Disliked It: Blush by Cherry Adair

Series: Standalone
Format: Mass Paperback
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Erotic Romance | Romantic Suspense

In the same pulse-pounding style as Maya Banks and Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair delivers a sizzling erotic romance about a sexy billionaire who’s on the run—and the hit-man-turned-handyman who’s supposed to kill her.

Sex with a stranger. Learn to drive. Learn to cook. Learn to pole dance. Sex under the stars. Buy a truck. These are just a few of the things on Amelia Wentworth’s bucket list, but as the CEO and face of a multi-billion-dollar cosmetic empire, she’s never quite found the time to do them.

Until, after a series of accidents, Amelia discovers that someone wants her dead. But who? And why? She has no time for questions as she changes her name to Mia, buys a secluded fixer-upper near the Louisiana bayou where no one will recognize her, and starts checking things off her bucket list like there’s no tomorrow—which there might not be.

Meanwhile, Cruz Barcelona is a hit man who’s promised himself this will be his last job. Then he’ll take the money and move to a warm, sunny place where he doesn’t have to hide anymore. But when Cruz goes undercover to Mia’s ramshackle house, he starts to realize there’s far more to this poor-little-rich-girl than he thought—and he starts to fall for her. Which is going to make his job a whole lot harder…

I’m starting to think that it’s me and not these novels! Seriously! It’s two weeks and my streak isn’t good. Far from it! And it’s my blogiversary month, this isn’t how I envisioned June to look like. Ugh! 
BLUSH is my first Cherry Adair novel and I was excited to pop this cherry. Another incentive is this novel is supposedly a sexy romantic suspense what with the hitman falling in love with his target. I mean that has to be a very sticky situation right? How do you even begin to NOT have a dysfuctional relationship with a person who planned to kill you at one point? So I’m excited to see how Amelia Wentworth and Cruz Barcelona are going to have their HEA. 
I don’t know how Amelia survived and lived to see another day because this lady has a mild (or maybe bad) case of TSTL. Amelia had several assassination attempts made on her life which forced her to go into hiding. What I don’t understand is this: Amelia knows someone’s out to get her and though she’s hiding in a podunk town in Louisiana, she doesn’t have security, no bodyguards, hired people to help her renovate her house with zero background checks. If I escaped poisoning, staged car accidents, and shoot-out, and an elevator falling down, I think I’d be super paranoid and live inside Pentagon or go undergound, like literally. 
How did she meet Cruz? So one night, Amelia hired an escort from the internet to service her. Cruz intercepted this and without asking for any identification or confirmation, she let Cruz inside her house and had him fluck her brains out. Then Cruz managed to finagle a handyman position with not even an ID or any verification on his end, even fake, to convince Amelia that he’s not the assassin! 
There’s more but I’ll stop there. I guess y’all get the picture and sort of understand where my frustration is coming from. In as far as the suspense part this book promised, it already got an F for me at this point. 
As for the romance? As Cruz continues to boink Amelia to exhaustion, he’s still plotting to kill her in the back of his head. To “justify” Cruz’s killer instinct, he only goes after the bad guys. In this case, he thinks Amelia is guilt of child labor in China and deserves to be put down. But as this is a romance, he naturally fell for her. Well it’s hot, pages and pages of sex. I’m not one to shy away from erotic reads, but I want the plot to have substance. When the big reveal happened, after which Cruz managed to redeem himself, everything was just glazed over. Like HELLO! I know this is HEA and all but let’s make it believable at least! I mean how can you act like it was just a simple deception and still be with the guy when (1) he was hired to kill you and got $7.5M for it, and/or (2) the dude killed a LOT of people. It doesn’t matter if they deserved it or not, the one who hired him can out him. Do you realize what it’ll do to your business?! The same business that motivated your enemy to put a hit on you? The same business you were willing to DIE for?! 
I’m sorry to nitpick, I’m just very disappointed that BLUSH isn’t the fantastic read I was expecting it to be. I can deal with an average read, I draw the line on “fantasy”passing itself as contemporary romance. The conflict-resolution broke this camel’s back and I’m sure you can sense how prissy I am as I write this novel. I think I’ll have better luck with CAdair’s PNR novels, at least when something silly comes up, I can always charge it to its paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy qualities.

Talk Supe

Loved It: With Visions of Red by Trisha Wolfe

Series: Broken Bonds 1
Format: Mobi
Release Date: May 7, 2015
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Recommended By: Naomi’s Paranormal Palace
Genre: Erotic Thriller | BDSM

Criminal profiler Sadie Bonds knows blood. Her affair with the gruesome, dark world of killers began long before she started applying her analytical skills to investigate gory crime scenes. She gets inside the killers’ heads, breaks them down, relates to them on an arcane level. She prefers it this way—because it’s safer to ally herself with the villain than the victim. At least, that’s how she’s coped ever since she was abducted and tortured as a teen.

She will never be a victim again.

Now, she’s honed her skills in order to bring justice to these ritualistic offenders. Working alongside her colleagues, armed with sharp wit and a SIG, Sadie always catches her sadist. Until one ruthless serial killer gets inside Sadie’s head, turning the tables. He knows her secrets. Her obsessions. The darkest, most deviant part of her soul.

When she meets Colton Reed, dangerous stakes are raised as he threatens to unravel her control and reveal her darkest fantasies. The sexy-as-sin bondage rigger at an exclusive BDSM club pushes her boundaries, forcing her to acknowledge that side of herself she fears. Plunged into a realm of torture and suffering, pain and pleasure, Sadie balances on the razor-sharp edge of two intersecting worlds threatening to swallow her.

Passion and lust ignite. Dark and light battle. This explosive first installment of the Broken Bonds series sets the exhilarating pace for a cat and mouse game where no one knows who’s really pulling the strings.

