Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookdarklover
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Wrath
Heroine: Elizabeth Randall
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 06, 2005
Started On: July 25, 2016
Finished On: July 28, 2016

Sampling J. R. Ward’s work through her latest series The Bourbon Kings had me intrigued enough to try out one of her books in the infamous Black Dagger Brotherhood series. If you are an avid romance reader, you would have come across recommendations of this series sometime or the other, be it even as the hottest book boyfriends that readers have identified with. Having read Dark Lover, the first book in the series, I can pretty much see and agree on why there are so many diehard fans out there when it comes to J. R. Ward and what she can deliver.

Dark Lover tells the story of Wrath, the only purebred vampire remaining in the world, the one destined to be the King of their race, someone who avidly avoids the said position with a vengeance. The Black Dagger Brotherhood are an elite force of vampires within their race, their purpose being to fight the Lessers who basically are soulless humans put to the task by their leader known as Omega.

When Wrath’s Brother and friend known as Darius approaches him about his daughter, a half-bred vampire who would soon be going through the difficult phase of turning into one, Wrath ignores the plea for help because he believes that he is not the best sort of person to handle what’s coming. However, Wrath’s best laid intentions of keeping his distance is shot to smithereens when Darius finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and pays for it with his very life.

Elizabeth Randall (Beth) has no idea the mess her life is going to become when Wrath turns up on her doorstep. Having never known of the fact that she is half-vampire, Beth finds the whole concept a laughable notion at best. But Wrath’s mere presence alone makes her throw all her sensibilities out the nearest window by turning her into a being of senseless want, where it becomes hurtful if she cannot be with him. Wrath too finds himself in a conundrum when he starts lusting after the daughter of his deceased friend and there remains no other option but to have her, which definitely does not earn him any brownie points for good behavior.

Putting together a colorful cast of characters with their own unique facets, J. R. Ward creates a spellbinding novel which pretty much has it all. Her take on vampires and the concept she brings to the table is unique when compared to a whole host of novels that takes on delivery of vampire romances. What makes her take stand out is the fact that there is a reason and rhyme to the way she tells the tale of the lives of these vampires that coexist with humans and strive to do away with the lessers, who in turn gets a new leader much more cunning in his operations of weeding out the Brotherhood by hunting the local neighborhood vampires.

The politics that governs the lives of these lessers are as much interesting as those of the lives of the Brotherhood,  because the villains are not your usual cardboard variety of characters that have just one single dimension to them – that is to make your spine crawl. Rather, they have histories of their own, lives that they had led up to the point until they had become lessers, lives that were more often than not extremely difficult, perhaps even abusive, which alienated them enough to become ripe pickings for a mission that requires a soulless bunch.

Though the whole instant lust thing between Wrath and Beth hit me a bit strange at first, the inevitable result of it all seemed to jive with the larger than life vampires that makes up the Black Dagger Brotherhood. They are extremely well trained, lead lives that pretty much based on hunting the hunters, and of course have the pick of beautiful women as they see fit. Thus it stands to reason that such highly intelligent and brawn a sub-species within the race would definitely fall in love just the same. As hard and fast and for life. The possessive hero thing is done in a way that makes it quite appealing, all because you know that they don’t do it out of a need to control the heroine, but rather they are helpless in their need for their women.

Definitely looking forward to seeing where the lives of the Brothers take them and what surprises that J. R. Ward has in store for us readers.

Recommended for fans of urban fantasy and paranormal romances that delivers more than a happily ever after.

Final Verdict: Dark Lover offers a gripping read that delivers on all fronts!

Favorite Quotes

“Darius, if he does it at all, he’ll do it because he owes you. Not because he wants to.”
“I’ll take him any way I can get him.”
“But what are you giving her? He’s about as nurturing as a sawed-off, and that first time can be rough, even if you’ve been prepared. Which she hasn’t.”
“I’m going to talk to her.”
“And how’s that going to go? You’re just going to walk up to her and say, ‘Hey, I know you’ve never seen me before, but I’m your dad. Oh, and guess what? You’ve won the evolutionary lottery: You’re a vampire. Let’s go to Disneyland!’ ”

Beth’s neck jacked back up as she met the man’s steady, feral gaze. She couldn’t see the color of his eyes through the glasses, but his stare burned.
And then the extraordinary happened. As he stopped in front of her, she felt a blast of pure, unadulterated lust. For the first time in her life her body got wickedly hot. Hot and wet.
Her core bloomed for him.
It was chemistry, she thought numbly. Pure, raw, animal chemistry.
Whatever he had, she wanted.

