January 30, 2015

REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: The Distraction (The Body Works Trilogy #2)


The Distraction (The Body Works Trilogy #2), by Sierra Kincade
To Be Published February 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: e-ARC, provided by NetGalley
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
 

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Anna Rossi knows that opening your heart only gets you hurt. But Alec Flynn is just too good to resist…

It’s been three long months since Anna’s seen Alec, since he saved her life and lit up her soul with unquenchable desire. Being without him has left her on edge, but his bravery has motivated her to change her life and go after what she’s always wanted—a job where she can help people. She can’t wait to show Alec the woman she’s become in his absence, or to prove how much she’s missed him…

Three months away has done nothing to slake Alec’s need for Anna. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made his life any less dangerous. The last thing he wants to do is hurt Anna, but if giving her up is the only way to save her, he’s not sure he can do that either. He’s determined to have her for as long as he can. Except his past is creeping up on him faster than he knows, and this time he may not be able to keep her from becoming collateral damage…

I would say that if any couple I've read about could be described as combustible, it's Alec and Anna. Chemistry... well, that would put what these two have to shame. And with the connection that this couple has with one another, you want nothing more than to see them happy and settled together. Sadly, it seems that Sierra Kincade is determined to kill me slowly and make me wait for their happy. The Distraction sent me wildly shifting from fist pumping to panty adjusting to tear wiping. Ah - my kind of book. 

It's been three months since Alec has seen Anna. During that time, Anna has taken steps to better herself and to make things ready for when Alec returns. Despite their intense connection, when he does show up again, things are awkward and tense. Getting to know one another again and even better than before is hard, but love like they have can't be contained forever. Unfortunately, Alec is still playing a dangerous game and keeping lots of secrets, both of which make forging a healthy relationship difficult. As Anna tries to manage her new career and her big feelings for Alec, she begins to lose herself a bit. Just as she decides he's worth any price, she's faced with a price that just may be too steep after all. 

What would you do for love? What would you risk? It's an incredibly romantic notion to automatically assume that there is no price too great. Anna seems to be a woman of the world. I mean, with everything she went through in The Masseuse and all that she discovered through her association with Alec and his employer, it's understandable that she's a little jaded. And, yet, when it comes to Alec, her love and passion for him overtakes everything. 

Alec has a lot of his plate. He's being pulled in so many different directions by so many different people. I felt so much for him in The Distraction. It's obvious that he wants nothing more than to just be... with Anna. She is his rock and safe place amidst the craziness in the rest of his life. She supports him, cares for him and loves him completely. And he is so protective of her. After the danger they've already experienced together, he wants her safe more than anything else. He's even willing to walk away to give that to her if need be. 

You might think that the danger and subterfuge encountered in The Masseuse has passed, but in reality, it's only gotten started. Anna is constantly being put in danger, but no one is quite sure by whom. These two just can't catch a break! When they should be reacquainting, they instead are having their homes broken into, being followed on the street and attacked anywhere and everywhere. It sucks so much. 

But, when they are together, holy crap are they TOGETHER. The passion and chemistry leaps off the page and nearly brings you to tears. These two are sexy and hot and they set my lady bits on fire. There is no shortage of sexy times in The Distraction. 

Everything comes to a head at the end during a truly explosive and scary encounter. There are twist and turns that I never saw coming. And a finale that broke my heart. Thank goodness there is another book coming in this series, because now I need Sierra Kincade to put my heart back together. 


