Erotic Romance, Humour, Reviews

REVIEW: The Bartender by Piper Rayne

the-bartender-ebook-coverThe Bartender by Piper Rayne
Series: Modern Love #1
Genre: romantic comedy
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Who knew sleeping with the enemy could be this fun? 

Was the one night stand a good idea?

Well, no. Probably not in retrospect.

In my defense I had just moved back into my grandparent’s house, I’d lost my dream job, and a guy on Tinder had stood me up. It was like life had suddenly stamped ‘LOSER’ on my forehead.

So when the guy behind the bar started giving me THE look…you know, the one that promised I’d be screaming his name into the wee hours of the morning? When that guy also has the perfect amount of scruff on his chiseled chin, biceps bulging out of his t-shirt, and a cocky grin you knew he’d earned in the sack…when he gives you that look, you don’t bother to figure out what your six degrees of separation are. You jump on that horse and ride it!

 Pun fully and completely intended. And accurate by the way.

I fully admit to feeling sorry for myself and acting impulsively, but by the time I’d figured out WHO the bartender was, I was already falling for him.

Purchase it

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Review

Heat: 3/5
Rating: 2/5

From the synopsis, this looked like it was going to be a steamy, hilarious romp, but unfortunately it left me feeling a little cold. Although the sex scenes were pretty enjoyable, including some atypical scenes for a contemporary erotic romance (titfuck, anyone?), I just didn’t really get into this book. It didn’t make me laugh; the most was a small smile every so often, and despite the writing style being really strong and pleasant to read, I have to admit I found this more of a chore than I wanted to.

I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, with their inability to take responsibility of their actions, and also their intentional deception of one another which led to easily-avoidable drama. I find it terribly frustrating when forced drama and angst is used in books, as it just detracts from everything I’ve read and destroys any relationship I’ve built with the characters. None of the characters were developed enough for my liking, and honestly too much of it felt forced, with angst, humour and relationships.

It was fun, it was light, it was fairly hot; but overall it just didn’t appeal to my sense of humour or my craving for a bit more depth.

Erotic Romance, Release Blitz, Reviews, Suspense

REVIEW: Downtime by Karyn Lawrence

downtimeDowntime by Karyn Lawrence
Series: Kindle Worlds’ Titan World
Genre: erotic suspense
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From New York Times best-selling author Cristin Harber and USA Today best-selling author Nikki Sloane writing as Karyn Lawrence comes an exciting collaboration…

It’s a romantic getaway for the newlyweds. Or is it?

Parker Black’s brilliant computer skills keep Titan Group running, but now he’s getting some much needed downtime. He’s taking a break from the war room to spend it in the bedroom with his brand-new wife Lexi, and whisks her off to a historic resort nestled in the hills of West Virginia.

Only, there’s a secret buried beneath the hotel. What’s hiding in the converted bunker threatens a lot more than just his romantic weekend, and he’s going to need Lexi’s help to crack inside. Cut off from his own security team and facing a ticking clock, Parker’s about to realize there’s no such thing as downtime when you work for Titan.

Purchase it

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Review from Evelyn

Heat: 4/5
Rating: 4/5

This is the sort of novella I can get behind. I’m usually not a fan, finding the pacing off and full of insta-love, but due to this being part of Kindle Worlds’ Titan World, Lexi and Parker’s relationship was already established, meaning we could indulge in some wonderfully erotic scenes, alongside the tension of their mission.

Karyn Lawrence is a favourite author of mine, and absolutely a one-click, and her ability to write so well in someone else’s world simply solidifies this for me. Her action sequences are easy to follow and absolutely kick-ass, and although there was a fair bit of hacker jargon used within this novella, I never once felt lost.

If you’re a fan of the Titan World, or of Karyn Lawrence (or, hell, of Nikki Sloane) you won’t want to miss out on this little gem. With just over an hour of reading time, it’s perfect for a lazy morning. And you don’t even have to have read the original series – but I will be doing so now.

