“I don’t know what it was about him pinning me up against hard surfaces, but I fucking loved it”. Amen sister!
What’s it About?
Despite Blake Landon’s controlling ways, the young and wealthy hacker finally won the trust of the woman he loves. Internet entrepreneur Erica Hathaway broke down the walls that kept her from opening her heart and her business to Blake. Ready to start this new chapter in her life, Erica is determined not to let anything come between them, even if that means giving Blake back some of the control he craves in and out of the bedroom. But when demons from her past threaten their future, Erica makes a decision that could change their lives forever.
If I had to describe this book in three words or less it would be “frustrating as fuuuuuuuuuck”. Apologies, pardon my language, but what can I say? I’m frustrated!!! This is one of those novels where it seems like all of the drama, unhappiness and mayhem could have just disappeared in a poof if Erica had managed to open her mouth and share what was going on with Blake. Now I know, having the drama end all within the span of a chapter doesn’t make for a very exciting read. But in my mind, that means it doesn’t make for a very decent plot when you can resolve it all so quick and easy if the lead character acted in any way like a normal person would. Maybe add another dimension to it so that I don’t constantly want to pull my hair out and scream out loud, “JUST TELL HIM WHAT’S GOING ON!!!!” The fact I listened to this as an audio book primarily on my walks to and from work meant that I was constantly on the verge of looking like a psycho. Nobody wants that people!
Feel the Pressure
One of the minor frustrating aspects of this novel revolved around Blake and Erica’s sexual relationship. It’s basically a continuation of what was presented in book one, with them running in circles like a greyhound chasing a mechanized bunny at the race-track. He’s used to non-vanilla type sex, where domination is the name of the game, and he’s the master of his bedroom. However, Blake is hesitant to fully dominate her since she was raped years before. He’s worried he’ll take things too far and they won’t be able to come back from it. Surprisingly, we see that Erica is actually the one pressuring Blake to take their sexual adventures to the next level. He desires total submission and she wants to give him that.
The problem here is that both are so set on taking things to the extreme. She’s urging him to go all out in the bedroom, and he’s concerned going all out will trigger a panic attack for her. Whatever happened to baby steps people?! Like, you don’t have to go straight from missionary position in unique locations to being blindfolded, handcuffed, and spanked at the same time all in one go. Maybe have a slow and seductive introduction to the d/s lifestyle so that Blake doesn’t have to worry about taking things too far, and Erica can get used to a new side of sex she hasn’t seen before. Slow and steady wins the race folks! You need to learn how to tie the knot before stringing up your lover to the bedpost.
The first quarter or so of this book was pretty dull, as it just dealt with Erica setting up her new business, and navigating her sexual relationship with Blake. And then we get a dramatic plot twist that I must admit I did NOT see coming. There was sooooo much potential here for the book to go in an entirely new direction with some depth and suspense thrown in. Unfortunately, this opportunity was pretty much squandered, as Erica draws together almost every stereotype of being a frustrating lead character. Now, I don’t want to give away this plot twist since it was undoubtedly the most interesting part of the novel. However, I will say that with this twist a character demands Erica break up with Blake, or else there is the implication that physical harm will come to him. So what does she do? She keeps her mouth shut about this external threat to Blake, instead choosing to end things between them.
If Blake were just your average Joe Schmoe I miiiiight get why she didn’t want to draw him into her drama. Here’s the problem though. Blake is like, a gazillionaire. If Erica had just said, yo this person is threatening us as a couple, any thoughts? He probably could have hired a swarm of bodyguards, private investigators, and a swat team to resolve the matter. But instead Erica has to go and play the martyr, falling on her sword to give up her happiness with Blake to live in misery. Eventually he does find a way to weasel his way back into her panties, and it took a loooooong time for us to finally get there. And when we do? Blake has not only one option to resolve all her drama, but two! Just goes to show that working together as a couple, and opening up to your partner with the truth can make it so much easier to confront a threat than having to do it all on your own.
Series: Hacker, book 2. This is a pretty meh series so far.
Should you read it? Really the only positive I can give with this one is the early plot twist, but unfortunately it just drags on and on before eventually going nowhere. Erica frustrated me to no end, especially considering how many times she pushed Blake away even though he was begging her to let him in and help. Makes it hard to sympathize with her woes when she’s being so stubborn.
