The Naughty Vixen

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Archive for the category “Excerpt”

Howl by Brittney Dussault

“They say you have the power to see the truth, just by touching someone.  Go on, touch me.”

Howl-CoverTitle:  Howl

Author:  Brittney Dussault

Rate: C

After an archeology expedition gone wrong, Lis Santiago is assigned a desk job at The Library, an underground archive dedicated to the history and study of supernatural creatures. Run by humans, the joke about The Library is that it’s operated by people who know everything about magic… except how to use it. Lis is no exception, and after three years, she’s finally accepted her new, albeit lackluster, career. 
Then a request is made: Supernatural creatures in the area have gone missing, and the Alpha from the local werewolf pack wants a Librarian to aid in the investigation. But he doesn’t want just any Librarian, he wants Lis. Accepting means time away from her desk, but it also means having to be paired up with old partner Jonas Highet, who left her waiting for him in Italy five years ago. This isn’t the reunion she had in mind, but when the Alpha calls, it’s hard to say no.
Lis quickly wishes she had.
The Alpha already has a suspect, he just needs Lis to convict him… even if there’s no proof he’s guilty. But the Alpha’s sister thinks her brother’s scapegoat- a wolf named Mickey Kaiser- is innocent, and she wants Lis to prove it.
Caught between a pair of siblings known for their cunning ways, Lis is going to have to find out what’s so special about Mickey Kaiser, while simultaneously keeping Jonas from killing the man. And just when Lis starts dreaming about her desk job, the first body is found.
It’s unlike anything Lis has seen before.

Thoughts:  The premise behind this book is a good one –  I loved the sheer idea behind it.  Yet I found this book a continual source of frustration as it constantly left this feeling that you were missing something – I felt like I had jumped a few books into a series with a bunch of background history missing, allusions to character relationships and intimacies that I’d lost out on, and yet that was not the case since this is the first book in the series.  But that feeling lingered all throughout the book, and really tainted the whole experience for me.

Things like The Library – that I thought would play such a huge role – really didn’t feature as much as I thought they would in the scope the story, some things are brought up within the story and are just not mentioned again and you are left to wonder why they were even mentioned at all – and still other details  you left wondering why they aren’t explained in so much more depth as they were so pertinent to the story.  Just a lot of inconsistencies.   I also never really felt connected to the characters…you read the story, but never got fully enveloped within it.

I like – and still like – the idea of it more than the actual execution of it.

Excerpt:  “H-hi,” Lis said, because when in the presence of such delectable, smug attractiveness, she found it difficult to communicate like a normal, grown-ass woman. She figured everyone had their vices.

 Tall, dark, and handsome with an emphasis on the tall, dark, and handsome, the leather clad babe standing before her was good looking enough she could almost forget he was a werewolf detective. But while the wolves might call themselves detectives, she knew they only did one thing- hunt. She, like always, was not on the menu.

“I’m guessing you’re my partner?” she said when her brain started working again.  The man ran his eyes over her body in a way that made her both shiver and roll her eyes.

He scrunched his nose in distaste and she scoffed.

“The day I ask you for sartorial advice, Highet,” she snapped as she marched over to her bedroom, “is the day hell freezes over.”

“Better dress warm, then.”

Jonas Highet looked like sin, had a voice that was a temptation all on its own, and to top it all off, he knew it. In Lis’ experience, there was nothing more dangerous than an attractive man who knew he was attractive. Even more so, one who knew how to use his beauty to his advantage. It seemed to be a talent all werewolves possessed.

“I swear,” Lis muttered under her breath as she changed out of her pantsuit and into something a little more suitable to a night spent running after a werewolf who couldn’t deduce worth shit.

“Tick tock,” said Jonas. “The Alpha is expecting us.”

Lis sneered before grabbing her jacket from him, not having bothered to close the screen to her bedroom because Jonas had seen her naked enough times over the years and had only shown a level of interest that could be classified as clinical. Actually, no. Lis was pretty sure she’d seen doctors more attentive than the werewolf now following her out of her apartment.

“For the record,” Jonas said as he trailed after her, “I didn’t request to be your partner.”

Lis stopped halfway down a step and looked up at him.

“Good thing we got that out of the way.”

If she hadn’t known it already, his statement had confirmed it: It was going to be a long night.

 

 

 

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Her Purrfect Match by Milly Taiden

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Title:  Her Purrfect Match

Author:  Milly Taiden

Release Date:  October 24, 2014

Blurb:  Paranormal Dating Agency Book 3 (STANDALONE)

Alyssa Moran is tired of being the old cat lady with no man. She has very specific needs and goes to visit Mrs. Wilder at the Paranormal Dating Agency. Shockingly enough, she is promised a man who likes cats, wants kids, likes curves and will be wild in bed.

Grayson Green needs a mate. Fast. But he refuses to be pushed into anything. That is, until a curvy funny woman shows up in his territory saying she’s there for him. Who is he to argue when someone as delectable as Alyssa decides she wants to give herself to him?

Of course, not all is at it seems and some people want Alyssa gone and Gray dead. If Gray mates, the future of his pride will be sealed and no one can argue his place as leader. Unless it can be stopped before they ever get a chance to make some cubs. He will have to work hard at convincing a human she’s the only one for him or lose his pride and his mate.