Review from Sheena

Rating: 4/5

This is a great thriller/romance, a really exciting, quick read with a sexy man in love with a beautiful, smart woman and a mission fraught with danger and suspense; all the elements required to make the reader keep going to the end without a break…..which is exactly what I did.

The relationship between the two main characters is loving and oh so hot between the sheets…and out of them, for that matter, and felt totally believable. Although the supporting cast only gets a quick look in I am so going to search out their stories in the series.

I have not read a Titan series book before but they have definitely gone on my to be read list after this awesome introduction….a short, hot thrilling read…

Dark, Erotic Romance, Reviews, Suspense

Review: Vice – Callie Hart

viceVice by Callie Hart
Series: standalone spin-off of the Dead Man’s Ink series
Genre: dark erotic suspense
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In war, there are only three rules.

Obey orders.

Protect the guy standing next to you.

Stay alive.

Cade Preston left the military a long time ago, but he has never ceased to live by the laws of combat. As vice president of the Widow Makers Motorcycle club, he’s been loyal. He’s fought tooth and nail to stay alive. He’s shed blood to save the lives of those who matter to him.

And now he’s gone and done something he swore he would never do.

He’s fallen for the one girl he can’t have.

Cortina Villalobos is an untouchable. The daughter of one of Ecuador’s most notorious cartel leaders, she is beyond Cade’s reach in every way. Fernando Villalobos is a murderer and a madman. He will kill anyone who dares look twice at his daughter, and yet Cade can’t walk away.

Will he disobey orders?

Will he abandon his club?

And will taking on the House of Wolves cost him his life?

Purchase it

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Review

Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★★★

This is a standalone spin-off of the Dead Man’s Ink series, which I would highly recommend you read before this (it’s well worth it).

She isn’t “morning-sunrise” kind of beautiful. She’s “out-of-control-burn-your-fucking-house-down-forest-fire” kind of beautiful.

As ever, Hart delivers a dark, gritty read with just enough sex to complement the darkness and characters. This was probably one of her most original storylines, with enough depth and strings to the rest of the world to feel fully-fledged (and, frankly, fucking dangerous and bat-shit crazy). These stories, and this world, keep me entertained and occupied for hours at a time, and it remains a top favourite.

“It’s gonna be intense, and it might make you nervous, but it’ll never be more than I think you can handle. And I will never hurt you. Do you trust me enough to hand yourself over to me?”

Where I felt this book was a little disappointing was actually due to Cade feeling like more of a generic character this time. Zeth and Rebel are both gorgeously characterised, easily recognisable, but Cade faded a little into the background for me – apart from during the super hot sex scenes, which were right up my street, even if not so prominent as in Hart’s other releases.

Regardless, it was still super-fun, a bit grittier than Hart’s other work (and that’s saying something!) and wonderful to finally be able to explore Cade’s character and get to the bottom of this plotline.

Blog Tours, Comedy, Erotic Romance, Reviews

Tour (Review): Stroked Hard – Meghan Quinn

strokedhard_amazon_ibooksStroked Hard by Meghan Quinn
Series: #Stroked #3
Genre: contemporary romance
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He’s hot. Like, stop breathing kind of hot with his killer body, vivid blue eyes, and constant five o’clock shadow.

Did I mention his body?

Watching Hollis Knightly, Olympic diving gold medalist, man-pony specialist—and cocky bastard—stand up on the diving platform in nothing but a small piece of Spandex? Yeah, I’m beguiled.

And easily seduced.

I want to keep things light but he won’t leave me alone. And hell, if he’s not wearing me thin.

What is supposed to be a simple summer fling with a very hot man, has now morphed into a f*cked-up mess of feelings, attachment, and dare I say it…love. But I don’t do relationships. And Hollis Knightly does.

Purchase it

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Review

Themes: sports, unrequited love
Heat: ★★★★
Rating: ★★★★

Is it the joking Hollis who always wants my boob in his mouth? Or is it the serious Hollis, the one that tears my walls down with one heated gaze in my direction, the one who speaks of the possibilities of forever?

