Kaleb by Nicole Edwards

Rumors abound about the seven Walker brothers. They may be gentlemen, but they are far from saints. Good God and there’s seven of them?! Heaven help their mother.

What’s it About? 

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Zoey Stranford might’ve had a crush on the sexy boy next door since middle school, but she’s a woman now, and that crush has turned into a full blown case of lust. So why is it that at twenty nine, her libido decides to ramp into high gear and the only thing she can focus on is the intensely sexy, scorching hot boy next door who is definitely not a boy anymore? The only problem is that Zoey and Kaleb have been best friends for as long as she can remember. Not to mention, Kaleb and his brothers are working on buying Stranford land to build a new resort, and she’s more than a little hesitant about his intentions.

Kaleb Walker has had his eye on Zoey for close to twenty years, but never before has he considered taking their friendship to the next level, no matter how many fantasies he’s had about her over the years. That doesn’t explain why Kaleb is hell bent on having her – in as many ways as possible.

Kaleb finds himself in a precarious situation. His brothers have nominated him to pursue Zoey’s father about purchasing the land needed to get their new resort off the ground. Finding out that Carl Stranford is on the brink of foreclosure and Zoey might just lose her house and the land, Kaleb now has to convince her to put aside her pride and let him help her. It doesn’t take long before the flames start burning bright and hot, and the two of them burn up the nights and the days as they explore each other’s forbidden fantasies. But can their friendship survive a business transaction or the new friends with benefits clause? Or will they realize that they’ve been overlooking something much deeper that’s been right in front of them all along?

First Impressions

Kaleb and Zoey have been neighbors for years, and he’s been lusting after her since they were just a couple of horny teenagers. The synopsis tries to imply that it’s only because he’s trying to convince Zoey to sell her family’s land that they suddenly get closer in the physical sense. However, that’s not really true. If anything it seems like after being friends for so long they’ve had enough with putting things off, and kind of fall right into being romantically involved. There’s really no awkwardness at trying to navigate a physical relationship. They simply get down and dirty with it, including their flirtatiousness. And hell, why not add another guy into the mix as well?!

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Secrets and Sensuality

Zoey admits to Kaleb pretty early on in their newfound relationship that it’s been a fantasy of hers to be the filling of a Walker brother sandwich. Seeing as the Walker brothers are known about town for sharing their women at the same time, Zoey’s biggest conundrum is what other Walker brother she’d want to have a threesome with. Not gonna lie, I did find it rather strange that considering how long Zoey has been lusting after Kaleb she’d be willing to toy with the idea of allowing another one in there. Meh, what do I know about the emotional or physical logistics of a threesome. I’ve always said it seems like too many limbs jumbled together!

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As for Kaleb, he’s been waiting for so long to take Zoey to bed, and has even been dreaming about sharing Zoey with one of his brothers for a long time. Talk about being close with family to an uncomfortable degree! Kaleb mistakenly assumes that Zoey will have an innocent vanilla approach to sex, but when he discovers her secret desires he’s almost afraid of pushing her too far with his own desires. However, it doesn’t take long before he overcomes those insecurities, and brings their dreams of a threesome to a reality. Rather than sharing her with a blood relative though, Kaleb decides to bring his best friend to the party. Kaleb is excited to bring Zoey to the ultimate pleasure, yet experiences an unexpected mixture of possessiveness and lust when his best friend strokes Zoey’s thigh. Now that he finally has Zoey, will he be able to share her with someone else? Um, yeah. Multiple times.

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Threesomes and Land Purchases

I’ve read a few erotic novels featuring threesomes before, and this one definitely took a unique approach to the horizontal conga line. I feel like normally when it comes to threesomes we either see a couple experimenting with it once as a way to mix things up in the bedroom, or you have three people who all fall in love with each other and decide to become romantically involved forever and ever. In this novel however, there were a surprising number of threesome scenes involving Zoey, Kaleb, and his best friend Gage. Zoey clearly understands that Gage is only there for the pleasure aspect, and her true feelings of lovey doveyness are for Kaleb alone. She’s just intrigued with the idea of exploring her sexuality after the disastrous end to her marriage, and apparently that involves more than one foray into the world of threesomes.