Yet another dark and twisted novel here at Talk Supe. I hope I’m not starting to scare you off with my choices. 
Anyways…
It was love at first sight for me and WITH VISIONS OF RED by Trisha Wolfe. That cover with the bound girl, the blood splatters, and that evocative blurb just called out to me like a lover. Again, please don’t be creeped out. I’m just so desensitized by the usual sappy stuff that I find myself responding more to the extremes: romantic thrillers or the clean bubble gum romances. The ones in between hasn’t been working for me much lately. 
WITH VISIONS OF RED didn’t disappoint. Sadie Bonds is a kidnap-rape survivor, however she didn’t walk away from that harrowing experienced unscathed. Her unforgettable ordeal screwed up her sexual appetite which explains her taste for bondage. Now a criminal profiler, Sadie’s working on a serial killer case whose style is very reminiscent of Countess Bathory. The 16th century serial killer dubbed as a vampire? Yeah, that crazy bitch has a fan in our century.
So this case. The murders are bringing up some of Sadie’s past traumas to the surface, setting her on edge. But it seems nobody knows Sadie’s past so she bottles it up until it runneth over. As luck would have it, Sadie’s case led her to Colton Reed. Magnetic and handsome, Colton is a Shibari (Japanese rope play) enthusiast/practicioner/master, just what Sadie needed. And as these two were kindred spirits, it didn’t take long before they did the whole Shibari rodeo with Colton tying up Sadie like some prized livestock much to the latter’s delight. 
WITH VISIONS OF RED worked for me not just because of Sadie’s side of the story. Let’s face it, survivor tales are fascinating. Witnessing someone try to live a normal life while the nightmare follows you in every waking moment, or is summoned by the most trivial of things, can be intimidating. Learning how someone navigates that and overcomes it is an instant draw for most people, myself included. I want to know how Sadie progressed from a victim to now a criminal profiler and how she’s managing to merge these two points in her life.
The biggest hook for me here is TWolfe provides us with the killer’s POV. So there’s this cops-and-robbers dance going on here. The perp and Sadie doing this delicate dance filled with tension and foreboding. Then it breaks, and Sadie starts second guessing herself, her objectivity flies out of the window with the perspective of the story shifting with it. So is Sadie sleeping with the enemy? But it couldn’t be Colton right? Because despite WITH VISIONS OF RED being an erotic thriller, it’s still a romance and romance novels guarantees HEA. Right???
Well that’s still up in the air right now. Personally I hope TWolfe swings the gauntlet sideways, not that I want Sadie to endure more than what she already had, I just want to up the ante and be kept guessing. The only thing that had me holding that 5th cauldron to my chest is the lack of forensics here. All the evidence fingering Colton as a suspect are all circumstantial. Sadie’s in a bad place now and she want to be safe so paint Colton as the bad guy so she can walk away without any problem whatsoever. 
But I don’t want it to be that way *whines*!
Seriously, I hope the next installment has more damning evidence to make the situation less convenient and truly a super bad situation. You can do erotic thriller half-ass, you got to go all the way in. Take no prisoners. Spare nobody. 
So TWolfe, if you’re reading this, raise some hell. Make us angry. Go crazy. Be a fucking sadist, whip our asses until we bleed then give us a good bookgasm in the end. We deserve it.

Talk Supe

Suped Up: The Way Home & Running Blind by Cindy Gerard

 
The Way Home | Running Blind
Cindy Gerard
One-Eyed Jacks 2 & 3
October 29, 2014 | February 24, 2015
Gallery Books | Pocket Books
Romantic Suspense-Military
And to think I almost skipped Cindy Gerard! Oh what a crying shame if I actually did! See, I got THE WAY HOME last year, but because I wasn’t feeling romantic suspense at that time (really I didn’t know who CGerard is. Ignorant, right?), I conveniently put it in a box and forgot all about it. Thank the book gods for Spring Cleaning otherwise these gems would be sitting ignored and I would’ve missed out on something truly awesome.
One-Eyed Jacks series is a spin-off of CGerard’s other series, The Bodyguards followed by Black Ops Inc.. None of which I’ve read, including the first Jack book, Killing Time. It didn’t damper my interest for these though, nor did I feel lost in the story. CGerard provided brief backstories about the characters and previous events so I was pretty much filled in. 
THE WAY HOME is my favorite of the two, and one of the best military romantic suspense I’ve read in possibly EVER! The story was two-fold, one part was stateside involving Jess, a widow, and her sweet romance with former military man, Tyler Brown. Unbeknownst to Jess, her husband J.R. is still alive in Afghanistan, but severely injured, has amnesia, and PTSD. J.R. is being nursed and hidden from the Taliban by, Rabia, an Afghan whom he has fallen in love with. Jess and Tyler were made aware of the situation while planning their wedding, and as if this wasn’t enough, Tyler volunteered to help with J.R.’s rescue resulting to a heartpounding and nail biting military extraction complete with conspiracies, and other hair raising revelations.
As you can tell, THE WAY HOME‘s plot is beyond complex. I had anxiety over this love-square because it felt so unfair that these people had to deal with this, while feeling relieved that J.R. is alive and surviving the horrors of his campaign in Afghanistan. I was flying through the pages because I would like to know how the heck CGerard is going to untangle the kinks out of the situation. Obviously she did it brilliantly! Oh my poor heart was tugged, pulled and stretched in different directions. I felt like my chest did yoga because I was emotionally spent after reading this, but in a good way. I know the cover looks Christmasy, THE WAY HOME wasn’t overflowing with holiday stuff. The resolution just happened right around Christmas so the message about peace and harmony was more meaningful than the usual for the characters. 
RUNNING BLIND is totally different from The Way Home in that it’s less emotional, more action-packed, and adrenalin drenched. Here we have a gorgeous couple complete with model good looks, and brains & brawn to boot! It was lust at first sight for Jamie Cooper and Rhonda Burns, and out of professionalism, they tried to fight their attraction, but to no avail. Eventually they gave in and it was quite obvious that they belong together. 
I love the sinister plot of RUNNING BLIND. Aside from the MC’s POV, we’re also treated to the One-Eyed Jacks‘s would be assassin’s plot to kill the Jacks. I admit it was a little anti-climactic because we’re spared the guesswork of who the villain is. CGerard made up for this by providing us with high-powered chases involving Russian counter-intelligence, a secret project in Area 51, and a revenge plot that goes back as far as the Jack’s inception in the Middle East. There’s a lot of history involved here and past couples made powerful cameos that were really touching. I enjoyed Coop and Rhonda’s fiery romance. Rhonda in particular captured my heart because this buxom beauty is not only a computer genius, she can handle and dish out major firepower too! Rhonda saved Coop from a Russian ambush and I love that little role reversal. 
One-Eyed Jacks has everything I love about the romantic suspense genre, plus it doesn’t hurt that our heroes and heroines are part of the armed forces. A little terrorist action never hurt a book like this, and CGerard dealt it in spades. The romances are always tender and spicy, but not overly lusty that one would doubt the emotional connections of the couples. So if you want to give your heart a little work out, try this series. It’s sure to sensitize your desensitized palate. These HEA’s will shake you to the core and will linger on your mind long after you’ve put down the book. 