This is the final instalment of the Stroked trilogy – one of the strongest series of 2016 – and I’m actually pretty devastated that that’s it. I’m going to come straight out and say that I preferred Stroked Long, simply because, out of the three, it gripped me emotionally and refused to ever let go, making my heart physically ache. I didn’t quite get that same feeling here, and in some respects I felt Melony was a little immature with how her daddy issues affected her. Regardless, this was still a pleasure to read.

To me, the sexiest sight in the world is a woman right before she’s about to be eaten out, right before you place your tongue on her clit because she knows the pleasure that’s coming.

Hollis is right up there with my top book boyfriends. Quinn has, once again, created fabulously complex characters, and men to actually fall deeply in love with. She has basically ruined me single-handedly because no one ever lives up to these incredible fictional characters. Thank you Meghan Quinn for ruining my relationship. (It’s cool, I forgive you, he wasn’t worth it anyway). But damn, I loved his romanticism, and his mad sex skills, too. Yep – two of the sex scenes in this book were masturbation-inducing, but at least I got some use out of my new vibrator.

“Hey, it’s 2016, baby. Romance is all about dirty talk, secret rendezvous, and attentive fucking. Flowers, candies, and poems are old school.

As ever, a deeply sweet, absolutely filthy, fucking hilarious read from one of the top authors around. I can’t wait for what comes next, and in the meantime I’ll be delving into Quinn’s back category.

Now, time to make this review Amazon-friendly.

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Blog Tours, Drama, Erotic Romance, Excerpts, Giveaway, Reviews

Tour (Review & Sneak Peek): Preppy, part 1 – T.M. Frazier

preppy-coverPreppy, part 1 by T.M. Frazier
Series: King #5
Genre: dark erotic romance
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Samuel Clearwater, A.K.A Preppy, likes bowties, pancakes, suspenders, good friends, good times, good drugs, and a good f*ck.

He’s worked his way out from beneath a hellish childhood and is living the life he’s always imagined for himself. When he meets a girl, a junkie on the verge of ending it all, he’s torn between his feelings for her and the crippling fear that she could be the one to end the life he loves.

Andrea ‘Dre’ Capulet is strung out and tired.

Tired of living for her next fix. Tired of doing things that make her stomach turn. Tired of looking in the mirror at the reflection of the person she’s become. Just when she decides to end it all, she meets a man who will change the course of both their lives forever.

And their deaths.

For most people, death is the end of their story.

For Preppy and Dre, death was only the beginning.

This is the fifth book in the King Series and it’s meant to be read after Soulless.

Purchase it

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Review

Themes: addiction, blackmail
Heat: ★★★★
Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer’s note: this does not standalone, and it is vital (and highly recommended) to go back and read the entire series first.

I never knew true fear until I met pure evil. He wore a smile and a bow tie.

Finally, finally, we get to delve into the depths of Preppy’s mind, and after that humdinger of an ending in Soulless, it was needed more than anything. And I’m also sounbelievably excited that there will be three Preppy instalments (and I’m eagerly awaiting the next part after the humdinger of an ending here). Now I’ve got that gushing preamble and fangirling over Frazier over with, onto the review.

Frazier’s greatest strength is her development and creation of characters. All through this series, we’ve had strength after strength, with both the males and females, but Preppy transcends them all. There isn’t quite another character as vulgar, hilarious and dark as him, and this instalment only serves to increase my love of him. I was immediately wrapped up in the plot, and the relationship between him and Dre.

For most people death was the end. For me, it was only the beginning.

This was largely relationship-driven, with very little external plot, but the isolation really worked. It reflected Preppy’s own isolation of this part of his life amongst his friends, and the seeds for the climax were sown ever so delicately towards the beginning, enough that the big unfolding drama came as a bit of a surprise, rather than falling into predictability.

