Breaking a Legend is the first book in Sarah Robinson’s new series entitled Kavanaugh Legends. This is a sexy and sweet love story for new adult romance lovers. Set in the Woodlawn neighbourhood in the borough of the Bronx in New York, this novel is about two individuals both running from different things and finding something profound and special in one another. Will they have the courage to let down their carefully erected barriers and pursue their profound connection? Will what they share be the catalyst for change that they both desperately need?
Rory Kavanaugh, the most infamous and oldest of the Irish Kavanaugh siblings, was once a legendary MMA fighter with nothing but fame and fortune to bask in. That is until a grisly leg injury took him out of the game and left him drowning in the dark world of addiction. Even with intense physical therapy and a long recuperation period, Rory knows that he will never fight professionally again. His family is wanting nothing more than to intercede; however, will this push Rory away even further from them and the gym, Legends, that they own and are a part of?
“Every new day here in Woodlawn, she felt like she was becoming someone different. Or maybe she was just finally being who she wanted to be, instead of who she had been told to be.”
Clare Ivers is a recent transplant to Woodlawn. Moving to New York all the way from California, Clare is running from a past that she does not want to catch up to her. She’s trying to start over but has no idea if she will have to pick up and leave as quickly as she came. Keeping her distance and remaining in the background remains hard when she meets the Kavanaugh clan. And, when the oldest Kavanaugh alpha starts paying close attention to her, Clare can’t deny that she feels the same sizzling attraction burning between them. Even though the sexy ex-fighter makes her heart bit faster, is she ready to jump into a relationship and take the risk? Has she finally found the safe haven in Rory’s arms that she has always longed for?
“You’re the sweet little lamb who wants to fix the big, bad, broken wolf.”
“He liked Clare, and he had no intention of breaking her heart. What he wanted was to possess it.”
“He found himself wanting to remember who he was, and he had a feeling that he could do that only through her eyes.”
Both Clare and Rory’s lives are somewhat of a mess for different reasons. When Clare comes into Rory’s life, he can’t help but want to make the necessary changes and finally start to move in a better direction with his life. Clare is the shining and bright light that he had no idea he was looking for. What starts out as seduction and a fragile and tentative friendship soon blossoms into more. But secrets have a way of coming to the surface when one least expects. Can Clare open up enough and tell Rory about her past? Is she strong enough to stay in Woodlawn and get involved with someone who has his own demons weighing him down?
Told from a dual point-of-view, this book is a lovely romance. Yes, things did move rather quickly for Rory and Clare but I was fine with this. I loved how protective Rory was when it came to Clare and seeing him act like a “gentleman” was a cute thing to watch as I was certain this was completely out of character for him. Clare was this genuinely sweet girl who got mixed up with the wrong person. Her past may not be pretty but I loved how she was trying to move on with her life and make. Rory was a force to be reckoned with. He had to qualms about how vocal he was when it came to how much he wanted Clare. The broody and volatile fighter easily pushes his way in, past her walls. It is hard for anyone to stay indifferent to Rory’s intensity, and Clare was no different. With this being said, Rory did become someone Clare could depend on and trust but he also became someone who showed Clare how strong and resilient she truly is. Clare blossomed from this reserved woman with shattered self-esteem who was stuck in the past into someone who could stand on her own two feet and embrace who she is.
“Why do you look like someone just shit in your cornflakes?” Casey popped up beside her, analyzing her expression. Clare said nothing, but Casey followed her gaze to where Rory was standing. “Ah, so Rory is the cornflake shitter?” Casey ribbed.
I also loved the relationship that developed between Clare and Casey (Rory’s cousin) as well. Casey was this spit-fire who manages to stick her nose into everything, particularly when it comes to Rory’s personal life. She provided some great comedic relief. Same goes for the other Kavanaugh siblings. I can’t wait to see them each get their own book as they fall prey to the power of love.
One thing that I did enjoy was the banter between Clare and Rory and I also liked how this author portrayed the sexual tension between our two protagonists. Let me tell you, the sizzling attraction that the pair shared was enough to melt the panties of anyone. Give me an aggressive alpha-male any day of the week!
“You’re sniffing me now?” She began to cross the street nudging him.
“I’m an overstepping acquaintance. I have no boundaries.”
All in all, Breaking a Legend was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed. While the plot was interesting and well-paced, I will admit that this book did not grip me as much as I’d hoped. There were times where the writing was a little disjointed, repetitive and cumbersome. For instance, mentioning the last name of Clare’s ex-boyfriend every single time he is brought up was not necessary. What came across exceptionally well was Clare and her fears and struggles. I loved her character. I also really loved Rory. After all, a gorgeous and intense ex-MMA fighter with a soft heart has me standing at attention any day. ;)
****An advance reading copy of Breaking a Legend by Sarah Robinson was generously provided to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
5 “The Princess Bride” Stars!
“As you wish..."
Framed is the soon to be released, newest novel by author C.P. Smith. I have a few books by this author under my belt now and can state with certainty that I am a huge fan. Her books never cease to leave me with a big ole goofy smile on my face. They also always have me lusting, panting... whatever... after her over-the-top alpha heroes. C.P. Smith has penned yet another wonderfully entertaining and suspense-filled book where our growly and over-protective hero meets his match in a sassy, spit-fire heroine.
“Six hundred minutes, that’s all it took to lose everything he’d worked so hard for, including his freedom.”
Kade Kingston learned from an early age that he needed to take care of himself. With parents who left him and his younger brother at a young age, he really had no choice. Kade has worked hard to make something of himself and is proud of his service as a SEAL. He returns home from his service to take on the responsibility of caring for his ailing grand-father, the man who raised both him and his brother after their parents left. Almost immediately upon his return, Kade finds himself in the midst of a nightmare. Wrongly accused of murder and imprisoned, it does not take a rocket scientist to establish that Kade was framed.
“...the girl who’d secretly watched the boy, had grown into a woman who desired more than anything to be with the man he’d become.”
