Steampunk Sundays: Ashes & Alchemy by Cindy Spencer Pape

Series: Gaslight Chronicles 6

Format: eGalley
Release Date: January 6, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Steampunk

A Gaslight Chronicles novella
London, 1860

Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that’s not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.

Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian’s doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness the same illness, it seems, that’s responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy’s classmates.

Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it’s he who will need protecting from emotions he’d thought buried long ago.

I’d like to note that my rating for Cindy Spencer Pape’s ASHES & ALCHEMY is leaning more towards It’s Okay than a solid I Liked It! I was hoping for a short and sound Steampunk novella to get me through a tryptophan coma but instead I got more of a historical fiction with hints of fantasy and the faintest touch of steam and punk. 
Now I didn’t read the series in order, this is my first CSPape and Gaslight Chronicles book and my curiosity is stoked enough for me to check out the previous installments although I’m not in a hurry to do so. But I did some research and the series doesn’t follow a particular couple although it involves a certain group of people descended from King Arthur and his honorable round table Knights. That background was interesting and naturally the fey are involved somewhat, I do love Arthurian based fantasies. That said, CSPape gave a good briefing on her myth in this installment so I got a good grasp of what’s going on behind the curtains apart from the obvious mystery. Minnie and Seb’s story was independent from the group despite some connections to the rest of the cast but they held their own so I didn’t feel like I’m starting mid-tale. 
Now ASHES & ALCHEMY is one of those novellas that would’ve been better if it was longer. Because of the length and the intricate mystery about Minnie’s child, Ivy, there wasn’t much room for romantic and character development especially for Minnie. I felt like she just jumped in Seb’s world and his arms, taking for granted all the revelations he shared with her. Seb seemed like a hunk unfortunately his story didn’t allow much facetime for me to develop swoony feelings for him.
That said, ASHES & ALCHEMY did it’s purpose and that’s to keep me entertained and prevent me from going through another food coma. So I still say job well done, CSPape!

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Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #127 + Pan

BB&B (Bought, Borrowed and Bagged) is a weekly meme, inspired my The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie, where we share with you the books that we have bought, borrowed or bagged (won or gifted) plus a recap of the previous week’s reviews, upcoming reviews, on going events and book movie or television news. 

BB&B is an homage Barron’s Books & Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s smash hit series, Fever. 

Bagged
from publishers

Giving Thanks This Black Friday!

Posting my BB&B for this week early… As you all know it was Thanksgiving here in the U.S. yesterday hence the super slow blog week. I was on a food coma, per usual, and alternated between stuffing my face with food and reading. I stayed in my PJs all day so I’ll be unencumbered moving from my bed to the dining table. I hope y’all’s week was great, we’re back to regular programming moving forward.

So here’s a Peter Pan origins story, PAN, it looks really good and it’s like Oliver Twist meets Neverland. The cast is solid as well as the special effects. PAN hits theaters 7.17.15

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NOTE: There’s a new linky created for this year and please note that you have to use your LABEL links (i.e. book haul) on the form below NOT the post link.

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Suped Up: The King by Tiffany Reisz

Series: The Original Sinners 6 | The White Years 2

Format: eGalley
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Erotica

BLURB:
Cunning. Sex. Pure nerve. Only this unholy threesome can raise him to his rightful place as a ruler of Manhattan’s kink kingdom.

Bouncing from bed to bed on the Upper East Side, Kingsley Edge is brilliant, beautiful and utterly debauched. No carnal act or chemical compound can relieve his self-destructive heartache—only Søren, the one person he loves without limit or regret. A man he can never have, but in whose hands Kingsley is reborn to attain even greater heights of sin.

Kingsley’s plan to open the ultimate BDSM club—a dungeon playground for New York’s A-list—becomes his obsession. His expertise in domination can’t subdue the one man who wants to stop him. The enigmatic Reverend Fuller won’t rest until King’s dream is destroyed, and so the battle lines are set; it’s one man’s sacred mission against another’s.

