Cherish & Blessed are actually two separate novellas bound into one book for it’s second print. Cherish was originally released in 2012 and because of that I have decided to review each one separately.
Evan and Matt have been a couple for many years, having built a life and home together with Evan’s children. Though it was rough in the beginning when Evan fell in love with man after his wife’s death, the trials and tribulations seem to have faded.
Or have they?
Evan and Matt get the surprise of their life when the oldest daughter, Miranda, starts talking marriage to a boy she just met three months ago and then decides to invite the boyfriend and his family home for Thanksgiving. When it becomes obvious Miranda hasn’t been completely honest with the boyfriend, his parents, or herself, Evan and Matt will have to step in to ensure that Miranda knows she is cherished.
I have been a fan of this series since the beginning. Though not a huge fan of the ‘gay for you’ trope, Michaels’ does a fabulous job of building Evan’s and Matt’s relationship, starting with a friendship that morphs into attraction, than love at a steady and realistic rate. Michaels’ doesn’t shy away from the issues when dealing with the children, a deceased spouse, and homophobic relatives.
All of Evan’s kid’s have accepted Matt into their lives except for Miranda. She has had the hardest time accepting her mother’s death and the inclusion of Matt into their lives. Humor and mayhem lead the way as Miranda’s power play not only causes her family grief and embarrassment but also places strain on her relationship with her boyfriend and his family. Evan and Matt band together, along with her siblings and some friends to help Miranda see that her mother hasn’t been forgotten and that Matt is not a threat to her father’s love for her. I did approve of the manner in which it was handled. No kid gloves were used and Miranda got a rude but much needed awakening in how her behavior was unacceptable across the board. Personally, I think she got off rather easy but her issues run deep and it will take more then one weekend for her to overcome them.
As always, the chemistry between Evan and Matt is explosive and sex fueled but in here it is tempered by love and a quiet but fierce tenderness. Early on in their relationship, Evan would have pulled away from Matt in order to deal with this issue but now Evan embraces Matt and holds on tight because they are a couple-a team-and Evan will never let Matt go. Matt’s relationship with Evan’s children (the ones who like him-lol) continues to sweet and engaging as he truly adores them and vice versa.
Jim and Griffin find themselves floundering in their relationship as both are ready for something more permanent but scared to broach it to one another. Matt and Evan are looking to reconnect emotionally and physically as careers and two children still at home leave them very little alone time. When Daisy and Bennett invite the two couples to the Hamptons to celebrate the christening of their new child, the weekend opens the doorway to some much needed communication.
I have to admit I wasn’t as enamored with this installment. The story jumping between the two main couples was abrupt causing the flow to be shaky and not as well developed as her other installments. Jim and Griffin hold no appeal for me. I never connected with them as secondary characters. Michaels’ doesn’t really resolve Jim and Griffin’s communication problem and basically an epiphany that Jim has to ‘magically’ fix their issues. I did enjoy seeing Daisy and Bennett and Helen and Shane. Everyone has come such a long way.
Matt and Evan are sweet, sexy, and funny as usual with both continuing to open up more both physically and emotionally with one another. Certain long term issues are coming up and choices must be made.
Michaels’ ends both novellas on a soft positive notes, letting readers know that the couples we have come to enjoy continue to work towards their happy ever after.
The first installment in a lush erotic suspense introduces readers to a decadent sex fuel playground whose master rules with a firm hand. Whe3.5 Stars
The first installment in a lush erotic suspense introduces readers to a decadent sex fuel playground whose master rules with a firm hand. When a journalist dares to enter this forbidden domain for a story, the price is her ultimate submission. Sensual scenes blend perfectly with an intriguing mystery. ...more
3.5 Stars Alessandra Torres builds an intensely erotic thriller that takes you to the very edge of the abyss only to show you just how wrong you were a3.5 Stars Alessandra Torres builds an intensely erotic thriller that takes you to the very edge of the abyss only to show you just how wrong you were about everything. ...more
Tessa Bailey continues to work her magic with two delightfully combustible personalities who come together by chance for an erotic adventure into theTessa Bailey continues to work her magic with two delightfully combustible personalities who come together by chance for an erotic adventure into the thrilling domain of dominance and submission. The only question is...who is submitting to whom?...more
A tried and true trope blossoms under Jeffe Kennedy’s deft hand as she slowly builds the heat and passion between a young assistant and her seeming3.5
A tried and true trope blossoms under Jeffe Kennedy’s deft hand as she slowly builds the heat and passion between a young assistant and her seemingly indifferent boss. When the dam breaks, our lovers cling to one another, hoping to survive the onslaught of emotions that threatens to consume and destroy them both....more
Favorite Quote: “You have no idea what it does to me to see you put things into your mouth.”
