Monthly Archives: February 2013

Honor Code by Cathy Perkins

Honor Code


ORDER A COPY: Honor Code (A Mystery Novella)

Publisher: self-published
Publishing Date: October 8, 2012
eBook: 90 pages

Rating: 4 stars


In a small southern town where everyone knows each other’s business, veteran detective Larry Robbins must solve the disappearance of eighty-year-old widower George Beason.

When evidence arises that Beason may have left town on his own, it would be easy for Robbins to close the case, but his gut instinct tells him more’s at stake. As he uncovers clues about Beason’s deceased wife and his estranged daughter, Robbins must untangle conflicting motives and hidden agendas to bring Beason home alive.


Det. Larry Robbins is called to the house of Mr. George Beason in a declining neighborhood of Newberry, South Carolina. Mr. Beason’s neighbor is concerned. He disappeared in the middle of the night and his car is missing. Although Mr. Beason’s mind is still sharp, his eyesight is not so great. So there is no reason he would leave his house to go for a drive before dawn. Plus, his back door window is broken.

When Det. Robbin and his partner enter Mr. Beason’s house, they find it in turmoil. Someone has been looking for something and they were in quite a hurry. But no one reports hearing his dog barking early this morning, so did he know the person who entered the house? He took his wallet with him. Would a kidnapper let you grab your stuff before you leave?

The more they investigate, the more questions come up. Until they find Mr. Beason, they might never know if he was kidnapped or if he went willingly? Did he know the person who came to his house? There something shady going on and is Mr. Beason a victim or a co-conspirator?

THOUGHTS:

This is a very short story, but it was still very interesting. The author attempts to give Det. Robbins more depth to his character by adding some issues at home, but there really wasn’t enough to be remarkable.

If you like police investigation stories, this was an enjoyable story and quick read.

Received a review from the author. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

“A couple of the neighbors mentioned a car leaving around four AM, but no one heard a dog barking.”

“Why didn’t the dog bark?” Robbins laced his fingers behind his head and studied the ceiling. “Either the neighbors’ hearing’s gone or the dog didn’t bark because she recognized whoever entered the house.”

“Or they slept right through it.”

“Maybe. Old people are usually light sleepers.”

Jordan roamed the squad room, nearly bouncing on his toes with enthusiasm. “What’s our theory? Think Beason left on his own?”

“Doesn’t look like it. The dog. The ransacked house.” He left out the daughter’s accusations for now.

“Old man like him. Not the most likely kidnapping target.” Jordan moved to the white-board where they’d listed the known chronology and points of contact.

“For that community, Beason had money. He owned an electronics shop downtown. The big box stores and a throw-it-away-instead-of-fix-it world shut him down a while ago.” Robbins opened the Bojangles sack. Chicken sandwich and dirty fries. He fished a few fries out of the packet. Sharon might not want him to die of lung cancer, but she hadn’t started in on a heart attack.

Yet.

“Some of these dirt bags will kill you for a dollar if they need a fix bad enough. But the dog would’ve barked at a druggie.” He bit into the fries. They had enough pepper to kick start his taste buds.

“I heard burglars will throw a dog drug-laced meat so it doesn’t bark.”

Robbins unwrapped his sandwich—a Cajun Filet. Was it as simple as a burglary turned ugly? “That implies planning. I don’t see it. Someone went through Beason’s house on a rampage.”

Then again, he hadn’t seen anything that looked like a baseball bat. “The missing wallet makes me wonder if Beason left on his own.”

Like the daughter said.

“Because?” Jordan dropped into his chair and dove into his food.

“If you’re being hustled or dragged out the door, you don’t usually say, ‘scuse me, I need to grab my wallet.”

Jordan chewed on that along with his sandwich. “If someone broke in and cleaned out the wallet—the cash and credit cards—they’d have dumped the wallet. What if they forced him into the car to hit an ATM for more cash?”

“Could be.”

Mating Instinct by Katie Reus

Mating Instinct (Moon Shifter, #3)


ORDER A COPY: Mating Instinct: A Moon Shifter Novel

Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publishing Date: March 5, 2013
Paperback: 368 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Surviving for centuries, powerful lupine shifter Jayce Kazan managed to stay away from humans until he met Kat Saburova and was consumed by the need to protect her. But while Jayce shared his passion with the human seer, he refused to make her his bondmate—a refusal that caused the end of their relationship.

A year later, an attack that left Kat near death has resulted in another lupine shifter turning her. Furious that he wasn’t the one to save her, Jayce is determined to show Kat that he is the one she should rely on. But the newly turned shifter is still traumatized and worried that she’ll hurt those she loves, unless she can learn to control her inner wolf.

And as Jayce struggles to protect Kat from her own worst instincts and convince her to rekindle their love, the extremists who almost killed her are looking to finish the job.


When Kat used to be human, all she wanted was to have a life with Jayce. She thought if he changed her, made her a shifter, they could become bondmates and have forever.  She believed him when he refused to change her because he said so few survived, but then she found out he lied. Her friend December told her that bondmates always survive the transformation. That could only mean Jayce didn’t love her and didn’t want her forever. How could she continue to give herself heart and soul to a man who told her he cared, but lied to her face about that forever? She wanted nothing more to do with Jayce, at least she thought that until the Antiparanormal League’s psychotic leader ordered her to be kidnapped, tortured and beaten within a inch of her life. While they tortured her, she didn’t pray to God, she prayed for Jayce to find her and make her safe.

But Jayce wasn’t the one who found her first and with a choice of dying or the slim possibility of surviving the change, she took her chances and let Aiden try to save her.

No, Jayce wasn’t the one to find her first, a truth that will always haunt him. He would have given a limb to save Kat the pain she suffered. Aiden is a friend and he owes him for saving Kat’s life, but to know that someone else changed his Kat makes him want to tear the man apart. There was a reason he refused to change her, a reason he would rather walk away from her than bond with her. He is over 500 year old and very powerful enforcer. He is as close to immortal as a shifter could be. He knows the many enemies he acquired over those centuries have tried hard to get rid of him. But if they knew just how much Kat meant to him, she would be the easiest and quickest way to get to Jayce. A human lover didn’t raise an eyebrow, but his bondmate would have a target on her back.

Jayce is back trying to find out who is dealing vampire blood to the humans. He accepted his current assignment to be close to Kat again. Now that she is a shifter, he will teach her to fight so that she never feels vulnerable again. And while she is fighting the rage for what was done to her, he will protect her from herself. He knows she wants vengeance against the APL, but that would only lead to her death and become the catalyst for a war between the humans of the APL and the shifters.

