Cage by Harper Sloan

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? 

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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.

First Impressions

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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Omega by Jasinda Wilder

This just might be the first time I’ve heard reference to a “nuclear-powered climax”. Sounds…deadly.

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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.

First Impressions

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?!!!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Beta by Jasinda Wilder

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? 

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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.***

First Impressions

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Final Considerations

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.

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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.

Deviant & Fracture by Callie Hart

Ohhhhhhhhhhh boy.

What’s it About? 

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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.

First Impressions

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Until Sage by Aurora Rose Reynolds

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

What’s it About?

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

First Impressions

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

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Nature vs. Nurture

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

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

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

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Side-by-Side Series

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

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Series: Until Him, book 2.

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

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

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

The Red by Tiffany Reisz

I feel like we all need to take a moment to admire the ethereal beauty of the cover art. Just look at it! Gorgeous!! As for the book itself, well…let’s just dive right in, shall we?

What’s it About?

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Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red. She soon realizes she has no choice but to sell it. Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year. The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn’t mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…

First Impressions

This was my first ever Tiffany Reisz novel, and my first impression was pretty immediate: I am waaaaay out of my element. Having never read a Reisz novel before I didn’t really know what to expect. If you’re a fan of her style of storytelling, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy this one. Personally, I found it rather hard to review. On the one hand the writing is downright exquisite. You can’t deny that fact. The scenes are outlined in such particular detail you feel like you’re right there in the room with the characters. On the other hand I really didn’t want to be in that room. The sex scenes were excessively graphic and raw to the point where I just couldn’t enjoy them. This is the kind of book which intentionally tries to make you question your preconceived notions of pleasure and sex, like a psychological mind game. For me, it was done to excess, and I was uncomfortable reading it for the majority of the time.

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A Deal with the Devil

While our mystery man might not be the actual devil, we get the sense pretty early on that there’s something different about him in the paranormal sense. Malcolm comes upon our heroine when she is at her lowest: half a million in debt and on the brink of losing her mother’s beloved art gallery. He offers to give Mona one million dollars if she gives him carte blanche over her body for one night every 2-3 months for a year. If she agrees, he’ll provide her with a priceless work of art after each and every tumble. Well…that’s a new kind of sexual deal I’ve never come across before.

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You gotta give it to this guy, he doesn’t f*ck around. Malcolm couldn’t be more blunt when outlining this arrangement with her. There are no flowery words of love, and he acknowledges right off the bat that he’s treating her like a whore. Literally. “I think you’ll make a fine whore” is a direct quote. Interestingly enough, his continual label of her as “whore” eventually comes across as a pet name rather than an insult. Malcolm admits he just wants to f*ck her, and has no interest in love or marriage. I guess you kind of have to appreciate he’s being upfront and not trying to manipulate her?

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The whole thing is sort of conducted like a business deal, and is the first introduction of some interesting examples of juxtaposition throughout the book. This man gives off a dignified air when discussing something so overtly sexual. They carry out their sexual contract in a seemingly pretentious art gallery, yet are surrounded by erotic art as they indulge in excessively carnal and scandalous acts. Mona acknowledges how weird it is for him to just jump right in with his head between her thighs without any wining and dining beforehand. Malcolm is thoroughly using her body, yet she states multiple times how much she enjoys being used by him. Sooo…yay for it being consensual?

A Lesson in Art

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Nymphs and Satyr by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

I will say, while this book wasn’t my cup of tea there was one feature that I really did enjoy, and that was the art aspect. Before each coupling, Malcolm would provide Mona with the title of a piece of art that would come to represent the theme for the evening. This is when the paranormal aspect of Malcolm’s persona really comes to the forefront, as he is able to transform the back of Mona’s art gallery into any setting, from an elaborate maze to a secluded clearing in a fairy tale forest. Every chapter is entitled with the name of the artwork, and it was kind of fun to look them all up on Google before proceeding with the chapter. Definitely something I would recommend to all readers who take this one on!

 

Out of My Wheelhouse

I had trouble wrapping my head around several elements of this novel. The first was Malcolm’s literal treatment of Mona like a whore. What I found so bizarre though was that he didn’t look down on her for selling herself, and she too seemed to enjoy it. He admits, “I have trouble respecting a woman who gives away for free what she could sell for good money.” Well, doesn’t this just make you question everything you were taught growing up? It’s kind of freaky how much a smooth talker this guy is, where you start to think, “Wait, am I…am I supposed to think he’s right?” You start to realize that he doesn’t just want to f*ck her, he wants to f*ck with her by playing mind games of what’s real and what’s fantasy.