What happens when a mouse meets a T-Rex?
Blurb: Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.
And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.
Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.
If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on. (Goodreads)
Rock Hard, the second installment in Nalini Singh’s Rock Kiss series, brings us an engaging contemporary romance that can be read alone though it is part of a series. We are taken on a delightful journey of love and second chances when a smoking hot and deceptively sweet alpha contrives to win the heart and hand of his shy mild mannered employee. Fans of Singh’s Psy-Changeling series may see a resemblance between Gabriel and Lucas-the hero in Slave to Sensation who remains one of my top fictional alpha males. The fast but steady paced unveiling coupled with the slow burning romance is perfect for the overall tone of the story and subject matter at hand. Singh’s witty dialogue and dynamic characterization only adds to the over all appeal.
We first met Charlotte Baird (Charlie) in book one-Rock Addiction. Best friend of Molly Webster, we learned some of the reasons behind Molly and Charlie’s long-term friendship. Hints were given that Charlie had suffered a traumatic and life altering event in the past though it’s in here we learn the true and heartbreaking extent of it all. Charlie now works for a dying company that has been bought out by a former rugby star and ruthless business man-Gabriel Bishop. Scared of the rumored layoffs and restructuring, Charlie is working late to cement her position in the company when they meet in a rather unusual manner.
“I just met my new boss,” she groaned into the phone. “Or more specifically, I threw an industrial-strength stapler at his head.”
Gabriel Bishop is used to getting what he wants, when he wants it, and normally isn’t attracted to nervous shy woman but in Charlie he discovers an enigma. He soon finds himself fascinated by this changeling who has trouble looking him in the eye but is brave enough to overcome her fears when the situation calls for it. He recognises her vulnerability and guesses at the reasons behind it, realizing that he will have to play this very carefully if he wants her to trust him. Gabriel hires her as his personal assistant and begins an intricate dance of playful seduction as he gently pushes against her shell, instinctively knowing the woman hiding inside is exactly what he has been looking for.
An intriguing mouse was Ms. Baird.
Gabriel found himself interested, and he’d never before found a mouse interesting.
As Charlie and Gabriel get to know one another better, Charlie opens up, her personality blossoming. Gabriel attempts to rein in his dominance, respecting her fears, but gently taking her past her boundaries. She in return helps to slow his workaholic tendencies, making sure he eats and takes needed breaks. Charlie isn’t a pushover though. As her trust in him grows, she begins to push back against his forceful nature.
“Ms. Baird, where the hell are you?” came the growl down the line. “Do you not realize I pay you to be available when I need you?”
Charlotte’s hands itched for that jug of ice water. “Yes, I realize that,” she said, managing to keep her tone polite. “However, I did work well beyond my contracted hours yesterday.”
“What? Ermine complaining already?” A snort. “Don’t tell me you’re pacifying your boyfriend when you should be at your desk.”
Charlotte saw red. “Yes, I am,” she said, her mouth moving ahead of her brain. “In fact, we’re about to check into a hotel.”
Once Gabriel decides to take their relationship to the next level, an intimate level, he woos Charlie in a deliciously sweet and swoon worthy fashion with some funny, sexy, and decidedly naughty scenes.
He slipped the spoon into her mouth, the creamy dessert cold, the spoon warm from his own lips.
The intimacy of it made her stomach flutter. “That’s very improper behavior.”
“No argument,” he said, eating a spoonful. “Does it make you uncomfortable?”
Charlotte wanted to say yes, and back when she’d first begun working for him, it would have unnerved her. But he hadn’t talked like this with her then—no, he’d been T-Rex. Now, though she tried to think of him as T-Rex, she saw Gabriel instead. “I can handle it,” she murmured, and when he smiled, added, “Don’t take that as support for further inappropriateness.”
His smile was slow, creasing his cheeks and bringing the silver into his eyes. “I’m afraid it’s too late.”
I really liked Gabriel and Charlie; not only as a couple but individually. Charlie with her soft snarky wit and strong will to survive. Watching her learn to trust Gabriel; overcoming her fear of him and the intimacy he wants with her is a sorrowful joy to behold. Gabriel delights with his smoldering sexuality and obnoxious charm, making the chemistry between them burn throughout the story. Singh does a wonderful job of facilitating the slow moving romance amongst the backdrop of their personal issues. Legitimate concerns are addressed and nothing is skimmed over or rushed in an effort to add forced drama or conflict to the story.