Smut Level: They’re still in the introductory phase of the BDSM lifestyle. Blake enjoys his dirty talk, but you can tell he’s still hesitant to let his hand loose completely.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $6.99 Kindle Price. Hachette Book Group. 312 Pages.
It seems like 9 out of 10 romance novels begin with a meet-cute that involves our male lead being first enamored with our leading lady’s eyes, or perhaps her lips. It draws him in like a tractor beam. But then there are still those select few that default to the tits, or the ass. In this book? It’s the tits.
What’s it About?
Greg Cage was born to protect. While growing up, he was his mother and sister’s shield against the world… until he failed. For the last decade, he has carried that guilt and need for vengeance around…until it was stripped from him. Now, with his best friend getting married and no longer needing his protection, he is even more lost, completely adrift, and desperate for some control. All he has ever known was how to protect: his family, his friends, and his country. Can he go against everything he has ever known, and give up that control?
Melissa Larson will never let anyone hold the reins in her life. She has been the rock in her family for more years than she can remember, and the fight to keep them together is her main priority right now. She has always been fiercely independent and proud. The last thing she will ever do is ask for someone else’s help. But when that choice is out of her control, forcing her to rely on others to save her and her family, and pick up the pieces that are left, will she be able to let someone else be her strength? The second Greg locks eyes with Meli, he knows that she is someone he needs. Someone he craves. Meli knew the second she met Greg that he would be nothing but trouble and heartache. Her life takes an unexpected turn, and that bitch Fate is back to wreak more havoc on another member of the Corps family.
All hell breaks loose, leaving Greg no choice but to call in a favor. He hooks back up with his old friend Braxxon Breaker from the Breakneck MC. Together, they make sure that nothing threatens anyone Greg loves again.
There are actually two things that initially draw Cage to Melissa. The first we’ve already covered: her tits. Romantic, I know. The fact that Cage first met her by taking the child of our couple from book 1 to the doctors office, and she was the attending seemed like a missed opportunity for a more…sweet first impression. How about she was really good with kids? The second enamoring feature is the fact that Melissa continuously turns down Cage’s repeated advances/requests to come back to his place for some naked R&R. Dinner and a movie are so last season. I can’t say I’m a huge fan when the impetus for a couple coming together is the fact that one is seen as a challenge. I don’t know, maybe because it makes it seem like a game of cat and mouse, and you have to wonder what will happen when he finally catches her? Will the allure wear off?
Linked in Tragedy
As it turns out, our couple here has another connection that Cage discovers once he finally has Melissa in his bed. They’ve both tragically lost a sister before their time. And they both lost them to the same man. This last detail is something which Cage keeps to himself, as he thinks it is something which will distance this new burgeoning relationship with Melissa. We all know what that means! She’ll eventually discover it on her own, and it’ll cause alllllll the problems. Which it does.
Personally I felt this linked sister tragedy was something that was never fully explored. We know that both sisters were abused at the hands of the same man, Simon, and both ended up dead. However, we never really get the full picture, especially when it comes to Melissa’s sister. It’s quite an important part of the story, as her sister’s death results in her and her mother being left to care for her nephew.
The Crazy Ex
As with any romance novel, it simply wouldn’t be complete without a crazy ex girlfriend who made more of her relationship with the male lead than was real. In this case, the trope of the psycho ex is taken to the ultimate extreme. I will say at one point I did feel kind of bad for this ex-girlfriend as it’s revealed she might actually have some kind of mental condition, and she’s been neglecting her medication. However, feelings of sympathy don’t last too long, as we are once again presented with a feature that I constantly bring up on this here blog of mine. Attention to all romance novel leading ladies: do NOT go to the bathroom alone in a restaurant and/or bar. You’re just asking to undoubtedly run into said crazy ex.
Cage’s ex doesn’t just taunt Melissa though, she actually reveals the sister link which Cage kept hidden. And just like we knew it would, it causes Melissa to flee in despair. Shockingly though, this time apart actually provides Melissa and Cage with the opportunity to, well, act like adults. She feels betrayed at his keeping it a secret, but rather than face him with all her anger and pent up emotions, she takes some time to calm down before confronting him. Cage on the other hand is desperate to explain the truth and his reasoning for keeping it a secret, but at the good advice of Axel from book one, he gives her some time to mull things over. And then they come back together and all is well!