She wrapped her legs around his hips, and he hissed as her heat burned his erection.
He used what was left of his strength to pull back and look down into her face.
“Don’t stop,” she breathed. “I want to feel you inside me.”
Wrath dropped his head into the fragrant hollow of her neck. And slowly drew his hips back. The tip of his erection slid into place beautifully, and he sheathed himself in her body with one powerful stroke.
He let out a bellow of ecstasy.
Heaven. Now he knew what heaven was like.

His lips brushed the side of her neck. And then his tongue licked her skin lightly. “Now, we can be civilized and wait until we get home. Or we can get down to it right here. Either way, I’m dying to come inside of you again, and you’re not going to say no.”
Beth gripped his shoulders through his leather jacket. She was supposed to push him away, but she didn’t. She brought him closer, arching her breasts to his chest.
A sound of male desperation broke free of him, halfway between a groan of satisfaction and a dark plea.

He had her on the bed and under him in a flash of movement, and he pushed up her skirt and tore off her panties with vicious impatience. He didn’t treat her blouse or bra any better. There would be time to savor later. Now was all about raw sex.
While he worked her breasts with his mouth, her hands were rough as she pulled his shirt from his chest. He left her only long enough to undo his pants and spring his erection. Then he linked his forearm behind one of her knees, stretched her leg up, and plunged himself into her body.
He heard her gasp at his powerful entry, and her slick heat grabbed onto him, pulsating as she came. He froze in place, absorbing the sensation of her release, feeling her core stroke him.

A low sound shot through the room, growing louder and louder, until he realized the growl was coming from him. As a fevered heat broke out all over his skin, his nose registered that dark fragrance of possession.
He was powerless to stop himself.
His lips peeled off his teeth as his muscles churned and his hips thrashed against her. Drenched in sweat, head spinning, mindless, breathless, he took everything she was offering him. Took it and demanded more, becoming an animal as she became one, too, until they were nothing but wildness.
He came violently, filling her up, pumping into her, his orgasm going on and on and on, until he realized she was climaxing right along with him, the two of them holding on to each other for dear life against shattering waves of passion.
It was the most perfect union he’d ever known.

Wrath breathed in deeply. “You have a perfume to your skin that makes me hard. Instantly. All I have to do is smell you.”
She arched in his arms, rubbing herself against his thighs, thrusting her breasts up. Her head fell back, and she let out a little moan.
“God, I love that sound,” he said, moving his hand up to the base of her throat. “Make it for me again, Beth.”
He sucked her neck. She obliged.
“That’s it,” he groaned. “Sweet heaven, that is so it.”

She leaned into his wrists forcefully, holding him still. “Relax. Let me be in control.”
Wrath could only stare up in disbelief and breathless anticipation as she pressed her lips to his.
“I want to do you,” she whispered.
In a silky rush, her tongue entered his mouth. Penetrated him. Slid in and out as if she were fucking him.
His whole body went rigid.
With each one of her thrusts, she got farther inside of him, into his skin and his brain. Into his heart. She was possessing him, taking him. Leaving her mark on him.

“Take me,” he moaned. “God, please.”
She slid him inside of her, and his whole body felt the sensation. Tight, wet, hot, she enveloped him. She began to move in a slow, pumping rhythm, and he didn’t last long. When he came, he felt like he’d been ripped in two, the bursts of energy creating a shock wave that went through the room, shaking the furniture, blowing out the candle.
On the slow float back to earth, he realized it was the first time anyone had ever taken such care to pleasure him.
He wanted to weep that she would still have him at all.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo | BAM | iTunes

Rating from the sunny side of life: ★★★★¼ 

Caliber SEAL: AWESOME READ!