QUOTABLE QUOTES:
Rich people don’t look rich. When you have enough money, you don’t have to impress anyone. – Kingsley

It hurts coming back to life. It’s brutal, dirty business…It’s never easy-resurrection. It’s violent and it hurts. -Soren

Every time I see a Tiffany Reisz release I get excited. She’s my addiction and her books are like Christmas morning to me. To say that I’m fangirling over THE KING is an understatement and you know it’s serious when GIFs are busted out like this…
For all intents and purposes, THE KING is how the 8th Circle (which is a joke at the expense of the priest), Kingley’s exclusive BDSM Club, came to be or as Mr. Edge puts it, how Søren saved his life yet again. Suffice to say that it’s a colorful and sensual backstory filled with beautiful people, Jesus freaks, hypocrites, and the staple pleasure and pain. Like every other The Original Sinners novel, THE KING is yet another unconventional love story, it’s touching, pure, and horrific all at the same time. TReisz word not mine, she said she writes horror and one can look at it that way, I know a lot of you didn’t quite warm up to The Siren.
Of TReisz unholy trinity, Kingsley Edge is my favorite. Though I have a girl crush on Nora, awed by Søren, Kingsley holds the tenderest part of my heart. I don’t know why exactly, I think it’s his reliability that endeared him to me the most. Everyone took their sabbatical, licked their wounds, and done their own shit but Kingsley is the only person who remained constant throughout, he’s the glue that holds everyone together and IMO the person who truly loved unconditionally. It takes a big heart and an even bigger person to love equally (like loving Nora as much as he loved Søren) without feeling jealous or possessive. Kingsley is like Nora in some ways, his approach to love is innocent and trusting and it takes a lot to lose that love once he bestows it on you.
It’s also worth noting that The White Years seems to have more plot and less sex compared to The Read Years. No complaints here, I’ll take what I can get as far as TReisz is concerned, but I want to underline that observation because it matters especially if I’m trying to convince y’all to pick up and read The Original Sinners. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some pretty vicious sexy scenes in the past couple of books but if I were to quantify it, it’s lessened significantly. Personally it doesn’t take away from the story, it’s equally powerful like the The Red Years but in a more emotional way.
I know The Original Sinners can be a tough read but since this quadrilogy, The White Years, precedes The Red Years in terms of timelines, you might benefit from reversing the order and reading this first, ease yourself to TReisz brand of erotica and slowly work yourself up to The Red Years which some people consider dark erotica because of its hardcore BDSM elements. I guess The Original Sinners can be considered and acquired taste, then again I always veer off conformity so Kingsley & Co. has and always will be a perfect match for me.

The Novella & Serial

The Red Years
The White Years

Liked It: Her Lone Wolf by Paige Tyler

Series: X-Ops 2
Format: ARC
Release Date: November 4, 2014 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: Publisher
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Leaving him was Impossible…

It took everything she had for FBI Special Agent Danica Beckett to walk away from the man she loved. But if she wants to save his life, she has to keep her distance. Now, with a killer on the loose and the stakes higher than ever before, the Department of Covert Ops is forcing these former lovers into an uneasy alliance…whether they like it or not.

Seeing her again is even worse

The last thing Clayne Buchanan wants is to be shackled to the woman who broke his heart. She gets under his skin in a way no one ever has and makes him want things he has no right to anymore. All he has to do is suffer through this case and he can be free of her for good. But when Clayne finds out why Danica left in the first place, everything he’s tried to bury comes roaring back—and there’s no way this wolf shifter is going to take no for an answer this time.