Series: Corps Security, book 2. It was pretty nice to see the couple from book one reappear in this sequel.
Should you read it? I will say this series isn’t my absolute favorite. It’s full of pretty standard romance novel tropes, and at times it’s easy to see where the story is going. I will say though, the ending takes an odd turn with the introduction of a new character, and we don’t really get a clear resolution to some of the drama. Lastly, this book was literally never-ending! We have an epilogue, bonus chapter, deleted scene, and finally a bonus scene. Seriously, after the third extension I exclaimed, “Just end it already!!”
Smut Level: Melissa can only push Cage away for so long before she’s naked in his bed.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 240 Pages.
This just might be the first time I’ve heard reference to a “nuclear-powered climax”. Sounds…deadly.
What’s it About?
When you make an enemy of a man like Vitaly Karahalios, there is nowhere on earth you can go to escape his wrath. He’ll find you. He found me, he found Roth. He found Layla. He found us, and now the unthinkable has happened. Someone I love has been kidnapped. Again. This isn’t a fairy tale. Not everyone will get a happily ever after. Sometimes we can’t just walk away from the past. Love doesn’t always save the day. The beast won’t always get his beauty. But maybe, just maybe we can get our happy ending.
I’m on a boat! Or at least, Kyrie and Roth are as they are still on the run from deadly crime lord, Vitaly Karahalios. I personally found it kind of bizarre that when evading the clutches of a ruthless criminal Kyrie chooses to have her best friend, Layla, come on board their luxury yacht for safety, but not her, oh, I don’t know…brother?! Mother?! Significant blood relations?!!!!
Layla herself isn’t too appreciative of having her life so swiftly and inexplicably disrupted. I for one can’t imagine how bitchy I’d be if I was pulled away from everything I knew because my best friend spent the majority of every waking moment screwing a former gun-running criminal, forced to stay on a yacht in the middle of the ocean, never having the opportunity to go off on land, and listening to said friend get her brains screwed out by her lover. Yeah…I’d probably be in a pretty pissy mood too.
I’m From Detroit!
The first half or so of this book is a total waste, and honestly told from the wrong point of view! We are just privy to continuous scenes of Kyrie and Roth going at it, as well as Kyrie commenting on the fact that there is a simmering connection between Layla and Roth’s primary bodyguard, Harris. The fact that we only get to see this through Kyrie’s eyes is unbelievably frustrating. That is, whenever she manages to extricate her head from Roth’s lap.
Another rather ridiculous aspect of the first half of this novel was how the characters seemed to significantly ignore the danger they’re all in. For example, when there’s a potential security breach on their private island in the Caribbean, it sure seems like an appropriate time to have sex, right? Anything to take your mind off it? Can we just get to an actual plot point already?? Layla too just wants to go back to her old life, even if it means she’ll have a target on her back from the violent crime lord “Vitaly”. And OMG the number of times Layla would just brush away this danger by declaring “dude/bitch I’m from Detroit, I can take care of myself!”. Let’s just say it would have made a fabulous drinking game. You also might die of alcohol poisoning, so…something to keep in mind.
Never Been So Happy for a Kidnapping
Finally, FINALLY we get to the actual heart of the story which is when things get interesting with the kidnapping of Layla by said crime lord. Can’t help but admit it’s rather ironic that the book only really gets good when the main characters from books 1 and 2, Kyrie and Roth, disappear completely from the story. This is also when we finally get to hear things form Layla’s point of view, and it lasts for the rest of the book. I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long before we finally got there. It’s at this point that we get to see Layla call on her Detroit roots to be a total bad-ass. She takes it upon herself to escape from the clutches of Vitaly. She even kills a guy by shoving a pen that she’d kept hidden up her hoo-ha through the guy’s eye socket. So…yeah, have fun with that graphic detail.
This is also when we see Layla join forces with my favorite characters of the series, Harris, and boy oh boy do they finally let loose some of that built-up sexual tension. Sometimes, even too much. Like, I get it, escaping from a criminal overlord and his henchmen probably ratchets up the adrenaline and gets ya in the mood. Work some of that off and get you some! But when you wake up the next morning to your highly trained lover rolling you off the bed with a gun in his hand telling you to be quiet because he heard something, maybe don’t go “oh, penis” and start sucking him off. Again, just a suggestion.