Loved It: Keep Me Safe & In His Keeping by Maya Banks + Series Giveaway

 
Slow Burn 1 & 2
Maya Banks
10.7.14 | 1.27.15
William Morrow Paperbacks
Romantic Suspense | Psych-Thriller
KEEP ME SAFE: I love a good thriller especially if it involves serial killers with a para-psych twist. Slow Burn 1 started real good and the whole plot of the book is amazing. An empath, Ramie, is telephatically connected to this serial killer who’s hunting her. Enter Caleb Devereuax, the kinght in shining armor whose sister, Tori, Ramie saved from his abductor.

I wanted a good cat and mouse chase but I didn’t get enough facetime with the killer to make the threat more invasive. Also a few parts in the climax and resolution were glossed over so it dulled the impact of finally catching the bad guy for me. Lastly I did not like the romance here at all. It felt a lot like insta-love and was brought up prematurely in the story.

IN HIS KEEPING: Big improvement from the first one. There’s still some insta-love but since this has paranormal elements, I’ll give it a pass plus Maya Banks drew the romance out a little bit, giving this a slow burn feel. The plot is really good, it has a foreboding start so the anticipation is high from the beginning. The action is solid, I do love a good chase and MBanks dealt it in spades. The conflict is great too, a science experiment gone wrong and deadly and the resolution was well executed. What I loved most about IN HIS KEEPING is the family dynamic between the Deveroux brothers and Ari’s family. Ari’s dad, Gerald, is my favorite character, he’s the most compelling and his love for his daughter Ari and his wife, Ginger, is very touching. 

SLOW BURN: I didn’t like MBanks’ Surrender trilogy so I was careful not to expect too much when I started this series. I thought the books were romantic suspense so I was delighted to discover that this was a para-psychological thriller featuring telekinetics, empaths, and the like. Now even if I like this series enough, MBanks’ brand of romance isn’t exactly my cup of tea, she likes insta-love and you know that’s my book pet peeve. Still I can tolerate the love stories because in fairness, the smex is hot and the other aspects of the series are so good, love at first sight is a small price to pay for an action-suspense packed series. Plus these are quick reads too and KEEP ME SAFE and IN HIS KEEPING has a great balance of contemporary romance and paranormal elements so it’s one of those genre crossing series we all love.

My name is Maya Banks and I live in Texas with my husband and three children and our assortment of pets. I’m more of a cat person, but my daughter became convinced she NEEDED a dog. So convinced in fact that it became her mission to convince her father and me. She prepared a two page handwritten proposal that detailed WHY she needed a dog, and well, after I sent her to her father (I knew he wouldn’t tell her no) we embarked on the search for the perfect dog. The journey that was two hours away and that I got pulled over for speeding while I was on the phone with my agent who had an offer from a publisher for one of my books… The officer wasn’t impressed. He wrote me a ticket anyway. Thus, I now tell my daughter that her dog turned into one very expensive concession! But isn’t he cute?

When I’m not writing, I love to hunt and fish with my family. We all love the outdoorsMaya’s Dog and go on family hunting trips every year. We also love to travel. One of our more recent trips was to Scotland, which was every bit as comical as National Lampoon’s European Vacation. You know the part about “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament” as they went round and round the roundabouts? Yeah, that was us, only we couldn’t even get out of the airport in Glasgow without hitting three of those suckers.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a writing career is getting to meet so many wonderful readers. There’s nothing better than dishing books with someone who loves the romance genre as much as I do. Romance readers are passionate and vocal. We love our books, love our happily ever afters, and we love to spend time talking to others about our favorites. THIS is why I love my job so much, and I’m so grateful to readers who gave ME a chance when I began my career. So thank you.

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Suped Up: Full Throttle by Julie Ann Walker + The Holidays & Giveaway

Series: Black Knights Inc. 7

Format: eGalley
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: Publisher
Genre: Romantic Suspense

She Needs a Hero…

Abby Thompson didn’t sign up to be the daughter of the President of the United States. The position was forced on her by the small matter of her birth. Preferring a quiet life of study, she’s content to leave the politics and the international intrigue to her father. Unfortunately, the most powerful man on the planet is sure to make enemies. When a group of armed thugs takes her hostage half a world away, demanding the U.S. government release prisoners in exchange for her safe return, she fears her father’s policy of “not negotiating with terrorists” means she’ll never see the shores of the Potomac again. Luckily, there’s one glimmer of hope. His name is Carlos Soto. And though she abruptly ended things with him years ago, she knows now he’s the only man who can save her…

Black Knights, Inc. to the Rescue…

Carlos “Steady” Soto has taken part in his fair share of dangerous missions working at the covert government defense firm of Black Knights Inc. But nothing prepared him for the emotional rollercoaster he faces when he’s tasked with rescuing the only woman he ever loved-who also broke his heart. Racing against time and outmaneuvering a group of trained terrorists will take everything he’s got. Plus there’s the heat simmering between them which is threatening to ignite into an inferno. While ruthless enemies stalk them, they must learn to trust each other again. Even if they do make it out alive, will Abby turn her back on him… for the second time?

I’ll be super brief because I’m slated to review this over at Romance@Random and I hope you’ll check it out once it’s live. 
FULL THROTTLE, the latest Black Knight Inc. installment by Julie Ann Walker, is the best one yet. This romantic suspense series keeps getting better and better and one of my favorite biker set so far. First off they’re black ops and sexy as sin as opposed to glorified criminals who do not know how to treat a lady right. The pace is breathtaking it took me a single afternoon to finish this full-length novella because the plot is laid out fantastically and despite the complex sounding blurb, it wasn’t overreaching nor too ambitious for it to leave loose threads about. There’s no insta-love, Steady and Abby have known each other for years and have always been attracted to each other and this reunion simply jump started what lingering feelings they have for each other all this time. 
Now I’m docking 0.5 cauldrons off it because of the condom-less sex. Again NEVER take their word for it! You don’t know what block that wiener has circled… or thrust into. And though I love the passionate lovemaking these two had, I still find it unrealistic given that they’re running away from jihadist and are in the middle of god knows where. But these are obviously very subjective cons which can be easily overlooked by a lot of you.
FULL THROTTLE. Don’t miss it. Must read.