Originally published at Romance@Random

HER LONE WOLF continued the hybrid experiment plot arc that started in Her Perfect Mate, with Ivy, Landon, Clayne, and now Danica and the rest of the DCO hot on the heels of the mad scientists who are turning humans into shifters. The villains are proving to be slippery because they’re nowhere near nabbing the bad guys. While this is underway, Clayne and Danica reunite to catch a werecat shifter serial killer that ended in a jaw dropping twist. HER LONE WOLF by Paige Tyler is brimming with suspense, packed with action, and the thrill of the chase will keep you flipping the pages in fervor.
I’m a big fan of romantic suspense and there’s an abundance of that in HER LONE WOLF. The fast pace of the story matched the intense and at times awkward reunion between Clayne and Danica. Their chemistry is obvious and the couple of years that they’ve been apart just made things more urgent and intense between the two. What’s sad is that their break-up was caused by office politics and miscommunication which they swiftly resolved in this volume. 
I like Danica, she’s steadfast and a capable heroine. She didn’t wail, moan, and dwelled about the past and straightened things out with Clayne when the perfect opportunity arose. As for Clayne, he’s the perfect Alpha, tender yet intimidating, and very loyal. However I had a hard time connecting with Clayne and suspending disbelief over his passion and devotion to Danica. He went after Ivy so hard in Her Perfect Mate I couldn’t believe he’s been hung up on Danica all this time. On a more personal note, Clayne on the cover isn’t really my type so that added to my detachment. Cover whore much? Yyup!! LOL 
Overall I enjoyed HER LONE WOLF, the pace was great, never a dull moment and the serial killer really had me gripping my copy hard. The smexy is scorching and I really love the straightforward reconciliation between Clayne and Danica, PTyler didn’t add too much angst between the two even if their initial break-up was nothing but stupid office politics with a side of blackmail. Btw, it seems some of their higher ups are involved in something dirty and I can’t wait to see how that’s going to unfold. Lastly the main thread regarding the experiments and the elusive mad doctors have me piqued and itching for more. Genius villains are the best IMO and I want to know who’s behind it and how far and deep their reach is. 
HER LONE WOLF is a solid follow up to the X-Ops series. The chase, action-adventure, and romance thrilled me and the paranormal aspect added a gritty sheen to the tale. There’s nothing like fangs and claws with a hint of fur to make things hairy right? So if you’re a fan of romantic suspense with or without the supernatural, you’ll enjoy PTyler’s X-Ops series, satisfaction guaranteed.

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged #127 + Cinderella

BB&B (Bought, Borrowed and Bagged) is a weekly meme, inspired my The Story Siren and Pop Culture Junkie, where we share with you the books that we have bought, borrowed or bagged (won or gifted) plus a recap of the previous week’s reviews, upcoming reviews, on going events and book movie or television news. 

BB&B is an homage Barron’s Books & Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s smash hit series, Fever. 

Bagged
from publishers

Big & Small

So what do you all think of this upcoming CINDERELLA adaptation? I was hoping it’ll be darker much like the original tale. From the looks of it it’s a live action movie of the Disney version. CINDERELLA hits theaters 3.13.15

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win a $100 GC & Bondage Kit
ends 11.21
win Amazon GC’s
ends 11.24
win swag packs
ends 11.24
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NOTE: There’s a new linky created for this year and please note that you have to use your LABEL links (i.e. book haul) on the form below NOT the post link.

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Disliked It: Illusion by J.S. Cooper

Series: Swept Away 1

Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher 
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Indie sensation and New York Times bestselling author of the Ex Games series and the Private Club series, J.S. Cooper introduces the Swept Away series—three new, dark and sexy romances about a woman marooned on a desert island with a mysterious stranger—but is he friend or foe?

The day started like every other day…

Bianca London finds herself kidnapped and locked up in a van with a strange man. Ten hours later, they’re dumped on a deserted island. Bianca has no idea what’s going on and her attraction to this stranger is the only thing keeping her fear at bay.

Jakob Bradley wants only to figure out why they’ve been left on the island and how they can get off. But as the days go by, he can’t ignore his growing fascination with Bianca.

In order to survive, Bianca and Jakob must figure out how they’re connected, but as they grow closer, secrets are revealed that may destroy everything they thought they knew about each other. (less)



And my story time adventure continues, today J.S. Cooper’s ILLUSION is next on the chopping block. It promises a tension filled romantic suspense that involves conspiracy theories, abductions, and getting trapped in a deserted island. At first glance ILLUSION is the kind of mayhem I crave for unfortunately it seems my reading streak is semi jinxed because I did not like this at all. But let’s start with the positives.
What I liked about ILLUSION is the mystery regarding Bianca London and her parents. Her mother died in a car crash which according to her father was no accident but an assassination. Bianca’s father was an inventor of a few hit devices unfortunately his former business partners, now called Bradley Inc., cheated him out of his patents and financial compensation. These things had Bianca investigating the situation with the hopes of getting to the bottom of the shadiness and hopefully claim what’s rightfully hers and her father’s.
This premise made ILLUSION such a fast read for me, in the first 60 pages the stage has been set, Bianca has been abducted, and found herself with a couple of strangers in a deserted island. Once in the island the taunting continued, notes and riddled clues were left every so often and that constant nefarious presence lurking in the shadows had me bracing for the next strike.
That said my dislikes outweighed my likes. Like what I said on Goodreads, ILLUSION has a severe case of TSTL (thanks Sophia of Delighted Reader for educating me on the politically correct term to use for situations like this) and readers should proceed with caution. *rolls up sleeves*

