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.

 

 

Sugar Kisses by Addison Moore

The first thing we learn about the main character in this novel is that she hates people. Sounds like an utterly delightful person!

What’s it About? 

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Roxy Capwell couldn’t be more miserable. She just had her heart stomped on by her cheating boyfriend, and the last thing she’s looking for is love. She hates men. Cole Brighton couldn’t be happier. He’s a player of the highest order, there’s not a girl at Whitney Briggs University that he can’t tag and bag. He loves the ladies. Roxy’s dream is to own and operate her own bakery one day, but with no oven in her dorm, and a lucrative baking competition on the horizon, she agrees to move in with her best friend’s brother, the obnoxious, womanizing, Cole Brighton. Between the heavenly scent of baked goods, and Roxy’s perfect body strutting around the apartment, Cole can’t think straight. So when Roxy’s ex starts sniffing around again, Cole volunteers to play the part of her new boy-toy and things get heated both in and out of the kitchen. Roxy discovers she might not hate every man on the planet, and Cole discovers nothing tastes better than Roxy and her late night SUGAR KISSES.

Roxy is a ball of stress and anger.

Cole is all ego and sex.

Their attraction is unstoppable.

And when their bodies collide—its combustible.

First Impressions

The novel definitely starts off strong, as our main characters have a delightful love/hate flirtation going on which is just bursting with fabulous sexual tension. Unfortunately, as the book progresses things head pretty steadily downhill. Almost from the get-go you can tell how the story is building up for everything to eventually go wrong. I don’t know about you, but personally I find this kind of set-up unbelievably frustrating. Just waiting around for the shoe to drop always makes the story drag on and on. Combine that with some rather unlikable lead characters, and this just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Don’t Blow It!

Roxy and Cole go to one of those ridiculously small college towns where it seems like everybody knows everybody. As someone who went to college in a big city with over 30,000 students, it was a feature of the novel I found a bit hard to relate to. The entire book is told from the dual alternating points of view of both Roxy and Cole. Again, it starts off well enough, but once we get to the half-way point I was about ready to pull my hair out. Each of Cole’s chapters ends with the same sentiment of, “oh she’s the love of my life”, while Roxy’s end with, “he’s so great, I love him so much, I hope nothing screws this up/I don’t ruin this/it ends”. It was a continual foreshadowing of dread, and the delay of the inevitable that I found particularly annoying.

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Small Town Means Big Drama

On top of the continual foreshadowing of an eventual clusterf*ck, I also felt like the characters were rather unrealistic. It seemed like so many of them would say or do things with absolutely zero filter. From her mother who demands that Roxy decide between cooking cupcakes for a high-end benefit or her relationship with Cole, to a famous singer who loves to be in the spotlight in college and is used in all of their advertising materials, and finally to multiple catty/stalkerish females who go to unbelievably crazy lengths to snag Cole and mess with Roxy. Each drama individually I can kind of get, but having so many present in one short book was too over the top.

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Series: 3:AM Kisses, book 3. Going into this I actually didn’t know I was dealing with the third book in the series. I think it could have been helpful to read the others beforehand, although at this point I can’t really say I have a desire to start from the beginning.

Should you read it? I will say I did crave cupcakes like a madwoman while reading this one. If you do attempt it, maybe have some mini ones on hand. That being said, we don’t have the most endearing or likable characters here. She hates everything and everyone except baking and, eventually, Cole. However, she also has a short fuse that causes her to have many an unnecessary tempter tantrum.

Smut Level: There is one particularly sexy scene involving a food fight with jam and powdered sugar that eventually needs to be washed off. Lather it up!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. 304 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.

A Reason to Stay by Melissa Ellen

The male lead in this novel is named Rhett. You’ve got a lot to live up to Rhett ole’ boy when you have the same name as one of the most dashing and suave of literary characters, Mr. Rhett Butler. And now I’m thinking of Clark Gable. And now I need to re-watch Gone with the Wind for the millionth time. You wouldn’t mind waiting around for about, oh, four hours, would ya? Thanks!

What’s it About? a reason to stay

From Two Different Worlds. With Pasts that haunt them. An Undeniable love that heals them. Will one tragic night break them? Ava Conner is a smart, beautiful, independent, focused architecture student that has her life ahead of her. She knows what she wants and she is determined to let nothing stop her from getting it. She has no time for men and she is content with being alone. That was until she got knocked flat on her ass by Rhett Blackwood. Literally.