Harley Dash has never forgotten the boy who helped her up when she accidentally fell in cheerleading back in high school. Kade was someone who starred in her fantasies as a young teen and made an impression. Harley continued to live her life after high school but Kade has always remained a sweet memory. When Kade makes the news with his conviction, Harley knows deep in her heart that the boy who she idealized in high school who turned into a man who is a hero could never have committed such a heinous crime. Harley works at the Renault Correctional Facility three days a week to help inmates train abused and neglected dogs so they could be adopted into good families. The Inmate Dog Training Program has saved numerous canines and gives the inmates who participate a purpose while they were confined and serving time. It is only a matter of time before she runs into Kade and when she does Harley is determined to have him become involved in the program, a small way to help him while he waits for his SEAL brothers to get back from duty and help clear his name.
Harley is a sight for sore eyes when Kade discovers that she works at the prison. He has always remembered the sweet and innocent cheerleader who he forced himself to stay away from. In his mind, there is no way he would ever become a man that she deserved. She is still as beautiful as ever and Kade believes that he still needs to stay away from her. However, when his SEAL brethren are not so quick to return to US soil to clear Kade’s name, Harley takes matters into her own hands and begins her own little investigation. In the midst of danger, prison life and canine love, will the truth about what really happened that night ever come out into the light? As it becomes clear that Harley is somehow being targeted because of her nosey intervention, Kade will stop at nothing to protect her and claim her as his own. Is Kade the swoony hero Harley has always imagined him to be? Will whoever is responsible for the murder be caught before even more is taken away from Kade?
“Wait for me, baby.”
“This is now how our story will end.”
I absolutely adore the heroes that C.P. Smith seems to create. Kade was no exception. I loved watching this sexy hunk o’ mountain claim his woman and watching how he does everything in his power to protect what is his. Sigh! Yes, his methods often pissed off his spirited love; however, how fun would it be if Harley did not fight back? The push and pull between the two protagonists was great fun to watch. Kade kept wanting to assert his dominance and the most important thing to him was keeping Harley safe and away from the danger that surrounded him. Harley was just as determined to clear her man’s name. She had waited long enough for her white knight and she was on a mission to get Kade out of prison and into her waiting arms.
There is a lot going on with the suspense storyline and all the secondary characters do play an important role. I gotta say that I fell in love with Kade’s SEAL brothers and I am hoping that Prez and D get their own books. They certainly provided the much needed comedic relief, especially D. Further, this author has this innate ability to balance out a heart-stopping romance with a suspense plot. This book was no exception.
All in all, Framed is a book you can drown in never thinking about coming up for air. Packed full with memorable secondary characters, an exceptional plot, and a heart-warming tale of love, this novel was a fantastic read that had me laughing just as quickly as it had me swooning. The heart of the story was the love story between Kade and Harley. Nothing but pure unadulterated sweetness as our heroine finally gets her hero. I also loved the parallels drawn from the movie The Princess Bride. Simply awesome! This is definitely a highly recommended read!
“I’ve been searching for you my whole life. Wished upon a million stars that I would find my own slice of heaven.”
****An advance reading copy of Framed by C.P. Smith was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
“How delicious was the path to depravity..."
A Bedtime Story by L.C. Moon is the first book in her The BTS Trilogy. This is a dark, slightly taboo erotic thriller with a few surprises thrown in that I did not see coming. This is also a debut novel for this author. Jumping into a novel from an unknown author, particularly a debut novel, is always somewhat of a risk. You never know if you will be pleasantly surprised or find yourself in the land of the abysmally awful. While I did experience many moments of frustration with our two protagonists, I did enjoy reading this book and being taken into the depraved and morally questionable world this author has created.
Laura Spencer is an innocently sweet and socially awkward young woman who gets pulled into the seedy and dangerous criminal underworld when her older brother betrays the wrong people, namely the Russian Mafia, and decides to run rather than face the consequences. This leaves Laura with a huge target on her back and it is only a matter of time before she is kidnapped. Her inept beloved brother has essentially handed his introverted sister to the big bad wolf.
Kanye Malkin belongs to the Organization, the Quebec fraction of the Russian Mafia. He’s a powerful and ruthless man who has been charged with the mission of abducting Laura Spencer and bringing her in to see if they can get the whereabouts of her brother out of her – using any means necessary. Kanye is intrigued by the young woman who wants to protect her brother. He decides to take her to his home and hold her captive. There Laura is given an insider glimpse into the depraved and sadistic world of her captor. The innocent lamb has truly been lured and caught.
The minute Laura enters Kanye’s home, a push and pull relationship ensues, a constant battle leaving one wondering who would win the continual tug-of-war? It was enough to give me a serious case of whiplash. Kanye sees Laura as a challenge, someone to control and to ultimately break and put back together again. What he does not expect is to find himself breaking his own rules, all for a woman who is slowly weaving herself into his inner being. Laura’s dismal circumstances have her fighting her captor and trying to resist the submission he wants from her. Despite their tumultuous and fiery connection, both Kanye and Laura develop feelings more than carnal lust for one another. Who will ultimately win this power struggle?
While the overall captivity story arc was engrossing this author did go to places that I consider my no-go zones or my hard limits. I can handle abuse and other taboo topics; I simply did not appreciate some of the choices Kanye made. Further, the relentless battle between Laura and Kanye did get tiresome at times. They were hot one moment, cold the next. One moment they could not live without the other, the next moment they wanted nothing to do with each other. It really was exhausting. I would have liked to see more depth in their bond and connection. The ending did come as a surprise even though I was aware that this book ends in a cliff-hanger. I am not sure I understand Kanye’s actions and the Laura that we are presented with at the end is a little perplexing. The change we see in Laura is very drastic and hard to come to terms with. Perhaps this will all be worked out in the second installment of this trilogy?
All in all, A Bedtime Story was a great start to this series, a book that intrigued me and frustrated me in equal parts. I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of dark romances. While this may have not been the “darkest” book I have ever read, it did have its moments. Definitely an impressive debut novel!
****A review copy of A Bedtime Story by L.C. Moon was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
See my review at Sinfully Addicted .
