Fractured by Sydney Landon

After the dramatic end of book one, you can’t help but be drawn into this next novel in the Lucian and Lia series.

What’s it About?

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Desire brought them together; tragedy may tear them apart…Lucian and Lia attempt to deal with the aftermath of the violent attack on her by her stepfather. As events unfold in their lives, Lia finds that she can no longer be patient with the man that she loves, because his secrets are tearing them apart. Lucian cannot deny the fact that he’s fallen in love with the brave and beautiful woman who has lived a life of horror. He wants nothing more than to protect her, but soon realizes that he may be the person who will hurt her the most. To be together, they’ll have to fight demons from their pasts that threaten to tear them apart.

First Impressions

This was a rather depressing read, but considering the subject matter you can’t be too surprised. This book opens with the immediate aftermath of Lia’s attack by her step-father. It was brutal, and although we never really witnessed anything during the attack itself, we are subject to the gruesome details as told by Lia after the fact in the hospital. It’s a heartbreaking retelling and quite difficult to stomach. What we see in the following days are Lucian’s attempts to cope with almost losing the love of his life, even if he can’t admit it out loud, all while going cold turkey on his cocaine addiction. We also see Lia’s attempts to cope with life as a survivor, and the difficulty of feeling “lucky” to just be alive.

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Surviving

This was an emotional read to be sure, as we experience how helpless Lucian feels as he just has to stand by and watch as Lia struggles to survive in her hospital bed. When Lia finally awakens we also see how her life will never be the same again. They find strength in each other, but Lucian’s continual secrets about his own past threatens to break the connection the two have.

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Setting Up

It did seem as though a large portion of this novel is setting up for some ultimate climactic reveal about everything that happened in Lucian’s past. Seeing as this was also a rather prominent feature in book one, I couldn’t help but feel that this second novel was rather repetitive and slightly boring.

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There are some interesting developments going on between other characters in the novel, which is obviously a set up for some future books. After a while it’s kind of like, quit with the build-up and just get there already! I will say though, the ending of this book was fantabulous, as Lucian’s secrets finally push Lia over the edge. Can’t wait to see how it’ll all come together in the next book!

Series: Lucian and Lia, book 2.

Should you read it? I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as book one, but I’m hoping that everything will come together in the next book for an exciting finish.

Smut Level: Lia might have a broken nose and a cast on her arm, but that just means she and Lucian have to get a tad more creative when doing the nasty.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price, or whole series for $4.99. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. 358 Pages.

Slider by Stacy Borel

A fun continuation of the Core Four romance series which highlights the importance of family.

What’s it About? 

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Dr. Turner Brooks may be the professional brother, but he’s also the adrenaline junkie. When he meets Annabelle, a girl scared to death of veering from the path she’s paved for herself, all he wants to do is push her out of that comfort zone. Annabelle has already lost too much. She wants to stay focused on her new nursing job and away from unnecessary risks. Turner Brooks is exactly that – an unnecessary risk. She’s heard the rumors about him flying around the hospital, describing him as a “womanizer” or “sex god.” Yeah, she doesn’t need that. Still, Turner tries to teach her that life is full of risks worth taking. As they grow closer and she begins to let go, the unexpected happens. Will they be able to recover from that surprising fastball or could this be the final strike out?

First Impressions

I felt the first book in this series was just ok, so I didn’t really go into this second one with a whole bunch of expectations. Although there might not have been as much hanky panky as I would’ve liked, I must say the story line in this one was much more compelling. Not only was there more depth to the story than book one, but the characters also seemed to connect on a more emotional level rather than everything being about the physical aspect of their relationship.

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Adrenaline vs. Sex

Annabelle sees Turner as a risk, so she’s initially hesitant to take things too far with him, or even start a relationship at all. Therefore, they sort of have a slow and subtle flirtation going on rather than all out burning ball of passion. Their dates are more about Turner teaching Annabelle how to let loose and seek that thrill of adrenaline instead of having sex. This does mean it takes a loooong time for them to finally get around to the hot and steamy stuff. 75% of the novel to be exact. However, this also allows them to develop a friendship and cute connection about the importance of living life to the fullest before they pursue anything physical.

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Professional Manwhore

Turner was an interesting anomaly of a character. Professional doctor on the one hand, but infamous manwhore on the other. He seems to have an endless supply of sexy nurses to entertain him, and Annabelle does use his manwhore status as an initial reason to turn down his advances. I was rather surprised though that once they do eventually get together, his many previous romps never come up as a topic of conversation, or something to divert their growing attraction for one another. If anything, Annabelle sees herself as lucky for being able to tame his formerly wandering ways.