First Impressions

This is a meet cute as timeless as can be: the two literally bump into each other at a coffee shop. They exchange a heated glance, but not much else. Ava is decidedly shocked when she sees this man again at a party she’s helping to cater, and he’s accompanied by another woman no less! Our dashing lad seeks Ava out in a back hallway, insisting that he’s not actually “with” this other woman, and that he’ll find Ava later on. Let’s say the heated look in his eyes promises much more than conversation. And oh boy does he deliver.

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First Romps and One Night Stand Discussions

I will say I found it pretty interesting that for a man with such an intense presence as Rhett, their first time in the bedroom was relatively tame. Passionate, yes, but not too raunchy. Personally, I also delighted in the rather awkward discussion afterwards on what the status of their relationship was. Ava is understandably hesitant to pursue anything too serious after her last boyfriend cheated on her. I loved that she tried to be upfront with Rhett, and say if this is just a one night type of dealio, then that’s more than fine with her. Rhett’s insistence that this will not just be a one night romp in the hay will make you gasp in an “oh my” kind of moment.

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Admirable Leading Lady

You know, I’ve gotta hand it to Ava, I admire this chica for her willingness to stand up to Rhett when it really mattered. She wasn’t going to cower at his oftentimes dominant personality. The perfect example of this was during their first weekend together. They spend one glorious morning beneath the sheets, and he wants her to call off work, or get someone else to fill in for her so they can spend more time in bed horizontally. However, her work is really important to her, and gives her a sense of purpose and independence, so she refuses to relent to his insistence. Even when he has her pushed up against a wall, whispering into her ear with his deep and sultry voice. That’s one strong willed woman right there!

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Another example is with her friends. Ava actually has some close male friends who are almost like brothers. She’s pretty affectionate with them; with lots of hugs and cheek kisses involved. Now, obviously we all know this will undoubtedly cause Rhett to have an eventual coronary. That being said, Ava insists she won’t cut these men out of her life completely, and she does her best to bring Rhett and her friends together for some male bonding time.

Exes and Ohhhhs

So when it comes to this woman that Rhett took to the party, obviously it was more complicated than simply accompanying a family friend to a social gathering. The two were intimate as teenagers. Although it’s over between them now, Serena holds a tragic event from their past over Rhett’s head to keep him in her life, and manipulate his feelings of guilt. Again, I really admired Ava in that she saw right through this woman, and didn’t shy away from telling Rhett how she truly felt. Things do eventually reach a breaking point between Ava and Serena in a heated argument which takes place in a public restroom. This scene convinced me once and for all that no good can possibly come from using a public restroom in a romance novel. They might as well be called the cat-fight facilities. It’s practically a guarantee.

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Glossy Conversations

I will say I was slightly disappointed that what felt like some key scenes/discussions were glossed over, and I’m not just talking about the sex scenes! For example, after leaving the party where Rhett and Ava first meet, they head back to Rhett’s place. It mentions how they talk for hours getting to know each other. Next thing you know they have a deep emotional connection, and he’s uber possessive of their relationship. Now, I’m not expecting to be privy to every single thing they discussed, but I felt that their connection seemed rather abrupt and sudden by not going into detail about at least some of their conversation. What was it exactly that brought them together beyond just a heated exchange at a party?

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Blackwood Series, book 1. Things do end on a cliffhanger as the situation with Serena, Rhett and Ava gets kind of out of control. It’ll be interesting to see how things come together in the next book.

Should you read it? A unique relationship with a lot of moving pieces that come together for the cliffhanger ending. Things did sort of drag a bit towards the end as preparations are outlined in detail for Ava’s sister’s wedding. However, it has an emotional ending which really demonstrates the importance of family. I’ll admit I did kind of want to smack Rhett upside the head by the end of it, considering his inability to reach out to Ava during her time of need via phone, text, email, handwritten letter, sky writer, or even a freakin’ carrier pigeon.

Smut Level: They spend a lot of time in bed doing the deed, but we usually aren’t privy to the details.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Independently Published. 423 Pages.

A Road Paved in Copper by Angela Christina Archer

A historical western romance that sets the glimmering city of San Francisco against the harsh desert of Nevada.

What’s it About?

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Armed with her six-shooter, Ava De La Vega dips the pen into the inkwell and etches her name on the Esmeralda County tax record book. A formidable force, that’s what her peers have called her. The woman in a man’s world, what did she know of mining ore, silver, and copper? Plenty. And it’s this knowledge that makes her of the richest miners in Nevada in 1903. Of course, it also makes her a target.