The sex scenes were, as ever, totally fucked up and totally hot – but, I have to put this out there, I was expecting something even worse and was slightly disappointed when it didn’t happen. Yes, there was a mild case of somnophilia early on, and a fair bit of choking, dubcon and general aggression, but from the previous books in the series I was expecting darker than dark. Blood, more pain, that sort of thing. Hopefully this will pick up in the two future instalments.

This wasn’t about me or my pleasure. This wasn’t sex. This was a motherfucking exorcism.

A worthy, eagerly-awaited instalment in the King series, Preppy, part 1, doesn’t fail to deliver Frazier’s typical angst and sex-heavy darkness, this time isolated from a wider plot. Although not as sexually dark as expected, Preppy’s complex characterisation alone maintains the strength and interest into the outcome of this ongoing saga.

Sneak Peek

“No! I hate you,” she spat, as I continued to tug her beside me.

“Good, you can hate me while I fuck you,” I said. “But first things first. My lesson obviously didn’t take in that brain of yours. You want what you want and I can’t stop you,” I said, as we approached the train tracks which were elevated on a mound of gravel several feet off the ground. The warning lights flashed orange, the neon reflective barriers dropped down to cover the service road, while the bells indicating an approaching train clanged away. “And since I can’t stop you, I’m going to help you out. Bullet in the head was so three hours ago. I’ve got something even better in mind now.”

“Wait. What?” she asked, her teeth chattering. “You…you wouldn’t.”

“Wouldn’t what?” I said, turning around to face her, almost losing my footing when I noticed the trail of dried tears on her cheeks. I looked away for a fraction of a second to regain my composure. “You think I wouldn’t kill someone?” I cocked an eyebrow. “You already know that I’ve been there, done that, bought the motherfucking t-shirt, doll.” Her eyes went wide and she made a move to step back. “Oh no, Doc, I read your letter and I saw what you wanted. And remember, I’m nothing if not accommodating.”

When I pulled her to climb the gravel mound her knees locked up so I bent over and picked her up by the waist, tossing her over my shoulder, carrying her onto the tracks while she beat on my back with her closed fists. When I got to the top I set her down roughly and she fell backwards onto her ass, bracing herself with her hands against the large pieces of gravel under the tracks.

The whistle of the train blew in the distance. It wouldn’t be long now. Dre made a move to stand up, but that wasn’t what I had in mind. I bent down and pushed on her chest, spreading her tiny frame across the tracks. I crawled on top of her, pinning her down with my thighs. I leaned over her, my chest to hers as we both breathed rapidly. She struggled underneath me to get up, pushing at my chest, but I wouldn’t budge. “Why the struggle, Doc? This is what you wanted, isn’t it?”

She glanced up at me as the train whistled again. Her gaze flipped to her right, where the single yellow light from the train emerged from around the corner, shining brighter and brighter as it chugged closer and closer. For a moment she stopped struggling, looking back and forth from the train to me.

“So what, you’re gonna die too?” she asked, hoping to appeal to my sense of self preservation.

I shrugged. “I get bored easily, maybe the devil will make me his errand boy or something.”

“Preppy, this isn’t funny. Get up and get off the fucking tracks,” she said, her concern shifting from herself to me.

I shook my head and yawned. She wiggled underneath me, and although there was a train barreling toward us my cock once again stirred to life. Maybe I should just rip down her panties and push inside of her. Train or no train, it would be one fuck of a way to go out.

“You have to choose, Doc,” I said, making my voice as serious as I was capable. “Life?” I asked, screaming over the sound of the train screeching against the track. I pushed my hard cock against her core and she gasped. Her trembling turned into a shiver, her mouth fell open. I glanced to the side at the blinding light of the approaching train as it bathed us both in a tunnel of light. I leaned down, so close that my lips were a whisper above hers, as I shouted, “Life? Or death? What’s it gonna be, Doc?” My hair blew around my face as the light grew brighter and brighter. “Answer the fucking question!” I demanded, my hands squeezing her shoulders, my fingers digging roughly into her skin. “DO YOU WANT TO FUCKING DIE?”