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Dora and the Minotaur by Pablo Picasso

There were two scenes in this book which stood out to me, mainly because they were the ones which confused me the most. The first was the enactment of The Slave Market painting. In addition to Malcolm, four other men come to Mona’s gallery to poke and prod her, suck her, examine her breasts, mouth and nether region. She mentions how she’s humiliated, she hates it, she wants to cry. And yet…she also loves it. She doesn’t understand it. I don’t understand it! Let’s move on.

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The Slave Market by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Then towards the end of the novel we have a rather demented version of 99 bottles of beer on the wall. Instead, it’s smacks of Malcolm’s riding crop. Mona gets 100 strikes of his cock for 100 strikes of his crop. Malcolm whispers words of encouragement and adoration throughout this scene to the point where Mona loves him and his kindness, while also curling up in the fetal position and crying tears from the pain. After every strike of the crop he would kiss her, which made her eventually see every strike as a loving kiss itself. Now…that’s a psychological mind game right there! Personally, I couldn’t help but see it as a disturbing window into abuse.

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

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? If you enjoy the work of Tiffany Reisz I would say give it a go. I did enjoy the artistic element of the novel, it has some interesting twists, and the writing itself was spectacular. This book is seemingly all about the heroine discovering herself, and I guess for me it made me discover that for a genre of novel like this I am a total prude when it comes to sex! The sex scenes presented were simply too over the top hardcore for me (which is definitely saying something!), and therefore made it a rather uncomfortable read.

Smut Level: Malcolm penetrates Mona with a glass water bottle. I’ll never be able to look at another bottle of Perrier the same way ever again.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. 8th Circle Press. 250 Pages.

Hardwired by Meredith Wild

First of all, this guy’s name is Blake. You just know he’ll be amazing in bed and an alpha male, through and through.

What’s it About? 

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Determined to overcome a difficult past, Erica Hathaway learns early on how to make it on her own. Days after her college graduation she finds herself face to face with a panel of investors who will make or break her fledgling startup. The only thing she didn’t prepare for was going weak in the knees over an arrogant and gorgeous investor who’s seemingly determined to derail her presentation.

Billionaire and rumored hacker Blake Landon has already made his fortune in software, and he’s used to getting what he wants with very little resistance. Captivated by Erica’s drive and unassuming beauty, he’s wanted nothing more since she stepped into his boardroom. Determined to win her over, he breaks down her defenses and fights for her trust, even if that means sacrificing a level of control he’s grown accustomed to. But when Blake uncovers a dark secret from Erica’s past, he threatens not just her trust, but the life she’s fought so hard to create.

First Impressions

Although a lot did happen story-wise in this novel, it sort of felt like the majority of the book was setting up for a sequel. Don’t get me wrong, overall it was an interesting story, but almost every single aspect of the plot was left unfinished. Kind of frustrating! It’s like baking a beautiful apple pie and not eating it. Or stripping a handsome cover model of all of his clothes to just walk out of the room. I mean, come on already!

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Romance Themes Galore

There are multiple aspects at play in this novel, all of which are interesting in their own right. It’s almost like every romance theme was rolled into one book. We’ve got a d/s relationship, trying to find a long lost father, a bitchy ex, Blake’s secret past as a hacker, Erica was raped in college, and now she’s starting an internet start up. Each element could be the main focus of the book, but when you have so many different stories going on at once it’s kind of overwhelming.

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In addition to the whole book being one big build-up, their sexual relationship was also a build-up. It’s not that they waited very long to have sex, but throughout the novel we start to see the hints of a few BDSM tendencies. There’s some spanking and light restraint, but you can’t help but wonder if there will be even more kink in the next novel.

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Series: Hacker, book 1. I’ll probably give this series a go.

Should you read it? There was so much going on in regards to the various plot points at play that the majority of the relationship we see appears to revolve around sex. There’s a lack of depth to their relationship, and at times Blake is almost too overbearing outside of the bedroom. Although, I am intrigued to see if they are able to make a deeper connection in the subsequent novels.

Smut Level: The man has a way with words. Dirty ones that is.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $7.99 Kindle Price. Forever Publishing. 281 Pages.