THOUGHTS:

I have found a new favorite series!! Yippee!! I really liked the characters, not just Jayce and Kat, but we spend a good deal of time with the characters from the first two books as well as the other shifters in the pack. You can see the set ups for the future books in the background interactions of the pack. This is a continuing storyline but I didn’t feel lost even though this was the third book in the series.

I liked that Jayce is not your usual characteristically drop dead gorgeous handsome shifter hero. He is huge, scarred, bald and so badass scary that you would walk on the other side of the street if you saw him coming. But to Kat, he is gentle and caring, as well as the usually bossy and domineering male.

They have a history which brings us right into the story. Although Kat is fighting her feelings for Jayce since he lied to her about the bonding when she was human, after what happened to Kat at the hands of APL, Jayce is no longer fighting his feeling. Now he is just fighting Kat to get her to acknowledge that what they have is special and that they should be together.

Nicely blended into this story of Kat and Jayce is Jayce’s investigation into the vampire blood dealers, as well as a storyline of a shifter killing humans. The humans are getting scared and the shifters know they have to catch this killer before the already strained relations with the locals starts getting innocent shifters killed. And still more to the story is the added interactions between the pack members. It all balances well in the storytelling and takes nothing away from our focus couple.

I have several Katie Reus books downloaded that I have wanted to read and I was happy to finally have this one pop to the top of my pile, but it also means I want to wiggle Books 1 and 2 onto the list. The rest of my Katie Reus books are from her Red Stone Security Series and I hope she balances the characters and storylines just as well in that.

Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

And he was being so fucking nice it broke her heart. He hadn’t been there for her when she needed him most. He hadn’t saved her!

Yet he was all concerned and damn near perfect now. She wanted to throttle him. Wanted to throttle anything at the moment if it would make the pain inside her disappear. The rage grew, twisting inside her like a living thing. Her heart hammered, her breathing turned shallow. Even though she knew it was irrational, she dropped the covers and launched herself at him. She pounded his chest with her fists.

He didn’t deserve this, but she couldn’t stop herself. It was as if she was possessed. “You weren’t there for me!” The words tore from her throat even as she hated herself for saying them, let alone thinking them. Jayce wasn’t omniscient. He might be a skilled warrior, but he couldn’t be everywhere, couldn’t fight every battle.

He swallowed hard, his face twisting into a pained expression that she’d never witnessed before. “I know, and I’m so fucking sorry. I’d have traded places with you in a second.” His deep ragged voice rolled over her, soothing her as it simultaneously made a burning shame surge through her. Like lava, it scorched her insides and hurt worse than any torture she’d endured. The pain in his voice was an almost tangible thing, making her ache worse with each second that passed.

His complete submission to her blows stunned and stilled her. He thought he deserved to be punished. That was why he hadn’t stopped her.

She should pull way and leave him alone, but she couldn’t let him suffer like she was suffering. He didn’t deserve it, no mater the anger-injected words she’d just flung at him like sharp daggers. She wrapped her arms around his neck in tightly and buried her face against his chest, unable to control the sobs wracking her body. She’d cried so much directly after what had happened, but she’d never allowed anyone to hold her to comfort her. Not like this. And not while she was naked and vulnerable. She’d also never told anyone what happened to her.

“He…didn’t rape me, but he tried. More than once.”

His body stiffened and his grip around her waist grew tighter. With one hand he stroked the length of her spine, letting her continue.

“He couldn’t get it up. It was the only thing that made his beatings bearable.” The more she spoke, the easier it was to get things out. Even if uncontrollable tears still tracked down her face, she almost felt a sense of freedom. “I don’t know how much Aiden or one of the others told you?” She formed it as a question, pausing to let him answer.

“Just that you were near death and covered in blood. He also mentioned that you likely had internal bleeding.” The hand on her waist flexed once before he returned to his preternaturally still state.

She knew the animal part of him was enraged right now. Though he didn’t make any overt moves, the air seemed to be pulsing with a scary sort of energy. Not directed at her, though; its object was her dead attacker whom neither of them could do anything about now. Something she hated every single day.

“He beat me with a whip and touched me anyway he wanted and I couldn’t do a damn thing.” Her voice broke on the last word and she realized she was trembling when Jayce started rubbing her back in circles and murmuring soothing sounds.

“I’m so fucking sorry, Kat.” His voice was just as broken as she felt inside.

Stretching out on the bed, she covered him with her body, not caring that she was naked and he was nearly so. The feel of his muscular body underneath her was an anchor she desperately needed. “You don’t have anything to be sorry for,” She said through her tears and sniffles. The attack wasn’t his fault. She knew it on an intellectual level, but her head and heart couldn’t seem to sync up. Why was she so angry that he hadn’t saved her? “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

If she’d been doing this to anyone else she would have been embarrassed for blubbering all over him, but this was Jayce. The man who’d seen her at her worst and never judged her. The man she loved but couldn’t tell. Couldn’t say three little words to him because she was too afraid.

As his hands gently stroked down her back and then directly back up, she realized he was pulling the bedding over them. He was covering her, taking care of her, and it made her want to kiss him and soothe the pain she could feel emanating off him in pulsing waves.

Lifting her head, she looked into gray eyes swirling with a sorrow she never wanted to see again. She’d put it there, which made it even worse. Biting back more tears, she cupped his cheek with one hand. “I…I’m sorry I blamed you. When I was abducted, I…I called out your name. I wanted for you to come for me.” When he jerked back as if she’d physically struck him, her stomach roiled.

This wasn’t coming out the way she intended. She’d never had a problem with words before, but seeing Jayce vulnerable messed with her head and she needed to make this right. “No, I’m not telling you this to hurt you. I’m telling you because you’re the one person I knew—know—I can always count on. If you could have been there, I know you would have. I know it with every fiber of my being. I’m sorry for what I just said. I was fighting remnants of a nightmare, but I don’t blame you. Maybe I did on a subconscious level, but I don’t now. Not truly. My attacker is dead and I have nowhere to place my anger. The monster who hurt me and the APL are the only ones responsible. No matter what happens between us, please know that.”

The pain she’d witnessed in his eyes partially subsided. “I would have done anything to save you. Given up a limb, my life, anything. I only wish that fucker hadn’t died. I would have made him regret his very existence.” The darkness in his words sent a shudder snaking through her.

Before she could respond, he claimed her mouth in a gentle, sensual kiss completely at odds with the tough-looking man he was.

 

The Convict’s Bounty Bride by Lena Dowling

The Convict's Bounty Bride


ORDER A COPY: The Convict’s Bounty Bride

Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises Australia
Publishing Date: March 1, 2013
eBook: 52 pages

Rating: 4 pages


Life as a convict in an Australian penal colony was brutal, but James Hunter had theadvantages of raw physical strength and courage on his side. He survived, and now he isback; a self‐made man of means, determined to take the bride he was promised.