  1. The blurb contains spoilers.
  2. It was easy to figure out who the bad guy is because the prologue was spoilery too. Why bother with the mystery in the first place? Smh!
  3. There were a few redundancies especially in the beginning. Too much use of the same word in a single paragraph it was maddening!
  4. You get abducted and find yourself in a deserted island and only God knows where you are. Instead of trying to figure things out, Bianca was preoccupied flirting and getting it on with the handsome stranger, Jakob Bradley, whom she previously sort of met in a cafe early on in the story. I get the purpose distracting oneself in the middle of a stressful situation but it’s obvious that Bianca’s priority is somewhat skewed.
  5. Let’s walk around the island in our underwear because it should be sexy. Meanwhile our clothes are okay and can be worn intermittently throughout the day. I liked in a tropical island and I’m VERY surprised that Bianca and Jakob didn’t get malaria or dengue fever or any other disease induced by insect bites. I guess their hot bodies worked like Off lotion, we need to bottle that shit out then and send it to Africa, Haiti, etc.
  6. There was a shack somewhere in the island and maybe for the purpose of bringing the sexy factor in, Bianca and Jakob preferred to sleep on the beach regardless of the weather conditions. If you found some sort of a shelter wouldn’t you grab the opportunity and camp there instead? Protect you from the elements?
  7. Lastly, and I just griped about this a while ago, let’s skip the condom because I’m clean. Yup, you take the word of a virtual stranger who admitted that he’s been around the block a few times, after all venereal diseases are easy to cure much like the common cold right? In connection to this, Bianca supposedly has intimacy issues but Jakob’s magic tongue and penis cured her of whatever issues she had concerning sex.
  8. And the cherry on top, Bianca proves she has a bad case of TSTL so when her house of cards finally fell she has nobody to blame but herself and her stupid vagina.
ILLUSION ended in a cliffhanger althoug it’s a cliffie only when it matters right? Yeah I don’t care to know what the motive is behind this experiment. I’m sure Jakob will manage to sweet talk Bianca and because she can’t live without his sexual prowess, she’ll convince herself that this psycho is a good catch.

Disliked It: Veil of Time by Claire R. McDougall

Series: Stand-alone

Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Literary Fiction | Time Travel

A compelling tale of two Scotlands-one modern, one ancient-and the woman who parts the veil between them.

The medication that treats Maggie’s seizures leaves her in a haze, but it can’t dull her grief at losing her daughter to the same condition. With her marriage dissolved and her son away at school, Maggie retreats to a cottage below the ruins of Dunadd, once the royal seat of Scotland. But is it fantasy or reality when she awakens in a bustling village within the massive walls of eighth-century Dunadd? In a time and place so strange yet somehow familiar, Maggie is drawn to the striking, somber Fergus, brother of the king and father of Illa, who bears a keen resemblance to Maggie’s late daughter. With each dreamlike journey to the past, Maggie grows closer to Fergus and embraces the possibility of staying in this Dunadd. But with present-day demands calling her back, can Maggie leave behind the Scottish prince who dubs her mo chridhe, my heart?