“You know what my motto is, right?”
“What’s that?” RT asked, his eyes briefly darting to Z’s mouth and then back up to meet his eyes.
“Never say never.”
See my review at Sinfully Addicted .
Warning: Explicit male/male sexy times. Voyeurism with a touch of noncon, role playing, rope. And, once again, very serious about the graphic gay sex. I’m not sure why you don’t believe me… Also? An Evil League of Evil! Good kink vs scary villain kink (you’ve been warned), Finn Club rules and the aftereffects of The Great Rumming of 2015. I SAID RUMMING. Dirty minds.
“You never considered that I might be drawn to you. That I might like being with you. That I might just want to have my brains fucked out by a tall, well-hung Marine whose body drives me wild.”
“I can take you, Brady Finn. So take me.”
“I love you and I need you. I belong to you. Whatever happens next, I want it to happen with you.”
I am not going to write a long, detailed review for this one. Frankly, there are already many amazing reviews here on Goodreads for this one. I just want to state that Souls Unfractured by Tillie Cole was a gritty, dark, raw and desperately beautiful story. It was hard to read at times. It broke my heart. It mended my soul. Breathtaking!
Anything But Broken is the first book in the Hurricane Creek series written by the writing duo known as Joelle Knox. This writing team, Donna Herren and Bree Bridges, also writes under the pen names Moira Rogers and Kit Rocha. They are the ones (writing as Kit Rocha) behind the fantastically creative, raunchy and gritty dystopian world found in the Beyond series, one of my all-time favorite series ever. While this the first venture into the NA world for these authors, do not go in expecting to find their signature stories filled with risqué sexual adventures where anything goes. What you get is a heart-felt and emotional story that deals with some very real issues about the harsh realities of adolescence in a raw, honest and open manner. This is nothing like what has come from this pair of authors previously; however, it proves that Ms. Herren and Ms. Bridges can write the heck out of a NA story and they seem to have a flare that transcends genres.
Hannah Casey has returned to Hurricane Creek to deal with the death of her father and hospitalization and impending death of her mother after five years of being away. She’s been gone since the age of fifteen and returning to the small town and having to deal with ghosts from her past may be more than Hannah can handle. She’s led a life trying to fit into the mold her parents have created. What direction will her life take now that she is all alone, with no family, and with no one to please?
Sean Whitlow is a Hurricane Creek native who owns an auto repair shop and who is also the stock-car racing champ of the local racing world. Sean also knows all too well what getting involved with one of the Casey girls entails so when Hannah Casey comes back to Hurricane Creek he knows he should stay far away from her. However, seeing that Hannah has absolutely no one who is standing by her during one of the most difficult times in her life, Sean can’t help but reach out her despite the fact that she is the sister of his dead ex-girlfriend. He can’t stand to see her falling apart.
As Sean and Hannah grow closer, can they overcome their past connection? Is Sean just setting himself for another crazy ride with another Casey girl or is it different this time? And, what about Hannah? What happens when her secrets start coming out into the open?
This was very much a slow-building, character-driven romance. The connection between Sean and Hannah was tangible and real; however, there were so many obstacles in their way. Hannah was this deeply broken and flawed character whose life was crumbling. She kept sinking deeper and deeper into an abysmal darkness with no way out. Sean reaching out to Hannah was sort of like a life-line for her. I am sure neither expected such a profound bond to develop between them, but it was certainly something neither one could ignore. As much as this story revolved around Hannah and her character growth, Sean is the one that stood out for me. His caring nature and the fact that he did not give up made him so endearing and lovable.
Despite the fact that this pair of authors are known for their sexy romances, they are geniuses at writing character-led stories with copious amounts of emotional complexities and entanglements. This was certainly the case here. Not only do we get a sweet romance wrapped up in tragedy and other hard-biting issues, but we also get to experience a young woman’s journey about how she learns to stand on her own two feet. I was rooting for Sean and Hannah, and I was also rooting for Hannah to take her life back.
All in all, this was a wonderful venture for Joelle Knox into the NA world. I thoroughly enjoyed Anything But Broken and would recommend this book to fans of the genre. I am definitely looking forward to more.
****An advance reading copy of Anything but Broken by Joelle Knox was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 “Never let go.” Stars!
“Love can be many things, but most importantly, it’s about sacrifice, surrendering your faith to the other person, praying they love you enough so that in the end, you both get your happily ever after.”
You Loved Me At My Ugliest is the third and final book in Evie Harper’s You Loved Me series. I am a huge fan of this series. First off, I highly recommend reading this series in sequential order. Each book may be about a different couple but the overall story arc for the series flows from one book to the other. All the books have packed an emotional punch and once again Ms. Harper has delivered a poignant and touching tale about how love can be tested at our weakest and ugliest moments. It then remains up to you whether you want to continue moving forward from a place of abysmal darkness to one of beauty and light.
Alexa Kinglsey and Joseph O’Connor have known each other for what seems a life time. When Alexa loses her mother, father and brother to a drunk driver, this lost and lonely girl has no choice but to move in with her aunt. Alexa has been surrounded by love her whole life so when she meets the lonely, abused boy who lives next door, she can’t help but want to save him. It all starts when she reaches through the fence to hold his hand.
From a very young age Joseph’s life has been filled with violence and with unspeakable ugliness. His tyrant of a father wanted nothing more than to raise a son who followed in his own cold-hearted footsteps and he started paving the way for Joseph with hardness, cruelty and viciousness. Breathing in darkness on a daily basis does change Joseph and molds him in to the villain his father has always wanted. However, his beautiful Lexi, the girl next door, becomes Joseph’s anchor and shining light. She has been the one constant in Joseph’s life that has loved him unconditionally forever intertwining their hearts and lives.
The tangible bond that Alexa and Joseph share is a powerful one – a forever type of connection and love that is not easily broken. Alexa vows to always be there for Joseph, to follow him to the ends of the earth if she has to. As Joseph’s life takes him deeper into the dark and murky world that is ruled by his father, the love of his life is also dragged into the violent underworld just to be by his side. What happens when enough is enough? Can Joseph make the ultimate sacrifice and walk away in order to protect the only woman he will ever love? Will Alexa be able to move forward without her Joey?