Lady Thea Willers knows nothing of the bargain her father made to save her brother, nordoes she have any interest in marriage. It might be a radical idea, but what Thea wants is acareer.
The revelation that her brother’s liberty depends on her marrying James Hunter isdevastating. But nothing, it seems, has the power to shake Thea’s world upside down likeJames himself, or the way he makes her feel.

James Hunter is back in England after serving seven years of hard labor in an Australian penal colony. While down under, he has earned himself a fortune but even a rich ex-convict has a hard time breaking into society. He has come back to claim the bride promised him when he agreed to take the fall for the Earl’s foolish son. Although he hopes the Earl’s daughter might be a pretty thing, he is more interested in the status he will finally gain by returning with a wife of breeding.

When James finally meets Lady Thea Willers, he is surprised to find that she is not only beautiful but she is spirited and intelligent as well. She is also quick witted and cunning, especially in her attempts to avoid the alter. She would be a perfect wife for him, and an asset working by his side. He begins to hope that they might have a marriage that is more than obligation, except Thea isn’t sure she is interested in fulfilling her father’s obligation to James.

Thea doesn’t want a husband. She was educated and brought up to think for herself. She wants a career. She wants to be useful, not just a piece of fluff to be paraded out by some husband and kept to breed out an heir. James seems different then the men her mother is constantly throwing her at, but can she trust that a life with him could afford her an opportunity to be the woman she wants to be.

When fate intervenes to keep them apart, will they fight for the future that might just bring them the happiness that has alluded them both or will all be lost?

THOUGHTS:

Let me set the scene for you on this one – I was out with my kids, playing chauffer, reading my story. I get to an interesting part of the story, but it’s time to head home so I put my book away. While driving home, I kept thinking about what kind of interesting thing will happen once we get to Australia. Will there be a business rival for James who will cause trouble? Will Thea become fond of her home? Will she be accepted? Will a jealous rival try to break them apart? Once I get home, I get my coffee, sit in my comfy reading chair and find my place…then I turn the page and it won’t go any further. At first, I thought there was a problem with my download. No! This is only a short story of 52 pages! This is the problem with an eReader. Unless you check first, you don’t know how long a story is or sometimes you think you still have 20 pages left and it turns out to be a promo for the next book in a series. Frustrating!

I can’t tell you how pissed off I was when it ended. I was really enjoying the characters in this story. Thea was an intelligent and spirited woman. She was clever in her subtle sabotages to her reputation so that prospective husbands would walk away from the willful and peculiar woman. She wasn’t about to submit to her father’s promise without getting to know James and determine what her life would be with him. James made a few brief references to his life in Australia and as a convict. I was looking forward to more details about his life, about his farm, and the people he is attempting to socialize with. I love the occasional romance that is about two people getting to know each other and finding out how much they really like the person they are with.

This story needs a Book #2 continuation taking us to Australia and seeing the life they make together and the trials they work through.

For a short story, it certainly gave a lot but it left me wanting a whole lot more. :(

Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

“What makes you think that I wished to be apprehended?”

“You had no cover, the gaslight in this corner is bright, and the establishment is well patronized,” he said, identifying all the aspects Thea had taken into account before attempting to execute the maneuver.

“That’s most astute of you, Mr. Hunter.”

“So, you did hope to be observed?”

“Yes.”

Flummoxed, she had given him the truth before she had the presence of mind to substitute it with something less incriminating, like wanting to liven up the evening. A practical joke, even, would have been a more plausible excuse.

Heavens, what was wrong with her?

“May I ask why?”

Thea took a breath, willing her pulse to steady. How should she reply to that? She had already admitted she wanted to be caught.

“To be cast out of polite society.”

Mr. Hunter roared, bursting out with an unexpectedly melodious laugh. Thea hadn’t meant to reveal anything to this man, and yet, it was as if with one look he had stripped her down to her chemise and extracted the truth from her.

“Why? I thought a woman would sooner saw off a limb than to relinquish her position in the ton.”

There was no point lying now. She had practically told him everything anyway. She might as well come clean.

“To ensure that I remain a spinster.”

One corner of Mr. Hunter’s mouth rose in half suppressed amusement.

“Surely a lady as comely as you wouldn’t want to wither and die an old prune without knowing the pleasures of the flesh. While you’re still succulent that is,” he said with a meaningful glance down to her breasts.

She drew a hand up to her chest instinctively, as if his stare had the power to burn. Warmth spread out from her middle, rushing to the surface where the feeling skittered out across her skin. She wished she had brought the fan she had jettisoned in favor of fitting the flask into her purse. Men often praised her beauty. Such comments were neither here nor there. She would much rather have been complimented for the sharpness of her mind, but nevertheless, for once, Mr. Hunter’s comment left her speechless.

“If you wish to be ejected from society, why not just lay down your maidenhead to a suitable rake? That way you would at least not die a virgin, assuming, of course, you are still pure?”

Who did he think he was questioning her virtue, let alone referring to her maidenhead in polite company? Irritation pricked like a burr caught in her stocking, and the words that had temporarily deserted her came flooding back. She tilted her chin towards him, determined not to allow his impudence to pass unchallenged.

“Is that an offer, Mr. Hunter?”

“Is that a request, m’lady?

She had expected him to demur, but instead he stepped forward into the space usually reserved for family and intimate friends; close enough that she could sense the heat from his body. His voice was even, his eyes tinkling in with devilment. Broad and weathered, the image of him stripped down to his shirtsleeves labouring over some manual task flashed through her mind. Within a few seconds her senses seemed to have heightened a hundred-fold. Mr. Hunter’s sudden and brash movement into her proximity was sending odd sensations fluttering beneath her skirts.

Thea hated backing down from a challenge, but the man’s expression indicated that he would be only too willing to oblige if she called his bluff.

She took a hesitant step back to widen the space between them.

“Yes, I am pure. And even though it’s none of your business, I did consider my total social disgrace as an option, but rejected it on the basis that I might be forced to marry the cad.”

“Well, well, what a conundrum.”

Mr. Hunter tugged at his neckcloth as if he were unaccustomed to wearing it. Her attention was drawn to strange red marks curling from the top of his collar. The scars licked at his hairline.

Like the mark of the Satan.

How appropriate.

Mr. Hunter’s eyes glinted. He didn’t appear the least bit apologetic for ruining her scheme. If anything, he obviously found the whole situation comical. Now, thanks to this man, she needed to obtain more cognac or think of another way to engineer her social disgrace.

She thrust back her shoulders.

“I’m not at all sure what you find so humorous, Mr. Hunter. Due to your chivalrous intervention, I am now inconvenienced to either try again or come up with another plan altogether.” She jerked the drawstring of her reticule tight, her purse dropping heavily at her side.