I’ve been in the mood for something different lately and VEIL OF TIMEby Claire R. McDougall was screaming at me to finally give it a shot especially as it’s been sitting on my shelf for the longest time. I’ll be honest, my sole motivation for reading this is it’s shameless comparison to Diana Gabaldon’s hit series, Outlander, following its formula of time travel, Scotland, men in kilts, a conflicted woman. Unfortunately it did not live up to its promise IMO, though the premise is promising the actual plot was droll and at times even outrageous I had a hard time suspending disbelief.
I’ll start with the time travel explanation which I could accept because VEIL OF TIME after all is a fantasy so anything goes in that regard. The short of it is Maggie was able to transport herself back to 8th century Dunadd because it’s Samhain and her epileptic episodes was her mode of travel. However Maggie is slated for an operation soon which will cure her of the disease but in exchange for a clean bill of health, she won’t be able to take casual trips back in 8th century. This conundrum was made even more difficult after Maggie fell in love with Fergus, the King of Dunadd’s brother. Again I can deal with this, it can be a legit myth and conflict, I mean I’ve read and engaged in various impossible and sometimes ridiculous plots involving several otherworldly creatures and IMO this is no different.
In present day Maggie found a confidante in her neighbor, Jim, a geezer and local historian. First she started asking dear old Jim random but specific questions about Dunadd which Jim entertained. Eventually she confessed that she was able to travel back and forth in time during her epileptic episodes and here is where part of my problem lies. Jim just took it in stride and didn’t really question this anomaly. No skepticism, no proof of validation, nothing of the sort, he just took it as fact and became Maggie’s pseudo babysitter when she has her attacks. Ha! A very illogical response from an intellection don’t you think?
VEIL OF TIME didn’t work for me for a few reasons. First is it’s lack of tension and ebbs and tides that could’ve made this one great adventure. There was no palpable romantic tension between Maggie and Fergus, they meet, got curious, felt attraction, hopped in a cot, screwed, fell in love, and never want to part. It was one straight line which is a shame because their impossible love story is the core of the novel.
Also Dunadd is in the cusp of a catastrophe the likes of their existence will be wiped out from history. The constant alternation between past and present prevented this part of the story to be developed. The height of this arc is Maggie warning Fergus and his tribe of the oncoming assault, basically trying to change the past in order to save them. Yeah that didn’t work well either. On a side note, I don’t know why Maggie would want to stay in Dunadd, I understand that McDougall is trying to give an authentic air to this time but it was so authentic that it became unappealing. Yucky stew with mystery meat, unwashed bodies, people speaking Gaelic, and so on and so forth. There’s nothing remotely romantic about this era and it would be a no brainer for me choosing between my health and Fergus.
So yes, this little reading experiment was a bust and believe me I tried to at least like VEIL OF TIME which was why I finished it instead of calling DNF. Obviously I’m not the right reader for this literary fantasy, I guess I’ve been pre-conditioned by countless PNR/UF novels that stories like this should come with different highs, it was too tame for my crazy palate.


Suped Up: I Belong To You by Lisa Renee Jones

Series: Inside Out 5

Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Erotic Suspense

Master…

Being that person, that man is how I define myself, how I allow the rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her.

Have you ever found yourself loving someone you were so bent on hating? Sucks musky hairy balls right? Like you want to gag but it’s so good you don’t want to let it go. Yup, that disgusting metaphor is what I BELONG TO YOU by Lisa Renee Jones did to me courtesy of the enigmatic, Mark Compton.

I’ll cut to the chase, when I started this series I have no love for Mark, I’ve made up my mind about the man early on and decided he’s a creep. However LRJones with her unending plot twists and turns decided to make Mr. Compton likable, heck lovable even! So much so that I want a solid spanking from the indomitable Mark Compton and it will be my pleasure to do so.

What can I tell you? I BELONG TO YOU can be read as stand-alone but if you’re following the series and have read Mark’s novellas, this is the culmination of his courtship with Crystal, the only woman he can’t make submit the way he wanted her to. Or can’t he? I love the tug of war between these two, Mark and his kink, Crystal and her vanilla ways. I found myself empathizing with Crystal from a romantic standpoint. I’m boringly vanilla but all I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar and I think I’ too would have a problem signing that infamous contract relinquishing control to someone when I’m most vulnerable. At the same time I sort of get where Mark is coming from, BDSM for him isn’t a frivolity, it’s a necessity, it’s his way of processing emotions, intimacy, etc. so it was a conundrum.

Of course they managed to figure it out, it was painstaking and it turned out to be such an emotional and affecting love story. There was some tension-filled back and forth between the two, the catharsis was difficult but necessary for them to meet in the middle. All I can say is Mark’s at the right place at the right time, he’s vulnerable in a lot of ways from Rebecca’s death and his mother’s battle with cancer and these things made him realize a lot of things. One can say that it opened the cold chambers of his heart and Crystal was available to help him warm it up. I so love the conclusion of this arc, it made me aww and squee!

As for the Rebecca’s murder, the investigation is still ongoing and Mark is still a point of interest. The press is hitting him left and right not to mention many attempts to his reputation and life including Crystal’s. LRJones has a knack for inserting thrilling situations like harassment, assault, bomb threats, perfectly timed devices to give us a well rounded suspenseful erotica. So you get a lot of BANG for your buck… Bang! Get it?