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Rock You Like a Hurricane by Sierra Brave

Let’s see, how to pass the time during a hurricane? The characters in this book choose to eat tacos, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, play strip poker, and have a threesome. Well alright then!

What’s it About? 

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Lifelong best friends, Tommy Marks and Ken Davidson prepare to ride out the storm with Trisha Harper, the woman both men adore. Determine to preserve their friendship, the men cling to a gentleman’s agreement, promising neither will make a move on her but can such a pact be upheld in the eye of the storm? With both men teetering between desire and the fear of rejection and loss, Trisha has no wish to break up the dynamic duo. For her it’s all or nothing and she’s determined to have Tommy and devour Ken too.

First Impressions

Ken and Tommy are bff’s, but both believe Trisha to be the love of their lives, and I don’t really understand why. They are definitely attracted to her physically, but I would’ve liked a bit more detail concerning why they both thought she was so irresistible . Whereas the boys both seem to be in love with her, whatever their reasoning, it seemed like Trisha had 2 main reasons for initiating a threesome: 1) she was sexually attracted to both men, and 2) she didn’t want to break up their friendship by only choosing one of them. Why choose one when you can have both? It would have been nice if we could see a deeper connection between all three of them beyond just sex. They are obviously all friends, but I wanted more of an emotional connection.

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The Odd Woman Out

I’m sure most everyone has heard of the phrase, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd.” This book was definitely an interesting read to see the logistics of going from friends to suggesting a sexual relationship with three people instead of two. The fact that Ken and Tommy had a firm no-touch gentleman’s agreement when it came to Trisha simply meant that she had to work a little extra hard to show she was interested in the both of them equally. Hence the strip poker during a hurricane. I’ll admit, it was rather amusing when Ken and Tommy finally realized she wanted both of them.

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As for the three-way itself, I personally felt there was one person who didn’t really belong, and that was Trisha. Ken and Tommy not only have a lifelong friendship, but they also bring out the best in each other. Ken has trouble associating with others, so Tommy helps to include him in every conversation. On the other hand, Tommy can be kind of a loose cannon, and Ken helps reign him in. I didn’t really see what role Trisha had to play in the grand scheme of things, and probably would have preferred a romance just between our two male besties! That’s where the emotion of the story really showed.

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

Series: Triple Passion Play, book 1.

Should you read it? There’s definitely an interesting build-up of sexual tension between all three characters, especially when Trisha tries to entice the boys repeatedly throughout the evening to make a move. My main complaint was that it seemed like Trisha saw the boys more as a way to scratch her horny itch, but they actually wanted a relationship with her.

Smut Level: At one point they contemplate having a three-way in the bathtub. Thankfully they come to the conclusion that they won’t all fit. Probably would’ve caused a few injuries! Eventually they try pretty much every sexual position available to them.

Book Details: Click Here– available for pre-order. Releases on Amazon this Monday. Liquid Silver Books. 58 Pages.

One Night of Scandal by Elle Kennedy

I didn’t think it was possible, but this book was even hotter than the first one!

What’s it About? 

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Ex-fighter Reed Miller has been secretly lusting over his best friend’s girl for months, but he refuses to jeopardize a friendship over a woman—especially one who doesn’t like him all that much. Now that Darcy’s on the market again, it’s even more imperative to stick to his strict hands-off policy. But the sizzling attraction between them is too powerful to ignore, and once he’s had a taste of her…all bets are off.

Darcy Grant is tired of walking the straight and narrow path. She’s on the hunt for passion, and there’s no denying Reed is just the man to give it to her. Although she has no interest in dating a bad boy, and certainly not her ex’s best friend, it’s impossible not to melt beneath Reed’s skillful touch. Now it’s just a matter of setting a few ground rules—and hoping her rule-breaking, sweet-talking bad boy agrees to follow them. But if she lets Reed into her bed, does she stand a chance of keeping him out of her heart?

First Impressions

Reed has been pining after Darcy for months. When she’s finally on the market again after breaking up with one of his closest friends, he simply can’t resist indulging in every sexual fantasy with her that he’s had to repress for so long. This isn’t a very long book, but throughout the entire thing I don’t think Reed and Darcy managed to have sex once in an actual bed. Love it. They do it in the alcove of a club, a car, multiple times on a couch, and even the shed at a farmer’s market. That’s a creative one right there.