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August 18th, 2016 by maldivianbookreviewer | No Comments »

ARC Review: In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White

Format: E-bookinthebarrenground
Read with: Adobe Reader for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Cameron “Crash” O’Halloran
Heroine: Tana Larsson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 16, 2016
Started On: August 03, 2016
Finished On: August 06, 2016

In the Barren ground of the soul
nothing can grow.
For here is bitter and cold where
the sun hangs low.
Where a midnight caribou mutilation
awakens a howl of emptiness with ice
where once there was heart.
And it comes with hunger
for blood in its mouth.
For, in the Barrens of the soul
monsters take toll . . .

Loreth Anne White is an author whose name belongs right up there with the masters of the romantic suspense genre. Label her books as romantic suspense or thrillers, either way, you get a story that is worth your time and money in gold, and In the Barren Ground, her latest procedural romantic suspense novel fits right in.

Set in The Barrens, a vast wilderness in northern Canada bordering the Arctic Circle, the terrain is as unforgiving and harsh as they come. When winter rolls in, few are the numbers of people around, and predators come out to stalk whatever food they can scrounge up from the vast areas of hostile territory.

Constable Tana Larsson takes up a post in the remote fly-in community of Twin Rivers because of mistakes of her past, to escape the memories that haunts her more than she would like it to. Though the isolation of the town makes her question her decision at times, Tana knows deep inside that she needs a place as such to lick her wounds in private, to let herself heal and in the process learn to fit in and accept her new role as a mother to be.

When Tana gets called in to cover a wolf mauling that had cost the lives of two students, the evidence at hand suggests something more sinister at work, a force that looks as if it has been in operation for over a span of years, none of it jiving with what the people of Twin Rivers has believed up till now. Though the folks of the town are less than helpful in their hints that Tana is stirring up bad spirits by going deeper into a case that had already cost the sanity of a law enforcement personnel before her, Tana is determined to piece together the clues that points towards a meticulous and horrific serial killer at work.

With the help of a local bush pilot known as Cameron “Crash” O’Halloran, who elicits the sort of reactions from her that are not at all welcome, Tana enters into a dangerous game with a killer who has pretty much perfected the art of killing and getting away with it. The ritualistic nature of the kill, the patterns of it suggesting a sort of violence that is deep rooted in issues of the kind for which help of any sort might never ever be enough.

Before this, I had the misfortune of reading a procedural romantic suspense novel a year or so earlier, which nearly put me to sleep and made me want to bang my head against the wall. The narration of all the procedural aspect made the book intensely dry and made me want to weep from the effort it took for me to finish the book. So my apprehension when it came to reading this was a given, since In the Barren Ground is also characterized as a procedural romantic suspense novel. My worries were totally unnecessary, as I found myself totally captivated by the story that unfolded, a trait that has always held true when it comes to every single book I have had the fortune of reading when it comes to Loreth’s work. Loreth sports a mind of the kind that delivers dark and edgy, the kind that I absolutely, wholeheartedly revel in.

In the Barren Ground, while procedural, it made me appreciate all the more, the intensive and at times tedious work that officers of the law enforcement have to put in in order to get a case right, and to do it right as well. The evidence gathering, collating, picking up the clues and patterns; all of it and more requires a mind that is keen as well as intelligent, and a heart that believes in justice and doing it right and not taking short cuts, because you never know which piece of evidence would end up becoming the pivotal piece in a case.

I loved Tana‘s character. There is strength and resilience in her, the sort that knows when she needs help and when she can do it alone. I think this is basically the first thriller of the kind that I have read, in which the lead character did not go in half cocked, thinking she could save the day just by turning up. No. She used her God given intelligence which made her see that to face off a killer of the kind who takes pride in the planning, the lure and the hunt should not be taken lightly, because if Tana were to piece it all together, the whole world of the killer comes tumbling down. I loved that about this story and that was definitely one of the highlights.

Crash’s character was an absolute delight. Crash is a man who throws all your assessments of his character sideways, his character as appealing on the inside as on the outside. What drew me to his character was how he could read people, how he understood where they were coming from, the career which he had worked in before honing skills in him that turned out to be pretty useful when all was said and done. Crash has his own agenda which he seeks, his own demons to fight, his own past that is filled with regrets of the kind that could break a guy. But Crash perseveres, and knows which battles to fight and which ones to give up, which made me love him all that more!