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Series: The Core Four, book 2. I’m intrigued for the next book, as another character has an unexpected bun in the oven.

Should you read it? I will say I enjoyed this book more than the first one. The importance of family is really highlighted, and even had me on the brink of tears towards the end. In fact, I’d say that aspect of the story was better written than the tale of romance.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services LLC. 224 Pages.

Fire & Brimstone by R.L. Mathewson

I have heard many a different insult thrown around in the heat of an argument. And in a variety of languages for that matter. However, I must say this novel may have presented the harshest of insults I’ve ever seen: Bieber lover. Burrrrrrn.

What’s it About? 

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What happens when a Bradford with questionable OCD, a tempter and a reputation for making his employees cry falls for the woman that refuses to accept the fact that he’s fired her and was terrifyingly more of a Bradford than he was? Well, we can’t share that here, because it would be seriously inappropriate, but we’re sure that you can see where this is leading…To the altar or a stint in the slammer, either one is possible when it comes to the Neighbor from Hell Series.

Author’s Note: This book along with the rest of the series is intended to make you smile, let you relax and forget the drama and stress that plagues our lives even if its just for a little while. This is a drama free book. My goal is to put a smile on your face and I hope this book does that.

First Impressions

This is another fun continuation of the Neighbor from Hell series. If you’re looking for a cute read that will put a smile on your face, yet also sexy enough to put a blush on your cheeks, I simply can’t recommend it enough. Each book presents a hilarious love-hate relationship between neighbors, and this book was no exception. Rebecca and Lucifer have been working together at his restaurant for years, but he’s also been trying to fire her for that same amount of time. Rebecca’s response is to usually just grin and go on with her day. It was simply a matter of time before he snapped and…took her in the front seat of his car.

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Gluttony is the Name of the Game

When it comes to this series, you can be guaranteed that the characters will do most everything to excess. I mean, cheese…and…rice! I don’t know if it’s physically possible to ingest as much food as these people do in one sitting, and still look as amazingly hot as they do with six-pack abs, but it seems like something worth looking into. I feel like in most of these novels the dietary excesses are limited to the Bradford clan only, but in this book it appears to be an expanding phenomenon to other characters. From Rebecca’s roommate, Melanie, who can apparently eat Hostess baked goods one after the other, to even Rebecca herself. Let’s just say I never thought I’d come across someone who drinks more Coca-Cola than my sister (that’s saying something). Rebecca also has no problem eating from a 5 lb bag of Hershey’s kisses like it’s popcorn.

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Knee-Slapping Fun

Something else that I sort of felt was done to excess in this novel was the comedy. It seemed a bit too forced and over the top at certain points. This is a sarcastic bunch of characters here. We’ve been introduced to so many different Bradfords over the years through this series, and while it was fun to see them all make an appearance in this book, all their shenanigans and personalities were somewhat over-the-top when all in one novel. Still a delightfully fun and light-hearted read when you’re looking to take a break from all the drama in your life.

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Series: Neighbor From Hell, book 8. You couldn’t keep me away from this series if you tried! And why would you?! I will say, it seems like every synopsis mentions how one character risks jail time because they hate the other so much, and might do something drastic. Not asking for physical harm or anything, but I’d kind of love to see someone actually spend like, a night in jail over their antics.

Should you read it? Fun to see some of the same recognizable themes in this series, from hungry lead characters to the fact that “Bradfords don’t propose”, they kidnap to marry their significant other. We still have unique characters though. In this case an OCD male lead, and a sassy female who finds horror movies relaxing. I do wish they could have connected on a more serious and emotional level rather than constant sarcastic shenanigans. Overall though, a fun read with some great dirty talk!

Smut Level: Probably the only romance I’ve read with a snarky argument and verbal sparring match between a couple as they 69 each other. There’s a first for everything!!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Rerum Industries, Inc. 336 Pages.

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Surge by Gina Watson

I was really looking forward to this last installment in the Emergency Responders series, but I must say it was probably my least favorite of the three. Definitely well-written, but kind of depressing 😦

What’s it About?

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He was twenty-eight, she was eighteen. Everyone around them opposed their love. But their love was much greater than the sum of their ages. Clara’s family took Jackson in when, at the age of seventeen, he’d lost his parents. The St. Martins were the only family he had. When his connection with Clara developed into something stronger, he couldn’t feel remorseful. What he did feel was warmth, hope, and love. Ten years later it was time to tell the family—he wouldn’t let their love be a lie any longer.