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The other aspect of the novel which surprised me was that there’s really no attention focused on this club that Kaleb and his brothers are opening. The majority of the story involving the club deals with the land purchase from Zoey’s father. I guess I just assumed this club would be constructed and fully opened by the end of the novel, but that’s not the case. Looks like this might drag out to encompass the other novels in the series as well. I do feel the club’s concept deserved more attention and discussion, especially when Zoey discovers they are planning to open a sex club. Seems like it’d be a main topic of conversations, but nooooope. Moving along.

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Series: Alluring Indulgence, book 1. I won’t rush to read the next book in this series, but I won’t delete it from my TBR list just yet.

Should you read it? This novel was definitely more about sex than story. It’s mainly just about Zoey exploring her sexuality. Don’t get me wrong, that’s good and all, but it simply doesn’t make for a very engaging read. There isn’t much drama at all involving our multitude of characters, including all the Walker brothers, and when there was drama it seemed pretty unnecessary. Overall, a lack of really any kind of depth to the story.

Smut Level: With a threesome here, and a threesome there. Here a threesome, there a threesome, everywhere a threesome.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Pocket Star Publishing. 342 Pages.

Until Sage by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Sage might be adopted, but this man is a Mayson through and through. He too experiences the “boom” which clearly designates Kim as his one and only.

What’s it About?

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Sage Mayson had Kimberly Cullen once, and the memory of that brief encounter has tortured him since the moment he pushed her away. He should have followed his gut, but he didn’t, and now he’s left watching the woman he wants more than anything from afar. Kimberly vowed to protect her heart from Sage, but when her sister is murdered and her world starts to fall apart, he’s the one person she finds herself leaning on. Getting a second chance is something Sage knows is rare. He’s not going to squander the one he’s been given, and he won’t take no for an answer when it comes to making Kim his. But what Sage doesn’t know is Kim has a secret that could leave them both devastated and heartbroken

First Impressions

One thing’s for sure, you need to be extremely careful with how you read the books in both the Until Him and Until Her series. In my opinion, it’s really best to go back and forth between the two and read them in the order of their release date. Not gonna lie, pretty annoying tactic, but also important as one of the main plot points of this novel was both presented and basically resolved in the novel “Until Ashlyn”. While I do enjoy having the alternate focus between the male and female children of the Mayson clan, I believe that for continuity and sanity’s sake, it would have been better to combine both of these series into one. Call it the Until Descendants or something.

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Nature vs. Nurture

You know, I kind of feel bad for twins. When it comes to literary representations it seems that 9 times out of 10 we are always presented with a good twin and an evil twin. And that’s basically what we’re presented with in this novel. Not a very promising outlook in romance novel land. Kim is the good twin. She’s an upstanding citizen, successful hair stylist, and a compassionate friend. Then there’s her twin sister Kelly who is a regular visitor to a sex fetish website, and tries to date rape Sage upon first meeting. Awkwardly for Sage he didn’t know Kim was a twin, and it kind of introduced a speed bump in the road of their budding relationship when he mistakenly thought the girl he was smitten with just wanted to drug and rob him. Oh, to be a twin in a literary romance.

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This twin focus introduces some of the main conflict of the story. On the one hand, Kim has an emotional struggle with herself. She wonders how different her and her sister’s lives could have been if their upbringings were reversed. While Kim was put up for adoption and raised in a loving home, Kelly remained in the arms of her drugged out and abusive mother. It presents the classic debate of nature vs. nurture, and Kim often wonders if she would have ended up as screwed up as her sister if she had remained with her mother instead.

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The other point of contention which this twin story line introduces to the plot is the mix-up with Sage. When he believes that Kim was the one to attempt to drug him, he confronts her the next day and calls her a bitch, ultimately dismissing her from his life. However, while this does add a sense of “so what happens now”, Kim and Sage still have an obvious sexual attraction for one another, and we know it’s just a matter of time before the truth comes out and they’re eventually knockin boots.

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Side-by-Side Series

Aside from their initial kerfuffle which delays their sexual fun time, there’s really only one other main element of drama throughout the whole book, and it’s definitely presented in a rather odd manner. When read in conjunction with the Until Her series, we find that we’ve actually already been introduced to the suspenseful plot point of the novel. As if that wasn’t enough, we even know how the whole matter comes to fruition after reading Until Ashlyn. By reading these series side-by-side, it makes this novel pretty…well…uneventful when all is said and done. Aside from taking their relationship status from on the rocks to living together not much else happens during the rest of the book. Kind of disappointing. There is one other minor issue involving Kim’s health that I thought would become a more prominent feature of the book, but it’s ultimately resolved without as much attention as I thought it deserved.