With only seconds left until we became shredded under the train, Dre closed her eyes and sighed. When she opened them again they were glistening, fresh tears spilling from the edges.

She started to speak, her lips forming the beginning of the word, but before it could fully leave her lips I stood, pulling her up with me. I lifted Dre into my arms and took a running leap off the tracks, my legs flailing in the air as we fell the seven or so feet. Dre’s decision still on her lips, her scream surrounding the air around us as we crashed down into the field.

“I wanna liiiiiiiiiiiivvvvvveeeeee.”

Giveaway

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King series

  1. King
  2. Tyrant
  3. Lawless
  4. Soulless
  5. Preppy, part 1
Erotic Romance, Reviews, Sales

Sale & Review: Moto – M. Never

motoMoto by M. Never
Series: standalone
Genre: erotic romance
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What’s harder than resisting one Dane man? Resisting two. 

I don’t date bikers. It’s my one cardinal rule. No rough, rugged, tattooed egotistical maniacs on two wheels. Even if they are gorgeous, brilliant, and sport the prefix Doctor. Bottom line, bikers are nothing but trouble.

T.R.O.U.B.L.E

Dr. Devlin Dane has had his sights set on my panties for months. But I’ve done a stellar job of fending him off. As Mercy Medical’s most eligible bachelor, he has no problem in the panty dropping department. He’s tall, dark, and inked all over. I get the appeal, I’m not dead. I’m not stupid either. He’s a walking heartbreak waiting to happen.

But when Reese Dane comes crashing into my life – literally- the game suddenly changes.

Reese, the dark, brooding, motorcycle racing champion, knows exactly how to apply the right pressure on and off the track. 

The two have an unstoppable pull like centrifugal force, and both bad boy bikers are determined to take me on a high-powered ride I’ll never forget…

Purchase it

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Sneak Peek

“I’m not overreacting! You can’t just pass me around to all your biker buddies and think it’s okay! I’m not a fucking wrist watch you can just throw into the pot!”

 Kayla, do you honestly think I would’ve put you up if I knew I couldn’t win? That I would let anyone else touch what belongs to us?” Reese crowds me into a corner.

 “Us?” I squeak. Wait, what?

 “Yes. Us. Mine and Dev’s.” He enunciates the words. “You. Are. Ours.”

 There’s that word again. Ours.

 “I don’t understand.”

 “Baby, I think you do. I think you’ve always known where we would end up.” Reese cages me in with his arms.

 Dev materializes over Reese’s shoulder, and I internally hyperventilate. I don’t know who to look at first as my gaze compulsively darts between the two of them. Two, beautiful, roughneck men, who both look like they want to have me for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 “How . . . how would this even work?” I crazily entertain the idea.

 Both their faces split with a fiendish smile. I must have asked the million-dollar question.

 Reese leans in closely, stopping my heart. “Let us show you,” he murmurs so seductively my knees nearly buckle. I throw a questioning eye at Dev and he nods confidently.

 “You both want this?” I ask with a small voice.

 “It isn’t about what we want anymore. It’s all about you now,” Dev voices.

 Holy. Fuck.

 “Say yes, Kayla.” Dev’s tone is soft and velvety. Irresistible. “Say yes to us.”

 I press my back against the wall praying for composure, but the longer they trap me, the more the pressure builds, the more my want fights to the surface, and my resolve falls away into oblivion. I find myself nodding because my ability to speak has become paralyzed.

 “Good girl,” Reese breathes before he throws me over his shoulder like a caveman.

 “Hey!” I grab onto his shirt.

 He swats me on the butt as he makes his way to the stairs. “Ouch!” I flail.

 “That’s for bouncing out on me. Never do it again. Got it?” He hits me once more for good measure.

 “Fuck you.” I flinch.