This book was very much a telling of Alexa and Joseph’s journey. The beginning is very much a quick snapshot of how they first meet and how their lives have turned out. We do know some of their story from the two previous books; however, we get a more detailed account of what has exactly happened to leave Alexa and Joseph where they are. There is so much that this pair has endured and continues to endure. So much loss, hurt, anger, resentment, and, of course, love between them as they share such a long and passionate history with each other.
“I don’t deserve her, but I need her.”
“He is home to me.”
Alexa and Joseph’s journey was beyond beautiful. Emily broke my heart and this author does an amazing job drawing the reader into their struggles and pain. Alexa tries to move on with her life without Joseph by her side. This turns out to be an impossible feat. Joseph is trying to do everything in his power to eradicate all the danger so that he and Alexa can finally lead a normal life. He’s trying to become a man that his Lexi can be proud of. What Joseph fails to realize is that all Alexa wants is to be by his side, for him to put her first. Joseph was certainly a force to be reckoned with. There are no words to explain his utter devotion when it came to Alexa. He may not have always made the right decisions when it came to her; but, there was no denying just how essential she was to him. He literally needed Lexi in his life. She was the light at the end of the murky tunnel Joseph feels he must navigate. She was the hope he needed to cling to. I loved how strong the bond was between Alexa and Joseph, no distance or time apart could extinguish what they felt for one another. Watching the two of them find their way back to each other and finally being at peace with their lives was a heart-wrenching and emotional roller-coaster. It was pure, raw, unadulterated love at work.
All in all, You Loved Me At My Ugliest was a tragically beautiful story about love and acceptance. Sometimes love is enough and it can be the exact thing that can heal your soul and allow you to step forward and embrace a future full of wonder and light. We are introduced to more O’Connor men in this book and I can’t wait to see them get their own stories. I am also excited about Dom and Della’s story. So much to look forward to!
“You were my first and by God, I pray you’ll be my last. I love you Alexa Kinglsey, time and distance will not change that fact, physically or emotionally for me.”
“Lexi, I not only want you, crave you, desire you, but I fucking need you. You’re essential to my soul, my fucking life force. My heart doesn’t beat without you in my life.”
“Keeping secrets is easy. Until love tempts him to break his cover.”
“There could be no future for him and Conrad. For once in his life he had to put someone else before himself. I’m toxic. The long her was with Conrad, the more he’d poison him.”
“You know we’re doomed, right? There’s no way this can work. I’ve broken the law in the worst possible way. You are the law.”
“I wish for your sake that I didn’t want you.” ~Archer
“Conrad wanted him, even though he knew he’d never keep him, wanted him even though he knew he was dangerous, wanted him because he made him feel alive.”
“Conrad had to fight. Archer had understood before Conrad. It was the only way Conrad could do this. He had to fight and Archer had to break him.”
“Slight problem,” Conrad said as he knelt between Archer’s legs.
Archer eyed a cock twice the size he recalled. “Doesn’t look slight. Christ you’re hung like a donkey.”
Conrad laughed. “Donkey? I couldn’t have had anaconda or elephant or Argentine lake duck?”
“It has a seventeen-inch cock and the duck is only sixteen inches long.”
Archer chuckled. “So what’s the problem? I’m grateful you don’t have a seventeen-inch cock.”
“A hedgehog mated to a wolf? Plumb ridiculous, as his mama would say.”
Prickly Business is the collaborative effort of authors Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade. It also marks the first book in their new Portland Pack Chronicles series. I have a few Piper Vaughn books under my belt and she is an author whose books I thoroughly enjoy. When I discovered that up next was a PNR shifter book, I was all in as I love the genre. Learning that one of our protagonists would be a hedgehog shifter not only piqued my curiosity but made me want to read this book all the more. How in the heck were these authors going to pull this off? I most certainly was not disappointed. This book turned out to be a fun and sexy read!
Avery Babineaux is a transplant in Portland, Oregon. Originally from the Louisiana, Avery fell in love with Oregon in high school during a brief visit. Despite the fact that the Northwest is a breeding ground for werewolves, Avery feels at home here. Living off his parent’s old money, Avery has settled in Portland. The lone hedgehog shifter in the midst of the big bad wolves.
Dylan Green is a broody and somewhat serious werewolf shifter. He owns and operates Green’s Customs and Restorations, a custom motorcycle design and repair shop. He works hard, has his close friends and is proud of what he has accomplished.
Avery and Dylan are surprised to discover that they are true fated mates. When they first meet both leave with a sour taste in their mouth and wanting nothing to do with the other. Avery came across as a judgmental snob looking down on the blue-collar werewolf. Dylan had no time for that and definitely did not want to get involved with a snotty hedgehog who can’t accept him for who he is. Fast forward a couple of years and Dylan and Avery have essentially managed to stay away from each other. Their run-ins have been few and far between. Despite the deep and profound attraction they share for one another, they both believe that a relationship between them would only end in disaster. But, when Avery lands himself in some dangerously hot waters because of some gambling debts, Dylan can’t stand by and allow Avery to get hurt.
I definitely took a little longer to warm up to Avery than I did Dylan. I loved the over-possessive wolf right from the start! Avery, on the other hand, was a little hard to love at first. He came across as a self-absorbed douche with a very superficial lifestyle. As he and Dylan start to become more and more intertwined, Avery starts to reassess his life and he goes through somewhat of a transformation. Also, as Dylan begins to spend more time with Avery, he discovers that there is more to him than he originally thought. Can both men open up enough to allow the other in and show their vulnerabilities? When Avery plunges himself into even more danger and turmoil, Dylan realizes that he would do just about anything for his mate.