With the Christmas around the corner, I thought I’d ask Julie Ann Walker holiday what-nots from traditions to food, down to what her Knights are up to this coming holidays. Read more to find out!

Walker family Christmas tradition


Okay, so I come from a big family. Three sisters and eleven nieces and nephews. And to set the stage of what holidays are like, imagine everyone talking over everyone else, mashed potatoes inevitably falling on the floor causing someone at some point to slip, and ribald jokes told at each other’s expense. Got that picture in your head? Now imagine all of us clearing the table after the meal, gathering stacks of scratch paper and sharpened #2 pencils, and proceeding to play a game of cut-throat Pictionary. And when I say cut-throat, I mean cut-frickin’-throat! LOL! There’s always yelling. There’s generally accusations of cheating. And there’s usually threats to rain down revenge on the winning team. But in between all of that, there’s laughter and the telling of childhood stories. There’s hugs and high-fives and the sense that all is right with the world because we’re all together. And for those few hours every year, that’s absolutely, 100% true. Everything is right in our world. 


All you can eat pasta!

My oldest sister makes Hearty Pasta Salad, and it’s a flat-out fight to see who gets to take the leftovers home. LOL!


Hearty Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
-One large head of broccoli (chopped)
-One large head of cauliflower (chopped)
-One bag of carrots (sliced into disks)
-Two large Vidalia onions (chopped)
-One carton white mushrooms (sliced)
-One 16oz box of tri-color rotini
-One 16oz bag of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
-Butter
-Salt and Pepper

Instructions:
-Sauté all vegetable in butter until tender. (Add mushrooms last as they cook up quickly.)
-Cook pasta according to package directions.
-Combine all cooked ingredients (pasta and vegetables) in dish and stir in cheese until melted.
-Salt and pepper to taste. 



I can’t stand the holidays because…

Shopping. If another granny makes a flying leap toward the scarf I’m about to buy, I swear you will see me on the evening news. Nordstrom at Christmas feels a little like the Thunderdome. “Two women enter. One woman leaves!” 


Winter gear. Gloves, hats, scarves, long underwear, snow boots, coats… It takes me twenty minutes just to put on the right attire to go outside. And then once I am outside, I look like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story. I shudder at the thought of slipping and falling. I picture myself as a turtle, arms and legs waving wildly but unable to get off my back as a snow storm moves in and buries me. My only hope will be that my husband finds my fluffy-coated popsicle of a body after the spring thaw. LOL! 


Holiday best and worst

It’s funny you should ask, because one of my worst holidays ever was actually one of my favorite holidays ever. In 2011, my husband and I went to Dublin, Ireland for New Year’s Eve. It was amazing! The Guinness, the blarney, the all-around hospitality of the Irish! But on January 2nd – the day we had our return flight – I came down with what I have since termed “The Irish Flu From Hell.” I was sick as the proverbial dog, running 102-degree temperature with terrible head and chest congestion. And anyone who has ever hopped on a plane while sick and congested knows that’s a bad combo. My eardrums burst because of the pressure on the eight-hour trans-Atlantic flight, and there was nothing to be done for it except to take Ibuprofen and try not to cry and scare the other passengers. LOL! It was awful. But memorable! 


Knights and Christmas Carols

Oh, they’re all gathered inside the shop. Becky is still trying to learn to cook kosher for Angel. Frank and all the rest of the guys are complaining about this since they just want a big juicy ham to eat. Snake and Michelle are awaiting their bundle of joy. Ghost and Ali are still getting used to new parenthood – they spent way too much money on Christmas presents for their daughter. And everyone else is all-around happy and healthy! It’s a blessed BKI holiday season indeed!


Thank you so much for having me on Talk Supe. It was a blast!

Julie Ann Walker is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can usually find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

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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.

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
 

Loved It: Stripping Her Defenses by Jessie Lane + Giveaway

Series: X-Ops 2

Format: Mobi 
Release Date: October 31, 2014
Publisher: Whisky Girls Publishing
Source: Author
Genre: Romantic Suspense

He can’t change the scars on her body…
but fate will give him a second chance to mend the scars he put on her heart.

Riley Sullivan and the Ex Ops Team are headed to Miami undercover… as bikers. Following up a lead, the men will perform their investigation acting as members of the Regulators Motorcycle Club with the club’s permission. Surrounded by hardcore bikers and investigating missing strippers, Riley finds the last person he ever expected to see again—his ex-wife.

Kara Sullivan left the man she loved after a tragic accident cost them their unborn son. After years of therapy, she’s come to grips with the loss and has re-emerged from the pain a brand new person. That doesn’t mean she’s ready to face the man who inadvertently broke her heart, and who she’s hurt in return.

Riley has never stopped loving her and he never will. He’s ready to fix their marriage and move on with their lives, however Kara’s reluctance to renew their relationship isn’t their only problem. Danger lurks just around the corner… and there’s a chance she could disappear permanently.

First off, how frickin’ hot is that cover? I mean to me it looks more like a vanity shot than the anything but heck, that’s some man candy that’s ogle worthy. And a personal note to Melissa of Lily Element, his mips look normal don’t you think so?

Amazon has a little disclaimer or what-not for STRIPPING HER DEFENSES by Jessie Lane and it goes: second chance romance with a hint of romantic suspense. I thought I’d mention this just to set your expectations although I hoped that it was as suspenseful and thrilling as the first one but as I do love second chance romances I can’t complain much. 
Kara and Riley Sullivan were HS sweethearts, got married and tried to live happily ever after. But “growing up” took its toll on the young couple and they drifted apart and eventually separated. Fast forward to eight years later and apparently their separation didn’t douse their passion for each other, their response is very primal and similar to how Supes react when their beast sees its mate. It’s that intense and as I have romanticized the idea of The Mate in my head, naturally this made me squee. 
JLane didn’t skimp on the hotness level in STRIPPING HER DEFENSES and things moved along swiftly for the reunited couple. Now I prefer angst-free romances and although Kara and Riley’s internal pondering proved that they felt sorry for how things went down and all that still I was expecting a hearty rehash between them. The emotional conflict felt rushed and I guess we’re to take for granted that they’ve suffered enough therefore there’s no need for heart to hearts and all that. I get that part but said reconciliation to me lacked a certain level of catharsis.
STRIPPING HER DEFENSES was a cool sequel, it has a few stereotypes but not too corny to make my eyes roll if you know what I mean. I still wished the action part of the story was stronger just to support that portion of the novel involving cartels, MC’s, and white slavery. It would’ve been a good contrast to the strong romance. 
On the upside, STRIPPING HER DEFENSES provided a nice set-up for JLane and Chelsea Camaron upcoming MC series that they co-wrote called Regulators MC, the first book ICE comes out next month, 12.8.14. It’s a loose crossover between this series, X-Ops, and Camaron’s MC series, Hellions. It should be interesting what kind of craziness these two came up with and I’ll be first in line to check it out.