The killer in this novel, well, that is the masterpiece when it comes right down to it. Loreth’s imagination takes the reader to places where some might not even want to go. Those who have delicate sensibilities might not like where her stories take them. But for me, Loreth’s stories are the high that I seek whenever I pick up a thriller of the kind. The fact that the identity of the killer totally surprised me, something that has been happening too rarely lately for my sake, was one of the winning aspects of this story! Be prepared for a killer that has multiple facets to the character, a testament of the mastery that Loreth holds over the genre.

The setting itself is one that lends credence to the whole story. Definitely not the kind of place you would want to end up with a killer who enjoys the hunt and is relentless. Loreth’s writing is so evocative, and I always keep repeating this point in my reviews; it just feels as if you are one with the story. As if you are standing at the edge of The Barrens, the cold seeping through, right into your very bones, the chill you feel when you encounter the malicious intents of a killer for whom all reason had been lost, and the subtle, yet strong connection that forges to life between two unlikely protagonists; all that and more, and you feel every single aspect of the story to the deepest recesses of your soul.

This is a story that sends chills running up and down your spine, taking you to the edge of your seat and back. Be prepared to lose sleep and to read through the night. Brace yourself to become engrossed and engaged in a read that would have you turning on every light in your house, because that is how edgy and real the story that unfolds is. Definitely and absolutely recommended!

Final Verdict: Taunts and haunts you! An irrefutable page turner!

Favorite Quotes

It was 3:48 p.m.
Nearly ten minutes away from pickup time. Only five more days before she was due back at school.  With her friends. Her mom. But as Selena  slid  into  oblivion,  she  realized  she  would  not  make  her  twenty second birthday. Perhaps, she thought in an absurd final moment of consciousness, this basin in which she lay beneath the cliff face was one of those  “dreaming  places” where  she should  never have stopped  to rest, or to empty what she had from those bags . . .

Tana banged on O’Halloran’s door, praying she’d find him in a better  state  than  Jankoski.  The  door  opened  almost  immediately,  startling her.  Warm light spilled out into the night. His dark-blond hair stood on end. He wore a tight, long-sleeve tee.  Tattoos poked out from the base of his sleeves. His jeans slung low  on his hips. He grinned, and it put dimples into his rugged, weather-browned cheeks, amusement into his light-green eyes. He reminded her of a scarred and cocky junkyard dog. An edginess crackled through her. Because he intimidated her. Just a little.

“You know why they call this place Headless Man?”
“I’m sure you’re about to tell me.”
“Two prospectors were found a few miles southeast from here, in the twenties, sitting  with their backs leaned up against  a cliff face, just like  we’re doing.  Fully dressed.  Boots on,  packs and  picks and  guns at their sides. Only trouble—no heads. Just gone. Just the two torsos propped  there like they were having a good old chat. Still had  diamonds in their bags.”
She turned to him. “They ever find the heads?”
“Nope.”
“How’d the heads been removed?”
“Ripped. Clean off. Bodies all intact, just those heads torn off their stumps.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BAM | BookDepo

Rating from the sunny side of life: ★★★★½ 

Caliber SEAL: AMAZING READ!

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August 16th, 2016 by maldivianbookreviewer | No Comments »

Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookthebourbonkings
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Bourbon Kings, #1
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Hero: Jonathan Tulane Baldwine
Heroine: Lizzie King
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 28, 2015
Started On: July 09, 2016
Finished On: July 25, 2016

The Bourbon Kings is the first novel in a sweeping saga that tells the tales of the lives of the four siblings of the Baldwine family. It is not a simple story by any means. With multiple threads of the story happening at once, The Bourbon Kings is a novel that does justice to the reader by delivering a page-turner that is difficult to put down.

Jonathan Tulane Baldwine (Lane) returns home to the news that his mother might be at death’s door – not his birth mother, but the woman who raised all four of them with love and affection that was so glaringly absent from their lives. Lane, who otherwise had no inclination of returning, finds that his love for the woman that he had hurt beyond redemption by marrying another is still very much the owner of his heart. Furthermore, Lane also finds that the family is at the precipice of a change that could devastate them all, a change that could leave them all defenseless in the wake of it, if Lane were not to take up the reins as required.