Anyway, I BELONG TO YOU is a masterful, heart pounding, sexy installment. I’m imagining this particular novel being played out on TV as the series is being developed by Starz, and if they do it right, it’ll be one heck of a show that I’m sure a lot of people will get addicted to. I’m so happy that the books didn’t stop after the third one as originally planned, I love the series so much and the story just keeps on expanding as more secrets are revealed and more players are roped in to this romantic but at times, sordid tale. Can’t wait!

The Novels
The Novellas
 

Sarez say Suped Up: First Debt by Pepper Winters Blog Tour and Giveaway

First Debt (Indebted, #2)Series: Indebted #2

Format: Arc
Release Date: 12th November 2014
Publisher: Author
Source: Arc
Genre: Erotic Romance


“You say I’ll never own you. If I win—you willingly give me that right. You sign not only the debt agreement, but another—one that makes me your master until your last breath is taken. You do that, and I’ll give you this.”
Nila Weaver’s family is indebted. Stolen, taken, and bound not by monsters but by an agreement written over six hundred years ago, she has no way out.

She belongs to Jethro as much as she denies it.

Jethro Hawk’s patience is running out. His inheritance gift tests, challenges, and surprises him—and not in good ways. He hasn’t leashed her but he thinks he might’ve found a way to bind her forever.
Debts are mounting. Payment waiting.




 

 

Well there is so much I wish to say about this book. It was all I could hope for and more but none of this was surprising because of the fact is was written by the one and only Pepper Winters. I make no secret that Pepper is my number one go to author. She is brilliantly gifted and an absolute treasure in the book world. I have been a massive fan since I read Tears of Tess and have bought every single book she has published upon release, and the paperbacks. If you don’t know or have never read one of her books I would say do so now. She is known for her dark romances, so if dark is not your cup of tea it may not be for you but I would also say at least try Tears of Tess. Anyway onto my review.

  This series is a killer. Designed to be a serial but with full length novels, Pepper packs so many twists and turns it’s likely to make your head spin, if not explode. Especially once you get to the end and realise you still don’t know anything even though you thought you did. I absolutely adored the first book in this series and I may post my review from that later on at some point. 

The gist of the story is this. Nila Weaver’s and Jethro Hawk’s families go way back, like hundreds of years back, where something happened between the two families. There was law involved and so the debt was written. Weaver daughters were owed to Hawks for ever. And let me tell you, The Hawk men are not very nice. Actually even that is being kind. they are cruel, heartless and ruthless and they have Nila, just as they had her mother and her grandmother and so on and so forth. I am happy to say that what took place in this book gave me hope for the main characters. The first one I was left wondering how Jethro would redeem himself, not that he completely redeemed himself, but there was enough to allow me a glimmer of hope. Then there are more questions raised as more characters reveal themselves, and more secrets get discovered.

With Pepper’s work, especially this particular book you have to read every word carefully as I quickly discovered.She is a masterful author and has such a gift with words that she can write the most abhorrent scenes and characters and still make it all sound beautiful.You just to have faith while Pepper deconstructs and rebuilds her characters, because I can guarantee you will not like Jethro but there will always be some kind of Happy at the end.  

 


Excerpt #1

A small gasp fell from my lips as his fingers kissed the paper-thin skin. His eyes held me hostage. The golden brown was now a swirling bronze, raging with the same demanding hunger I knew reflected in mine.

“This sort of reminds me of the forest,” I whispered. “The trees around us—no one else.” My words fell like petals, waiting for Jethro to crush them beneath his glossy shoe.

But…he didn’t.

Tracing one hand from my wrist, along the inside of my arm, and right to my throat, he fisted my ponytail. With intensity that stripped my soul to the very essence of who I was, he pulled my head back slowly, sensually, full of sexual power.

His eyes dropped to my mouth. “I’ll let you in on a little secret, Ms. Weaver.”

I panted, my neck straining against his hold, but I made no move to break the poignant awareness.

“You won that night, but I lied when I said it pissed me off.” His mouth dropped, his tongue licked my bottom lip with the barest of grazes.

 

Excerpt #2

My stomach churned with the promise.

I will make him love me.

My conviction wasn’t flimsy or half-hearted.

And then I’ll destroy him.

 

Excerpt #3

And, if I was honest, they’d transformed me into the same kind of creature. Someone who had evolved from a single dimension and now lived with so many avenues of personalities.

I was still the quiet, vertigo-stricken girl from London, but I was also the woman who liked being tormented, who thrived on a fight, and who thirsted for sex.