The main conflict blends well with the subplots. Singh injects her trademark humor to help offset the seriousness of the subject matter. Singh slowly opens the lid on Charlie’s and Gabriel’s issues and begins to systematically and realistically address them using some well placed secondary characters. Charlie learns to let go of her fear and guilt over what happened in the past, accepting she did nothing to facilitate it. Gabriel learns that forgiveness is not a sign of weakness and sometimes letting go is the best way to move forward.
Nalini Singh hits a home run with Rock Hard; fulfilling all your contemporary romance needs without overwhelming you with unnecessary angst or drawn out conflict. I look forward to the next in the series-title and release date to be announced.
Favorite Quote: “It is good for the world you have a kind heart. Because If you asked I would burn it down.”
Last Hit: Reloaded is a sexy, smoking HAWT, and sweet novella that revisits Daisy and Nick (Last Hit) and addresses the issues of their pasts that are plaguing their future. Adjustment seems to be the running theme as the authors puts readers into both Daisy’s and Nick’s minds and allows us to see not only their raw uncontrollable passion for one another, but their problems with trying to live in a world they don’t quite mesh with. Hints of intrigue and suspense give it just the right amount of bite we have come to expect from this series. Though this can be read as a standalone, Daisy and Nick’s beginnings are chronicled in book one-Last Hit.
Daisy Miller and Nick Anders are socially inept loners who had horrific childhoods. Daisy was held hostage in her home by her paranoid and agoraphobic father and Nick was orphaned as a child and raised by the Bravta (Russian mob) to become one of their most talented and ruthless hitman. They are now happily living together, attending college during the day and renovating their apartment complex at night. Daisy loves her life with her ‘Kolya” but hates how isolated she and Nick seem to be. Her fellow classmates avoid her like the plague and with Reagan in Texas with Daniel, she has no female companionship. Nick tries to help though in the back of his mind, he sees no need for him and Daisy to have anyone else in their lives but each other. Friends cause complications but for Daisy, he would do anything. When Daisy makes friends with another loner, Christine, she is ecstatic but Nick feels there is something wrong with Christina. As her and Daisy’s friendship deepens, Nick’s paranoia rings true and Nick has to fall back on his skills to keep his beloved safe.
“She is not a danger to me.”
“Her, no. What she fears? Yes.”
I have adored Nick and Daisy from first meeting and was thrilled Frederick decided to offer fans a look back into their lives. Such an unusual couple who, for all intents and purposes, should never have met much less fallen in love. A lush and passionate love affair for one another consumes Nick and Daisy as they attempt to live as normal as possible. Dual POVs allows readers to experience the intense feelings that they experience both in their romance and in their everyday activities.
“The depths of my obsession are laid bare for her. If I were to lose her, I would be nothing. I would burn myself to ashes so that the wind could carry me to the four corners and where each molecule would search endlessly for her.”
The authors introduces new obstacles, giving Daisy and Nick chances to grow as individuals and as a couple. Nick is so possessive but he is able to ease back and give Daisy the space she needs to bloom and become less introverted. I love her impromptu take charge attitude in her wardrobe and bedroom. Daisy is just as possessive of Nick but secure in their relationship and his love for her.
“I would kill for him. I have killed for him.”
Also introduced is a new character who I feel will definitely prove worth watching in the future. Daisy isn’t the only one gaining a friend. *grin* Daisy isn’t the only one gaining a friend.
Last Hit: Reloaded is a delightfully powerful look into a favorite couple’s life and a perfect interlude while fans wait impatiently for the next full length novel-Last Kiss.
Favorite Quote: ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you.’
Felicity ‘Flick’ Hughes should have listened to the voice that repeatedly warned her not to enter the bar. Maybe if she had listened then she wouldn’t be in the nightmare she is in now. But Flick was having a horrible day and her cab breaking down was the last straw. Now she finds herself in every woman’s worst nightmare and her only hope of survival is a man who she scares her the most.
Rushe never wanted to be anyone’s savior and fights it every step of the way. He’s crude, dirty mouthed, domineering, and vicious. He takes what he wants, how he wants it, and when he wants it. He warned her, she didn’t listen, and now she has to pay the price. But that price may be higher than either of them imagined.