“In that case, I must act soon, while you are still a candidate.”

“A candidate for what?”

“For marriage.”

More free eBooks to enjoy this weekend.

Ethereal (Celestra, #1)

Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1)

(A friend of mine was just telling me how much she loved this series.)

Sixteen-year-old, Skyla Messenger is a dead girl walking.

When her newly remarried mother moves the family to Paragon Island, to a house that is rumored to be haunted, Skyla finds refuge in Logan Oliver, a boy who shares her unique ability to read minds.

Skyla discovers Logan holds the answers to the questions she’s been looking for, but Logan’s reluctance to give her the knowledge she desires leaves her believing Logan has a few secrets of his own.

Skyla’s bloodlines may just be connected to the most powerful angelic beings that roam the earth, and the more she knows, the more danger she seems to be in.

Suddenly an entire faction of earthbound angels wants her dead, at least she still has Logan, or does she?

Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan

Winterblaze (Darkest London, #3)


ORDER A COPY: Winterblaze (Darkest London)

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: February 26, 2013
Paperback: 400 pages

Rating: 5 star


Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections.

Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.


In the third installment of the Darkest London series, Poppy Lane, also known in the supernatural world as “Mother”, finds herself alone. Her husband Winston has left her after 14 years of marriage after his nearly deadly attack by a werewolf. As a Police Inspector, Winston faces liars every day. He can’t stand liars and he is devastated that his Poppy has been the biggest liar of all. She has hidden the supernatural world from Winston, right under his nose—hidden her true self from him, and it is more than he can bear.

When a deadly demon is freed from his hellish prison, sent there by Poppy herself, he has sworn to pay back Poppy by destroying “her heart.” So whether Winston wants her or not, Poppy will be there to protect Winston from the evil which his coming for him.

But unbeknown to all, Winston is hiding the worst secret of all. A lie so great it could prove their whole lives as a lie.

Now they will have to play the demon’s game in order to fight for their very lives.

It is undeniable that passion still flare between Winston and Poppy, but can they both look past the lies and betrayals and rebuild the lives they once had full of undying love and mutual respect.

THOUGHTS:

When I first read Firelight (which I loved), I wasn’t at all interested in Poppy and Winston. After Moonglow (which I didn’t like as much), they suddenly had my full attention. I was a lot more interested in Poppy and Winston and wanted to see if they could repair their shattered marriage.

Since this story mostly involved the fact that Winston and Poppy were separated and had an emotional wedge between them, I liked how we kept jumping between the present and the past so we could see how Winston and Poppy met, how they overcame their differences in station so that they could get married, and how much they wanted to be with each other before things went so wrong.

I was disappointed, as I usually am, that our hero and heroine both wanted to get past this chasm in their relationship, that they both missed each other and that they both loved and desired the other, BUT when it came to putting themselves out there and possibly to be hurt again, neither one of these brave, strong people were willing to be the one to take that step. My little brain keeps going, “You’re facing evil that wants to hurt you. You might die shortly, but you can’t tell the person you love the most in the world that you love them and miss them in what could be the last hours before you might die? Really? What are you waiting for the regretting part as you lay dying?” Stupid characters.

I also liked the fact that our secondary characters weren’t content to stay in the background as secondary characters are supposed to do, part of that is the set up for the next story. I am excited to say that there will be more stories now that we have finished with the tales of the Ellis sisters.

I am looking forward to seeing where we go next.

Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

“You do not think it romantic that her love for Hamlet was so great that she fell into unending despair when he left?” he asked.

Sharp red brows snapped together, and he wanted to kiss the little furrow between them. His hand curled into a fist as she, oblivious to his lust, proceeded to lecture him. “Romantic? Bah. Such a man’s idea of how a woman ought to love. By all means, let us poor, emotionally weak females fall into utter helplessness for the want of a man. Especially a man who couldn’t be bothered to treat her with any sort of—“

He kissed her. Because he couldn’t stop himself and didn’t have to. Her lips were soft, her tongue tart and slick and he slid an arm about her slim waist and suckled her lower lip before breaking away. “You’ll soon have me in despair,” he whispered, smiling against her mouth, “if you don’t believe in all-consuming love.”

Her arm snaked around his neck, her cool fingers slipping into his hair to toy with it. Had he the ability to purr, he would.

“That isn’t love,” she said.

“No?”

“No.”

He nuzzled closer, brushing his mouth against hers. “Kiss me again.”

“We are in public.” But she sipped at his upper lip as though she liked the taste of it.

Winston chuckled and reluctantly stepped back a pace. His gaze landed again on the storefront window beside them, and he looked back at a wonderfully flushed and mussed Poppy. “Do you realize you take us past this empty shop with every walk we take?”

Her cheeks darkened more. “Do I?” She moved to go, but he blocked her way with his shoulder.

“Yes.” He nudged her chin with his knuckle. “And you won’t get me to believe it’s by chance, either. Confess, Boadicea. Why this shop?”

Standing straight and smoothing her hair back into place, she attempted to look past him, her sweet lips pressed into an annoyed line. But then a noise of defeat sounded in her throat, and she glanced at the shop before meeting his eyes. “I want to let it.”

When his brows rose in surprise, she pushed on. “It is a book shop. Or was.” Her nose wrinkled as she made herself speak. “I would like to see it reopened. I—I have always wanted…It is a silly dream, I know.”

Her words cut into him. He hadn’t expected her to have dreams. Why? Why hadn’t he thought of her wants? It shamed him that he’d been so oblivious. Putting a staying hand around her waist when she squirmed to get away, he looked over her shoulder and studied the shop. “Have you any experience in running a book shop?”

Poppy’s expression closed. Tension tightened the muscles along her back. But she did not drop her gaze from his. “No.”

He looked into her dark eyes, his hand firm upon her. “Then you shall learn.”

She flinched. “What?”

He smiled then, tucking a stray lock of fire-bright hair behind her ear. “We have need of funds and a place to live. There is a flat attached to the shop, I see. You want this shop. So you will have it.”

Her breath left in a gust. “Win..How can you…” She drew herself up. “What if I fail?”

Slowly he shook his head. “My love, I have no doubt that if running a bookstore is what you want to do, then you will do it. And do it well. You are too strong-willed to fail at anything.”

She gaped at him, and he cupped her cheek. “I believe in you, Pop. I always will.”