Chapter One
Kara
Life was good. I’m talking about, can’t stop smiling, singing in the shower, and an added bounce in your step kind of good. Ever since I’d told my husband, Riley, the news five months ago—that we were unexpectedly pregnant—the problems plaguing my marriage had seemingly disappeared.
I couldn’t help smiling down at my small, protruding belly. He was the reason everything was better, after all. Little Riley Sullivan Jr. wasn’t going to be here for another three months, but he was already a miracle baby.
Hearing a sound from the direction of our kitchen, I looked back over my shoulder. Riley was walking towards where I was sitting on the living room couch, with two glasses of sweet iced tea in his hands. When he saw me watching him, his lips spread into that boyish grin of his that had always melted my heart since the first day of our junior year of high school.
Setting our glasses down on the coffee table, he eased down on the couch, trying not to jostle me too much, and then slipped his arm around my shoulders. I cuddled into my husband’s side so I could lay my head on his chest. While the movie we’d been watching started to play again, Riley started running his fingers through my short hair.
Yes, life was practically perfect now. Perhaps Jr. was an ‘oops baby’ because the condom broke, but he was still very much wanted by his parents. This was a relief because my husband had planned our life out before he’d shipped off for Navy boot camp, and a baby at this point in our lives had not been in his grand plan. He’d wanted to be further along in his military career and expected me to at least have graduated from college before we started trying to have children.
Therefore, when my period had never shown up, fear had hit me like a ton of bricks. Not because I was afraid my husband would ask me to do anything drastic, like get an abortion, but because, as far as I was concerned, our marriage was already in the danger zone. A baby could metaphorically shoot us from the level of ‘rocking the boat’ to proportions similar to that of the Titanic hitting the iceberg.
Riley never said anything about the precarious state of our relationship, but his actions had been the reason I knew we had problems. He didn’t cheat. He didn’t lie, steal, or abuse me in anyway. He just left all the time. He was never home.
As a military wife, especially one of a Navy seal, it was expected of me to understand that when my husband had to go, he had to go. It wasn’t his assigned missions that bothered me, though. It was the unassigned ones. The missions he volunteered for. seals deployed for six months and then came home for a period of time between six and eighteen months, depending on when they were needed.
Being back in the U.S. didn’t always mean that he was home with me, though. Some of that time was spent training elsewhere. So, in other words, Riley was gone a lot for his job. Add in the missions he volunteered for, and Riley was gone all of the time. And if a man was happy at home, would he really want to be gone from his wife? This led me to start to wonder, is my husband no longer happily married to me?
I had thought I was a good wife.
After growing up with a single mother, who was a Vegas showgirl, I’d been determined to be everything my mother was not. Instead of my mom’s sassy, free-spirited attitude, I’d strived to have a more conservative outlook on life. Mom showcased her pinup girl body, loving the way men followed, begging for a few seconds of her time, while I worked my butt off to fight her sultry genetics. I constantly watched what I ate, exercised religiously to keep my weight as low as possible without looking like a walking skeleton, lifted light weights, and bent myself into sideshow carnival contortionist yoga positions to try and keep my breasts and hips small instead of the hourglass figure they wanted to be. Mom was Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, and I’d forced myself into a Mary Ann mold to avoid becoming her.
Riley thought all of it was ridiculous, but told me he understood my fear of turning into my mother. With the way he’d been acting the last couple of years, I wondered if he really did understand, or if he was simply telling me what he thought I wanted to hear.
Honestly, I thought the two of us had been on the same page about all of my hang ups since we’d started dating in high school. Riley had even helped me pick out a career to pursue when I’d explained to him that I wanted: something as far from my mother’s profession as possible. He’d suggested I be a kindergarten teacher because, as eighteen-year-old Riley had put it, “Seriously, babe, what’s more wholesome than being a kindergarten teacher? You can work with little kids and that will keep you busy while I’m deployed. It’s perfect for you.” Then with an eyebrow wiggle, he’d added, “And we can play teacher. That’s hot.”
After I had smacked him for his joke, I’d realized he was right. It was perfect for my goal to be as normal as possible, compared to the insanity my mom had raised me in behind the curtains of her Vegas shows. Therefore, after the two of us had moved to his first duty station, I had started college. It had ended up taking me six years to complete a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Education, due to moving from one base to the next, but I was almost done.
My final exams were tomorrow, and then I would finally graduate in a week. The fact that Riley would actually be here to see me walk across that stage for my diploma, instead of on a mission, was like a dream come true. Even my mother was flying in two days from now so she could see me accept my diploma, which was like icing on the cake for me. I might be determined to not be my mother, but that didn’t mean I didn’t love her.
My mom was an amazing woman. At forty-five, she was still drop-dead gorgeous. She was also intelligent and resourceful. I loved that she had raised me with an abundance of affection, always making time for me when I had needed her. I just hadn’t loved growing up behind the spotlights of Vegas with half-naked dancers and the revolving door of men who followed them.
Men, such as my father, who were attracted to the Sin City living that was abundant under the bright lights of Vegas. The problem with men like my father: they were never happy. They were also looking for more. More good times. The next big gamble that could pay off. The newest gorgeous showgirl. And men who liked living like that didn’t want to stick around with a wife and a kid.
After growing up with that, I wanted a normal life. I wanted any future children of mine to have the kind of family life you saw on Leave It To Beaver. Add in my hidden fears of Riley leaving me, as my father had left my mother, and you could say I was determined to be the next June Cleaver. I hadn’t realized that might bother anyone until Riley had started acting funny, which, unbeknownst to him, had only caused my fear of him leaving me to worsen.
Over time, he’d volunteered for more and more missions until, finally, he was gone all the time. On several occasions, I tried to talk to him about it, but if he didn’t brush off my concerns, we ended up in an argument.
The day I had heard him mutter under his breath that I was acting crazy and too obsessed with my appearance and our lifestyle, my heart had broken in two. Why would he say those things after I’d explained to him about how I felt? Didn’t he understand how lucky he was to have a solid home life? Didn’t he understand my desire for trying to create that for myself? For us? Was he that unhappy with me?
Did he not love me anymore?
His love for me used to be such a tangible thing. I felt it every time he touched me, stroked my body with his hands, kissed me in slow, worshipping sweeps of his lips, made love to me with such a sweet tenacity that every inch of me tingled from his possession. All of those beautiful validations of his feelings for me had been lacking lately. I missed those displays of affection. I needed my Riley back, desperately. I felt lost.
In fear of losing my husband, the man I loved beyond measure, I stopped asking questions. Even though every mission he took, that he didn’t have to, broke my heart a little each time, I didn’t say a word. Instead, I kissed him goodbye, told him I loved him, and said I’d be waiting for him to come back to me. I carried on with school, kept up with some of the other military wives on base, and continued my workout routines to stay busy.
If I was lucky, Riley would come home only weeks later, but it usually ended up being months. I would tell him how much I missed him, using my hands, mouth and body to show him. Hoping that, if I stayed quiet—didn’t voice my displeasure over his missions or bring up any of the topics that he’d dubbed my ‘craziness’—Riley would eventually give up the voluntary missions.
But he didn’t.
Over time, my hope was smothered. I woke up each day knowing that I was one step closer to losing my husband forever, to being a failure as a wife. One day closer to the point that he wouldn’t come home to me at all. It didn’t matter if it was because he was killed in the line of duty on some mission or because he wanted a divorce. Either way, I would know that I had driven him to that point. When my husband left me for good, it would be my fault. I would have nothing but an empty existence before me as a consequence of it. I slid into a depression that eventually led me to my doctor and prescriptionsall of which I hid from my husband.
Then Jr. happened. One condom mishap during a ‘Welcome Home Riley’ session had led us to the revelation of my sweet baby boy. The minute I’d told Riley about the baby, everything had changed. His happiness and excitement about our child had waylaid my fears of him feeling like this had messed up his grand scheme of plans.
The best part? He stayed home. No more voluntary missions, just the ones that were assigned to him. He told me he was determined to be an active father, despite his love for his career. I knew it was wrong to depend on a child to fix my marriage, but it was the first real hope I’d possessed in years.