When he came to live with them, Clara knew one day she’d marry him. She just didn’t know her family wouldn’t be on board with the plans. Sure, Jackson was much older than her and yeah, they’d jumped the gun on intimacy, but she’d needed Jackson’s touch that day and he’d needed hers. They planned to marry once he finished medical school, but when Clara’s brother found out about their two-year relationship he beat the good doctor’s face until he was unrecognizable.

Jackson couldn’t see a way they could be together and she wouldn’t have to make a choice between him and her family. He knew what it was to go through life without the support of family and he wouldn’t let her choose him over the St. Martins. Will Clara and Jackson be able to have a future together, or will her family tear them apart?

First Impressions

Clara and Jackson have been dating for two years. They are madly in love, and even talking future marriage plans. There’s just one slight problem: he’s 10 years older. She’s just eighteen, which means they technically “got together” when she was just sixteen. I must say, this book took an absolutely fascinating look at society’s standards regarding age and relationships. In this instance you see how their love is so pure, and you question why anyone would ever want to prevent two amazing people from coming together. Yet the fact that they first met when she was just 8 years old and he was 18, and they hook up for the first time when she’s 16 and he’s 26, even I found myself thinking it was kind of “icky”. Kind of a mind-blowing read in that sense, as you root for them on the one hand, but also want them to take things slow for a while on the other.

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The Ball Drops

The reasoning behind why this book wasn’t my favorite of the trilogy actually has nothing to do with the age gap between our two lead characters. Instead, it has to do with the fact that it was…well, kind of depressing! Based on the synopsis above, you know going into this book that her brother will eventually find out about their relationship, and that they’ll take a break on seeing each other for a while. However, this discovery doesn’t happen right away, which means for quite some time you are just waiting for the ball to drop, and the fists to fly. Which they definitely do.

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Jackson and Clara really do complete each other, which makes their time apart even more difficult. At the beginning of the novel if the couple spent too much time apart they’d both get incredibly anxious, as though they were addicted to the other. When they’d say goodbye to each other in the morning Clara would leave him with, “If you die I die.” Good…God! I know you two are in love, but maybe take it down a notch? Their declarations and speeches of love were almost too over-the-top flowery that it didn’t seem entirely realistic. Although…maybe this is why I’m single.

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Series: St. Martin Family Saga: Emergency Responders, book 3. I can’t WAIT to read the spinoff series involving one of the characters from this book. GAAAH!

Should you read it? Overall a good read with great writing, but sooooo sad! The time that Jackson and Clara spend apart in this novel is so dark and depressing, it kind of made it hard to willingly read at times. I felt like every other page of my Kindle needed to have a picture of a puppy on it. Definitely an interesting consideration of society standards though.

Smut Level: Some sexy scenes, but the last one was kind of ill-timed in my opinion. Clara is trying to get Jackson to open up about the loss of his parents while giving him a BJ. Ummm…sure.

Book Details: Whiskey Cove Publishing. 197 Pages.

Calmly, Carefully, Completely by Tammy Falkner

Wow! I’ll admit, I had just a lukewarm reaction to books 1 and 2 in this series, but this 3rd book was just outstanding!

What’s it About?

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She’s been locked up even longer than he has. Peter Reed is fresh out of jail, fresh out of excuses, and ready for a brand new start. Reagan Caster needs to thank Pete for an act of kindness, but he wants more than just her thanks. Reagan knows how to protect her body, but not her heart. And her traitorous body responds to Pete in a way it hasn’t with anyone else.When Pete’s innocent flirtation becomes more, Reagan’s ready to accept what he has to offer. Pete assumes Reagan needs to be loved carefully and calmly. But Reagan knows she needs to be loved completely. Can he give her what she needs?

First Impressions

This is one of those books where our couple falls in love after spending just a week together in each other’s company. Now, normally I roll my eyes heavily at the unrealistic nature of such a thing, to the point where I even start to get a headache. However, when it comes to this novel I was shocked to find that it really didn’t bother me all that much. The reason for this is because their connection goes back two years, and has been building throughout that entire time, even if they weren’t physically together.

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Pete first came across Reagan when she was at her most vulnerable, in the immediate aftermath of her rape. Whether or not either was truly aware of it, this moment influenced their entire relationship, as it tested Pete’s true character in a way. He could have left her to fend for herself, or just handed her off to her friend and gotten the hell out of there. But he stayed. He comforted her. Protected her. In that moment an intense amount of trust was established. When they reconnect years later, they get to know each other beyond what happened that night, and it’s oh so wonderful.