 “In due time, baby.”

 I lift my head as Reese climbs the stairs with Dev hot on his heels.

 Reality suddenly strikes. Is this really happening?

 “Relax.” Dev traps my chin gently. “We’re going to take care of you. And make you feel so good.” He pushes some dangling hair away from my face so I can see him. He’s incredibly calm despite the carnal look in his eyes.

 Once in my small room, Reese drops me on the bed. They each flank one side, making me feel like a trapped animal.

 I kneel in the middle of the mattress at a loss at what to do next.

 “Strip, baby,” Reese instructs as he unzips his leather jacket and pulls the gun from the back of his pants, placing it on my nightstand.

 I stay frozen in place.

 I know I’m supposed to move, but what’s clearly about to happen hasn’t sunk in yet.

 “Need some assistance?” Dev crawls up behind me and kisses my neck. A switch flips. My eyes immediately roll backward. Yes, please, touch me. Both of you, please touch me.

Review (from the Goodreads archvies)

★★★★

I went into reading this book with the expectation of another formulaic romance story, but was quickly proven wrong when it came to address polyamorous relationships, health conditions and rather dirty threesome scenes (with the occasional BDSM-lite touch). M. Never has managed to craft this alt-romance so carefully, injecting darker undercurrents throughout which culminate in the conclusion of the book in a completely unexpected way. It was an emotional ride all the way through, but rather than a typical HEA, I was left feeling somewhat empty due to the bittersweet ending.

Although the plot was pretty much all centred on the complex relationships between the three main characters, the main flaw of the book was the lack of development of the side plots – Kayla’s aunt Sam’s work on the drugs issue, and the Viper, introduced as a villain, which I feel were too quickly and easily concluded – but perhaps M. Never has left this open to explore in an offshoot instalment, which I think would work very well.

Overall, Moto breaks the lite-romance formula by crafting a darker, deeper story of connections, and a genuinely upsetting ending.

Erotic Romance, Reviews, Suspense

Review: Behind Closed Doors – Lisa Renee Jones

bcd-ebook-coverBehind Closed Doors by Lisa Renee Jones
Series: standalone (loosely ties into the Inside Out and Careless Whispers series)
Genre: erotic romance, suspense
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From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones comes a brand new gripping and provocative novel that ties into her bestselling Careless Whispers and Inside Out series. You can enjoy this as a standalone, but fans of Careless Whispers and Inside Out will get an exciting glimpse of who Ella really is and some of the secrets she’s been hiding from everyone she knows. 

Desperate to pay for law school, Skye tries her hand at auction hunting with her friend Ella, only to find a poker chip and a note leading to an offsite locker. The next thing she knows, Jason “Red Bull” Wise—a famous, millionaire poker player—is at her door, accusing her of blackmail. Innocent, she swears he’s wrong. He rolls the dice and believes her, impulsively inviting her along to Las Vegas. And remarkably, cautious Skye takes a risk, finding herself seduced by this dangerously alluring man, on his private jet, and finally living life to the fullest. But there is more than passion waiting for Skye and Jason in Vegas when blackmail takes a deadly turn.

A note from the author: Please be aware that BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was once released as just 3 chapters on my website and Storage Treasures. I have since fully completed this novel into 21 chapters (plus an epilogue). Readers will get a FULL-LENGTH book and finally learn the rest of Skye and Jason’s story! The middle and end to this book have NEVER been published before so please take time to check it out!

Purchase it

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Review

Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★

I sensed this connection. I sensed that we both know a monster calmed by one of only two things: escape or denial.

As ever, Lisa Renee Jones delivers an excellent storyline with the perfect balance of intrigue, suspense and romance. Although I haven’t yet read the Inside Out series, I have been meaning to for a while and enjoyed the chance to get to know Ella’s character a little before indulging in that way.

“Another thing I don’t want. Your curiosity. I just gave you permission to fuck me, but be clear: I’m not another notch on your belt. You’re a notch on mine.”