However, my fears didn’t disappear overnight. We’d been living in an unhappy marriage for at least the last three years. Half our marriage. Apprehensive didn’t even begin to describe how I felt about his change in attitude. Yet, as the months went by and he was still by my side, hope had grown inside me again. Everyone might say that a baby couldn’t fix a relationship, but perhaps we were the exception to the rule.
Now I was happily cuddled with the man I loved, practically purring in contentment as he ran his fingers through my hair. With my hope back and Jr. on the way to give us a new chance, I just knew I could do it right this time. I’d be the perfect wife. The perfect mother. And Riley would never want to spend any time that he didn’t have to away from my side again.
~~~
Riley
I concentrated on the feeling of Kara’s soft breaths as she napped against my chest. She had made it thirty minutes after I re-started the movie before falling asleep. Pregnancy seemed to zap all of her energy. It was amazing she’d been able to stay awake during her classes this last semester.
Lethargy wasn’t the only side effect my wife had experienced. After the morning sickness had passed, she’d finally started to put on some weight. Now she was twenty-five pounds heavier, and I was drooling over the perks of it. Not that Kara had looked skeletal skinny before, but she’d been too close to it in my opinion. Not every woman was meant to be that small. My Kara was one of them.
After meeting her mother for the first time, I’d understood why the beautiful, new girl at school had looked slightly… off. Kara was meant to have curves. And I loved curves on a woman. Although she counted calories like some scary ass, food psycho, she couldn’t get rid of all of her other attributes. Kara still had a healthy C cup bust. Her mother had been blessed with a set of breasts that I’d bet my left nut were DDs. Not that I’d looked at them too long or too closely, but you’d have to be blind not to see them. Fuck, I could barely hug my mother-in-law on her rare visits without worrying that her large breast were going to pop out of her push-up bra and give me a black eye.
The only thing better than my mother-in-law’s breasts were her hips. How many times had I wished that Kara would eat a couple of cheeseburgers to plump out her hips and ass? My wife didn’t have much in the hips department, like her mother did, because she ran all the time. I’d hoped that, over time, she’d calm down and put some weight on, but she never had. By the time I had realized that my girl had some serious issues over this, it was too late. I was already in love with her—burgeoning crazy, health nut obsession, and all.
There were times, over the years, I’d wondered if I should have just walked away. Her unnecessarily strict diet could be annoying when I saw absolutely nothing wrong with the way her mother was built. The way Kara was meant to be built—all tits, hips, and ass. I preferred a woman with soft curves. It was better than feeling nothing except bones when you were fucking them.
But as I kissed the top of her head, running my fingers through her perfectly styled short hair, I couldn’t help remembering the woman underneath all of that mess. The person I kept praying would come back to me.
In high school, she’d been spirited; a tough girl who had refused to take shit from the kids who would pick on her for being born out of wedlock to a Vegas Showgirl, single mother. Kara was proud of her mom; she just didn’t want to be her.
I could still see flashes of that girl I’d admired in high school from time to time. I was hoping that, when the baby got here, she’d be too busy to worry about counting every fucking calorie on her ridiculous mission to be something she wasn’t meant to be.
Maybe the baby would open her eyes; let her see that she didn’t have to strive to be Ms. Perfect. How could she not see that she was fucking perfect exactly the way she was when she let herself just be? I only wanted my girl back.
I loved her no matter what, but there were times when I felt like I was now married to a stranger instead of the Kara I used to know. Grandpa Pat had said all I had to do was keep the faith and stick by my wife, she’d eventually come around. Man, I hoped the old man was right.
My cell phone started to ring from the counter in the kitchen; as a result, I disentangled myself from Kara and laid her gently on the couch. Snatching the phone up before it shut off, I flipped it quickly open when I saw that it was my Commanding Officer on the caller ID. Quietly slipping into our bedroom, I closed the door then answered with, “Sullivan.”
“There’s a situation. Are you available?”
Looking back through the small crack between the bedroom door and its frame, I watched Kara sleeping for a few silent seconds. Things had been good lately. Her pregnancy was going fine, and my CO wouldn’t call to ask my availability for a voluntary mission unless it was dire circumstances and operators were badly needed. I might miss her graduation, and I hated the thought of doing that to her, but I hated the thought of not being by my fellow seals’ sides when they needed me more. Not to mention the possibility that innocent lives might be on the line. Life and death situations trumped happy moments at home. Kara’s graduation would be one small point in time I missed. I could make it up for her down the road somehow, couldn’t I?
Decision made, I turned my back to the bedroom door as I answered, “Affirmative.”
“Report to base at sixteen hundred hours.” Dial tone.
Looking down at my watch, I calculated I had roughly forty minutes to pack my bag and report in. Not much time since the drive alone took fifteen minutes. Guess I’d better get my ass in gear.
~~~
Kara
It was the chill that woke me. Since the last thing I remembered was being cuddled up to my husband’s delicious warmth, the chill I felt now made no sense. Forcing my heavy eyelids open, I turned my head to look at my surroundings, searching for Riley.
Realizing he was nowhere to be found in the living room, I used my arms to push myself up when I heard a sound coming from behind the closed door of our bedroom. What was he doing in there?
The closer I came to our bedroom door, the more my stomach started to twist in knots. For whatever reason, I just knew I wasn’t going to like what was going on behind that door.
Pushing the door open with my hand, my eyes came to rest immediately on my husband’s back as he stood at the foot of our bed, shoving stuff into his bag. My stomach stopped doing somersaults and promptly dropped to somewhere down by my feet. He was leaving?
The fact that the muscles in his back and shoulders were now obviously tense, causing him to stand a little straighter than he’d been before, clued me in that he wasn’t looking forward to whatever it was he thought I was going to say.
Just when I had let myself truly hope that things were getting better, reality had felt the need to slap me in the face with this wake up call.
My shoulders drooped as resignation set in. The only thing I could hope for now was that his team had been activated, and he wasn’t leaving me right before my college graduation voluntarily.
Clasping my hands tightly underneath the swell of my belly, I softly asked, “You get called in, sweetheart?”
His shoulder stiffened as he paused in his motions to stuff something else in his bag. “Something like that.”
He started to move again, faster this time, almost rushing to finish his preparations. That renewed vigor, that motivation of what must be ‘Hurry the hell up before she starts her ridiculous hysterics’ was probably the death of my tenuous faith that my marriage was taking a turn for the better. As if someone had come along and smacked me square in the forehead, everything became crystal clear for me. The state of my marriage had never improved; the problems had just been put on pause.
Riley hadn’t left for a voluntary mission these past few months because there hadn’t been a need for him. There was no doubt in my mind that this was a voluntary mission. His vague answer had confirmed it for me. If his team had been called in, his response would have been a straight forward ‘yes.’ Instead, he’d given me a lie, painted in pretty half-words in the hopes I wouldn’t make a scene before he left.
As my eyes pricked with the threat of tears, I nodded my head in acceptance. I wouldn’t make a scene. In fact, I wouldn’t say a negative word about it. While he was gone, I would sit down and think it all over again. Perhaps there was something I hadn’t thought of yet that would help me reconnect with my husband. Someway, somehow, I would find a way to confirm that the love of my life—the man who owned me heart and soul—still, in fact, loved me.
When feet came into my view on the floor, I looked up into his eyes as he stood just inches from me. He eyed me warily, looking as if he was bracing for an impact of some sort. And it made me wonder, how could someone be so close to you physically, yet still so out of reach emotionally?
Refusing to make a scene, I stayed silent and chose to simply watch him. Run my eyes over him, memorizing his features in case something happened on this mission and I never saw him again.
“I’ll try to make it back by your graduation, but if I miss it, I’m sorry.” His muscles tensed again, as if waiting for a strike of some sort.
I realized I just didn’t have it in me to fight back. At least, not right now. Not when I was dealing with my heart feeling like it was lying in brutalized, little pieces on the floor; more likely next to my stomach that might not regain its regular appetite for days.
Not knowing what else to say, I nodded in understanding.
My lack of response seemed to confound him. Maybe I’d been a bit more of a raging bitch about this issue than I’d thought?
I watched him reach out a tentative hand towards my face as if he wanted to caress it, but he stopped just short of actually touching me, faltering before dropping it back to his side. Turning around, he walked back to the bed, picked up his bag, and then walked over to give me a kiss on the cheek.
“I love you, and I’ll be home as soon as I can.”
Not bothering to wait for a response, he walked past me. Seconds later, I heard the front door close.
Standing in a bedroom as empty as I felt, I whispered back to absolutely no one, “I love you, too.”
Once again, the man who was my everything had left me.