Traveling back and forth from Tonopah, Nevada and San Francisco, Ava blazes the trail from the dirt and grime of her mines to the fanciest hotel rooms, enjoying the finest wines, the most decadent meals, and the company of attractive young men. Unfortunately, for Ava, she doesn’t see Craig Harrison coming.

A miner from the snowy Klondike, Craig has traveled from the harsh Canadian mountains down to city streets of San Francisco. Not looking for work, he’s happy with the comfortable life away from the deep mines, the dirt, and the ever sought-after gold. Unfortunately, for Craig, he doesn’t see Ava coming.

First Impressions

This female lead is a bad ass! LOVE her!! Ava has distinguished herself in the male dominated world of mining. She’s more successful than her male counterparts, and not afraid to stand up for herself. Unlike most historical romances, Ava admits very early on in our tale that she’s no virgin. Although she works in the dirt and grime of Nevada’s desert mines, Ava also delights in her trips to San Francisco, where she can indulge in the company of a new man every time. No attachments, no expectations. However, upon first meeting Craig she immediately recognizes that there’s something different about him. He’s no one night stand. Rather than treat him as such, they actually refrain from intercourse for quite some time, even though they are both brimming with sexual need. Talk about willpower!

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From Harsh Desert to Glimmering City

A particular feature of this novel which was rather clever was that it managed to twist your initial assumptions and expectations of both the main character, and even the setting of the book itself. Ava embodies this perfectly, as she herself appears to be a contradiction in terms. She is one of the only women in this small mining Nevada town who can hold her own, and is in no way a damsel in distress. She can shoot a gun and kick a man where it counts, so you sort of have this initial impression that she’ll be kind of a tomboy.

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However, that all changes when she leaves the harsh desert of Nevada behind for the bright lights and busy streets of San Francisco. While she loves getting her hands dirty in Nevada, she loves to indulge herself in luxuries and feminine clothing when in the city. It almost seems like we are dealing with two different personalities in one woman, but we find that she manages to maintain her moxie whether surrounded by the elegance of the city or the ruffians of the mining town. The ability of the author to provide us a glimpse into two such distinct worlds is truly commendable.

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The Allure of the Land

Certain passages within this book were utterly poetic. One section which particularly resonated was when Craig describes both the allure and dangers of mining. How the earth holds such wondrous secrets and wealth, but it’s just out of reach from those who are searching for it. The bounty of the land can dry up at any time. At one point, the mines are even compared to a woman who makes you work for her pleasures; playing a teasing game with her suitor before giving up her secrets. Phenomenal metaphor!! It really made me wish part of the story could have been told from Craig’s point of view, so that we could better understand the intricacies of his own character.

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Another eloquent passage presents us with Ava as she contemplates whether or not to reveal the secret details of her troubled past to Craig. On the one hand, she wishes to keep some of her foolish girlhood decisions a secret from this man she has come to love. Senseless choices which she realizes she would never commit now as an informed adult. On the other hand, the grown woman in her wants to tell him, to admit the mistakes of her past and move on. Unfortunately Ava’s built up so many walls around herself in the attempt to keep herself safe, and ensure that only she will know the errors of her ways. This is probably a debate which many of us have faced at some point in our lives, and makes her character even more relatable.

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: I would actually love to read some kind of short story or sequel to this one, but it looks like a stand-alone.

Should you read it? This book definitely starts with a bang! Ava’s enemies are trying to steal her land claims through force, and she finds herself in the cross hairs of a wild west shootout. After that initial drama the middle section was pretty mellow. If the suspense had carried more throughout the entirety of the book it could have made a positive difference. It all comes together though for an unbelievably intense ending that left me a mess of tears.

Smut Level: Craig has an appetite for this headstrong woman, so he enjoys her on the kitchen table. Hint hint, wink wink. Nothing too explicit or detailed as far as smut.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Long Valley Press. 238 Pages.

Headed to the Beach!

Well ladies and gents it’s that time of year once again where I need to get the hell out of dodge, and head to the sun and surf of the beach. Not gonna lie, I am in absolute desperate need of a vacation! I’m headed to Florida for a whole week, and I couldn’t be more excited.

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It’s simply been too long since I’ve had a proper beach holiday, and by God I’m planning on enjoying every second of it. My Kindle is loaded, my audiobooks queued up, and my work email is ready to be ignored. Oh, I also plan on consuming more seafood and delectable desserts than any human probably should in a given week.

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But don’t worry, I didn’t forget about all of you! I have some reviews all lined up and ready to post in my absence. Enjoy!

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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.