This was a very enjoyable first installment to what I think will be a fun series. What prevented Prickly Business from being a five star read for me was the ending. There is no cliff-hanger at all but we are left at a place knowing that there is more coming for Avery and Dylan. The next installment in this series will in fact be about them. I am not a huge fan when authors decide to write more books about the same couple, especially in series where there are many other characters that I’d like to see get their happy forever. I would have preferred if the next book would be about two different protagonists with the overall story arc weaving its way through the second book. This is just my personal preference. I did really like this book and will be reading the next one.
5 "Rescue Me" Stars!
Second Chance Summer is book one in Jill Shalvis’ new series entitled Cedar Ridge. I am a big fan of this author and reading her books always feels like coming home; therefore, discovering that Ms. Shalvis was going to pen yet another series is like Christmas to me! I have always loved visiting the quirky towns this author creates and the lovable and eccentric habitants that seem to be the norm. The book and the start to this new series seems to be no different as we now find ourselves in Colorado. This author seems to follow a familiar formula with many of her books; however, it is a formula that works and keeps me engrossed with the story and her beautifully developed characters. Jill Shalvis writes fantastically hilarious and witty tales, swoony romances and hot and sexy times that leave you all hot and bothered. This book is no exception. Another heart-warming gem about learning to open up and letting that someone special in, becoming vulnerable and learning to trust in love.
Lily Danville was born and raised in Cedar Ridge. The perfect setting to embrace her adventurous spirit, it was home to Lily. Until tragedy struck. Not once, but twice. Unable to stay in the town where she would be bombarded with memories and guilt, Lily left never planning to come back. Ten years later and Lily is forced to return to Cedar Ridge. Her job with a high-end salon in San Diego where she catered to the rich and famous came to abrupt end. Lily is out of options and the only person who has offered her another job is her friend Jonathan. The problem is he works for a salon in Cedar Ridge. Can Lily come back to the place that she has been running from for so long? Will she be able to face the one person that she regretted leaving?
Aidan Kincaid is also a Cedar Ridge native. He comes from a close-knit family who he would do anything for. Aidan has always tried to be the one that “rescues people”; therefore, it is no stretch that he now works as a firefighter for the Colorado Wildland Firefighters and also volunteers for the local Search-and-Rescue team. He juggles a busy schedule and also helps out at his family’s resort, Cedar Ridge Resort, which is currently struggling. When Lily saunters back into town, Aidan is taken for a loop. He can’t help but want her again, even though she was the one that walked away ten years prior. Aidan finds himself drawn to Lily and keeps popping into her daily life at some interesting moments. But, can Aidan rescue someone who does not want to be rescued? And, can he convince Lily to stay in Cedar Ridge long enough to give a relationship between the two of them a fair chance?
“I...” Her gaze dipped to his chest and then back to his eyes. “I do feel things for you,” she whispered. “Big things. I just...”
He pushed her hair from her face. “You’ll get there when you get there. There’s no rush, Lily.”
Her eyes were big on his. Uncertain. Wary. “I’m just...”
“I know. And I’m not going anywhere,” he promised. “And neither are my feelings for you.”
There is a definite connection that both Aidan and Lily are unable to ignore and it was fun watching them find their way into love, blunders and all. I liked Lily and did understand her hesitations when it came to relationships. I do wish that she turned the corner a little bit earlier in the story as she struggled with finding forgiveness and had to learn to be vulnerable enough to allow Aidan in. Aidan had this strong and broody thing going for him, but damn if it was hard not to fall head over heels for him, particularly when he was so upfront about his feelings for Lily. Despite their hesitations to enter into the world of love, they both could not help but give into the undeniable chemistry that was between them and it was so much more than simple physics right from the beginning. I adored watching these two find their way to each other in such a way that can only come from Jill Shalvis. For me, she is the queen of penning light-hearted, funny and sexy romances that have me swooning and laughing out loud. Lily and Aidan’s road to happiness was real and sweet and had me transported to my happy place, somewhere only a great romance novel can take me.
All in all, Second Chance Summer is an amazing start to this new series and a wonderfully executed romance by an author who has yet to let me down. True to this author’s style, this book is not bogged down with unnecessary over-the-top angst and drama. That is definitely not how Jill Shalvis books work. What you get is a sweet, fun and light-hearted love story that will leave you happily sighing and seeking out a sexy man of your own from Cedar Ridge. From what I can tell, there are plenty still available. Jill Shalvis has definitely set the standard, in my mind, for sweet and sexy contemporary romance books and I simply can’t wait for more books in this series.
She stared at him. “Whatever I want? You can’t just offer me whatever I want.”
“Of course I can.” His eyes were intense now. Serious, smile gone. “Just name it.”
“There’s really only one thing,” she said.”
He waited with characteristic patience.
“I need you to love me,” she whispered.
“For the rest of my life,” he promised.
*****An advance copy of Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis was generously provided to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
“You like to play with fire, Alexandra?”
Wicked Ride is book one in Rebecca Zanetti’s new series entitled Realm Enforcers. I am a huge fan of this author and how she manages to pen tales packed full of suspense, intrigue, action, romance, love and passion. This book was no exception and the cherry on top is the fact that you get a paranormal twist thrown into the mix. Demons, shape shifters, vampires and witches. Oh my!
Alexandra Monzelle is a hard-nosed Seattle police officer who is all about her job. With a violent, drug-dealing father who is now in prison, Lexi is determined to be the exact opposite of all her father stood for. She is unwavering when it comes to her pursuit to rid the streets from a deadly drug called Apollo. Lexi is willing to do just about anything to discover where the drug is coming from. She is not about to let anything or anyone stand in her way. Especially a sexy Irish biker who looks like trouble.
Kellach Gideon Dunne and his brothers are imports from Ireland. They are a part of a vicious, gun-toting motorcycle club who are all about the anarchy and mayhem. When Kellach lands right in the middle of Lexi’s investigation, there are some definite combustible sparks that fly between the two of them. Even with their innate connection, there is no way Lexi will involve herself with someone who is part of a biker club that is so far removed from existing within law-abiding confines. However, are Kellach and his brothers really who they appear to be? And, what happens when Kellach introduces Lexi to his supernatural world? Can she trust the fact that he may be playing on the same side as her?