Jessie Lane is the best selling author of The Star Series, Big Bad Bite Series and the Ex Ops Series.

She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in the making and her over protective alpha husband. She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them. Jessie writes Adult Paranormal and Contemporary Romance & Upper YA Fantasy/Paranormal Romance.

Stalk Jessie Lane
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Loved It: Sweeter Than Sin by Shiloh Walker | Giveaway

Series: Secrets & Shadows 2

Format: eGalley
Release Date: Sept. 30, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Romantic Suspense

CAN’T FORGET THE PAIN
It took years for Adam to stop drowning his regrets in alcohol, and running the local bar doesn’t make it any easier—especially not when everyone he knows gathers there to discuss the shocking allegations that have shattered his hometown. When another murder rocks sleepy Madison to its core, it becomes chillingly clear that even more vicious wounds are waiting to be exposed.

WON’T RESIST THE PLEASURE
Nothing is sacred anymore, and no one is safe, least of all the mystery woman who shows up in town out of the blue, looking like every fantasy Adam’s ever had. She may have her own dangerous secrets, but she can’t ignore the urgent heat between them any more than he can. As a killer’s quest for vengeance explodes into violence, Adam is tempted to lose himself in the delicious promise of her body—until he realizes he’ll risk anything if she’ll give him her heart…in Sweeter than Sin by Shiloh Walker.