As Flick and Rushe maneuver their way through the landmines that litter the landscape, trying to stay alive, a connection forms. The further Flick falls down the rabbit hole, the deeper she becomes entangled in Rushe and the pleasure he gives her. When their time together reaches a pinnacle point and danger surrounds them from all sides, Flick knows her life isn’t the only thing she will be fighting for…she’ll also be fighting for her heart.
When I picked up Scarlett Finn’s Explicit Instruction, I was intrigued by the dark captive romance with the premise of a single bad decision changing a woman’s life in the most dangerous and horrific fashion. How often are we warned but choose to go against advice due to pride and or anger? I did it quite a lot when I was younger and paid some heavy prices. Our heroine in here pays the heaviest of prices…she loses her freedom.
Flick is having a very bad day. Bawled out by boss at work, run in her hose, broken heel, late for dinner date, phone goes dead, and cab breaks down. When she sees a bar, she goes to enter only to hear a disembodied voice tell her, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Flick ignores the voice’s repeated attempts to stop her from going in only to find out she should have listened. The bar is being used for meeting and Flick finds herself surrounded by men who tell her in explicit details what they are going to do to her before they kill her. Flick is saved from certain rape by Rushe. Only he is the scariest one of the bunch. Large, dark, and grumpy with dead eyes, Rusch “claims” her in order to keep her safe. Only…who’s going to keep her safe from him?
“I’ll uncuff you, but you’ve got to stay close to me,” he said. “Do as you’re told.” “You’re going to let me go?” “No. I haven’t had my fun with you yet.”
The first half of the book revolves almost exclusively around Flick and her captor. This is not a typical romance. There is no insta love or the trope that a good woman can convert a bad man. This becomes readily apparent by the pains the author takes to let us see just how fundamentally different Flick and Rushe are. Flick comes from an extremely wealthy family and Rushe was raised in foster care. Flick is an innocent in both personality and sexuality while Rushe has seen and done it all multiple times. Rushe sees Flick as a convenient lay and Flick tries to create good will where there is none.
“You’ve been nice to me,” she whispered and he immediately stopped. “What?” “You haven’t threatened me,” she said. “If I shot you, I’d lose my only ally.” “Im not your ally,” he said.
A flat disconnection in the beginning both in story and characters had me wondering if this was just another book of soft porn with a loose unstable storyline. As I was drawn deeper into their story, I began to see the method to Finn’s madness. She breaks our protagonists down, piece by piece, in order to rebuild them as a plausible unit. The shift in the dynamics of their relationship is subtle and I almost missed it. Flick becomes more than a simple captive. She doesn’t change herself but instead releases hidden facets of her personality. Flick reveals a wicked bit of snark and naughtiness to her and in her submission, she discovers her power over Rushe.
“Why do you refer to my dick in the third person?” “You don’t like it if I’m nice to you, and you don’t like being nice to me. So I’ll be nice to your dick, he seems to like me.”
Finn doesn’t sugarcoat Rushe to make him more presentable as a hero. Rather, she uses his reactions to Flick to slowly peel back the layers and reveal the potential in him. He has issues that foreshadow his actions. He is not a nice man. He is a criminal. He is a jerk. His past stinks of violence and death. He does and says things that did not sit well with me and made me question his ability to be in a relationship. Our ability to even remotely relate to him is completely dependant on Flick’s perceptions and gradual surety that they belong together. I admit he pushed many of my buttons, but I applaud the author for keeping his personality in sync with the storyline while allowing us to see the cracks that form in his armor due to his growing regard towards Flick. He fights his attraction for her for as long as he can. He insults her, degrades her, and demoralize her. Anything to get her to run from him as fast as she can.
“Take off your clothes,’ he mumbled. “You want to have sex? A woman is dead and you—‘“ Rushe stopped to glare at her. “I warned you I’d fuck you anytime I wanted. I want you naked, that’s all you’ve got to concern yourself with now.”
Slowly we begin to see a different side to him. His dry wit and rare attempts at tenderness leave readers watching in wonder at the minute changes affecting him. More of his past is revealed that show him to be far more dangerous and complicated than suspected. He and Flick develop a delightful repertoire that is steeped in playfulness and dripping with sexual undertones.
“They’re my breasts,” he said, opening the motel room door. Flick paused to look at him. “What?” “Your breasts?” “Yes,” he said without shame. “Your tits mean more to me than they do to you, so why haggle ownership?” Flick was sure if she hadn’t scared his smile away it might have poked its head over the horizon again. “You’re taking ownership of the breasts attached to my body.” “Yeah. Problem?” “No,” she said, with few other options…….. “Can I have your penis,” she asked. “Now?” he asked. “If you own my breasts…” “We’ll work out a time-share,” he said, swinging them out of the lot and through the dark city streets. “That hardly seems fair. You’ve already laid claim to my vagina, and now you’re claiming my breasts.” “He takes a lot of looking after,” Rushe said.