     Alec laid me on the bed, kissing me in a long, tender way that pulled at my heart.
     “Don’t move,” he whispered. He disappeared into the shadows and I rose to my elbows, brows creased in concern when I realized he’d gone into the closet. Surely he wasn’t there to get the rope. When I’d said I wanted to try again I’d meant I needed him, not that I was ready to be tied up.
     He returned with two silk neckties—things I’d seen him wear when we first met. A lump formed in my throat as he sat on the edge of the bed, holding them in his fist.
     “Alec, I don’t want to ruin any of your fantasies tonight.”
     His thumb whispered across my cheekbone.
     “You didn’t ruin anything,” he said. “I don’t have a fantasy where you’re afraid.”
     His words eased my mind but not my body; I still shivered when the tip of one of the neckties tickled my belly.
     “Stay with me a little longer,” he said. “I swear, I won’t hurt you.”
     I nodded, knowing that he didn’t mean physically, but mentally. Still anxious, I laid back down.
     “I did this wrong before.” His voice was soft and low, and wrapped around me like a warm blanket. “Let me try to fix it. If it’s too intense, just say the word.”
     I considered this. “Okay.”
     The silk slid up my shoulders.
     “I should have asked for your trust first,” he said.
     Goosebumps rose on the side of my neck as the tie passed lightly over it.
     “You have it,” I said.
     He trailed the material up the side of my cheek, and then slowly covered my eyes. As he reached behind my head to tie it, his lips found mine, and he kissed me for a long time, until the nerves scattered and in their place was something more demanding.
     He drew back.
     “I should have told you that I’ll bring you back from anywhere I take you. I won’t leave you, and I won’t let you go.”
     I gasped as he lifted my left wrist. He massaged the tender skin at the base of my palm, then kissed it. His tongue flicked over the red marks and I jerked, hypersensitive to his caress.
     I concentrated on my breath, but was unable to feel Bobby’s restraints binding me as the tie slipped around my forearm. I waited for him to lift my wrist over my head to fasten it to the bed frame, but he did not. As I felt through the darkness, I found that he’d tied the other side to his own arm, the knot loose enough to turn or slip free if necessary.
     His fingers wove through mine, feeling their way over the pads of my fingers. When our hands clasped, I shuddered, feeling somehow more joined to him than I did with him inside me.
     “Alec,” I whispered. My senses were more acute with the wrap around my eyes. I could hear every compression in the mattress as he moved, feel the heat of his body as he adjusted his position to sit beside me. Desire throbbed low in my belly. I became desperate to know where he would touch me next.
“I should have told you I love you, Anna,” he murmured. “Because I do. I love you so much it hurts.”
     I stilled.
     “I can feel you inside me.” He moved our clasped hands over his heart, squeezing tightly. “When you’re in pain, I can’t breathe. And when you’re scared, I want to kill the man who did it, even if that’s me.”
     What he said slayed me. I wanted to take off the blindfold, see his eyes, but I didn’t need to. The truth was right there in his touch.
     “Forgive me,” he said.
     I couldn’t speak, my throat was so tight. Instead I nodded, and he rested his forehead on my shoulder. He kissed my chest, right above my heart. And then my shoulder, and then higher—at the base of my neck.
I siphoned in a quick breath. The softest touch there was enough to ignite my senses.
     “Is this okay?” he whispered.
     “Yes.”
     He lightly pressed his lips just behind my ear and it felt like lightning zapping straight into my core. My back bowed, and my free hand squeezed the comforter. He shifted positions, and his tongue swirled just below my collarbone. The cool air did nothing to ease the heat rising inside of me. I began to pant, turning feverish as he held back what I needed. Feather-soft, his closed lips brushed over my shoulder, a brief whisper only. I quaked beneath him. My back dropped down hard enough to make the mattress bounce.
     “What are you doing?” I asked.
     He moved our joined hands, twisting his wrist so that my palm rested against the back of his hand. With our fingers overlapped, he drew a slow circle around my other breast. I pressed down, urging him to touch me more firmly, but he withheld.
     “Watching you,” he said.
     My cheeks flushed. “Do you like that?”
     He guided our hands lower, and switched positions again, so that his hand was behind mine. When we reached his jeans, he pressed my hand over him, so that I could feel his answer.
     His groaned as I reached for the button at the top of his fly.
     “Not yet,” he said tightly. “Just let me touch you for a while.”
     What happened next was like nothing I’d ever experienced. He felt me, every inch of me. With his lips. His tongue. His fingertips, and sometimes mine. Each kiss took me higher, drew me tighter. Time ceased to exist. All thoughts vanished. There was only my body, trembling from the inside out, throbbing with a need so powerful tears soaked the blindfold to my temples.