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy! SWEETER THAN SIN by Shiloh Walker is one of those novels that’s hard to get through because it deals with heavy issues like rape and child abuse exacerbated by the small town setting and complicated by vigilante murders. I have to say that I was more invested in the murder cases and the who, what, and whys of it than Adam’s romantic life. 
It’s been twenty years yet two decades is not enough time to bury a secret the small town of Madison has, The Cronus Club. A boys and men only club where fathers and sons gather a few times a month in a secret location, initiating their progeny to “manhood” by having their “brothers” by raping and passing them around. This has been going on for several generations until one of the victims dared to reveal this ugly secret only it backfired and turned into the death of a prominent family with the last witness/suspect missing or presumed dead. A dead body followed by a series of murders finally outed the infamous club rocking Madison and its residents. 
The suspense element of SWEETER THAN SIN is pretty mild. I want to know who is behind the vigilante murders but I wasn’t kept at the edge of my seat. What had me glued was the human element of the story which SWalker wrote in a very effective way and it’s almost impossible for us not to get invested by it.
I love the ripple The Cronus Club caused on the town of Madison, naturally there are people who are enraged, disgusted, and surprised by the whole thing, cheered the vigilante on, and expressed zero sympathy for the club members; then there are the collateral damage, the people who are caught in the middle because they’re seen as guilty by association; lastly you have the ones that are in denial who, IMO, are the scum of this story because they choose to ignore and/or even try to justify the actions of their husbands and refuse to acknowledge the bestiality of the club’s activity and instead chose to demonize the victims, passing fault and judgment to them. 
I was so enraged by this story because of the precedent and it doesn’t matter if you have children or not, the crime is despicable and simply evil! I found myself responding too all of the characters in varying ways and degrees and relating to their reactions to an extent. It’s simply a tragedy because The Cronus Club was seen as sort of a tradition and surviving the initiation a badge of honor by its members, which is beyond idiotic to me but heck, I guess you really CAN’T FIX stupid so whatever on that. And of course my heart broke for their victims who are the sons, THE SONS of these monsters! I can’t even begin to comprehend how can one simply watch as your flesh and blood gets sodomized before your eyes?! And the mothers who chose to turn their head the other way had my blood boiling to the point of evaporation! Goodness I think I lost blood without bleeding!
The romance sizzled but it didn’t burn as hot as the suspense. And even if SWEETER THAN SIN is Adam’s HEA story, he was like us, waiting and watching as this Grecian-like drama unfolds in front of him, a witness rather than the hero who saved the day. I didn’t care much for him but that didn’t not deter me from enjoying this novel. The romantic and suspense elements of the story might not have melded seamlessly for me but as SWalker is such a talented storyteller, I didn’t mind it at all. 
So I left out deets about the heroine on purpose, I got to hang y’all like that to get you looking up SWEETER THAN SIN, sampling it, and hopefully read it.

Shiloh Walker is an award-winning writer…yes, really! She’s also a mom, a wife, a reader and she pretends to be an amateur photographer. She published her first book in 2003. Her newest series, Secrets and Shadows, launched with Deeper than Need, followed by Sweeter than Sin and Darker than Desire. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance, and urban fantasy under the name J.C. Daniels.

Stalk Shiloh
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Loved It: No In Between by Lisa Renee Jones

Series: Inside Out 4

Format: ARC
Release Date: August 19, 2014 
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Erotic Suspense

BLURB:

The fourth in the Inside Out erotic romance series by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, this steamy novel resolves Chris and Sarah’s relationship and leads into Mark’s story.

“Chris and I have faced our demons and bared our souls to one another in Paris. Now that we are back home in San Francisco, I want to believe that nothing can tear us apart. Not Ava’s accusations against me to the police, or Chris’s fear that he will destroy me as he feels he did Amber. And not Mark, who was once too intimately a part of our lives, and who I can see crumbling inside out. He believes he is invincible, just as I want to believe Chris and I are invincible. We have to be invincible. We need each other too much for any other ending.”

FAVORITE QUOTES:

I know how powerful pain is. It can drive you insane and it can make you do things you never thought you were capable of doing. Never, ever, underestimate it. Never, Sara. – Chris

If you run, Chris, run fast, because I’ll come after you. That’s just the kind of bitch I am. – Sara

If you haven’t read Lisa Renee Jones’ INSIDE OUT series then you are seriously missing out on something fierce! It’s a great blend of sexy, suspense, and kink I’m not surprised that Starz is developing the series for TV. 
Anyway, the series originally was supposed to be just a trilogy but due to its success, it has expanded to a LOT of books and novellas in between. The reason being the characters are rich in personality and secrets that they are begging for their story to be told and LRJones was kind enough to tell them. I’m happy of course, we all want our favorite series to keep on going right?
NO IN BETWEEN is Sara and Chris’ journey to their much anticipated HEA aka wedding but their upcoming nuptials is shadowed by Mark Compton’s personal troubles and Rebecca’s disappearance which spurned a big media and legal circus involving a lot of people. I’m still unsure if Rebecca is dead, it’s easy to presume that she is, but all the crazy talk that’s been happening and no body to prove otherwise, I’m one of those readers who are hopeful that Rebecca isn’t dead and is hiding somewhere. Whatever the case may be, Sara chancing upon her journal obviously is a big catalyst in the story and as we know more, the big picture now looks like this big sticky and dangerous spiderweb. The upside is, Sara has Chris to help her untangle the mess and hopefully the mystery behind Rebecca will finally be solved and the conundrum laid to rest. 
Now Sara and Chris has come a long way. They are finally stronger than their demons and it just keeps on getting better as Chris slowly bares himself to Sara and she in turn tend to his insecurities, accepts and forgives his secrets, and pays him with love… and lots and lots of sex! Ha!
Bedtime play aside, I love the layers of this series, the character development is fantastic and the suspense is well played. LRJones knows how to keep her readers guessing and captivated by Rebecca’s disappearance. There’s no clear trail, the clues are strewn everywhere and right now, anything can happen. I no longer know what is what, I’m just bracing myself for the final outcome.
NO IN BETWEEN is another great installment, I’m not usually a fan of long drawn mysteries but I sure didn’t mind it this time around. Give Inside Out a try, it’s more than erotica. 
The Novellas