Die For Me by Cynthia Eden

Die for Me: A Novel of the Valentine Killer


ORDER A COPY: Die for Me: A Novel of the Valentine Killer

Publisher: Montlake
Publishing Date: February 12, 2013
Paperback: 358 pages

Rating: 5 pages


She thought her fiancé was the perfect man—until he turned out to be the perfect killer…

Katherine Cole is running for her life, desperate to escape the Valentine Killer—so-called because he stabs his victims through the heart and leaves them holding a telltale single red rose. Still he tracks her to New Orleans and begins carving a bloody path to her door. But this time, Katherine refuses to run any farther. This time, she’ll do anything to stop the madman she once loved, even trust the sexy cop promising to keep her safe…

Detective Dane Black never lets his emotions interfere with his job, even as the Valentine Killer surfaces in New Orleans to stalk his prey. But when Dane agrees to protect the killer’s ex-fiancée, Katherine Cole, he can’t ignore the passion kindling between them. After a single unforgettable night binds them body and soul, Dane knows he won’t rest until Katherine is safe in his arms—and the Valentine Killer is dead.

Katelynn thought she had the perfect life, a great job and a wonderful fiancé who loved her dearly. Then her life in Boston ended after her perfect man turned out to be a serial killer. She is still tormented by the knowledge that she never knew there was a monster that lived inside the man she loved. After walking in on the man now called The Valentine Killer, she was brought in and questioned by the Boston Police and she told them everything she knew, or thought she knew, about the man she called Michael. But they were never able to find him.

Three years later, she is living in New Orleans, with a new look and a new name. She now answers to the name of Katherine Cole. She thinks she is finally regaining control of her life when her nightmare starts again. A woman has been murdered, and she is found clutching one red rose.

Although it jeopardizes her new life, Katherine goes to the New Orleans Police Dept. to help them catch Valentine. When she approaches Det. Dane Black, he is concerned that Katherine is involved with the murders. How else could she know so much about the murder scenes? As he finds out more about Katherine and her life in Boston, he is convinced that Valentine is focusing on women who look like Katherine and this time, she might just become one of his victims if Dane isn’t quick enough.

Katherine will do whatever is necessary to help keep more women from becoming victims of this killer. While Katherine has never forgotten Valentine, Valentine has never forgotten the only woman he ever loved, and he is watching and waiting for an opportunity to be with his Kat again.

THOUGHTS:

This was a nail biting thriller. It is not often that I get to read a thriller that just keeps me guessing. I think I had everyone guilty at one point or other during the story.

There was also an interesting thought throughout this story in that our killer was in love with and absolutely obsessed with our heroine, and Det. Black falls for Katherine and becomes obsessed with her. So what is the difference between the killer and the cop if they are both so obsessed with Katherine. A very interesting point.

On the romance scale, I’d only give it a 3 1/2 . I really wasn’t feeling it. Dane’s obsessive interest seemed to come too quickly and although they have sex, it is more of a quick, lust filled coming together with little foreplay. I usually enjoy the dance that Cynthia’s hero and heroine do before they come together, especially that first time, so I would say the focus on this story is more the thriller than the romance.

This story takes off from page 1 and never slows down. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy.


Favorite Scene:

It wouldn’t have been fair to lead the guy on, not when she couldn’t make herself feel anything for him.

But then, she hadn’t felt very much in the past few years. Half the time, it seemed as if she were wrapped in some kind of fog, moving slowly through life.

You felt something when you were with the detective. The whisper slid through her mind. Katherine swallowed and turned toward the stairs. Right then, she didn’t want to think too much about the dark and dangerous detective. Instead, she wanted—

She came to an abrupt stop.

There were roses on the stairs.

The breath froze in Katherine’s chest.

Once upon a time, roses had been her favorite flowers. Then she’d learned just what Michael had been doing with the roses. Buying a dozen roses…then leaving one with his victim and bring the remaining eleven to her.

He brought them to me after each kill.

Her cheeks were wet now. Her hands were shaking.

And there were fucking roses on her stairs. In my house. “No,” Katherine whispered. This could not be happening.

But there was something beside the roses. A small box. It almost looked like a candy box from one of those fancy chocolate shops that she’d seen in the French Quarter a few times. Slender, long…

She was walking toward the box. She should be getting the hell out of there, but it was as if she were being pulled forward, forced toward that box.

I’ll look inside. It will just be chocolate. Trent could have left the candy and the flowers when I wasn’t looking. He dropped them off when he was here earlier and I was getting my purse.

It didn’t have to be from Valentine.

But he always sent me flowers after each death. She just hadn’t realized that fact until after it was too late. He’d sent her eleven roses, and his victim—each time his victim had the twelfth rose.

Her breath sawed out of her lungs as her gaze locked on those roses. Helplessly she began to count them.

One, two, three…

The scent of the roses was sickly sweet.

Four, five, six…

There were thorns on the roses. Thorns that would draw blood.

Seven, eight, nine…

Her heart beat so hard that it hurt her chest.

Ten. Eleven. Dear God, only eleven.

The twelfth rose was missing.

She picked up the box. Nearly dropped it because she was so scared and nervous. Then her shaking fingers lifted the lid off the box. Rose petals fell onto the steps. Then she screamed, a long, desperate sound, but one that also burned with rage because the sick bastard was back. He was playing games with her—with his victims—all over again.

There was no chocolate in the box.

She dropped it. Jumped back.

Katherine whirled and ran for the door. Get away, get away, get away.

Because the nightmare of her past had found her once more.

Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb

Calculated In Death (In Death, #36)


Sorry for the delay.  Rafflecopter gave me the finger this morning and told me to come back later.  Our winner of the ARC copy is Joanne B.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered!

 


ORDER A COPY: Calculated in Death

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: February 26, 2013
Paperback: 416 pages

Rating: 4 stars


On Manhattan’s Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better.

A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn’t seem the type to be on anyone’s hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta’s murder was the work of a killer who’s trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.

But when someone steals the files out of Marta’s office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke’s world of big business to figure out who’s cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer’s violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait.


As we near the end of 2060, the city is gearing up for the holidays and all the talk is about the upcoming premiere of The Icove Agenda. But not everyone is focused on the holidays, some are focused on murder.

Lt. Eve Dallas and her partner, Det. Peabody are called to the scene of what is supposed to look like a mugging gone wrong. Marta Dickenson is found at the bottom of a stairway with a broken neck, but her body was dragged off into a corner and her injuries aren’t consistent with a fall. What is Marta, an unassuming wife and mother, doing strolling around a neighborhood, no where near her home or her office? And why would a mugger go through the trouble to stealing her coat, but leaving her really expensive boots? This set up is so sloppy, it wouldn’t fool a rookie. Marta wasn’t mugged—Marta was the victim of cold-blooded murder.

It doesn’t take long for Dallas to track Marta back to her job as a financial auditor or to learn that Marta has just been reassigned several new files that morning. What could Marta have learned so quickly that would lead to murder? Mug her, steal her briefcase and files in case she was taking work home, but murdering her is overkill and brings up too many questions.