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Heavy subject matter to be sure, yet I was surprised to find myself laughing and smiling my way through most of this read. Pete and Reagan have had a rough two years. He’s been in jail for having made a stupid mistake in an attempt to help his family, and Reagan has been trying to live her life again in spite of her fear of being touched by others. In each other they find they can just be themselves. They can be carefree. Reagan’s father, who carries a hatchet to cuff off the balls of any guy who gets close to his daughter, also means you can’t help but chuckle when he finds Reagan and Pete alone together so many times.

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Personally, I couldn’t help but completely fall in love with Pete myself. It’s not hard to understand how Reagan fell for him so quickly. From his interactions with Reagan, as well as his caring nature with the other boys at the camp who need his help, he constantly exhibits patience, kindness and warmth.

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Through his point of view we discover his utter fascination and attraction to Reagan, but he knows what she’s been through. He never tries to rush her in taking their physical relationship to the next level, and even takes a step back when Reagan voices that she wants more. He wants to ensure she truly knows what she wants, and isn’t just taking things further because she feels comfortable with him. I will say though I do wish the book took place over a longer period of time than just one week, so that it really would have felt like they were taking their time, rather than just saying they were.

Communication is Key

Some of the interactions between Reagan and Pete almost felt like they were engaged in a high school romance, even though both are in their early 20s. This was especially true when it came to their physical relationship, as Pete introduced her to things she had never experienced before. However, I will say they do have open communication, which I absolutely love about this author! Her characters actually talk to each other! I know, seems like such a novel idea. Both Reagan and Pete share their frustrations and concerns when they happen in real time rather than letting them ruminate over long periods to eventually explode in a giant argument of misunderstanding.

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I will say it can remove any sense of struggle or any problems in the plot, but I do appreciate it. For example, in this book we see that because Pete knows about Reagan’s past, he can sometimes treat her with too much fragility, as though she’s going to break. This especially comes out when they’re being intimate. So, Reagan opens up and tells him that she’s not made of glass, and he can be a bit more handsy in bed. And this leads to yet another aspect of Pete that I absolutely love: the man listens!

How Can I Have S’more If I Haven’t Had Any?

Now for my one complaint about Pete. It might seem small, but it just goes to show that nobody’s perfect. The man doesn’t know what a s’more is. What…the…fudge and marshmallow?! Ok, I know the guy grew up in the city, so I totally understand if he’s never eaten one, but how could he have no inkling of how they’re made, or what they contain? We’re only talking three ingredients here!! Has he missed every pop culture reference to their structure/design, or just ignored every s’more flavored candy or pop-tart?! How is this remotely possible?! You’re killing me Pete! (PS: if you understand The Sandlot reference here we can officially be best friends).

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Series: The Reed Brothers, book 3. Hands down my favorite book in the series so far. Can’t wait to continue on!

Should you read it? Fantastic read. These two have a connection that is so pure and deep. The novel is really an exploration of their developing relationship, so it doesn’t have the most dramatic plot, but you can’t help but fall in love with these characters. You’ll laugh, and by God if I didn’t get tears in my eyes one day listening to this on my walk to work. Also, my main complaint about the male lead is he doesn’t know what a s’more is. Not too shabby.

Smut Level: Actual sex doesn’t come  until the very end. He introduces her to other delights slowly throughout the entirety of the novel.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Night Shift Publishing. 264 Pages.

Beautifully Forgotten by L.A. Fiore

A note to all the authors out there: if you’re gonna use flashbacks, for the love of God please do so carefully. I love me a good flashback, but this book had such a plethora of 16 years earlier, 14 years earlier, 16 years earlier, 23 years earlier and 16 years earlier again that it was damn near impossible to keep them in any sense of chronological order.

What’s it About?

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Successful restaurateur Lucien Black’s blue-green eyes and unattainable attitude drive women wild. But his abandonment issues and criminal past have left him emotionally closed off. When a familiar face shows up for a job interview at his nightclub, the ache he has tried to forget tears at his heart—it’s the girl who once healed him… and then abandoned him.

Darcy MacBride still remembers Lucien’s delicate touch when they were both wildly in love teenagers. His gorgeous eyes had soothed her hurt after she’d been dumped off at the orphanage where Lucien lived. Darcy felt his jagged edges fit perfectly into her own, and she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with him—until a mysterious man warned her away. Now, fourteen years later, she’s ready to endure the torture of Lucien’s indifference and having him as her boss…just to be near him. But when it seems that they might finally take up where they left off, a devastating secret buried in their past threatens to tear them apart again.