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Something Missing

This book definitely had some unique sex locations, but the one thing that was missing was the sense of suspense that was present in the first book. I think a lot more intrigue could have been generated surrounding the unknown drug dealer at Reed’s club. Sure, there was some drama involved with that story line, but it just ended far too quickly.

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A Bad Boy?

Darcy tries her hardest to keep whatever this is with Reed a simple fling. Her impression of him as a bad boy helps to keep her deeper emotions for him in check. That works fine and well until he starts to volunteer at her school, and she discovers that he’s involved with a Big Brother program. And not the dim-witted reality show on TV! I’m talking about being a mentor for children. Yeah, I can’t really blame Darcy for falling in love with Reed after uncovering that little morsel of information. I would have been a goner too. Hell, I am a goner, and he’s a fictional character!

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Series: After Hours, book 2. Can’t wait for the next book!

Should you read it? If you want some clever sex locale ideas and a bad boy with a soft side, then yes. If you don’t want either of those…well why not?

Smut Level: Holy farmer’s market does Reed know how to talk dirty. And he follows through on every naughty promise.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Entangled: Brazen. 228 Pages.

 

 

Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley

I have read many a romance novel, featuring many a different kind of teacher. I think I can officially say that when it comes to sex, kindergarten teachers are the kinkiest.

What’s it About? 

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Deacon Malloy’s life is dedicated to the Hells Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.

Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students—but there’s always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There’s an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of all the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra’s search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers…and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.

The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed—and he’s never met a woman yet who couldn’t be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it’s Deacon himself who could be seduced—into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he’s falling for against all odds.

First Impressions

I actually listened to this novel as an audiobook, and I must say as far as narration goes it was done very well. There are two different narrators who alternate back and forth between Deacon and Alex’s points of view. Definitely a unique feature which I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially because the narrator for Deacon had a deep and sexy voice that went really well with Deacon’s bad-boy biker image.

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Sense of Reality

The plot behind the novel might seem a bit far-fetched, but there was also a sense of reality to certain aspects of the story. For example, Deacon is sort of thrust into fatherhood, having never known that he had a daughter. Unlike most romance novels, Deacon doesn’t exactly fall right into the role of suddenly being a dad, and has trouble balancing his biker life with a new daughter. He’s sort of uncomfortable talking with her, playing with her, and doesn’t really want to read to her at night. I know, it makes him sound like an ass-hole, but I think it would have been unrealistic for this bad-boy to suddenly become father of the year right away.

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There were other scenes in the novel which seemed exceedingly realistic, to the point where it could be uncomfortable to read. The book starts off with Deacon’s daughter, Willow, saying goodbye to her mother as she is about to be killed by drug dealers. A very difficult scene to read. There are other scenes of torture throughout the book which kind of make your stomach uneasy, but I must say they were written quite well.

Of Course

No biker romance novel would be complete without a rival biker gang that has a long-standing feud with our hero. Personally, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with how the story came to a close. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say it was unique, but almost too easy of a conclusion. That being said, the epilogue of the novel definitely sets up a sequel to the story featuring Deacon’s brother, Rev, who was an extremely dynamic character. Might be worth reading.

SONS OF ANARCHY -- Pictured: (Top, L-R) Theo Rossi as Juan Carlos 'Juice' Ortiz, Maggie Siff as Tara Knowles, Tommy Flanagan as Filip 'Chibs' Telford, Charlie Hunnam as Jackson 'Jax' Teller, Mark Boone Junior as Robert 'Bobby' Munson, Ryan Hurst as Harry' Opie' Winston, Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow, Kim Coates as Alex 'Tig' Trager, Ron Perlman as Clarence 'Clay' Morrow -- CR: Frank Ockenfels/FX

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

Series: A Vicious Cycle, book 1. I won’t necessarily rush out to read book 2, but I might pick it up in the future.

Should you read it? It might be categorized as a romance, but there is a lot of violence to the story, as well as a hero who is far from perfect. If you like biker books, you’d probably enjoy it.

Smut Level: There is a lot of bickering back and forth between Deacon and Alex, which often translates into rough and angry sex. The best scenes though are when Alex makes him jealous, such as when she gives him a dance at a strip club. It brings forth his inner alpha male.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. Penguin Group LLC. 328 Pages.