because the way they unfold is the main reason why I adored this story.

Jonah is our dark horse because we don’t get to see his viewpoint in this that often.  His actions speak volumes and what glimpses we get make me want to know more.  He has his own demons to slay but his care of her shines out.  I admit he made me flinch a few times but after the scene when he wants to actually care for her made me adore him.  I look forward to seeing where we go with him in the next book because DAMN is he compelling.

I can’t say it enough but I am BEYOND ready for book 2!!!!

Excerpt:

“It’s okay. This is difficult.” He pauses a moment before adding, “Are you scared?”

Deep breath. Honest answer. “Yes and no. I believe you aren’t going to do anything without my permission. But what we’re doing feels a little like jumping off a cliff. I’ve had this fantasy since – since always, but I never thought I’d act it out with a stranger –”

At that moment, a waiter appears by our sofa. Why do bar waiters only show up when you least want them around? Offhandedly Jonah says, “Bring me whatever she’s having.”

I don’t think he’s even looked at my glass. What if I had some ridiculous tropical drink, the kind of thing served in a pineapple with pink straws and paper umbrellas? The thought of someone as serious as Jonah sipping one of those makes me smile. Finally I’m able to relax a little – but not much.

As soon as the waiter hurries off, Jonah turns to me. “What would it take to make you feel safe?”

I like that he asked this. But how do I answer?

Cut to the chase, I remind myself. Jonah’s blunt honesty is the only way to go. “I’d need you to wear condoms. Unless you want to show me your medical records.”

Jonah nods. “I can get those for you. Can you show me test results too?”

It hadn’t even occurred to me that Jonah also might be concerned about that. “Um. Yeah, sure.”

“No rush,” he says. “I don’t mind wearing a condom at first. Makes it last longer.”

My cheeks flush as I envision Jonah inside me, pounding me, going on and on and on without mercy –

Jonah must know what I’m thinking, because he tilts his head as if he’s relishing the effect he has on me. He murmurs, “What else?”

Another sip of wine steadies me enough to answer. “I wouldn’t want you to tie me up. Not the first time, anyway.”

He smiles. “I like that you’re thinking about the future. I’ll have plenty of chances to give you what you want.”

It hadn’t even occurred to me before today that Jonah might have been considering a one-time fling. Now that I think about it, that makes more sense than assuming we’d keep playing out this scenario. But I’ve wanted this too long, too much, to assume one night will be enough to get it out of my system. If Jonah’s the right partner for this fantasy, then we have a chance I don’t intend to waste.

Already I sense that one taste of Jonah Marks won’t be enough.

 

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five-stars

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Make You Mine – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

May 5, 2015 NetGalley, Read in 2015, St. Martin's Press 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Make You Mine – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsMake You Mine by Jackie Ashenden
Published by Macmillan on 2015-05-05
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Gothic, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

In the Nine Circles Club, one lucky man gets more than his share of money, power, and women--until he meets a beautiful opponent who plays in the name of love…in Make You Mine by Jackie Ashenden.
He's raising the stakes.
International playboy Alex St. James always plays to win. Whether it's betting on a high-stakes card game--or bedding a high-class socialite--the gorgeous world-class gambler knows how to beat the odds using his brains, his body, and a whole lot of charm. But there's one woman who's immune to Alex's bag of tricks--which makes her the perfect challenge…and the ultimate prize.
She's going all in.

Once a special operative in her native Russia, Katya Ivanov knows what kind of man Alex is. As his personal bodyguard, she's seen him seduce the richest women, place the riskiest bets, and break the hardest players. But to even a score from her past, she's willing to take a gamble on her reckless boss. Even if she has to pretend to be his lover. Even if he drives her mad with desire. And then she never wants this dangerous game to end…

This story made me very happy!  We have a really strong heroine with a hero that can definitely keep up but can’t keep his guard up around a woman who makes him feel.