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Series: Until Him, book 2.

Should you read it? This book was just ok. Definitely a letdown that the primary feature of suspense and mystery was given away in its entirety during the last book. Still a sweet read.

Smut Level: Sage experiences his “boom” when he meets Kim, and Kim too experiences some rather booming orgasms on multiple surfaces of both her and Sage’s homes.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 229 Pages.

Dark Instincts by Suzanne Wright

Goodness gracious golly gee, this book definitely starts off with a bang! Nothing like an attempted kidnapping and an overturned car to get your juices flowing.

What’s it About? 

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It happens whenever wolf shifter Roni Axton is near Marcus Fuller: a crackle of sexual awareness that’s intoxicating…and deeply annoying. Marcus is a pack enforcer who oozes power, but Roni is lethal in her own right—nothing like the flirty females who flock around him. Even still, his possessive gaze makes one thing clear. Marcus has singled her out for seduction, and he wants to make her sit up and beg.

No matter how aloof and unfazed Roni acts, Marcus can tell she wants him. When a brutal attack by a jackal pack forces them to work together, it’s the perfect opportunity for Marcus to chip away at her defenses—until he falls into his own trap, completely unprepared for the intensity of their connection. Roni is the only one who’s ever seen past his shifter charm and discovered the man hiding beneath it. And for Marcus, claiming Roni once will mean needing her forever.

First Impressions

I’m now four books into this Phoenix Pack series, and I’m starting to notice that each novel follows a very particular arch from start to finish. At the start we are always presented with some kind of interesting conflict or suspense, and this novel in particular had probably the most dramatic opening scene of any book in the series so far. Roni is trapped in an overturned car, and is desperately struggling to fight off a pack of jackal shifters from kidnapping the child of the alpha and beta of the Phoenix Pack. Nail biting start that draws you in, guaranteed.

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Then things slow down a bit story wise as we have a male and female lead who start to explore their sexual attraction for one another. They are undoubtedly mates, even if they can’t admit it to themselves yet. Fast forward through all the sexy times, and in the last 10% of each novel we always see the resurgence of our main conflict point, which is resolved in a fabulous display of pack strength. Voilà. There you go. Not gonna lie, this was probably the most disappointing book in the series so far for me, as it followed this arch to the letter, with very little deviation. Quite predictable.

Pack Combos and Ignored Villains

This novel has character overload! Not only do we have our two main leads, but we also have the mates from the previous three novels of the series, the blending of both the Phoenix and Mercury packs, human extremists and jackal shifters. It was honestly very difficult to keep them all straight, as well as understand the dynamics between all the pairs. This novel started off so strong, but then unfortunately just tapered off into nothing. Look, I get we have a romance novel here, and we need to focus on the development of Roni and Marcus’ relationship. However, to have such an intense start with a dramatic kidnapping attempt, and then switch to basically no mention of it for a large portion of the book was a total let down.

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Especially considering I was really excited to see that we were dealing with jackals. I was hoping to learn more about a different species within the series, but it’s not really touched upon all that much. As is a theme with most of the books in this series, we never really get to know our villain either. We are just aware that they’re lurking in the background plotting dastardly deeds, but there’s no real character introduction before the villain ultimately reappears for one final battle. Having more than just a surface level look at the enemy could really enhance the sense of struggle throughout the entire series.

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From Bad-ass to Damsel

The biggest disappointment for me in regards to this novel was the ending, and the stagnation of Roni’s womanly independence. Throughout this book, and even in the last book for that matter, Roni is portrayed as the ultimate bad-ass. She is a dominant female who can stand up for herself, sucking on a lollipop the whole time. Roni acknowledges that it’s ok if she’s dominated in the bedroom, but the girl knows how to give as good as she gets. She was actually the one to mark Marcus first, but Roni manages to distinguish very early on in their relationship the difference between possession and control. While she’s fine with Marcus doing the former in bed, she won’t stand if he does the latter in their day to day life.