Lizzie King swore to herself that she would never be taken in by Lane or anyone who looks as good for that matter. But the minute Lizzie’s paths crosses with that of the son that has returned, she finds that she is as helpless in the wake of want, desire and love that courses through her as much as Lane. The family politics that Lizzie has always stayed away from as an employee of the manor is what turns the tables for Lane and Lizzie, the knowledge that nothing was as she believed it to be when it comes to the deep and dark secrets of the family.

The Bourbon Kings is not a story that tells the tale of Lizzie and Tulane’s tale of love alone. It sweeps through the lives of the 4 siblings, Edward Westfork Bradford Baldwine, Virginia Elizabeth Baldwine otherwise known as Gin and Max, the one known as the free spirited sibling, the only sibling who didn’t make an appearance in the debut novel.

Edward is the hated son, the eldest who faced his nightmare at the hands of kidnappers in South America. Edward is a character that you feel for deeply, helpless at being unable to do anything much but read along, horrified at the extent of the betrayal that had basically crippled his life.

Gin being the only female sibling, is the one that carries the scars of having given birth to a daughter that she had felt ill-equipped to look after  with basically no support I am guessing, from whom she is pretty much estranged. Gin’s true love remains forever lost to her because of a decision that she is “forced” to take in the heat of the changes that comes to the family dynamics. A decision that had my heart do a dive because of the imminent sorrow I felt for her and the only man she has ever truly loved – the father of her daughter. It once again made me feel helpless as I could basically feel the horror that Gin’s life is going to be, a horror perhaps of her own making, which nevertheless does not make it any easier to swallow.

While Lane and Lizzie’s obstacles remained to be the broken trust that had shattered Lizzie in a way that she had never gotten over since Lane left the estate after his marriage and the woman who pretty much is still Lane’s wife who still lives on the estate, it is the events that takes place within the family, the deaths that came that had Lane reeling from the impact more than anything else that turns all their lives upside down. The fact that their entire family business is at peril, the name of the richest and oldest families in the bourbon making business facing the imminent threat of being dragged through the muck being the reason that requires Lane to step up and fill in the shoes that had been Edward’s role up till the moment he had cut ties from the family.

This being my first J. R. Ward, I was a bit apprehensive and pretty much excited to finally delve into something she had written. All because Ms. Ward is a name that you come across multiple times if you are lover of the romance genre. I found mixed reviews up on Goodreads for this book, perhaps given the fact that most of Ms. Ward’s fans are those of her urban-fantasy/paranormal series known as The Blackdagger Brotherhood of which I became a fan right after I finished The Bourbon Kings.

Talent of the kind that can juggle multiple lines of stories in one setting and deliver on each and every single one of them leaving the reader begging for more is one of the rarest in the world of books, especially when it comes to the romance genre. I found myself totally captivated by the immensely complex and yet profoundly broken and beautiful tale of love, lust, betrayal, jealousy, suspense and heart wrenching pain that Ms. Ward has created with this series. I became a fan from page one itself.

Looking forward to the next installment in the series, Angels’ Share, which has already come out. I can’t wait to see where Ms. Ward takes these characters that have embedded themselves in my heart from the get-go.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Sweeps you off into a setting that delivers a riot of emotions of the page turning kind!

Favorite Quotes

“You need to go now,” he said in a tight voice.
Yes, she told herself. I do.
And yet for some crazy reason, she whispered, “Why?”
“Because if I wanted you when it was just a game”—that stare of his locked on her mouth—“in my current mood, I’m desperate for you.”

He never thought he’d get this again, and though he would have liked to do a slow-and-sweet, he couldn’t. Too desperate.
He was rough with the waistband of her shorts, tearing at the button, the zipper, ripping them down her legs. And then he slid his hand between her thighs, pushing her cotton panties out of the—
Lizzie called out his name in a hoarse voice that nearly made him come right then and there. And as her fingers bit into his shoulders, he stroked her harder.
“Hurt me,” he growled as she dug into him. “Make me bleed …”

Lifting Lizzie up off the floor, he relished the way she locked on to him with her powerful arms. One tearing jerk of the zipper on his slacks and his arousal was ready to go. He split her underwear in two, and then—
The roar he let out into her neck was like that of an animal, but he paid no attention to the sound. The slick hold of her sex was a sensation he felt over his entire body, and he orgasmed immediately. So long … so long, that he had dreamed of her, and regretted what had happened, and wanted to do things differently. And now he was where he had prayed to be: With every pumping release into her, he was rewinding time, putting things back to rights, repairing the wrongs.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BookDepo | eBookMall | iTunes

Rating from the sunny side of life: ★★★★¼ 

Caliber SEAL: AWESOME READ!