Series: Alpha, book 3. I won’t lose any sleep over the fact this series is over. I think you can skip it. It’s pretty disjointed overall when you consider the series as a whole. Kind of going from full erotica in book 1, to Bourne Identity in book 2, and book 3 felt like two separate books shoved into one.
Should you read it? All in all I’d have to say this was probably my favorite book of the series, but that’s not really saying much as there were quite a number of faults throughout. Honestly, the first half of the book was pretty useless and repetitive with everything surrounding Roth and Kyrie. Only when we switched gears to focus on Layla and Harris did the story get suspenseful and interesting. I’d say the end was a combination of climactic, while also disappointing in how the drama is resolved with our crime lord.
Smut Level: Goodness gracious. We have all manner of descriptive detail, some of it even making me blush. This is no clean read.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 483 Pages.
Book 1 in this series featured a budding relationship between an alpha male and a reserved female exploring non-vanilla sex for the first time. This second book completely switches gears into something like a Jason Bourne movie. Such a stark and jarring contrast!
What’s it About?
Roth and I are on an open-ended tour of the world. Roth being Roth, this means missionary in Morocco, reverse cowgirl in Calcutta, bent over the bow of a houseboat in Hanoi, slow and sleepy on St. John. Anywhere and everywhere, in every conceivable position, and some I didn’t know were possible. Life was pretty incredible. Until I woke up in his chateau in France, alone. On the bed next to me was a note. There were only four words: He belongs to me. ***This book contains sexual scenes and situations that may make some readers uncomfortable.***
Now, full disclosure here people, normally when I include the synopses of books I feature on this here blog of mine, I tend to cut out the little disclaimer that is often found at the bottom which basically says “Warning: Sex Ahead”. Let’s face it people, we all know that sex is mostly likely involved in every novel I choose to review. Heck, sometimes I’ll complain if there’s a lack of it. However, I usually always leave the disclaimer in if rape is involved, and when it came to this novel I just couldn’t remove it. There are a lot of scenes of male rape and torture that seemingly go on forever. From water boarding to a Viagra pill from hell, consider yourself warned that this novel is uncomfortably graphic. Additionally, I think that the characters almost try to minimize the trauma of this extended rape scenario seeing as we are dealing with a male victim who was being abused by a female.
If You Have an Erection Lasting Longer than Four Hours…
This second novel initially starts off with a lot of boozing and f*cking. At the end of the first chapter though we discover that not all is right in paradise, as Roth has been abducted by an unknown kidnapper. As Kyrie explores their French villa in search of him she reminisces on all of the different places throughout the house that they’ve had sex, and in all of the different ways. Come on now woman, focus!! There are more important things for you to focus your attention on right now.
We eventually discover that Roth’s ex-girlfriend, Gina, from 10 years ago is behind the kidnapping, and she wants to use his body sexually before killing him. Ummm, I’m sorry but what’s the motivation here? Why did she wait so long before eventually going after him? Why now? Surely there are easier ways to get good sex than having to drug, kidnap, rape and abuse your ex? We come to learn that even back in the day when they were a couple Gina used to abuse Roth sexually, and use sex as a weapon to get him to do her bidding. After getting her hands on him yet again she proceeds to tie him down, and drug him with what is basically an advanced version of Viagra that turns Roth into a sex-crazed maniac. The scenes that follow are utterly disturbing in how graphic they are.
Kyrie to the Rescue! And then Roth! With Harris Tagging Along!
Rather than getting the police involved, Kyrie and Roth’s butler/chauffeur, Harris, decide to infiltrate Gina’s fortress to rescue Roth on their own. I have to say, it was ridiculous how useless Gina’s henchmen were. We basically have the equivalent of Star Wars storm troopers with absolutely zero aim. Not only are Kyrie and Harris successful in breaking into the fortress and retrieving Roth, but when Gina eventually kidnaps Kyrie as revenge she is also rescued rather easily due to the sub-par guarding skills of these hired guns. Seriously, someone needs to invest in a security system update.