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Fast forward to the end of the novel, where everything has been building up to one final confrontation between Roni and our jackal leader villain. Warning: spoilers ahead. I’m telling you guys, I was totally pumped for this ultimate showdown. Unleash the girl power Roni, and kick his ass to the curb!! Unfortunately, when push comes to shove we find that she actually can’t do it by herself. Marcus has to come along and rescue her. Now, I totally would have been ok with this if they had done like, a back-to-back teamwork fight off of jackals, but that’s not the case here. Roni is literally lying on the floor dying, and Marcus has to come and finish the job for her. Where she failed in her confrontation with evil, Marcus succeeds and saves the day. While this might be a victory for our Phoenix pack, I was really keeping my fingers crossed that Roni could have been the hero in the end.

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Series: Phoenix Pack, book 4.

Should you read it? I just wasn’t impressed with this one. It felt like the focus wasn’t always on Marcus and Roni, as there were all the other characters from the previous novels making an appearance. In the end though, the disjointed mix of suspense and romantic story lines was the main factor of why this book didn’t do it for me like the others.

Smut Level: We’re dealing with wolf shifters here. Undoubtedly we’ll deal with some animalistic urges and…mounting.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 322 Pages.

Until Ashlyn by Aurora Rose Reynolds

You know the old adage that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?” I think we can all agree that it never holds true in romance novel land. That shit always follows you home.

What’s it About?

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Dillon Keck knew Ashlyn Mayson was drunk when she suggested they get married. He knew he should have taken her back to their hotel room and put her to bed. Instead, he did what he had been craving to do since the moment they met. Claim her as his.

Waking up married in Vegas isn’t something Ashlyn Mayson ever thought would happen to her. Having Dillon, her boss, a man she thinks is a dick, insist they stay married is absurd, but every time he touches her, she gets lost in him and wonders if maybe they are meant to be together. But someone isn’t happy for Dillon and Ashlyn and their new found romance, and they’re willing to do anything to keep them apart. Even commit murder.

First Impressions

Alright, when it comes to full on first impression of Dillon, it’s not too hard to come up with a description of his character: the dude is basically a dick. He has taken over the dental practice where Ashlyn works, and upon first meeting he states that he’ll need to re-interview her to ensure she has the necessary skills, as he doesn’t just need a pretty thing to look at every day. Well f*ck you very much your majesty. Sure, meet with her a few times to double check she meets your standards, but don’t imply that just because she’s pretty she can’t be skilled and useful. We do eventually learn that this was his particular take on a classic schoolyard tactic to hide how he really felt about her by acting douchey, but it still doesn’t leave a very good first impression. Strike one against you sir!

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Unicorns Left and Right

One feature of this novel which was pretty unique is the fact that when Dillon and Ashlyn finally do the dirty in that Vegas hotel room, it’s revealed that this was actually the first time either of them had had sex. Unfortunately, there’s no real discussion between them about how special this is! Dillon does express that he had never closed the deal with another woman beforehand because it never felt right, but come on! The rarity in this day and age of having two grown adults remain virgins for so long deserved some more attention! There’s another adage out there which compares women who haven’t had sex by a certain age to unicorns, in that they are basically mythological creatures. In this case, we have both a male and female unicorn! I think this feature really deserved a discussion, but instead was kind of glossed over in a one off comment from Dillon.

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From Rom Com to Horror Film

The start of this novel truly reads like a romantic comedy; pretty silly and light-hearted. We have two co-workers who hate each other, yet have some underlying sexual tension, so they get drunk and married in Vegas. Because we’re dealing with a novel in the Until series world, we of course have an uber alpha male who refuses to let Ashlyn get away. She too also has an inherent sense of possessiveness when it comes to Dillon. At one point his crazy bitch of an ex tries to weasel her way into the picture, and Ashlyn kind of goes off on her after a fair amount of goading. While Ashlyn didn’t like the jealous person she became in that moment, Dillon was totally into it, as it showed she was just as in love with him as he was with her.

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Awwww, isn’t that just the cutest?! Well, flash-forward a bit and things start to take a turn for the bizarre. Someone tries to run Ashlyn down with their car, and two women in this small Tennessee town are found murdered. Suspense. Intrigue! Well, we’re gonna put that on hold for another large section of the book for some more lovey dovey stuff and familial interactions. Until the last 10% of the book of course when it pretty much turns into a full on horror film. I’m talking kidnapping, stabbing, some more murdering. To introduce and resolve all of that murder mystery within the final 10% of the book was just too rushed. Although an interesting plot twist, it was kind of jarring to go from what felt like an Ashton Kutcher rom com to Saw in such a short amount of time. Ok, so Saw is definitely too out there of a comparison, but you catch my drift. I also don’t watch horror films, so my repertoire is lacking.