I loved how Kellach and Lexi battled it out on the bumpy road to a happy forever. Lexi does not easily trust and she is certainly a head-strong, stubborn and fiercely independent woman. She may be attracted to Kellach but her sense of duty and her obligation as a police officer come first. Kellach was simply a lovable character, just as head-strong and stubborn as Lexi when it came to his antiquated ways. He was a fierce bundle of protectiveness who would stop at nothing to safeguard and defend those he loved. He may have tried to not get involved with Lexi but their sizzling attraction and connection pretty much make him unable to stay emotionally detached. Being with Lexi, particularly in their uncertain and dangerous circumstances, completely tilts Kellach’s world off its axis. Watching Kellach and Lexi discover just how perfectly they fit together was definitely an entertaining ride.
Rebecca Zanetti has once again written an enthralling story with twists and turns that will have you holding your breath and viciously reading, determined to find out what happens next. She also throws a passionate and sexy romance in the mix that will have you clutching your heart. The perfect balance. A must read for fans of suspense-filled paranormal books. I am looking forward to the next book, Wicked Edge.
****An advance reading copy of Wicked Ride by Rebecca Zanetti was generously provided to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
5+++ “Catching Butterflies” Stars!
“Who would have thought my Carson Steele would catch butterflies.”
Ride Steady is the third book in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series. What you get with this book is classic KA to me. I adored this! We get the KA signature alpha-male, a feisty female and a lot of hot and steamy. We also get KA's life lessons and true depth that I have come to expect from this author. By the end, our hero and heroine found their beauty and I loved the Epilogue.
This book is a beautiful and tender romance that I was easily absorbed into and completely lost myself in. It was truly KA at her absolute best proving to me that she will forever reign as the literary Queen of my heart. This stand-alone love story encompassed everything that made me fall into a crazy obsession with Kristen Ashley in the first place – a brilliant storyline, a descriptive and wordy writing style, a sexy alpha-male, an endearing heroine, humorous and witty dialogue, some passionate sexy times and family dynamics (in this case a biker family) told with a flare that only this author can create. Every time I pick up a book by this author it is like coming home. Truly!
“She was golden. Nothing beat her. She smiled through pain and made you believe it.”
Carissa Teodoro’s and Carson Steele’s story start when they are in high school. Carissa was the quintessential popular cheerleader who was beautiful and sweet. Carson was the whispered-about bad boy with a reputation. What not many people knew was that he was with an abusive ass-hat for a father. Carissa longed for a fairytale life with a Prince Charming right by her side. Carson was simply waiting for the moment that he could escape the hell he was living. The pair may have crossed paths and had an inexplicable attraction even back in high school; however, it was not meant to be for Carissa and Carson at the time. Life took them in two very different directions. Until they meet once again a number of years later, when an intense and scary looking biker comes to Carissa’s rescue...
Seven years later and Carissa is a young, divorced mother who is struggling to give her son the best life she can. Her high-school sweet-heart was not the man she thought he was and her happily ever after certainly did not turn out as planned. Finding herself stranded on the side of the road one day with a flat tire she is unable to fix on her own, Carissa has no idea her life is about to change when the rumbling of a motorcycle coming in her direction gets her attention. She is a little taken aback when a familiar looking biker comes to her aide. He helps Carissa and offers to have her stop by the garage he works at to have her car looked at. Fate is definitely working overtime here.
Carson Steele managed to leave the destructive home where he was raised and found another family with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. He is now known as “Joker” and has been embraced by this crazy band of brothers. When Joker stops to help a woman stranded on the side of the road and discovers that she is the one girl he has never forgotten, it is almost a blessing in disguise that she does not recognize him. After all, he is a different man. Joker has created a new life for himself and carved out a new path, a path that a good girl like Carissa Teodoro would likely not fit into. How could a girl who was once the prom queen and deserves her white knight in shining armor ever fit into the Chaos world?
“Jesus, you do it for me.”
“I do...” I paused uncertainly, “what for you?”
“Yeah, Carrie,” he answered. “It’s you. It’s always been you. It’ll always be you. Fuckin’ always.”
I absolutely adored Joker and Carissa. It may have taken Joker a little longer than Carissa, but both recognized that they were each other’s chance at true happiness and love. Both of them have been through enough in their lives to recognize that what they shared with one another was profound, deep ad special and it was something beautiful. Something they wanted to hold on to with both hands no matter what obstacles come their way or what demons they had to push back. I loved how both Joker and Carissa were straight-forward and honest never beating around the bush to express their desires and needs. And this, my friends, is pure KA greatness. The intensity of their connection, their profound chemistry and passion, the wonderful character development and incomparable prose – all this made up a beautiful story that had me laughing, crying, struggling to catch my breath and touched me at a very powerful level. I connected with both Joker and Carissa. I was so immersed in their story that when the end came I did not want to let go. Talk about a huge book hang-over!
Kristen Ashley has this innate ability to evoke some powerful emotions from me. Very few authors do this to me. Joker and Carissa’s story is a slow-burning epic journey where a biker with an abusive past learns how much he truly has to offer and where a girl who once dreamed in fairytales finds the life she has always dreamed of in the arms of a biker. This story is real, has immense soul, and it comes from the heart. By the time you hit the Epilogue in this book, you will realize that what this author has weaved is nothing short of brilliant and magic story-telling. It’s a story that simply wraps around your heart. A knight-in-shining-armor can appear at any time in a lady’s life sweeping her off her feet and giving her a breathtaking forever.
One thing that is worth noting is the amount of cameo appearances that this book has. IT. WAS. AWESOME. Not only do we get to catch up with the Chaos brothers that we have come to know and love and their women, but we also get appearances by just about every KA bad-ass alpha male featured in the Rock Chick and Dream Man series. Sigh!!!!!