Facing Your Fears
One of my main issues with this novel was what happened when Roth was first rescued. He is understandably extremely hesitant to engage in any sexual activity with Kyrie. The guy was literally just sexually tortured and raped for days on end after ingesting what can best be described as the Energizer Bunny’s nightmare version of Viagra. He’s simply not ready to do anything physical with Kyrie. However, it’s decided pretty quickly that the only way he could possibly get over this trauma is to just face his fears and start screwing like a wild animal.
I’m sorry, but I just can’t get on board with this. Kyrie and Roth barely talk at all about what he just went through at the hands of Gina, and don’t seek out any external help either. If ever there was a need for a therapy session or two, now would be a good time! Roth has barely had any time to recover (we’re talking like a day or two here), and now he’s being pressured into having sex when he openly admits it’s not the right time. It doesn’t seem like the best way to get over an emotional sexual trauma, and I feel like it also demonstrates how their relationship is purely sexual if that’s their way only to connect after a kidnapping. And oh yeah, Gina is still after them!! Maybe they should take a break from their continual orgasm-fest to form a plan on how they’re going to permanently escape from this crazy psycho who’s chasing them.
There were two other aspects to this novel that weren’t my cup of tea. Firstly, the narration. I listened to this as an audiobook, and I’m sorry to sound harsh or inconsiderate, but the narration was laughable. Neither the male or female narrator could voice the passion of the sexy scenes. Seeing as this book has a ridiculous amount of sex scenes and dirty talk, it was kind of a problem when both sounded like robots reading from the phone book. The accents between the characters were also totally off. The male narrator makes Gina sound Greek, whereas the female reader made her sound slightly British. It was the little details like that which interrupted the flow of the novel.
Another aspect of this novel I didn’t particularly care for was the financial one. Roth has a seemingly endless amount of money. Even when he and Kyrie are on the run at the end of the novel to escape the wrath of Gina’s father, he still seems to have pretty easy access to all of his bank accounts. Roth even buys a super yacht for them to sail away on. I’m sorry, but it just seemed almost too easy, not to mention a terrible way to cover your tracks. I think if Mr. Billionaire Valentine Roth suddenly found himself on the run with a lack of money it would have added another layer of suspense to the tale.
Series: Alpha, book 2. Honestly, not really looking forward to the third book in this trilogy, but I’m sure I’ll get around to finishing it at some point.
Should you read it? I was already kind of on the fence with book 1, and this second book just rubbed me the wrong way in so many different places. I couldn’t help but feel that the issue of rape was resolved almost too quickly with very little time for Roth to heal. Again, it sort of came across as though because he’s an alpha male he should just push past it and jump into the deep end. There was definitely a disconnect between these first two books, as this sequel feels like an action movie with a crap ton of sex thrown in. As for the motivation of our villain Gina, we never really discover why after ten years of ignoring Roth she suddenly had the desire to go to the ultimate extreme by capturing and raping him.
Smut Level: Roth and Kyrie certainly don’t need a magical Viagra drug to screw at all hours of the day and night.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 406 Pages.
What’s it About?
Deviant. Sloane: I’m not proud of the things I’ve done. The things I’ve had to do. The things I’ve given away. But I’d give it all over again to find her. Even if I die trying, I have to find Alexis. Zeth: She wants me to help her, but I won’t. She wants me to save her sister, but I can’t. She wants me to be her hero, but I’m not a good man. I am her damnation.
Fracture. Zeth Mayfair is pretty much the very last thing I need in my life. Yet with every breath I take, he becomes more ingrained in every aspect of it. He has a key to my house. He knows where I work. He dumped his strange, mentally traumatized housemate on my doorstep and has driven off into the sunset in search of my missing sister. I want to forget him. Want to change the locks and blot out his face, scour his very name from my memory. The problem is that I also need him. I need him more than I need air to breathe, and I can’t be without him now. He owns me. He torments me. He’s fractured me.
I’m actually combining both books 1 and 2 from this series into one review, as the audio book I listened to combined the first two installments as well. These books may have been short, but my goodness they certainly pack a punch. I’m not gonna lie folks, this wasn’t really my taste at all. I always say I can usually handle a lot when it comes to erotic novel sexual detail, but this was even too much for me to handle. That’s definitely saying something.