 

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January 29, 2015

ARC REVIEW: Rough Justice (Sinner's Tribe Motorcycle Club #1)


Rough Justice (Sinner's Tribe Motorcycle Club #1), by Sarah Castille
To Be Published February 3, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's
Format: e-ARC, provided by NetGalley
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
 

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) IT TAKES A GOOD, STRONG WOMAN

Raised in a motorcycle gang, tough, beautiful Arianne Hunter has always dreamed of a normal life. But no sooner does she escape her father’s domineering grasp than she wakes up to find herself in a rival gang’s clubhouse—at the mercy of the dangerously sexy Jagger Knight.

TO TAME A MAN WHO’S HELL ON WHEELS.

The alpha leader of the notorious Sinner’s Tribe, Jagger Knight is all muscle, all biker, and all man. But somewhere inside this hard tattooed outlaw, Arianne senses a kindred spirit—and she can’t ignore their tempestuous attraction. Can she beat him at his own game in a revved-up blaze of glory? Or will their passion spark a war that’s the end of the road for them both?
No matter how many times I hear a Romeo & Juliet story about star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of the line, it never gets old. I really think it's one of my favorite types of love stories. It's awesome when you're reading, and the HEA seems so far out of reach. Yet, there's this glimmer of hope that drives you forward. Rough Justice was a book like that. Add in the fact that instead of wearing tights and a tunic, Jagger wears leathers and a cut. Instead of swooning and fawning, Arianne can shoot better and play pool better than a pack of leather-clad scary bikers. And, now you can see how Rough Justice is like Romeo & Juliet on steroids. 

The night of a rival club's brutal attack on a Sinner's Tribe property, Jagger, who is the Sinners' leader, and his club mates nab one of the attackers. They are all surprised to find out it's a woman - a pretty one with lots of experience in dealing with bikers. Turns out, she's the rival club's president's daughter. And, those first few moments with Jagger were all both of them needed to know they were meant to be in each others' lives. But, her dad isn't going to allow that to happen, and members of Jagger's club aren't too happy about him sleeping with the enemy either. Their affair may ignite a war that no one can survive.

I'm a big fan of MC books. These guys are hardened and wild and dangerous. When they do something, they go big. They are fierce in every way. Jagger is the epitome of all these things. he's a former military guy, as are many in the Sinner's Tribe. They are as manly as men come. He tries not to get too close to women - he learned that lesson the hard way. Plus, it's hard for him to find just the right one. She has to be tough enough to survive the MC life, soft enough to care for him and the other members of the club, and smart enough to navigate the political waters both within her own club and in interactions with other clubs. 

Arianne was raised in the MC life, so she knows it inside and out. Her father, although also an MC president, is as far from Jagger as you can get. He's ruthless and cunning and evil. He has no trouble beating down or killing people who get in his way, no matter if they're family or not. He put Ari in harm's way time and time again, and eventually, she grew to hate the MC life. And, who could blame her? She's got the skills to live the life, but after the abuse her father put her through, and the abuse she saw many others in her club go through, including her own brother, she was determined to eventually escape the life. 

I imagine it's hard to change plans you've worked so long and hard to implement. Ari had been working for so long to line everything up to get her and her brother out. And then came Jagger at the worst possible time. What does she listen to - her head that tells her the MC life is dangerous and she needs to get away? Or, her heart that tells her that the life is in her blood and all she needs is the right man to share it with? 

Jagger is continually impressed by her. I loved how he was equally at war with himself over Ari, although, for different reasons. On one hand she was the perfect woman. She challenged him, but not in public. She was passionate and intelligent and so brave. She has all the skills needed to be an MC president's Old Lady. And, yet, she's a member of the rival club. The club ALWAYS comes first. So, how could he ever trust her? I admit - I'm glad I wasn't in Jagger's shoes. This guy doesn't think with his heart. He can't afford to. But, he couldn't deny that he wanted her so badly. 

Rough Justice is told in dual POV. It's a brutal look at the outlaw MC life, too. There's danger and death. But, there's also light moments too. Ari and Jagger are great together. They have a lot of intensity and passion in their relationship, and that shows on the page. I look forward to more stories from the Sinner's Tribe guys.
 