Kristen Ashley books exist on a separate level for me. They are like the holy grail of books. There is no comparing this author’s masterful writing skills to anyone else. With this being said, I can honestly state that Ride Steady is one of my absolute favorite books by this author. Yes, this says a lot considering the obscene amount of love I have for KA. This book resonated with my heart and soul and left me sighing happily in the la-la land that KA books usually leave me in. There is nothing wrong with that except for the fact that I now have to read a few older books by this author to get her out of my system. ;)
I was Carson “Joker” Steele’s. End of story.
*****An advance reading copy of Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley was generously provided to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
“Once upon a sweet and terrible time, she’d loved him, and he’d loved her in return.”
Never Let You Go is the second book in Kate Regnery’s A Modern Fairytale series. I became a fan of this author when I read book one in this series, The Vixen and the Vet. Needless to say, I was highly anticipating this book. While I did find that this book had darker undertones than the first book, it still turned out to be a sweet and emotional tale of love that not only tugged at my heart-strings but also had my lady bits dancing for joy. This is a story about love that goes beyond the surface, love that is soul deep. The most beautiful and wondrous things in life sometimes come at us when life itself is beyond cruel. However, it is up to us to embrace that love and also allow it to transform you.
I have to start by saying that I absolutely adore fairytales. The beautiful stories take me back to my childhood when I first began to fall in love with reading and books. Therefore, a series where each book is a modern re-telling of a classic fairytale is right up my alley. This book is loosely based on Hansel and Gretel. I love how Ms. Regnery has taken one of the more somber tales and transformed it into a gripping and edgy tale that grabbed hold of my heart right from the very first page.
“Don’t look back, no matter what. Stone to Stone. I jump, you jump.”
Griselda and Holden meet as foster children when they are placed with the same family. There they develop a profound and unbreakable bond. They get abducted one day while they are out running an errand for their foster mother and what ensues is three years of horrific and abusive confinement at the hands of a despicable psychopath. Griselda and Holden get their chance to escape one fateful day but must cross the unmerciful Shenandoah River on foot to be successful in their attempt. Heartbreakingly, one of them makes it across while the other is left behind, their lives forever changed irrevocably.
Ten years later and Griselda still holds on to the hope that she will one day find Holden once again. She has managed to somehow make a life for herself even if it is one where she feels like she must pay penance. Griselda is in a destructive and abusive relationship with someone she feels she deserves. With heavy chains from her past crippling her and dragging her down, happiness is something that feels so far out of reach for her, at least not until she finds Holden. When Griselda’s boyfriend drags her to an underground fight her world suddenly stops when she discovers that Holden is one of the fighters.
Holden has spent the last ten years of his life believing that Griselda had died that one fateful day. He’s an empty shell living a life where fighting and copious amounts of nameless women are simply a part of who he has become. Held back by his stammer and quiet persona, Holden’s existence has become a depressing and lonely one.
When Griselda and Holden finally encounter one another again there is an instant and profound connection, one that has never been severed despite their years apart. However, although their connection is fierce and intense, ten years have passed and Griselda and Holden are no longer the same people they once were when they were young teens. They are both hardened, marked by tragedy, profoundly broken and have numerous emotional scars that threaten to stand between them. They may have found each other after so many years of regret and uncertainty, but now that they are standing before one another are they strong enough to confront the brokenness, the pain, the bitterness, the guilt?
“Even when we were apart, we were still together. Even when I thought you were gone, you still lived inside my heart.”
“Strange contradiction of Griselda’s life was that the darkest times were also some of the best and the brightest because Holden had inhabited those dark moments with her. Like a match light in the blackness, like hope in the midst of deep, desperate despair, he had been her only joy, and her prevailing source of comfort, strength, and spirit.”
This is a beautifully written and tender story. As this romantic tale of love unfolded, I couldn’t help but get caught up in all that Holden and Griselda were experiencing. Their intense feelings for one another were so beautifully breathtaking and all that they had endured shattered my heart into a million pieces. These are two people who share a deep love and a soulful connection. I thought that this book was well-paced never once making me think that things were moving too fast or not at all. Even though Ms. Regnery made some plot choices that I could have lived without, I still feel like the love story between Griselda and Holden was desolately tragic, full of weighty sadness, and yet it was one that was also full of wonder and hope. I felt their connection. I experienced their love. A beautifully tragic journey.
All in all, Never Let You Go is a powerful story about fear, defeat, survival, hope and love. The power of love is inexplicable at times. After all, it has the power to heal and make you whole. This is definitely a story that grabbed a hold of my heart, painfully at times. It is one that will not be easily forgotten. I am most certainly looking forward to more when it comes to this series. The next book entitled Ginger’s Heart is due to be released winter of 2015/2016. I can’t wait!
“She's the bright sun. And he's the quiet end of day.”
****An advance reading copy of Never Let You Go: A Modern Fairytale by Kate Regnery was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
5 “The Princess & The Spy” Stars!
“She couldn’t give him easy. He couldn’t promise her forever.”
Ace’s fingers closed over Jared’s. “That’s right, blue-eyes. Lick him all over. Make Rachel help, if you want. She’s panting for it.”
Lili tilted her head back again, seeking Jared’s eyes before she tested the boundaries of her newfound brazenness. “Do you want us to suck your cock?”
“Yes.” He slipped his thumb between her lips, gliding it over her tongue, urging her mouth open. “Think about my face in your pussy. I want to see it in those big, big eyes, love.”
Talk about hot and heavy, right? Phew! 0_0
If you are wondering whether this deliciously dirty series is for you and question whether you could handle all the sexual freedom and sexy hot goodness that encompasses what the O’Kanes and Sector Four are all about. I have said it before, and I will say it again....
Beyond Innocence is book six in the Beyond series written by the writing duo known as Kit Rocha. I am hopelessly addicted to this series and the fantastically kinky world this pair of authors has managed to create. I highly recommend that you read this series in sequential order as all the books flow into one another with overlapping storylines and world building. Each book in this series does focus on one central romance; however, the overall story arc builds over each successive book so it is better to read each book in order. The raunchy and gritty dystopian world that this pair of authors has created is unmatched in its creativeness and uniqueness.