What I really struggled with was the pacing. The first 75% was really quite slow, unfolding at a snail’s pace, and the final 25% was just too fast. This was all build-up and very little satisfaction, with a huge lack of development and a very frustrating way to end a storyline which I was very much enjoying. The events were easily guessed, and we never got to the bottom of Skye’s background and personal issues – there was no resolution, no proper reason, and it all tied up too easily and quickly for me. The sex scenes also seemed a little tame for Jones, almost rushed, and not quite as thorough as I was expecting.

It was as if, in some respects, this really was treated as an interlude to Jones’ various ongoing series, with not quite as much care going into the mystery and craft as usual.

“My only type until now has been the queen in a deck of cards, who lies down for me at my bidding and without questions. Any woman more complicated than that simply distracts from my real love.”

A fantastic storyline hampered by disappointing pacing.

Blog Tours, Erotic Romance, Reviews

Tour & Review: Black Swan Affair – K.L. Kreig

13720508_585152038312993_1090760524_oBlack Swan Affair by K.L. Kreig
Series: standalone
Genre: erotic romance
Themes: love triangle, friends to lovers, unrequited love

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I’ve loved him as long as I can remember.

The gangly boy with big brown eyes and unruly hair who grew up into an intoxicating man. He wears scruff like he invented it and ambles with a swagger that makes panties drop.

Killian Shepard.

Shep.

We grew up together. We played Ghost in the Graveyard. Had our own rock band. It didn’t matter that he was five years older than me. It didn’t matter that he looked at me as a kid sister even as I grew into a woman. It didn’t even matter when he left me behind to go to college and start his adult life.

He’d be back.

He was always meant to be mine.

He came back, all right. But instead of smelling of promises, he stunk of betrayal. And he destroyed me—us—the day he married my sister instead of me.

So I did the only thing a girl like me in my position could do.

I got my revenge.

I married his brother, Kael.

Now we’re one big happy fucking family.

Purchase it

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Review

Heat: ★★★★
Rating: ★★★

I’m suffocating. Drowning slowly in heart-wrenching torment and a lifetime of regrets and wrong decisions.

It had a bit of everything – plenty of drama, insanely steamy sex, utterly nerve-wracking moments, and occasions when I felt I’d been punched in the gut. This was nothing if not an emotional, hard journey – and one I feel was absolutely worth taking.

Our lives are eternally interwoven. Our futures together already penned. They have been since the day of my birth.

I loved the voice of Maverick, and how it changed and grew throughout these pages. How it started bitter, and ended confident, and really how this reflected her journey. This was more than just a love triangle, and I have to be honest I was pleasantly surprised with how the plot differed from what I was expecting from reading the synopsis. There were plenty of twists and turns, and although it all felt like it was leading in a particular direction, I still had moments where I was unsure if it would actually make it.

“When life gives you lemons, you don’t make lemonade. That’s for pantywaisters. No. You pucker up, suck them dry, then throw the used rinds back in life’s face with a giant fuck-you and a gesture for more.”

I have also completely fallen in love with Kael, Killian and Maverick. The latter, because she has strength despite her mistakes. The former because of the strength of their love for her and how they individually expressed this. But Kael – he’s one of those rare book soulmates that you actually fall head over heels in love with. It’s always a pleasure to read a story with someone like that in it, whom you care for so deeply, though the ramification is that the real-life partner never quite lives up to it…

Fantastic characterisation, scorching sex, with a deeply emotional touch. One of the best releases of 2016.

Blog Tours, Erotic Romance, Excerpts, Reviews

Blog Tour! Sneak Peek & Review: Tonic – Staci Hart

tonicTonic by Staci Hart
Series: standalone
Genre: contemporary romance
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Joel Anderson doesn’t take anything seriously.

Not his relationships, which have been few and far between since his brutal divorce. Not the drama of working in a tattoo parlor, which seems to be around every corner. When things get him down, he smiles and cracks a joke. But he’s not the kind of man you cross, or you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of his fists.