The storyline is a mixture of lies, deception, and manipulation as Flick learns exactly what Rushe is a part of and why. Fast pacing and intense action whips us through the last part and all the puzzle pieces fall into place, illuminating the entire picture. While the main conflict is somewhat resolved, this is a trilogy and hints are given that nothing is ever over.
There were some issues concerning grammar, spelling, odd phasing/word choices, and some set up confusion. They don’t take from the story but do give you pause.
All in all, Explicit Instruction is a reluctantly engaging romantic deviation with it’s dark content, violent undertones, and unsure conclusion. A dark erotic romance with a psychological suspenseful bent. Though it took me a little while to get Flick & Rushe and some belief suspension was required, I eventually settled in the story and came to see what the attraction of this dark horse was for Flick. I admit I am now more than a little curious to see where Finn will take this unlikely couple in the future.
Razed picks up where Wrecked leaves off. An emotional and intense love story about a young woman whose crush marries someone else and the man who wantRazed picks up where Wrecked leaves off. An emotional and intense love story about a young woman whose crush marries someone else and the man who wants to prove to her that her HEA is standing right in front of her. Sexy and humorous with some heartbreaking reveals. Keelie and Zane have some fabulous chemistry and sexual tension that rides the reader to the very end. ...more
Favorite Quote: How could a man be so arrogant yet so humble?
Schooled is a short peek back into the lives of Ronin and Amery Black. Despite their differences (cultural and sexual) they learned to adapt and have gotten married. When Ronin heads to Japan for his yearly martial arts training with his sensei, he decides to take Amery along as he can not bear to be parted from her for so long. This vacation/honeymoon combo is exactly what Amery and Ronin need though Amery wasn’t prepared for exactly how much time Ronin’s training would consume their time or lives.
As Amery tries to adjust to the cultural and language differences she is experiencing, Ronin is going through his own adjustments. His sensei master is challenging every aspect of Ronin’s life, forcing Ronin to make some difficult decisions that reverberate through his marriage. Can Ronin and Amery survive the changes or is this trip the beginning of their end?
I have enjoyed the relationship James has built between Ronin and Amery. Two complete opposites who fell in love despite their differences and clawed their way to find common ground between them. Schooled revolves around Ronin though is told from Amery’s point of view. He is going home and he feels both excitement and trepidation in introducing Amery to his culture and family. This trip shows a vulnerability in him we haven’t really seen in the series. He has to balance the demands of his culture against the need to show his wife she is everything to him. There is a lot of emotional scenes that are used to show how far Ronin has come to opening up emotionally and verbally; able to accept and show his love for Amery.
Amery is having some issues of her own. She is unsure of what her role is exactly concerning Ronin while in Japan but her natural enthusiasm , addictive wit, and love for Ronin has her looking for anyway to support him without losing pieces of herself. She has also become more open and confident in her relationship with Ronin. She refuses to let him shut her out.
We see some old and new faces; all of which had a role in developing Ronin into the man he is now. Ronin’s grandfather is a force of nature to be reckoned with but Amery more than holds her own with him. We meet the man who taught Ronin his rope play. H and Amery develop a wonderful rampart which goes far into helping Amery make an important decision she herself has been wrestling with.
As this book focuses on Ronin and his reasons for being in Japan, the romance and it’s emotional counterparts are more pronounced while the actual erotic scenes are far less then we have seen previously. Very little rope play is seen. Both of them are completely open to one another and I found this book to be far more playful and sweet.
Schooled is a wonderful short story that takes care of the few remaining obstacles that may have eventually caused issues for Ronin and Amery. James wraps up their story, assuring us they truly belong to one another in all possible ways. We are also gifted a small scene from Unraveled, the next book in the series, which features Ronin’s sister, Shiori and one of his employee’s, Knox.
One man’s desires may lead to the destruction of the woman he wants in the newest installment in Kit Rocha’s devastatingly dark and erotic dystopian sOne man’s desires may lead to the destruction of the woman he wants in the newest installment in Kit Rocha’s devastatingly dark and erotic dystopian series. Forbidding and decadent, Rocha builds a romance that pushes the boundaries of a woman who refuses to bend anymore than she already has. ...more