January 28, 2015

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Three, Two, One

Three, Two, One, by J.A. Huss
Published January 28, 2015
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author
Genre: adult dark erotic suspense
To Buy: Amazon 
 

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) ONE GIRL

Battered, barefoot, and huddled under a bookstore awning in the pouring rain, Blue only knows one thing. After fifteen months of captivity, finally… she is free.

TWO FRIENDS

Self-made millionaires JD and Ark are not out to save anyone when they stumble upon a wet and shivering girl one early Sunday morning. But when you sell sex for a living and salvation rings your bell… you answer the call.

THREE SOULMATES

After years of searching, love lifts the veil of darkness, and three people—with three very big secrets—find themselves bound together in a relationship that defies the odds.

Or does it?

Love. Lust. Sex.

This trinity might be perfection… but not everything should come in 3’s.

When JA Huss decides to go dark, she really goes balls to the wall. I’ll admit – I don’t usually do dark. I don’t mind the suspense – it’s the pall that sort of hangs over you like a blanket as you read that really gets to me. I prefer romance and grand gestures and happily-ever-afters. Especially the HEAs.

But, see, here’s the thing about Julie Huss. I’ve read enough of her books to know that she believes in all those things too. And, the one thing she’s taught me is that just because a book is dark does not automatically preclude it from the romance that I love. You just have to look a little harder to find it.

Three, Two, One deals with some heavy stuff – prostitution, suicide, depression, cults and drug use to name a few. But, in the midst of it all, there IS love. It may be a bit untraditional – triad relationships are not the norm – but there are these moments of light strategically scattered among the dark that make all the difference. They loosen the breath you didn’t realize you were holding and drive you forward toward the ending that will make everything all right again.

Ark’s, JD’s and Blue’s story opens on a cold, rainy Denver morning as Ark and JD stumble across Blue shivering on a stoop. At the time, I didn’t realize it, but there was so much symbolism in that first meeting. Blue was so wet and cold and lost. And then, there was Ark – like a ship in the night who showed up to shield her and take her away from whatever it was that had hurt her. Ark’s and JD’s job is to capture sex on tape – specifically public sex – and sell it to fund their own public sex website, due to launch in a few weeks. Initially, Blue was a possible candidate. She quickly became something much more.

There was something about Blue that made JD and Ark want to take care of her. They take her back to their place, and over the next few weeks, a new relationship is formed between the three of them. Can one person romantically love two people at the same time? I think the answer to that is purely subjective. In the case of Ark, JD and Blue, the answer is… sort of. All three grow to love one another, but it’s all different types and based on different feelings and experiences. It’s especially challenging for Ark. He was the most reluctant to get on board with the triad relationship, because although he definitely loved Blue, his love for JD was different. And Ark knew – a relationship based on that imbalance could never survive for long.

And the secrets – yeah, those aren’t usually healthy in any relationship either. And these three have secrets in spades. None of them fully trust each other enough to let them out. Because these secrets? They’re game-changer secrets. We get little glimpses into what may have been in these three’s pasts along the way. They’re like bread crumbs leading you down a dark path to something at the end that you just know will be truly awful. And, for all of them it is. When all the subterfuge was over and the secrets finally came out in their entirety, I was floored. I couldn’t have seen earlier on how these three seemingly different lives could end up being so connected.

This is something I’ve come to count on from Julie Huss. Her plots don’t seem complex at first glance. On the surface, Three, Two, One is a story of three damaged people who hook up and have some ridiculously hot sex before it all goes to shit. But, then, when everything is revealed, you’re left gaping like a fish because you NEVER saw the big picture until it was smacking you in the face. I love that about her books.

Three, Two, One is told in dual POV – Blue’s and Ark’s. Initially, I thought it interesting that JD’s POV was excluded. Much later in the story, I understood why. This is a pretty steamy book, too. The ménage scenes are not for the faint of heart – my goodness, but was Ark intense. He was dark hotness personified.

Three, Two, One will leave you sad one minute and happy and hopeful the next. It will set your girlie bits aflame and make your jaw drop in shock. It will keep you guessing and freak you out. And, in the end, it will amaze you.