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Series: Until Her, book 3. Personally, I would recommend reading these in order. Although each novel focuses on a different stand-alone couple, there are certain reappearing characters and themes that would be helpful to know from the beginning.

Should you read it? All in all, a good addition to the Until Her series. That being said, while I found the suspenseful murder aspect of the novel to be totally enthralling, it definitely could have been integrated better into the overall story line.

Smut Level: Something must be in the water in this small Tennessee town which causes “alpha male syndrome”.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 225 Pages.

 

 

Knight by Kristen Ashley

Knight? Well, that’s definitely a…unique name for a human being. Talk about pressure! Certainly a name you’ve gotta live up to.

What’s it About? 

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Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams. Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight. Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone.

Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him. Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her. But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.

First Impressions

I will say I did enjoy how this novel started off. I think we can all relate to being at a party at some point in our lives that we simply wanted to escape from. This is how our story opens; with Anya feeling totally out of place surrounded by such splendor in her knock-off shoes and out of season clothing. Luckily for her, she ends up meeting a sexy man who is prepared to take her to pleasure town. With a layover in orgasm city. Unluckily for her, said man also happens to scare the dickens out of her.

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Fear and Control

Anya repeatedly acknowledges throughout the novel that Knight scares her. He’s intense, overbearing and controlling. She honestly doesn’t know what he’ll do if she disappoints him, or doesn’t follow his directions. When she admits her fears to her friends, what do they do? They repeatedly tell her to just “forget the scary.” That…seems like dangerous advice to follow when fearful of an overbearing guy you just met.

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Anya tries to convince herself that since meeting Knight he’s only made her life better. While I do think that he’s made her feel more confident in her own skin by constantly saying how beautiful she is, she never lists this as one of his influences. Every single reason she gives for the impact he’s made in her life relates to material possessions. If we were to take all that away, I think Anya would just be left with an uber controlling guy who scares her. And yeah, sure, gives her lots of orgasms.

A D/S Daddy

I’ve been reading romance and erotic novels almost exclusively for about 3-4 years now. I’ve read a lot of novels in that amount of time which have featured dominant/submissive relationships, and I’ll admit I’m finally just now starting to fully understand what they’re all about. Took long enough! As Anya’s close friend comments, “that’s bedroom, not in life.” For her in particular, she leads a very stressful life where she’s the one in charge and making all the decisions. By giving up control in the bedroom, she’s able to let go, relax and let someone else make the decisions for once. I can sort of see how such a relationship could be freeing. When it comes to Anya and Knight though, it seems his controlling ways do expand beyond the bedroom. He even says “Unless I tell you what to do or not to do, do whatever you wanna do.” Umm…that’s not really what I consider to be the definition of freedom there buddy.

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So I might just now be understanding of how some women could get into the whole d/s relationship without it being considered misogynistic. I’m learning here. Something I still don’t for the life of me understand the appeal of though is calling your lover “daddy”. Like…no. Not the time or place I want to make reference to dear ole dad. I mean, I feel like it doesn’t go both ways, which simply isn’t fair, right? I’ve never read an erotic novel where the guy calls his girlfriend “mommy” as she spanks his ass. I just don’t get it!! Can someone out there explain the appeal of calling your lover daddy? Seriously, I’d really love to get a discussion going.

Series: Unfinished Heroes, book 1.

Should you read it? The writing was just ok. Pretty basic descriptions were used, with “very” as the descriptor of choice. Very expensive, very tall, very pretty. By the end I thought if Anya said “Oh God” or “Oh my God” one more time I was gonna scream. About 145 times actually. When it comes down to it, repeatedly using the term “daddy” is a sure-fire way to kill my mood. Also, you shouldn’t be afraid of your significant other! She never really communicates her fears or misgivings to Knight, so he has no way to address/resolve them.

Smut Level: He sure does like to use the “c” word in reference to her…lady bits.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 285 Pages.

Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright

Ok, I have a question for ya. Why is it that male wolf shifters can always smell the arousal of their female mates, whereas the females only get an increased scent of woods and pine for their male counterpart? Doesn’t exactly seem fair, does it? Could also make certain situations hella awkward!!

What’s it About? 