At Least She Liked It? I Guess?
The first novel in this series opens with our female lead, Sloane, giving away her virginity to a stranger, Zeth, in the hopes of finding out information concerning her missing sister. The scene starts with our stranger turning off all the lights so she doesn’t ever see what he looks like. There’s touching, licking, rubbing, handcuffs. Mkay, so far not too bad. But then he proceeds to wrap his belt around her neck and rub a knife over her chest. Ummmmmm, at least she enjoyed it?
The two leads have a pretty bizarre relationship once they reunite years later after their initial sexual dalliance. She’s inexplicably drawn to him, in spite of his criminal profession and the fact that he basically admitted to murdering someone. He doesn’t seem to have a soft side at all when it comes to her, and often uses intimidation to claim her sexually. He even gets her to participate in an orgy and…penetrates her with the handle of a knife. Ugggggh, again she seems to like it, but that one just seems…unnecessary.
From One to Two
The first novel is basically just laying the groundwork of Sloane and Zeth’s unusual relationship, as well as developing the tale of her sister’s disappearance. Not much happens story-wise, and the novel almost seems to end mid-scene. I honestly don’t really understand why there was the need to end it so abruptly, rather than just combining these two short novels into one full length book. At the end of the first book I was honestly afraid to see what would come next, but it was so short I figured I might as well give it a try.
The second novel focuses a lot more attention on Zeth’s story, and his pseudo father-son like relationship with a criminal overlord. And here is one of my main problems with this tale: Zeth really isn’t a good guy. He definitely blackmails Sloane sexually with the promise of saving her sister if she’ll do his bidding. At one point Sloane basically admits to herself that Zeth might be a murderer, a criminal, and a thug, but at least he’s honest. Dude! Not exactly a great reason to ignore all that other shit going on!! In the second book Zeth also realizes that his boss is involved in selling women, he had Zeth’s phone bugged, and sold him out years before for a murder Zeth didn’t actually commit. Aww, what’s wrong there buddy? Is it tough to discover the murderous crime boss you work for might not be 100% honest? Boo…hoo.
Series: Blood & Roses, books 1 and 2. I doubt I’ll continue with this one. Although I am intrigued to find out what happened to Sloane’s sister.
Should you read it? These novels just weren’t my cup of tea. Zeth is kind of an emotionally manipulative ass, and you kind of want Sloane to escape his clutches. It really seems like the only reason she’s with him is because he says he’ll save her sister. The sex scenes are too over the top for my tastes, and I think there’s more focus on that than the dramatic aspect, which might actually be kind of interesting if we could just pay attention to it for a while!
Smut Level: Ummmmmmmmm…I’m uncomfortable. I’m also not sure I’ll ever be able to look at a blue ice pop the same way again. We all know what those things do to your tongue, and in this novel let’s just say his tongue and her lady bits turn blue. Thanks for tarnishing one of my favorite childhood snacky snacks!!
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. Books 1&2 $12.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 304 Pages.
When Isabelle seeks to escape from her abusive husband, she has to turn to a man from her past who she thought was gone forever. Translation? Sexual tension is all up in the house!
What’s it About?
Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch. Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved. For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.
When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door. Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated. How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?
When it comes to my first impression of Axel, I’m not gonna lie he was kind of a scary dick! Axel and Isabelle used to be a couple of teenagers in love, but after he went away to join the armed forces, a handful of misunderstandings and lack of communication forced them to split. She thought he was dead, he thought she moved on to love someone else right after he left. But more on that later. Years pass, and eventually Isabelle is on the run from her abusive ex-husband and trying to get a divorce. Her close friend who works for a security firm decides to put his best man on the case: enter Axel. When these two lovebirds reunite after so many years apart their first inclination is to hate each other. Yeah, I was kind of confused too.
Axel just assumes that Isabelle is seeking a divorce from her husband because she was bored at being a lonely housewife, as though there could be no other reason for a woman to want to leave her husband. He treats her with a shocking amount of hostility and intimidation. Only when he discovers that her husband abused her does he show any amount of sympathy. You’d think the fact that she needs a security firm to act as a buffer with her ex would have been enough of a freakin’ clue. To be fair though, it’s not all Axel’s fault. He continually asks Isabelle what drew them apart so many years before, as well as what happened with her ex, but she consistently remains close lipped and in a state of annoyance for Axel coming into her life again. Jeez people, can’t you just open up and communicate already?!?!