First Impressions

This is the second novel in the Beautifully Damaged series, and apparently I read the first book back in 2013. I have read hundreds of books since then, and I mean that literally. I’ll admit that I don’t always remember the specific details of a novel, or even necessarily how it ended if it’s been a while since I read it. That being said, I can usually remember the basic premise, main characters, and whether or not I liked it. However, when it comes to this series, I shockingly remember absolutely nothing about book one. Even as I progressed further into this second book, and the characters and events from book one are brought to the forefront, I can honestly say I have zero recollection of what transpired. All I have to go on is the rating I gave it on Goodreads, which was an underwhelming 2/5 stars. So…yeah…not off to a very good start.

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Oh the Flashbacks

This romance is between two people who reconnect years after they went their separate ways as teenagers. Needless to say, you can kind of expect there to be a few flashbacks to when they first fell in love at an orphanage in their younger years. Unfortunately, there’s such a multitude of flashbacks which take place out of sequence at the start of the novel, that it’s kind of hard to connect with the characters in the present. Sure, the flashbacks do help you understand more about the history and dynamic of the characters, but I feel it could have been handled a bit differently.

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Disjointed

As a whole, I felt the novel was rather disjointed, and not just in terms of the timeline of flashbacks. There were also multiple story lines at play, and some of those really focus on the two lead characters from book one, who I couldn’t for the life of me remember. This made it kind of hard to tell at times who was the main focus of the book. It sort of seemed like it could have been two different novels taking place at the same time.

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As it stands, we basically have four different lead characters, each with their own drama, side-plots and supplemental characters. Towards the end, all of the elements started coming together in one confusing jumble. There was an attempt to intertwine all of the events from this novel, book one, and all the characters, but I think it was incredibly difficult to keep everything straight. Let’s just say at the end when there was a big reveal of who was behind all the drama and blackmail I found myself exclaiming, “Now who the hell is this?”

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Series: Beautifully Damaged, book 2. Not gonna continue on with this series.

Should you read it? There were some interesting factors at play, but in the end I felt like it was hard to really connect to the story because it was so disjointed. There were so many different cases of blackmail going on I couldn’t always remember who was blackmailing whom, or even why.

Smut Level: Pretty saucy. We even have a detailed 69 scene.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 366 Pages.

 

Fever by Maya Banks

I compared the first book in this series to a combination of 50 Shades and a Hallmark Christmas movie. With this second novel, it has elements of Cinderella, but instead of a fairy godmother we have a sexual dominant, and the glass slippers are replaced by f*ck me heels and a threesome. Ok then.

What’s it About?

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Jace, Ash, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Jace, it’s a woman whose allure takes him completely by surprise…Jace Crestwell, Ash McIntyre, and Gabe Hamilton have been best friends and successful business partners for years. They’re powerful, they’re imposing, they’re irresistibly sexy, and Jace and Ash share everything—including their women.

When they meet Bethany, Jace begins to feel things he’s never experienced before: jealousy, and a powerful obsession that threatens him, overwhelms him—and excites him beyond control. Jace isn’t sharing Bethany—with anyone. He’s determined to be the only man in her life, and it’s jeopardizing a lifelong friendship with Ash. Bethany will be his and his alone. Even if it means turning his back on his best friend.

First Impressions

I must admit, this book was actually pretty good! Our main female character, Bethany, is homeless, and Jace sort of rushes in as her alpha knight in shining armor. And this is after spending just one night together! Bethany makes herself scarce the next day, and Jace’s desperation to locate her was kind of endearing. Almost like Prince Charming’s eagerness to find Cinderella after just one dance. I do wish we had learned a bit more about Bethany’s background, and how she came to end up on the streets with no family in the first place, but what can you do?

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The Tantalizing Threesome

Shockingly, I found the most compelling aspect of this novel was that Jace and Bethany’s first sexual escapade together was during a threesome with Jace’s best friend, Ash. Jace and Ash have always shared their women, yet after that first night with Bethany, Jace decides to break off all future possible threesome escapades with Ash. Now, normally I’m not a fan of threesomes in romance novels. Too many limbs flopping around. However, Jace and Ash have such a strong connection that they are pretty much like brothers, and it was such an emotional scene when Jace has to tell his best friend and pseudo-brother that Beth is off limits from here on out. Poor Ash needs a hug.

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Series: Breathless, book 2. Maybe lonely Ash will find someone to spend time with in book 3?

Should you read it? Definitely an interesting read. I will say though after a while it felt like Bethany and Jace were having the same argument on repeat about how she doesn’t feel worthy of him, Jace trying to convince her to trust him, yada yada.

Smut Level: Bethany is happy to give up control in the bedroom since she’s been fighting so hard to survive on the streets for years. It’s almost a way for her to reach internal peace. But when that expands out of the bedroom I question what kind of life she’s really living, as Jace is the one making all the decisions for her.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $12.99 Kindle Price. Berkley Publishing. 418 Pages.

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