And that stupefied me.

 

 
 
 
First Debt (Book Two) Indebted Series
“You say I’ll never own you. If I win—you willingly give me that right. You sign not only the debt agreement, but another—one that makes me your master until your last breath is taken. You do that, and I’ll give you this.”
Nila Weaver’s family is indebted. Stolen, taken, and bound not by monsters but by an agreement written over six hundred years ago, she has no way out.
She belongs to Jethro as much as she denies it.
Jethro Hawk’s patience is running out. His inheritance gift tests, challenges, and surprises him—and not in good ways. He hasn’t leashed her but he thinks he might’ve found a way to bind her forever.
Debts are mounting. Payment waiting.
 
 


Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex… her books have sex.

She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.

Her Dark Erotica books include:

Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1)
Quintessentially Q (Monsters in the Dark #2)

Her Grey Romance books include:

Destroyed

 STALK Pepper:

 

 

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Signed Swag Packs (2 Winners)


 
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Suped Up Feature: Where There’s A Will by Stacy Gail + Giveaway

Where There’s A Will
Bitterhorn Texas 4
Stacy Gail
November 17, 2014
Carina Press
Contemporary Romance

Miranda Brookhaven returned to Bitterthorn, Texas to fix the past. Years ago, her father used her teenage romance with Coe Rodas to steal the prototype for a groundbreaking new automotive invention. Now her father’s dead, and thanks to the convoluted will he left behind, she’s stuck in town until she rights the wrong that lost her the man she loved.

Coe learned early on that life never goes according to plan. His dreams of hitting it big vanished when Miranda all but invited her father to take the only thing of value he ever had. But now the once-pampered princess is holed up in a condemned trailer on the edge of town…and everything he thought he knew about her—and about what happened between them back then—seems completely wrong.

Miranda’s determined to give back to Coe all that he lost. If she can do that, maybe she can move on from the past. But Coe seems to be more interested in their rekindled passion than claiming what she thinks he deserves. She’s got sixty days to convince him to cough up evidence that he’s the original inventor—after that, the only way to transfer the patent rights over to him would be to make him part of the family, and she’s not sure her heart can take another hit.

Before I begin, I’d like to thank Braine for allowing me to hop onto her blog to gab a bit about WHERE THERE’S A WILL, my latest release with Carina Press, and what usually goes on in the Gail household this time of year. Thank you so much, Braine! *hugs*

Anytime, Stacy, I wuv you!!

Five Things I could SERIOUSLY Do 
Without This Holiday Season

I’m the family’s holiday elf. The cookie baker, the tree-trimmer, the one who figures out the seating arrangements during Thanksgiving and Christmas so there’s no bloodshed. Yep, that’s me. I go the whole nine yards, from inflating the Snoopy snow globe on the front lawn, to stocking up on cranberry sauce and dried bread cubes like some weird holiday-themed prepper. I love it all!

Actually, I don’t love it all. Most of it, but not ALL of it. For instance:

  1. If It’s Not Any Trouble: Why does this phrase exist? Usually when someone says it, they KNOW they’re asking a lot of a person who’s just as busy as they are. I eliminated this phrase (at least I hope I did) when it was said to me one too many times a few Christmases back. A relative (who shall remain nameless) knew I was going to the post office to mail off some cards. She asked if I could mail off her stuff too, since I was already going. I stupidly agreed… and got loaded down with THREE HEAVY BOXES. So… let’s do the math, shall we? If you take 1 busy person and add 3 heavy boxes to handle on her own, plus sticking her with the shipping cost (almost $80), how many people does it take to keep that person from committing justifiable homicide?
  2. Are We There YET???: I will NEVER travel during Thanksgiving again. EVER. The one time I had to travel, everything went wrong. Mechanical problems with the plane had us sitting on the tarmac for three hours with every crying baby IN THE WORLD, and I missed all of my connecting flights (of course). When I finally did arrive at my destination, I did so without luggage. It got lost and stayed lost—I eventually wound up going to that Thanksgiving dinner wearing borrowed shoes and no underwear. Ah, memories.
  3. Ambrosia…Not: I’m a huge fan of Thanksgiving food (and I get huger with each passing holiday meal, heh 😉 ). For days the womenfolk in my family prep for this, and I love the camaraderie. There used to be one tiny dark cloud on my horizon, though. When I was very little, my grandmother’s ambrosia salad was, in my opinion, the worst thing ever concocted in the history of cooking. She’d put whole cranberries through a grinder, then nuts, then golden currants, then grapes. Now, don’t get me wrong—I understand putting cranberries through this process. Those buggers are tough. But everything else? It’s like food that’s already been chewed. It’s not even food. It’s food paste. When my grandma passed away, the recipe went with her, and it’s been many years since her version of ambrosia salad hit the Thanksgiving table… but it’ll be back this year. ***voice of doom*** My mother found her mother’s recipe box.***/voice of doom*** My mom can’t wait to make it, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m going to suddenly develop an allergy to nuts. 😦
  4. DAMN IT, IS IT STRAIGHT OR NOT?!: Ugh, that phrase… *shudders* The day after Thanksgiving means Black Friday (and yes, I AM one of those ninja warriors who’s up pillaging at 4:00 AM :D). But in my house, it also means it’s time to put up the tree. Decorating the tree is MY job. I have over 400 ornaments that I lovingly unwrap, hang, then re-wrap for the next year (again with the elf behavior). But I don’t put the tree in the stand. Oh, no. THAT’S A MAN’S JOB. And the tree is Never. Freaking. Straight. Every man I’ve ever had in my life, from my father to boyfriends, insist that the tree is crooked. “Is it straight?” they ask. I look at it. “Looks fine to me.” They back up and turn purple with frustration. “How can you call that straight? It’s about to fall over!!” (It’s not about to fall over, OMG) This goes on… and on… until everyone’s snapping at everyone. And the tree still isn’t straight, because by now they’ve gotten it totally out of whack. I’ve gotten smart about this, though. Nowadays I leave the men to it and instruct them to have the tree up by the time I’m done shopping. Then I call up my Dirty Birdie girl posse, and we go out for a coffee gabfest while the men work themselves into a frenzy. It’s the only way to deal.
  5. Holiday Sweaters: This last one is kind of fun, actually. I like everything holiday-related… except the clothes. I have probably half a dozen Christmas-themed sweaters in my closet that I’ve never worn, because really… how can you wear a sweater decorated with reindeer doing a Rockette-style kickline with any amount of dignity? The answer: You can’t… unless you’re going to an UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER PARTY! *throws confetti* I went to one last year, and it was the bomb, y’all. There were prizes for everything—worst homemade sweater, worst placement of decorations on the sweater, overall worst sweater. Sadly, my penguin sweater didn’t win anything (I even had matching penguin earrings, darn it!), but I’ve got hope for this year. I found one that uses batteries to light up a Christmas tree appliqué. Booyah! 😀

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, there are going to be pissy little moments that make you twitchy-eyed. It’s unavoidable. But whenever you want to gripe about battling holiday traffic to pick up relatives at the airport, or you’re trying desperately not to fall asleep during the pre-K version of the Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving in the New World, take a breath. These are actually the good times. Find the happiness of the moment; that’s the key to making the holidays a wonderful experience year after year.

Well… that, and remembering to run the moment someone starts a sentence with, “If it’s not too much trouble.” 😉

The moment he came within reach, she dug her fingers into the rough wool of his coat and tugged him into a kiss. A world of revenge was packed into it—a need to tantalize with the alluring stroke of her tongue, determined to make him remember all that he’d thrown away by kicking her out of his life. She wanted him to suffer—to lie awake tonight and yearn for her, all the while knowing she was lost to him forever. She wanted to punish him with a lush pleasure that could never be his again.

More than anything, she wanted him to know the torment she’d carried inside for seven long years.
A rough sound growled deep in his throat, and she couldn’t tell whether it was a sound of warning or of pleasure as she nuzzled her lips against his to perfect the fit. His flavor was even better than she remembered, and for a heartbeat it transported her to a past where the world was perfect and the people in her life loved her as unstintingly as she loved them. That had been a beautiful life, but it had never been reality. It never would be, no matter how desperately she ached to bring that time back.

When she felt Coe’s arms lift to gather her closer, she hardened the heart he and her father had crushed so long ago, and pushed him away. And when she raised her eyes to his, she hoped he only saw icy fury there, and none of the bittersweet anguish she’d opened herself up to when she chose to punish him with a kiss.

A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.

Stalk Stacy!
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