Annika Belousov takes everything seriously.

Like her job as a reality television producer, given that she typically has something to prove. Or her love life, which is defined by a series of requirements — affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesn’t take lightly. When she’s tapped to produce a reality show at Joel’s shop, she doesn’t think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way.

The second Annika walks into Joel’s shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but she’s not having it. He’s all wrong — too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesn’t take her long to find out there’s more to him than smirks and tattoos. And what she finds could put her career and his heart on the line.

Not that Joel cares. Because for the first time in a long time, he’s found his tonic.

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Sneak Peek

“Let me see it.”

“What?” I blustered, caught off guard.

“Stand up and turn around. I want to see it.” I was too surprised and caught up in the moment to refuse, so I stood and turned, laying my palms on the armrests as I faced the back of the chair.

One hand rested on my hip.

My heart stopped as I wondered what the hell I’d gotten myself into.

I glanced over my shoulder, my gaze bouncing between his face —turned down too much to read —and his reflection in the speckled, antique mirror, which I couldn’t see much of either. His free hand moved to the waistband of my tailored pants, and his fingers hooked and tugged, pulling the band down low.

His thumb ran over where I knew the tattoo was, and I felt his breath. Every place where we connected spoke to me of ownership.

“You got this done here? In New York?” His voice was rough.

Mine wasn’t much better. “Yeah. In Brooklyn.”

“Let me cover it up for you. Give you something you’re proud of. Your skin …” He paused, and I wished I could see his face, read his mind. “This shouldn’t be here, not on you. Let me … I want to …” He had moved closer, his hand on my hip pulling me back into him slightly enough for me to not have noticed that the backs of my thighs were touching his, my back arched just enough, his breath hot.

And then, he disappeared. I stood, finding my hands were trembling, wondering where I was and how I’d gotten there. The shop was mostly empty —no one had seen, not that it would have looked like much from the outside. But from where I stood, I felt every single deliberate move like a telegraph, telling me exactly what he wanted to do without him having to finish the sentence.

His back was to me when I turned around, his face down —I couldn’t see it in the mirror over his cabinet of ink and needles as he dug around in the drawers, seemingly for nothing in particular.

“Let me know if you want me to draw something up.”

“Okay, I will.” I paused, not knowing what else to say, feeling like I should say something. But there was nothing that I could say. “Well, have a good night, Joel. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He nodded, glancing at me in the mirror. “See you, Annika.”

I tried not to bolt out of the shop, but once outside, I admit it —I took off. I hauled up the stairs and into the office to grab my bag, grateful that Laney was already gone, and I texted my driver, asking him to pick me up a few blocks away so I could walk, put some distance between me and Joel, get the energy out of my body, through my legs and feet, into the pavement.

Review

Heat: ★★★★
Rating: ★★★

I then decided two things. One: My new mission in life was to make her laugh. Two: I’d crack her open if it was the last thing I did.

I struggled a little with this one. My main issue is that I felt it was quite a predictable read, and it took me a while to actually get into it. I wasn’t so keen on the minor mafia links, and some of the familial subplots dragged a bit for me. I’m also not a fan of the insta-love that was on the edge of happening from the very first couple of pages.

I had a feeling once I got a taste, I wouldn’t be able to get her out of my system for a long, long time.

That’s not to say it wasn’t a decent book – the chemistry and sex scenes were absolutely scorching, and I thought Hart’s characterisation of Annika and Joel was brilliant – they were largely complex characters and worked extraordinarily well together. I just couldn’t help but feel that the story I wanted to read was the destructive, explosive prequel of Joel and Liz.

Three steps and I was in his arms. Two heartbeats and I looked him into his eyes. One breath and I kissed him.

Slow and predictable, this wasn’t one of my top books by Hart, especially as I absolutely loved Wasted Words. It had its good moments, but I was expecting something a little funnier whilst wanting something a bit more emotional.