Lili Fleming walked away from Sector Five and a life of fear and obligatory servitude with only a gun, a few clothing items, some drugs to keep her numb and a steely determination to survive no matter what her circumstances turned out to be. Sector Four has become her new home despite the fact that Lili is having a hard time fitting in with the sexually free O’Kane’s who play as hard as they work. With her drug supply dwindling to nothing, Lili knows that it is only a matter of time before she is going to have to face her new life with a clear head. Without the drugs that make her numb and emotionless, how will she deal with the fact that she is surrounded by such sexual openness and hedonistic tendencies? She comes from a world where any act of kindness always came with a price, a world where she had to hide behind a pristine and perfect façade. How can she trust that the O’Kane’s aren’t doing what she had learned to do – pretend in order to survive?
“....none of it made him happy. He wasn’t even content. He was drifting, as lost as all the rest of the people Dallas O’Kane liked to snatch up.”
We have known Jared Capello for quite some time now as one of Ace’s best friends and ex-lovers. He is someone that has successfully managed to exist in both Eden’s society and in the world of the Sectors, particularly now as he has become an asset to Dallas O’Kane with all his connections inside the walls of Eden. Jared is on the cusp of venturing into new and dangerous territory as he is willing to step up his game to help Dallas gather further intelligence from Eden. The last thing he needs in his life is a complication like an innocent wide-eyed blonde who makes his blood burn.
He felt familiar because he was as shined and buffed as she’d always been, a person made up of all the talents and interests other people desired.
With Lili he didn’t have to be perfect. He just had to be Jared.
With Jared at her back, at her side, she could survive anything.
The love story between Jared and Lili was very heart-felt and emotional. Something I was not expecting. Lili is someone that has avoided feeling too much and she now finds herself immersed with people who do nothing but want nothing but to feel. She is scared and confused. When she meets Jared he somehow reminds her of what she is familiar with. His flawless appearance is something she can understand. He is like a kindred spirit that she can reach out to even though he brings forth a plethora of unfamiliar emotions from her. Despite his reluctance at first, Jared can’t help but want to venture into something more with Lili. I loved how fiercely protective he was with her and how patient he was when it came to helping Lili explore everything that she had been missing in Sector Five. However, his decision to step outside the confines of his money and power and take some dangerous risks puts him in danger. Is he willing to bring Lili into his life and put her at risk as well?
Us was a seductive word. The most illicit one he’d whispered tonight, because us sounded like a future they’d agreed not to agree upon. One of tenderness and safety and fucking.
“It makes sense,” she protested, reaching up to trace his lips. “The first time you kissed me, I felt like the desert, and you were the rain. So much rain, I thought you’d wash me away. But I’m not the desert. I’m the flowers.”
“So you’re blooming.” His mouth moved under her fingertips, like a kiss. “And you’re beautiful, Lili.”
Getting caught up with the O’Kanes and their kinky fuckery is always one of the things I look forward to most when diving into a new book in this series. The O’Kane’s are all very flawed; however, I love how they represent family, freedom and simply do not care what the outside world thinks about them. Their indulgent ways can be intoxicating and can seduce even the most cynical bastard. With all this being said, what I absolutely adored about this book was the fact that we finally get Jared’s story. The focus is on someone who has been skating along the outskirts of the O’Kane hedonistic paradise. It gave this book a different feel and I loved that! Further, we also get to find out more about the elusive Eden proving once again that the imaginations of these authors know no bounds when it comes to this dystopian world. Kit Rocha continue to add layer upon complex layer and intricately interweave an overall story arc that is not only fascinating but brilliant as all heck.
And, if you are wondering if this book in the series follows its predecessors and is smutty goodness at its absolute best. Well, do you really think it would be any other way? Lili has to be introduced to the pleasure-seeking and debauched lifestyle of the O’Kanes. And, holy fiery crotch-rockets! Kit Rocha has penned some erotically charged, filthy and panty-wetting goodness. Be prepared for your girly parts (or your boy parts) not only to tingle but to be explosively electrocuted. I’m not kidding.
All in all, Beyond Innocence proved to me once again why I am such a fan-girl of these authors and this series. You simply never know what to expect with each book. The overall story arc as it pertains to the O’Kanes and all that is going down is cleverly interwoven into each book. Further, with each book you get a deliciously sexy love story. I can’t get enough of this series and the people who make up Sector Four. They have all somehow weaved their way into my
panties heart. I am so thoroughly hooked and can’t wait for more.
****An advance reading copy of Beyond Innocence by Kit Rocha was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Filthy Dirty Secrets is book two in Grace Morgan’s serial novella erotic series about a reporter determined to uncover some answers and a deliciously gorgeous sex club owner determined to loosen her up in more ways than one.
Burke is a co-owner of one of the most notorious and secretive sex clubs and the last thing he needs is a nosey reporter immersing herself in his club to try and seek out answers to an unsolved mystery regarding a woman who used to be a member of the club. Lola is a reporter for the Austin Tribune investigating the disappearance of a young woman named Hope. Burke makes Lola an offer she can’t refuse. Thirty days spent with him, living in his apartment, where she will be his. In exchange she will have access to the club and its members for her investigatory purposes.
Like its predecessor, book two is also told in dual POV. Lola and Burke have discovered that their so-called arrangement may be more dangerous for both of them than they could have ever imagined. The slow burn that was building between them is now a full-fledged scorching fire and Lola can’t seem to stay away from Burke even though she discovers that he was keeping secrets from her. With more discoveries to be made and the fact that Burke is as closed off as ever, can the pair’s combustible connection lead to something more profound or are they doomed before they have even gotten started?
Ms. Morgan’s writing continues to be engaging and I was hooked in right from the start. This second installment is a quick and steamy read that left me wanting more. With the bomb that is dropped at the end of this novella, I am interested to see what direction this author will take in the final installment. All in all, Filthy Dirty Secrets is a fast-paced and seriously sexy continuation of Lola and Burke’s story.
****An advance reading copy of Filthy Dirty Secrets by Grace Morgan was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.