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Half-shifter Shaya Critchley may hold a submissive role in her pack, but she’s done taking orders. After her Alpha wolf mate refused to claim her—but committed to interfering in her life—she took off. Now she hides from him, posing as a human in a town full of anti-shifter extremist groups. She thinks he’ll never find her again, and that suits her just fine. But she’s wrong.

Nick Axton can barely control his feelings for Shaya, but he could never claim her—not if he truly cares for her. The degenerative brain condition he keeps secret would ultimately leave her with a burden rather than a mate. But when Shaya runs away, Nick can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. After tracking her down, he discovers Shaya’s feisty and passionate side in the process…a side he’d never seen before. Under the menacing gazes of territorial local packs and violent human extremists, Nick vows to finally claim the spirited Shaya…and despite her initial resistance, Shaya just might find his fiery determination to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

First Impressions

This was definitely an enjoyable continuation of the Phoenix Pack series, as this story takes us away from the other pack members for a large majority of the novel. This allows us to meet some new characters along the way; some are delightfully awesome, others are homicidal psychopaths. It’s all good fun! Another way this novel sets itself apart from the others in the series is that our two lead characters, Nick and Shaya, knew upon first meeting they were mates. No confusion about it! Their mating did create some added complications though. As alpha of his pack, Nick doesn’t want to claim Shaya because she is a submissive wolf, meaning she would constantly be challenged by other females who could push out dominant vibes over her. To escape the pain of being near her mate without being claimed, Shaya runs away. Little did she know Nick would give up being alpha of his pack to come after her. But come on, we all knew he wouldn’t let her get away!

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Wholesome Little Town

What I really enjoyed about this book was that it was so distinct from the others in the series so far. Yes, we have two mates struggling to come together, but in this instance we also have the added complication of battling human extremists. Unlike books 1 and 2, which dealt more with feuds between or within packs, this dealt with a battle between species. And I gotta say, humans can kind of be major dicks!

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Within this small town Shaya settled down in there is a group of human extremists who want shifters removed from their society; tagged and registered. If that doesn’t work they’re willing to go to ever greater lengths. In this case, the extremists have even created a game preserve where they take captured shifters to be hunted by other humans. Good God Shaya, could you have picked a shittier town to settle down in?! Seriously, it’s like we’ve wandered onto a filming of the Purge: Shifter edition. Definitely creepy, yet also a clever way to demonstrate a threat which impacts all shifters, not just one particular pack.

That Time of the Month

In addition to hearing more about the interactions and obstacles facing shifters and humans, I also liked that we got to learn some more day-to-day aspects of shifters that are rarely discussed. For example, did you know that female shifters have periods?! Shocker!! To quote this book directly, “the shifter menstrual cycle is a bitch.” I mean, you’ve got both the female and wolf to contend with, throwing around all kinds of hostile attitude. No male shifter wants to be around that much irritability. I don’t know why, but I just loved this little detail. Let’s face it, you don’t usually read much about this monthly occurrence in romance novels! The fact that Nick chooses to stay by Shaya when most other male wolves would run for the woods means I might officially be in love with him.

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Matters of Trust

Although Nick gives up his pack to pursue Shaya, she doesn’t initially welcome him with open arms. Trust is definitely an issue in their relationship. For Shaya, she has difficulty accepting Nick into her life considering he rebuffed her from his so many times. To turn your back on your mate is unheard of, and it’s a lasting pain. An event from Shaya’s past also makes it difficult for her to trust men in general. Her first lover tricked her into thinking they were mates, when all he really wanted was to get into her pants.

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As for Nick, events from his own past impact his relationship with Shaya. When he was young, Nick killed a human, and maimed two others who raped his sister. Because Shaya is half human, he thinks she’ll shy away from him after learning the truth. He simply forgot she is also half shifter, which means her loyalties don’t automatically side with humans.

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Nick also has debilitating headaches, and he refuses to go to a female healer for help. The reason being that this healer also has the hots for Nick, and he doesn’t want her scent on him when he’s around Shaya. If ever there was a need for a wolf shifter version of Craigslist calling all male healers this would be it! Eventually his headaches become so terrible he starts to lose his memory, and he decides he’s going to leave Shaya rather than become her burden. Dude! Tell her what’s up, and go to a healer already! I’m sure she’d be supportive of that decision!! Just take a bath if you need to get the other woman’s scent off ya.

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Series: The Phoenix Pack, book 3. Gotta say, I’m really enjoying this paranormal series!