When Dallas and Peabody start to ask too many questions and makes someone very nervous, but what kind of idiot would make an attempt on not just one cop, but two? Killing a cop wouldn’t stop an investigation. It would just focus all attention on their current case.

Dallas has used her skills and her ability to get into the mind of a killer to solve many cases over her decade as a cop, but how do you outthink a murderer who isn’t acting logically?

THOUGHTS:

I’m a huge fan of Eve Dallas and the whole gang. It is always enjoyable to me to pick up one of these stories both for the thriller aspect as well as the personal aspect of the story. Although this was not the most exciting story on either front, it was still an enjoyable read.

What I like about the series is that something that happens in one story might be slightly discussed in one book but it will become very important several stories later. For example, when Mira tells Dallas a story about her childhood in one book, and Dallas doesn’t call her on the discrepancy in her story until the next book, or if a gift Dallas gets from Roarke, it is just a gift in one story, but becomes an important and necessary tool in the next. I guess when you know you will continue to write stories, you have the time to subtly set up scenarios for the future.

Although this was not the most exciting case they have ever worked on, it was still enjoyable to “work” with Dallas and the gang again.

Received an ARC from the publisher. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

Considering, enjoying, Roarke rocked back on his heels as he studied the image. “We have samplings, the fingerprint, and the exterior views here. It’s certainly doable.”

“How long?” Eve demanded.

“Oh, with some luck and another two skilled men, maybe a week. With more luck, three days.”

“Crap. Does it look like I have a week?” She paced away, then back. “I’ve got the resources of the entire EDD, I’ve got the ridiculous resources of the biggest, slickest, most conniving e-geek on or off planet—“

“Thanks, darling.”

“And you need a freaking week to outgeek some skinny hacker who likes to call himself the Mole?”

Roarke only smiled at her. “That’s about right, yes.”

“Dallas, the freaking Enterprise,” McNab reminded her. “You have to understand the complexities, the filter, the—“

“No, I don’t.” She pointed to McNab. “You do.” She pointed again, more vehemently when he started to speak again.

“I got it!”

Eve sung around toward Peabody. “What?”

Peabody waved her PPC triumphantly. “It’s the Kirk thing, The Enterprise thing. It reminded me I’d hit this name that made me snicker when I was running the van—the Cargo. Here is it is. Tony Stark.”

“Oh, baby.” McNab blew her a double-handed kiss. “Good call.”

“It’s gotta be, right?” Peabody said to McNab. “It’s his style.”

“Who the hell is Tony Stark?” Eve demanded.

“Iron Man,” Roarke told her. “Superhero, genius, innovative engineer, and billionaire playboy.”

“Iron man? You’re talking about a comic book guy?”

“Graphic novel,” Roarke and McNab said together.

“What do you bet it’s him, Dallas?” Peabody asked. “Heroes from classic novels and vids. It fits. They used his van.”

“Possibly. Okay, from the looks of you three, probably. We’ll push on it once we have him, but first we have to get him. Now let me think.”

So she paced, and she plotted. There was no way in hell she’d get this close and surrender to some ferret-faced electronic asshole who used aliases based on fictional characters from science fiction and comic books.

A geek, she considered. And one who like to see himself as the hero, the smart one. Billionaire playboy? The one who got the women.

“Your high-tech can’t beat his high-tech? We go low. We go goddamn classic. Peabody, ditch the jacket.”

“My jacket?”

“Ditch it.”

“Okay.”

When Peabody took it off, Eve fisted her hands on her hips, took a hard study. “Unbutton the shirt.”

Peabody’s eyes popped, shocked brown balloons. “What!”

“Two—no three buttons down. Jesus, Peabody,” Eve strode over to do it herself. “We’ve all seen tits before.” She arched her eyebrows at the fancy lace number Peabody wore under the shirt, which nearly matched the color that currently heated her cheeks. “We could get blown up or something, and this is what you want people to see an NYPSD detective wearing under her clothes?”

“I wasn’t planning on getting blown up today. Or undressed by my partner.” She lifted a hand to draw the shirt back together. Eve slapped it away.

“Shove them up,” Eve ordered.

“What?”

“Shove them up there.”

“I’ll do it.”

“Stand down, McNab,” Eve said mildly. “You know what I mean. Pump them up some.”

When Eve started to do it for her, Peabody jumped back. “I can do it myself, thanks.” Muttering, she turned her back. Her shoulders wiggled. And flushing furiously, she turned around again.

“Mmmm. She-Body.”

Ignoring McNab’s comment, Eve circled her partner. “It’s going to work.”

“Classic,” Roarke said.

“What’s going to work? What’s classic? I want my jacket.”

“Forget it. You’re going to walk right up to the Mole’s front door, and he’s going to answer.”

“I am? He is?”

“Damsel in distress, right?” Eve said to Roarke.

“A very alluring damsel. Clever, Lieutenant.”

“Oh, okay. I get it. I look like I’m in trouble—all alone, unarmed. Harmless. Girl. He opens up to find out what’s what. You should do it,” Peabody told Eve.

“You’re the one with the tits. Men are stupid for tits.”

“Harsh,” Roarke observed. “But largely true.”

“Plus, you’re the type, obviously, who appeals to skinny geeks.”

“Oh yeah,” McNab confirmed. “Completely.”

Vampires Gone Wild by K. Sparks, P. Palmer, A. Arista & K. Falconer

Vampires Gone Wild (Love at Stake, #13.5)


ORDER A COPY: Vampires Gone Wild (Supernatural Underground)

Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publishing Date: November 12, 2012
Paperback: 215 pages

Rating: Overall – 4 stars


V is for VampWoman by Kerrelyn Sparks

Pamela decides to shed her prim and proper ways for spandex and a mask to help fight the Malcontents. Now if only she weren’t so distracted by the sexy vampire fighting by her side . . .

A Forever Love by Pamela Palmer

Trapped in Vamp City, Lukas has been unable to return to the beauty who stole his heart. But now that she’s stumbled into his world, it will take every ounce of cunning he possesses to keep her alive.

First Dates Are Hell by Amanda Arista

Valiance’s first date in a hundred years is going great . . . until they’re attacked in the parking lot and quiet, unassuming Esme turns out to be way more than she appears.

Blood and Water by Kim Falconer

Beneath the waves of San Francisco Bay lives a vampire race that wants nothing to do with the “landers” except to feed on them. But when Stellan sets eyes on Angelina, everything changes.


