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.

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?

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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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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.

Purchase it

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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.

Blog Tours, Crime, Erotic Romance, Reviews, Suspense

Tour & Review: Savage Mafia Prince – Annika Martin

savagemafiaprince-1600x2400newSavage Mafia Prince by Annika Martin
Series: Dangerous Royals #3
Genre: dark erotica
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Where is Kiro?

He’s the lost Dragusha brother, heir to a vast mafia empire—brilliant, violent, and utterly savage…and he’s been missing for years.

Ann

I’m supposed to be doing simple undercover research at the Fancher Institute for the Mentally Ill & Dangerous, but I can’t keep my mind off Patient 34. He’s startlingly young and gorgeous, but it’s not just that. He’s strapped way too tightly to that bed. And there’s no name or criminal history on his chart. What are these people hiding? My reporter’s instincts are screaming.

Here’s the other thing: the staffers here believe he’s so sedated that there’s not a thought in his head, but I catch him watching me when nobody’s looking. Our connection sizzles when I enter the room. When our eyes meet, I know he understands me in a way nobody else ever has.

I’m supposed to follow my editor’s orders—I have secrets, too—but everything about Patient 34 is suspicious. How can I not investigate?

Purchase it

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Review

Heat: ★★
Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer’s note: this is the third instalment of the Dangerous Royals series. I would highly recommend starting from the beginning with Dark Mafia Prince.

I’ve always admired people who decide on a direction and go for it against all odds. The rebels, the heretics, the true believers, the doomed warriors.

The final (and most eagerly awaited) book in Martin’sDangerous Royals series, this follows the third and final brother, Kiro, after he has awoken the interest of Bloody Lazarus. Although it is a departure from the darker nature of the rest of the series, I actually enjoyed this one much more, due to its originality and Martin’s perfect characterisation of Kiro, and deep sensory descriptions of the forest and wildlife.

Though few, the sex scenes had enough animalism and passion in them to get my heart pounding – I just wish there had been a few more. Perhaps it’s my pervy self speaking, but this series has felt like it should be super sexy, yet always slightly let itself down in that department.

He’s a force of nature. Pure aliveness. Pure power. He’s the most ferociously hot thing I’ve ever seen. The most dangerous thing I’ve ever seen.

I found that I could imagine Kiro’s character, his quiet but brutal nature, absolutely brilliantly in my mind, the way his eyes, his face and his actions expressed much more than words, with the juxtaposition of the PTSD-suffering journalist, Ann, whose life revolved around them. This was a deeper level and I loved watching how their relationship and understanding of one another grew. I particularly enjoyed the detailed descriptions of survival methods, and learning about both characters’ backstories.

I’ve also very much enjoyed the POV chapters from Lazarus, particularly in regards to his relationship with his business guru, and how absurdly brilliant an idea this was on Martin’s part.

“I wanted to rip his face off, and then fuck you in front of everyone.”

This was a satisfying, original ending to a series that has successfully changed tone and theme, from dark and mafia to more suspenseful and thoughtful. In some respects, however, the big difference between this and the others has dampened my enjoyment of the first two – now feeling like they were simply a prolonged build-up to this. Regardless, it’s nice that the mystery has been solved and the loose ends come together, and this is a series I would absolutely recommend.

Series order

  1. Dark Mafia Prince
  2. Wicked Mafia Prince
  3. Savage Mafia Prince
Erotic Romance, Release Blitz, Reviews, Romance

Out now! Review: Bang Gang – Jade West

bang-gangBang Gang by Jade West
Series: standalone
Genre: erotic romance
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It’s one thing knowing your ex-boyfriend is a bit of a player, but it’s another thing altogether to find out he’s pimping himself out to anyone who’ll pay good money for it.

Not just himself, either. That would be far too regular for Darren Trent.

Darren Trent – my teenage sweetheart and father to my two young girls – is not just whoring himself out. Oh no. Darren Trent pimps himself out alongside four of his mechanic friends – all of them at the same time.

Five hot, sweaty mechanics at your service.

They call themselves the Bang Gang… you can imagine.

In a village our size I should keep my head down and hope the scandal blows over before the girls or my poor old Nanna catch wind of it.

Only it’s not blowing over. Far from it. It seems every woman in the village wants themselves a five-mechanic sandwich.

They make no qualms about it, either. Just rock on up to my café counter and ask how they can book themselves in for a Bang Gang special. Like I would know.

I definitely wouldn’t know. I hardly even know Darren Trent anymore. We split up a lifetime ago.

I definitely don’t think about him late at night. Don’t think about five mechanics and me as much as every other woman in this village.

And even if I did, I wouldn’t act on it. I wouldn’t draw the money from my savings account and have a go for myself.

And even if I did that. I definitely, definitely wouldn’t fall for him. Not again. Not after everything we went through. Not after splitting up the first time nearly brought me to my knees.

Not after settling into a decent routine, the girls and me, with no drama, no heartbreak, no crazy passions to rock the calm little boat we’re sailing on.

I mean, who would be stupid enough to risk all that over a hot, sweaty, oily bit of rough like Darren Trent?

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Review

Heat: ★★
Rating: ★★★

I want to start this review by saying that it took me a while to decide whether to rate this as a three or four star read. I went with three in the end, for reasons I will explain – despite having immensely enjoyed reading it.

I’d loved Jodie Symmonds when she’d forgotten how to love herself. I thought I’d loved her enough for both of us. But no. Life fucking sucks like that.

During the first half of the book, I was emotionally invested in the lives of these characters. I am deeply in love with Darren Trent (I appear to have a thing for the quiet, manly types who don’t quite understand how to be expressive), and I thought Jo was fabulous, too. I loved the fact that this book dealt with slightly older characters, with children – both of whom were deliciously developed, too.

I really, really enjoyed the slow burn, the details about their everyday lives, separate from one another, mixed with the gorgeous chemistry West is so brilliant at conveying through the pages. I loved how realistic their lives and characters were at this stage, and I was absolutely desperate for them to work it out – I’m a total sucker for a second-chance romance, and this was no different. And at this stage, I wassure this would be either a four or five star read.

Hard to feel lucky when you’re seeing your forever every fucking day as you hand your girls over and knowing you fucking blew it.

The second half, however, was a little disappointing for me. West’s trademark filthy sex scenes were massively toned down – and although I understand that she wanted the focus to be more on the romance, this is, in my opinion, the aspect of her writing that I actually enjoy the most. Yes, there were some erotic scenes, but there was nothing particularly special about them. And I missed that. I’d have like to have seen this deep, emotional love story with more filth, even if it isn’t quite to the same extent as, say, the Dirty Bad series.

Similarly, I found that there was quite a lot of forced angst here. From Mia’s issues at the Rally, to batshit crazy Lorraine’s ridiculous manipulation and one-dimensional development. It all felt very melodramatic and frustrating, and this is, unfortunately, where it lost the beautiful realism for me.

Five men. I’d be having the Bang Gang special.

A second-chance story to get invested in, Bang Gang is, no doubt, a good read from West. I just wish the second half had matched the excitement the first half had given me.