Should you read it? Overall a good read with an intense ending. I do think there could have been a smoother blend between scenes of threatening human extremists and Nick and Shaya learning to trust each other. It felt kind of stop and go at times. The novel starts with him pursuing her to give him another chance, but as things progress and Nick’s headaches worsen we find that Shaya is the one who has to go after him, and convince him to stay. Nice parallel there!

Smut Level: Nick leaves marks all over Shaya’s body. But they’re the good, paranormal claiming mark kind!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 377 Pages.

 

Henry by Andria Large

I love me an office romance. However, I think I can safely say this is the first one I’ve ever read where we aren’t privy to any office sex scenes. Shocking!! It’s definitely implied they do it at least once in his office, but we don’t get any of the juicy details. The scene “fades to black” as it were.

What’s it About?

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Henry Beck, the gorgeous CEO of an advertising company, was in need of a new personal assistant. He expected HR to hire someone older, more experienced, maybe even with gray hair. Who he got instead was the beautiful, young, single mother – Claire Russell. A woman who he is having a hard time keeping his eyes off of…Claire never expected her new boss to be the most gorgeous man she’s ever laid eyes on. She also never expected him to be sweet to her two year old son, Ethan. But Henry is her boss and there is no future with him. Or so Claire thinks…Will Henry and Claire be able to fight the obvious attraction between them? Will Henry’s overbearing mother come between them? Or will a freak accident change their perspectives on life and what’s most important.

First Impressions

As mentioned, this is an office romance, so right off the bat we know we’ll be dealing with some ethical dilemmas. Sex between boss and employee? Yikes! However, I will admit office romance novels are kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. That sense of the forbidden can really amp up the lust. Therefore, I couldn’t help but be surprised that it takes these two so long to do the horizontal deed!! About 60% of the way through the book as a matter of fact. Their desire for one another is extremely palpable, so you’ve gotta give it to them for waiting a few months and getting to know each other outside of the office before tearing their clothes off. Unfortunately, just because Henry waited so long before officially pursuing Claire, I can’t really call the man a professional, and here’s a few reasons why.

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Professionalism in the Workplace

Henry is the head honcho in the office, and Claire is his personal assistant. Within the first month of her working for him, he already has a pet name for her: darlin’. In addition to Henry, we see anther co-worker in the company, who just happens to be Henry’s best friend, refer to Claire as sweetheart. I’m sorry, have we lapsed back into the days of Mad Men? I get pissed when someone refers to me as “girl” in the office. I’d probably have a coronary if someone went as far as to call me “darlin'”. 

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From Near Death to Smooth Sailing

The flow of the plot was rather interesting in this novel. On the one hand it was good, on the other…not so much. As previously discussed, these two don’t officially start a physical relationship until 60% of the way through the book. The influencing factor which finally tipped the scales was that Henry experienced a terrifying near-death experience. In that moment, he was able to admit to himself that Claire and her son were the most important people in his life. He wasn’t going to wait anymore. Life’s too short for that. Claire also realized in that moment that the thought of living without Henry wold crush her. In that sense, I kind of appreciated how they came together.

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After that though? I kept waiting around for one final twist to the plot. Surely everything can’t come together at 60% without one final hiccup or problem to come along. Nope! Everything is basically smooth sailing from that point on, and it all ends with a Merry Christmas kind of happily ever after. Almost like a build-up of anticipation that leads to nowhere. Usually with these kinds of books there’s some kind of argument or drama surrounding another woman, like an ex-girlfriend. In this case it was Henry’s overbearing mother who didn’t approve of Claire, someone who had a child out of wedlock. Again though, Claire and his mom’s main disagreement came at that 60% mark. They eventually make up with no real fuss.

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Series: The Beck Brothers, book 1. I might read the next book featuring Henry’s brother Sebastian. No rush though.

Should you read it? Meh. It was just ok. The characters were likable for the most part, especially Claire’s adorable son Ethan, but the writing was rather sub-par. There were many grammar mistakes, including your standard your/you’re and there/their errors. However, this might be the first time I’ve ever seen “heals” used instead of “heels”.

Smut Level: These two get naughty in his garage. Seems like the ultimate private location. That being said, garages do have the tendency to echo, and in this case the noise drew the attention of Henry’s mother, who proceeds to walk in on them. Oh my!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Self-published. 177 Pages.