V is for Vampwoman by Kerrelyn Sparks

For centuries, Lady Pamela has always chosen the safe path. After losing her vampire husband, she chose the quiet life of a vampire harem, and whenever danger came to call, Lady Pamela always knew the most comfortable place to hide out until the trouble was over. Now Pam has had enough of her cowardly lifestyle. She has decided to become “Vampwoman” and fight the malcontents along with her vampire brethren. When she shows up uninvited to help catch malcontents selling human slaves, the guys feel she will be more of a hindrance than help. Mikhail has been watching Lady Pamela for decades now and believes she is like a butterfly: absolutely beautiful but delicate and flighty. He doesn’t want anyone losing their head trying to protect the little princess from danger. Although she has no formal training, she is determined not to flee to safety this time. She’ll do anything to fight side by side with this Viking warrior.

THOUGHTS:
Being a big Kerrelyn Sparks’s fan this story is what drew me to this book, and it was easy to get into and enjoy this story. We’ve seen more of Pamela then we have of Mikhail, but they are both known characters. Sadly, I would have like to have seen more of them. We were just getting into the story and it was over. :(

A Forever Love by Pamela Palmer

Elizabeth Bryant thought she found a love to last a lifetime until two years ago when Lukas Olsson left her one night and just never came back. She thought they were so happy together and couldn’t convince herself that it was only one sided. So sometimes she pretends to herself that Lukas is a secret agent who had to leave on a mission. Why else would he just disappear without a word? Lukas is not the only one disappearing. Almost 20 people in the last few weeks have vanished into thin air. Lizzy wants to know what happened to them. At least she did until she too walked through the thinning barrier between Washington, D.C. and Washington, V.C. Vamp City might be set up like the Washington she knows, but with the abandoned buildings, it looks more like an abandoned Old West town. Certainly this scary world is the last place she would think to find Lukas–her Lukas–running around. As the magic that created Vamp City started to falter two years ago, some vampires like Lukas have became trapped there, no longer able to cross freely between the worlds. As food (human blood) in the Vamp City has grown scarce in the last two years, Lizzy is in mortal danger. Now Lukas is trying to find a way to get Elizabeth back to her world before the darker vampires who feed on pain as well as blood find his beautiful Lizzy.

THOUGHTS:
I have read other Pamela Palmer stories, but I am not familiar with this series. Regardless, I had no problem following with the story line and I enjoyed the characters. I like that we find that although Lukas has been trapped away from Lizzy, he loved her enough to have someone who could still cross the worlds looking out for her.

First Dates are From Hell by Amanda Arista

Valiance is a vampire and a bit of loner. After his Clave abandoned him, Valiance has been “adopted” by the local shifter Prima. Although Val is brave and works hard, Violet can’t seem to convince Valiance to get a life. In First Dates are from Hell, Valiance wants to take Violet’s advice and after decades alone, he decides to ask the pretty sales clerk he just met last week out for coffee. Esme is a bit of a loner too. It seems like no one ever notices her or remembers her so she is thrilled when the handsome, quiet man she helped last week comes back to the store asking for her. Everything was going so well until they were attacked in the parking lot by members of Valiance’s former Clave brothers. Val told her to run but she didn’t want to leave him. That is until they pulled out swords—SWORDS! Esme has no idea what is happening but she knows she can’t abandon this sweet, gentle man to vicious killers wielding age old weaponry. As far as first dates go, this one is topping her list as the worst, but if she doesn’t help Val they won’t get a chance at a second.

THOUGHTS:
This story sucked. You know what sucked about it – that it was short story!!!! I want a whole book about Valiance!! I read a lot of books, especially now, so I am immediately drawn to stories that bring something different. Here is a vampire who isn’t cocky and confident, who doesn’t always get the girl and he’s lonely. He meets a pretty girl and with some persuasion he decides to ask her out for coffee. She is just as quiet and shy as he is. There was so much potential here and it was wasted in short story. Big boo to that! A kick-ass vampire who is quiet and shy. We have the action and the sweet romance but it was just too brief. I would have loved to have read more on Valiance and Esme.

Blood and Water by Kim Falconer

In Blood and Water, Mar are mermen underwater and vampires on land. Humans are about to build a bridge in the Golden Gate Bay. A bridge that would destroy the Mar’s underwater world in the Bay. Stellan is on a mission to find out more about this Bridge before his father lets his fears destroy the humans. Fate lends a hand when he saves the beautiful Angelina from drowning. Angelina’s father is the main architect on the bridge project. When Stellan is distracted from his mission by tours of the City with the lovely Angelina, the punishment on San Francisco might just be of epic proportions.

THOUGHTS:
This story is on the only one not taking place in present day and we learn the purpose of that at the end of the story. Although the character and the story was good, this one didn’t grip me like the other stories did.


Favorite Scene:

From First Date are From Hell…

As she walked him back to the register, she felt it, that pressure in the back of her head. She wondered if all girls got this when they were being followed, like she could feel him looking at her, watching her messy ponytail bob back and forth.

And he just kept looking at her, and she just kept smiling like an idiot as she rang up the bed set. “Total is seventy-three ninety six.”

“That is a good sale.” He handed her the credit card again, and again, his hand trembled. This time she paid attention to the name, Val Lance. Very knightly.

She ran the card and handed it back to him. Their fingers brushed for a second, and his fingers were cold, like touching an ice cube. She snapped her hand back.

“Sorry about that,” he apologized as he put his card back in his wallet and his wallet in his coat pocket, not in the back pocket like most boys these days. “I really should start wearing gloves.”

“We have gloves in men’s wear.” She blushed when she realized that she hadn’t talked so much in ages. She was like a babbling brook under his intense gaze.

Esme pulled her hair behind her ear and slipped his purchases into the handled paper bag.

“I came to get your number.” The statement spilled out of his mouth like a gangly kid in a foot race.

Her jaw dropped as her brain contemplated the possible answers to “Why?”

His blond brow furrowed. “To ask you out for coffee?”

Excited good bumps trickled down her arm. “Why do you need my number to do that? Just do it now.”

He laughed that one short laugh and let out a long breath. “Would you do me the honor or having coffee with me?”

She looked up at him and into those tired blue eyes. They were old. Older than her abuelita’s, but she felt seen. For the first time in a long time, she felt like she was a normal girl. That should be something, right? Even if it was just a cup of coffee before he realized how completely boring she was, and he forgot her like everyone else did. “Yeah. Yes.”

He smiled, and something glowed within him. It was a wide smile that completely changed the dynamic of his features. It lit up his eyes and chased away the storm clouds.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to share something I found this week. It was featured on the Heroes & Heartbreakers website. At first I thought it was a new television show, but this is a series of YouTube videos. All I can say is kudos to the creative people behind The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. They have modernized the wonderful story of Pride and Prejudice in such a wonderful and creative way. If you at a fan at all of P&P, you just have to check it out!