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August 13th, 2016 by maldivianbookreviewer | No Comments »

ARC Review: Sting by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booksting
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Shaw Kinnard
Heroine: Jordan Elaine Bennett
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 16, 2016
Started On: July 12, 2016
Finished On: July 14, 2016

I have been so excitedly looking forward to the next big thriller by Sandra Brown, an author who has continued to rock my world with most of her published works, with very few misses in between. Sting is exceptionally plotted in this regard as well, with enough twists and turns to make for a riveting read.

Shaw Kinnard is a hired mercenary who is recruited to kill Jordan Elaine Bennett (Jordie), sister to and only living relative of Joshua Raymond Bennett, a much-sought-after criminal who escapes from Witness Protection, putting Jordie’s life in danger, because of those elements that wants to get to Joshua through Jordie. When the sanctioned hit goes horribly wrong, Shaw takes Jordie hostage, determined to make a deal with who hired him. After all, Shaw has been in the game far too long to be taken for a fool.

From the moment Jordie lays eyes on Shaw, she knows he is more trouble than worth thinking about. But then, the choice is taken from her hands when she becomes captive to the very man she responds to in a way that leaves herself questioning her sanity, which brings forth a pretty interesting dynamic between Shaw and Jordie.

The craftiness of the plot lay behind the ending of the story, a twist that I never foresaw coming! While I could guess to the truth behind Shaw’s character from the start, having read a hero with similar background in a prior novel of Ms. Brown’s, the ending pretty much blindsided me with how brilliant it was!

While I had a wee bit of a problem in connecting with either Shaw or Jordie on an emotional level, I felt that Sandra did more than justice to the story by giving readers an ending that they would mull over for the time to come.

Recommended for fans of thrillers and romantic suspense!

Final Verdict: Delivers a plot of great ingenuity & attests to why Ms. Brown is a renowned master of the game!

Favorite Quotes

“I’m telling you everything I know. Please believe me. Believe—”
“Hush, Jordie.”
The command was softly spoken but imperious. He brought his mouth down on hers ungently and without restraint. The back of her head was encompassed by his hand and held in place with inescapable strength. His other hand settled on her neck.
While his thumb stroked the sensitive underside of her chin, his stern lips pressured hers to separate, and when they did, the sleek glide of his tongue against hers caused an overspill of heat throughout her. Angling his head the other way, he made an even deeper foray into her mouth.
But then he groaned with frustration and raised his head. “I had to do that. Just once.”

“Stop it. I mean it, Shaw. I don’t want this.”
“No, you don’t want to want it. Big difference.”
Then he angled her head and kissed her the way he’d imagined, the way his drugged mind had fantasized it, the way he’d craved to from the first time he got a good look at her face.
He didn’t care how many ethics codes he was violating, or how many federal agents were in the next room, or—God forgive him—if Billy Panella himself was on the other side of this door, unless she put words into action and stopped him, he was going to get carnal with her mouth. He was going to mate with it for as long as she and time allowed.

She let go of the duffel bag. It dropped softly onto the toe of his boot. He pushed it aside, inched closer to Jordie and leaned into her, making adjustments in alignment that fit them together like puzzle pieces and caused her breath to catch. He hated the damn bulletproof vest that shielded her breasts from the pressure of his chest.
Her hand came up between them. She ran her thumb across the scar on his chin, then scraped it lightly with her teeth. He took a love bite of her wet, plump lower lip. Then they were kissing again, frantically. Maybe it was the mad recklessness of this whole thing that made it so goddamn good.

Lifting his face away from hers, he whispered roughly, “I’m going to have you, Jordie.”
Her eyes were still angry, but now also lambent with arousal as she stared into his.
“You know it as well as I do, don’t you?”