Foster Mamma June
Aside from Izzy’s abusive asshole of an ex-husband, we do have another ultimate villain in this novel, and that would be Axel’s bitch of a foster mother, June. Although we never actually encounter a scene with her firsthand, she is essentially the puppet master who pulled the strings that brought an end to Axel and Izzy’s former relationship. When Axel rode off to join the military, he and Izzy initially had every intention of spending the rest of their lives together. But all of Izzy’s letters to Axel are returned undelivered, and Axel never gets in touch with Izzy. When she eventually seeks out his unloving foster mother to find out what’s what, June brushes her off by basically telling her to take a hike. When she returns again later on in sheer desperation, June snarkily tells Izzy that Axel is never coming back because he’s dead.
Um, I’m sorry, but did this book unknowingly take place in the 80s? Why the hell was it so hard for them to stay in touch, or even locate each other? I feel like one simple text message could have resolved any and all issues here. Or hey, maybe ask around to find out if he’s actually dead. However, there was one thing that bothered me above all else. When Izzy and Axel eventually reunite after so many years apart, she doesn’t express any joy to discover he’s actually alive. No, she’s pissed at him. And why? Because although June told her Axel was dead, she assumes that when Axel did return from the military June must have told him Izzy was still looking for him. He simply must have decided not to find her. Are…you…kidding me??? This woman gave you the brush off and told you the love of your life was dead, and yet when you ultimately discover that wasn’t the case you still choose to give her the benefit of the doubt over him? Whyyyyy? This woman was clearly being deceitful, yet you gave her more credit than you gave him.
So the blessed reunion between Axel and Izzy is tainted by animosity. She assumed he never tried to find her after returning from military training, even though she initially thought he was dead. As for Axel, he basically assumes that right after he left for training Izzy moved on, and ran off to be with another man. They really don’t like each other. But that initial animosity dissolves pretty quickly as far as actual days, although it does take up a large portion of the novel itself. Then they are all lovey dovey again and planning a future together.
This was the part of the book that I could actually start to enjoy. While their switch from hatred to love does seem pretty quick, we do have to remember that they have a history together; a romantic past that is an interesting technique to get around what initially seems like a quick romance between them. The problem is that I felt like we never truly got to know them when they were younger together, or at least as a couple anyway. We really only get a glimpse of them at the moment they are separated, rather than finding out what it was that initially brought them together. This does sort of make you question what the foundation of their relationship, whether past or present, really is.
When All is Said and Done
Looking back on this novel you sort of have the impression that these two had an inordinate amount of sex with each other. While true, and believe me ’twas rather graphic, it’s also surprising to remember that they don’t actually do the deed until well over halfway into the book. They spent so much of the first half of the book needlessly mad at each other, before spending the second half constantly intertwined…naked. It almost seemed like two separate stories were pushed into one. A little more cohesion would have gone a long way.
One of the most satisfying moments of this book, aside from the moment Axel and Izzy finally decide to put their convoluted pasts behind them and jump into bed already, was the ending. Izzy finally stands up to her abusive ex in the biggest of ways. When all is said and done you can’t help but feel the asshole finally got what he deserved. Although Axel was instrumental in helping Izzy end things with her ex once and for all, it was really Izzy who had the last word. You go girl!
Series: Corps Security, book 1. I could see myself giving the second book in this series a try.
Should you read it? I really wish the section of them being pissy at each other had just been completely removed. It seemed totally unrealistic that after believing he was dead for so many years, his reappearance in her life would make Izzy’s first reaction be something akin to, “I can’t believe you didn’t call me.” And the fact Axel could be so cold and harsh when he knew she was going through something difficult with her husband made him come across as an uber dick. It was only when they started opening up to each other about their time apart that I could truly connect with their story. Before that? You just wanna give em both a good slap in the face.
Smut Level: Good God Axel and Isabelle have a sexual magnetism that is intense, and full of the dirtiest of talk you can imagine. We’ve got licking, pulling, pounding, and enough moaning to satisfy the most alpha of males.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 260 Pages.