This is a series of 3 to 5 minute videos which are supposed to be Lizzie Bennet’s graduate studies project. In the videos she tells the story of what is going on in her life. Now having the whole world parade through her room at convenient times so the viewers get to see everything that is happening would be awkward and very convenient. In the videos Lizzie uses the concept of Costume Theater where she dons, for example, a large hat and a shawl and she becomes her mother and she will sometimes have scripts written out and play acts with her best friend, Charlotte Lu. Maybe, she’ll talk about her sister Jane meeting the new neighbor, med student, Bing Lee and how well they hit it off. Or she’ll rant about Bing’s annoying friend, William Darcy, the CEO of Pemberley Digital, who looks at her “like she’s a car accident and he just can’t look away.”

Lizzie posts two videos each week, and some additional postings from Lydia, and some recent posting from Pemberley Digital. My only complaint about this series at this point is that I have caught up to the current Episode 86 which posted yesterday and now I have to wait like everyone else for more postings to see how they are going to finish up the story. In correlation to P&P, we are currently up to the point where the Bennets are dealing with Lydia’s issue with George Wickham. In this modernized version, it is not a runaway marriage that needs to be dealt with but George Wickham is about to post a sex video that he took of himself and Lydia. Of course, Darcy, unknown to Lizzie, is trying to get the website taken down.

I highly, highly, highly recommend that you check this out by either going to their website or directly to YouTube and seaching for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Don’t be daunted by the fact that there are 86 episodes since each runs for such a short amount of time. Go check it out this weekend and come back — we’ll talk.

Starting the day w/ @wmdarcy and @TheLizzieBennet http://twitter.yfrog.com/ob7mpurj

Rush by Maya Banks

Rush (Breathless, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Rush (THE BREATHLESS TRILOGY)

Publisher: Berkley Sensations
Publishing Date: February 5, 2013
Paperback: 416 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.


Gabe Hamilton, Jace Crestwell and Ash McIntyre have been friends forever and have built their corporate empire together. They have supported each other through Ash’s horrible family life, the death of Jace’s parents, and Gabe’s very scandalous and very public divorce. But Gabe is about to make a choice which could destroy the foundation of that friendship.

Gabe has lusted after Jace’s little sister for years now, but he was always quite aware of the age difference between them. Now Mia is 24 and quite the grown woman, and Gabe is willing to risk his friendship with Jace to finally have her in his bed.

Gabe is very demanding in his desires in the bedroom. After Gabe’s wife publically announced Gabe’s dominance and control over her to the world, Gabe now requires his lovers to sign an agreement. When they walk into his bedroom, they do it with eyes wide open and a very thorough understanding that they will be turning over control to Gabe completely.

When Gabe approaches Mia, his offer is two-fold, she will come to the office and become his assistant, giving her a chance to use her degree, but she must also agree to sign his contract and become his sexual partner. She must agree to be at his beck and call and do whatever he instructs and be open to try all his sexual preferences.

Gabe has not been the only one lusting after this affair. Mia has had her own sexual fantasies starring Gabe for years now. Can she agree to all Gabe’s terms in order to have a chance to see if the man lives up to the fantasy? Can she risk the relationship between her brother and Gabe if Jace ever found out about them?

THOUGHTS:

I usually don’t grab books out of the erotica section unless they have a very interest storyline. I have been avoiding the bondage type stories which are all the rage. Sweetheart, shifters don’t need to tie you up. If they say stay, you stay. ;)

I love Maya Bank’s KGI series and she writes very passionate characters so I thought if I was going to try this type of book, she was definitely the author I would go with. When I am reviewing a book I try not to read other reviews since I want to give my own impartial thoughts about the story, but considering my wariness about the subject, I did peek at a few reviews.

The one complaint I noted was the lack of “romance” and true connection between the characters. Keep in mind if you are looking for a sweet romance, there are hundreds of books out there under the genre of romance. This is found under erotica. The storyline is going to be a more sexual story so you need to keep that in mind. There is a real emotional detachment in Gabe. It is all about his fantasies and desires and using the women who sign his contract to fulfill his lust.

Regardless of the sexual situations, some of which I was a little put off by—I’m not much for the tying up or the hitting/spanking and Gabe was pretty rough with Mia in that “I am so worked up over you” way—I finished the story because I was interested in seeing how it all worked out with Jace finding out, because you knew he would, and Gabe does eventually come to have real feelings for Mia and that does come through.

I have a copy of Book #2, Fever, which is Jace’s story and I look forward to learning more about Jace and his issues (it appears his likes to share his women with Ash).

As I expected from Maya Banks, there is definitely more to the storyline than just bondage and spankings but keep in mind if you are looking for romance that is just hearts and flowers, this is probably not for you.

I will still be very selective with my erotica selections, but Maya Banks does know how to write her characters with a lot of depth.

Received ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

Gabe watched as Mia’s gaze swept the room, her brow furrowed in concentration as if she searched for someone. A server stopped and offered her wine, and she took one of the elegant, long-stemmed glasses but she didn’t put it to her mouth.

She was outfitted in a killer dress that hugged her in all the right places complete with fuck-me shoes and an upswept hairstyle that practically pleaded for a man’s hand to tug it down. Dark tendrils floated softly down her neck, drawing attention to the slender column that begged a man’s lips. He was damn tempted to stride across the room and wrap his coat around her so that no one else would see what he considered his. Jesus, and if that didn’t make this even more insane. She wasn’t his anything. But that too was going to change.

The off-the-shoulder cocktail dress drew attention to her breasts, and he damn sure didn’t want anyone else looking. And men were looking. Already she’d drawn the attention of others. They stared—like he did—their gazes predatory.

She wore a delicate chain with a diamond solitaire around her neck, and diamond studs adorned both ears. Both had been a gift from him a year earlier. For Christmas. It gave him satisfaction to see her wearing the things he’d bought for her tonight. For him, it was one more step in the inevitable direction of her being his.

She didn’t know it yet, but he’d waited long enough. He’d endured enough time of feeling like the worst sort of criminal for lusting after his best friend’s baby sister. When she’d turned twenty, it had marked a huge difference in the way he viewed her, but he’d been thirty-four and he knew she was still far too young for what he expected from her. And so he’d waited.

She was an obsession, and it made him uncomfortable to admit, but she was drug in his veins he had no desire to cure himself of. Now that she was twenty-four, the age difference didn’t seem so insurmountable. Or so he told himself. Jace would still go ballistic—after all, Mia would always be his baby sister—but Gabe was willing to take the risk to finally taste forbidden fruit.

Oh yes, he had plans for Mia. He had but to put them into action.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 756 other followers