“All I’ve thought about,” he said, breathing the words against her neck, “being like this…inside you.”
Her response was to clench.
“Ah, dammit, Jordie, don’t. I don’t want to rush it.”
“Neither do I.”
“But I can’t help moving.”
“Neither can I.” She arched her hips up and rocked against him.
He groaned, planted his hands above her shoulders, and levered himself up. Then, as he’d promised her, he told her straight out: “I’m gonna fuck you now.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BAM | BookDepo | eBookMall | iTunes

Rating from the sunny side of life: ★★★★☆ 

Caliber SEAL: GREAT READ!

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August 10th, 2016 by maldivianbookreviewer | No Comments »

Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdukeofsin
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #10
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Valentine Napier
Heroine: Bridget Crumb
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 31, 2016
Started On: July 07, 2016
Finished On: July 08, 2016

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt, brings to readers the much awaited story of the anti-hero Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, who has graced many a story before as a very memorable secondary character. Valentine is the man who walks a fine line between good and bad, mostly moving in the circles of the latter, his main bargaining chip being information about the elite of the ton.

Valentine was featured rather prominently in Darling Beast and Dearest Rogue, only to “disappear” in Sweetest Scoundrel. Bridget Crumb, Valentine’s newest housekeeper who is ever efficient, seeks employment at the Duke’s residence for reasons of her own. Bridget comes on a mission to save her birth mother from blackmail at the hands of the Duke, a man she sees as darkness itself. Even though Bridget cannot find any redeeming qualities about the Duke in her search for the documents she seeks, she is nevertheless intrigued on a level that has her questioning her sentiments.

When the Duke finally makes an appearance, Bridget is thrown by the way Valentine goes out of his way to rattle her, to get a reaction out of her. And when Valentine requires the help of Bridget to get through one of the darkest times of his life, Valentine finds himself enamored by the anomaly that Bridget presents. A woman who seems so practical and proper in every single way on the outside, with a fire that burns and wants to soar on the inside.

As Bridget gets to know Valentine and his past, she realizes that there is no defending herself against the onslaught of emotions that catches her, tumbling her headlong into love with a man deemed dangerous by mostly everyone. For Valentine, who finds the concept of love abhorrent, any ounce of such an emotion brutally stripped from him by those who should have loved and nurtured such emotions in him, it is a rising tide against which he struggles, the need to call Bridget his own when Valentine is furthest thing from a sentimental soul.

Duke of Sin is a story that has a lot going for it. An anti-hero of the kind that actually could be cruel but goes and does things that are totally out of character for someone like him. I fell in love with Valentine the night he lay struggling for his life, his darkest nightmares colored by the evil that had been his childhood coming to light. I cried for the little boy that had been treated in a manner that would have taken a darker soul to a place from which he would never have returned. The fact that there was still good left in Valentine, as hard it might have been to see at times, a good that people hardly saw because he always does things for his own benefit, was reason enough to root for him.

Bridget is a woman who holds her own ground when it comes to a man who is used to getting his own way. I loved Bridget for understanding the soul starved for love that was Valentine’s, for being insightful enough to see that beneath all that beauty and harsh cruelty lay a heart that was capable of great love. Though Valentine might never end up being the gentlest of souls, and I would not want that for him either way, I loved Bridget for being woman enough to take him as he is, without hesitations when it came right down to it.

Recommended for fans of anti-heroes who love a scorching tale of romance and love. Hoyt provides all that and more in every single one of her books!

Final Verdict: In Valentine, Hoyt creates a hero of the kind we all fall for, regardless!

Favorite Quotes

He moved swiftly, like a striking snake. Once. Twice. Thrice.
So fast his hand was blurred.
Blood spurted from the footman’s side, but his eyes were still open.
Slowly he looked down at the mortal wounds.
And almost lazily Val slit his throat.
The thing that had been Cal thumped to the carpet.
Bridget gasped, her hands covering her mouth. Oh, God!
Val turned, still naked, still impossibly beautiful. Only the gore spattered on his belly, chest, and arm, marred his perfection.
He walked toward her and she couldn’t help it. She backed away from him.
He smiled.
Sweetly. Like a boy. The dagger still in his left hand. And caught her arm with his right hand.
“This is who I am, Séraphine. Naked, with blade and blood. I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.”
And he laid his lips over hers and pushed his hot tongue into her mouth and kissed her until she couldn’t breathe and it was only later that she found the bloodstains on her dress.