Alex has a lot of secrets that he has buried for years.  This has cost him his family but also has hardened him to the point where he thinks all he wants is a quick bit of play and then move on to the next no-strings-attached fling.  He plays hard and unless you are paying attention you will see him as a playboy with a ton of money who really doesn’t care for anything.  After dice are found with his stepfather that gain access to an exclusive poker tourney it is determined that he needs to be the one who attends.  Alex wouldn’t have let it be anyone else but now he needs to figure out how to keep protection around him without making the person he is targeting aware of it.  His idea is to use his female bodyguard but when he sees her in something other than work clothes and also spends more time around her…. well…  then it gets complicated.  His story will make you mad, sad and then joyful as we find out his past then celebrate his future with a partner who truly knows him.

Katya is an amazing heroine in many respects.  She and Alex are definitely peas in a pod in more ways than they know so seeing two extremely stubborn people find one another was explosive.  There is so much she has kept buried for so many years in order to make others happy so she struggles with figuring out what it is she wants and needs.  The fact that she is absolutely loyal to those who don’t really deserve it was heartbreaking but I still enjoyed her even with the big chill she presents.  She’s not cold in any way, shape or form but she needed to find someone that could push her to expand her limits.  She’s also intriguing in the way we see her start to feel… be a woman with wants and needs… but mainly open up to someone that deserves it.

I can’t wait for the next story as the pair will be quite entertaining….  he’s going to make it clear to her that she’s HIS….

four-half-stars

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The Confession – Sierra Kincade – 4 stars

May 5, 2015 Berkley Trade, NetGalley, Read in 2015, Readathon 2015 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Confession – Sierra Kincade – 4 starsThe Confession by Sierra Kincade
Published by Penguin on 2015-05-05
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

The hot and thrilling conclusion to the Body Work Trilogy, following The Masseuse and The Distraction

Anna Rossi walked away from Alec Flynn to keep her family and friends safe. But she can’t protect her heart from him, no matter how hard she tries…

Time has done nothing to quell Anna’s need for Alec. She knows that she did the right thing walking away; the constant media attention that Alec’s been getting for testifying against Maxim Stein and Force Enterprises is evidence enough of that. But no matter how many times she warns herself that Alec is dangerous, she just can’t stay away—even after her connection to him once again threatens her life…

Alec knows the evidence he has against Max could stop him from hurting anyone ever again. But when it’s revealed that Alec stands to inherit everything from Max’s loss, his testimony is called into question—and Max could walk free putting Anna in harms’ ways once again. Now he’s beginning to wonder if any of this is even worth it—and if he and Anna will ever have a chance at true happiness…

We have finally reached the end of Alec and Anna’s story and while I am sad to see it end I am happy that we finally have a conclusion.  I am happy with the way it played out but still want to have more about their friends and family.

Anna hasn’t been happy since she walked away from Alec to save everyone she loves.  She just wants people to be safe around her even if it means tearing her heart out.  She’s almost ready to run away again when she is abducted.  She ends up having Alec save her but finds out something that truly tears her apart…. is it what it seems or is there more?  I liked her strength in this one even as everything twisted around her.  She’s not willing to play the victim and we get to see more of her struggling to do what is right plus hold on to what she really wants.  They are still hot as hell when they get together but there is more to it this time.  I think I enjoyed it because there was more behind them this time and we saw more of Alec’s vulnerability.

Alec has consistently been a character that I found fascinating.  Under this tough guy exterior is a man who wants nothing more than to be loved and have those he loves be safe.  He is driven to do anything he can to keep Anna and those she holds dear safe even as it means keeping away from her.  I enjoyed seeing his love for Anna shine even as he tried to keep the walls up.  He adores her with all of his being and his ability to give her what she needs is wonderful.

This series grew on me as I found out more and more about them.  I am happy with where it ends up but honestly want to see Amy and Mike… really I want to see where they end up… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE…

four-stars

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