He bit at her collarbone, licked down across a breast and suckled frankly on a nipple, drawing strongly and suddenly.
She grasped for his head, off-balance as if she were falling, even though she lay on a solid bed. His hair was silky beneath her hands, curling around her fingers.
But then he pulled away, tonguing under her breasts, each one, and down her belly, pausing to mouth her navel, and then thrusting her legs apart, climbing nimbly between, and thumbing wide her labia.
She gasped. “I… wait—”
But he’d already laid his mouth against her flesh, licking her there roughly as if he did indeed intend to devour her.
She’d never… that is…
She screamed, thrusting her hand into her mouth to muffle the sound as she came hard and fast.

Oh, God.
He was doing something, moving, but she’d lost her bones and could only half open her eyes.
She looked up in time to see him kneeling upright, his eyes gleaming, as he ripped open his falls. His penis was dark red and angrily erect, standing to his navel. He caught her hips and pulled her until she was on his lap, then he bent and, without ceremony, thrust himself within her.
“Now,” he rasped, no grace, no drawl, no civility at all. “Come again for me now.”
And he pulled her on and off his cock, rotating his hips all the while, his eyes on her, watching, waiting, as if she were the last drop of water in a desert.

But he batted her hand away, replacing her fingers with his thumb, pressing down hard.
And she arched, screaming, the lightning blazing from her center, sparking through her limbs, flying out her fingertips.
She was incandescent.
He fell atop her, heavy and male, pulling her legs up around his narrow hips, and ground down into her, once, twice.
His cock jerked within her and she could feel every muscle in his body tense. He groaned into her ear like a man dying and then fell senseless and limp.
And as she followed him into exhausted slumber she heard his single word:
Mine.

She moaned, all warm, damp woman in his hands, breasts in his face, thighs over his legs, astride him like a female dragoon, and he wanted to inhale her. To drink her in and keep her.
Possibly forever.
He wanted to lick her cunt again, make her cream for him, make her scream and writhe, but the angle was wrong and he made a vow: no more baths before bed—they were just too much for his frayed nerves. Instead he drew hard upon her sweet little nipple and plunged his hand between her thighs.
She was wet. Oh, sweet, wonderful woman! She was wet already, slippery and soft and ready for him.

He worked the falls of his breeches with his other hand and freed his grotesquely engorged cock, weeping, pleading for surcease.
Raised her arse a little, placed himself at that hot, wet paradise, and thrust.
She opened her eyes as he pulled his face away, watching her.
He thrust again. The way was tight. Narrow. She was wet, but she hadn’t yet come tonight.
Her mouth opened, a strand of hair caught on her shining lips.
God.
He thrust again. Hard. And was home.
Burning fire surrounded him. He’d never be cold again.

He watched as she went up in flames.
Burning like an archangel, glorious, frightening, awesome.
And when he caught fire as well, when he emptied his loins into her furnace, in groaning, exquisite jerks, all he could think was this:
His Séraphine thought that deep inside him was a golden core—a good man who could be redeemed.
She was wrong.
And when she plumbed his depths and discovered instead a frozen hollow, she would do what she must.
She would leave him.

He braced himself over her, his golden curls falling into darkened glittering azure eyes, lines imprinted on his pale beautiful face, and gazed down at her with awful, terrible foreboding. “Death.”
She was falling apart under his assault, sparks flying behind her eyes, warm honey in her limbs, but she forced herself to meet his gaze, to keep her eyes open even as her mouth went slack with pleasure. “Life.”
His hips faltered, and his head rolled on his shoulders as if he’d been hit, as if he were in great pain, his lips drawn back from his teeth. He groaned, continuing to thrust, but more slowly, less gracefully, a man in his death throes.
And as she watched, he opened his eyes and gasped, “Séraphine.”
She answered as naturally as breathing, “Valentine,” and felt his hot seed fill her.

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Rating from the sunny side of life: ★★★★½ 

Caliber SEAL: AMAZING READ!

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August 9th, 2016 by maldivianbookreviewer | No Comments »