Reader Note: This book contains scorching sex (the kind that will make you sweat and need ice cream), adult language (he’s a very dirty talker and we like it), and violence. If this is not the kind of stuff you like to read, skip this book. However, if you like dirty, raunchy sex with a growly tiger on one funny curvy girl, then this is right up your alley. Enjoy!

Buy Link:  Amazon

Excerpt:  Once Tally had gone, Gerri ordered some tea and pulled out a notebook. “Let’s talk.”

Lyss swallowed hard. “What about?”

“Why what you want in a man, of course.” Gerri placed her elbow on the table and cupped her chin with her hand, tapping a finger on her cheek. “I know you said you wanted a man that likes cats.”

She nodded quickly. “He has to. Or at least not be allergic and not be bothered by them.”

“A man who likes pussy,” Gerri said as she wrote. “Got it.”

Lyss blinked. Then she burst into giggles.

Gerri gave her a side smile. “You got that, huh?”

“Heck yeah. I definitely need a man who likes erm…that. You know, Tally had said you were unique, but wow.”

10675526_776798829025047_2671880493088824198_n (1)

RELEASE DAY: FREED by Stacey Kennedy

978-0-553-39119-0[1]

Title:  FREED (CLUB SIN # 3.5)

Genre:  Contemporary Romance/Erotica

Release date: November 4, 2014

Blurb:  Mary Schmidt knows only too well how thrilling a Master’s touch can be. Her husband, Charles, had been her ultimate fantasy, a seducer in the erotic dance of dominance and submission. She misses the sensual lifestyle they shared, but mourns him so deeply she cannot bear to embrace her submissive needs with another Dom—until a man who exudes temptation reawakens desires she can no longer deny.

Elliott Foster is dazzled by Mary. He instantly knows that she’s the woman he’s been waiting for—a woman who turns games into need. As her Master, he dares to unlock the deepest pleasures of her flesh, releasing her from pain and healing her mind. When Mary’s lithe body comes to life under his, he knows their connection goes beyond sex. Now that he has found the perfect woman, the perfect partner, the perfect submissive, he desires only to give her everything she craves.

Buy Link:  Amazon

Excerpt:  Mary drove past the iron gate minutes before six o’clock and up the cobblestone driveway toward the Georgian-style mansion. Set back from the road, the redbrick residence was decorated with black shutters and white pillars. Flowers embellished every inch of the grounds, as did olive and Australian willow trees. Dmitri Pratt and Presley Flynn’s home was breathtakingly beautiful yet commanding in its own way, too.

She approached the circular portion of the driveway, and parked her car behind a limousine. As she turned off the engine to her Mercedes convertible, Mary tried to figure out whom the limo could belong to. Since the chauffeur was waiting patiently in the vehicle, she doubted it belonged to her dear friend Dmitri. Besides, he had always preferred to drive himself.

Curious now, she grasped the wine bottle off the passenger seat, and as she exited the car the stifling Vegas air engulfed her. Her high heels clicked against the stone driveway as she made her way to the dark hardwood front door. When she reached the entrance and knocked, the light breeze fluttered the hem of her mauve sundress.

Only seconds passed before the door opened, and Dmitri’s girlfriend, Presley, greeted her, wearing a strapless yellow baby-doll dress. Mary thought even with dark eye makeup around her gorgeous emerald-green eyes and her curled blond hair, Presley still looked much younger than Mary’s own fifty years.

“I’m so glad you could make it, Mary,” Presley said with her sweet smile. “It’s nice to see you again.”

Mary returned the smile, stepping into the house and hugging her friend tightly. Since Presley had come into Dmitri’s life, she had made it a point to invite Mary over for a weekly dinner. At first Mary had refused the kind offer because she worried it would bring back too many memories. Dmitri reminded her of her late husband, Charles, whom she missed dearly. Though after Presley’s numerous invites Mary felt rude saying no. Now she enjoyed their get-togethers, even looking forward to them. She released Presley and said, “Thank you for having me. How are things?”

“Couldn’t be better. I told you, or I think we talked about, my hours at the clinic being cut back, which is good and bad financially, of course, but it’s giving Dmitri and me more time together.” Presley’s soft, gentle voice was so welcoming.

“Wonderful news.” Mary offered the bottle of wine. “A treat for dinner tonight. A nice white that I think will complement whatever you’re serving.”

“Yum. Thank you. Let’s go into the kitchen and talk a bit before we eat.” Presley turned and headed in that direction, her curls bouncing around her shoulders.

Mary smiled, as Presley reminded her a lot of herself when she was twenty-five years old—passionate about life. She removed her high heels, leaving them at the door like she always did, and looked around the foyer. A huge balcony curved around the entire upper floor, leading to a grand wooden staircase. Dmitri’s interior designer, someone that Mary had recommended when he built the home just over four years ago, had outdone herself. From the art on the walls, to the decorative sculptures, the house exuded wealth. One of her favorite paintings was the Edgar Degas—she wasn’t sure if it was a print or an original, Dmitri could afford either. She always admired the entrance no matter how many times she’d seen it before.

Her gaze lowered to the cherry hardwood floors, and her stomach tightened. In the basement was a secret not many knew of unless they were members of the elite and exclusive BDSM dungeon Club Sin. A club that Mary had never attended—in fact, she had no idea what it looked like, only that the club existed.

Even if Dmitri owned the dungeon and would no doubt allow her membership, many of the members were his close friends and presumably closer to his age, thirty-five years old, or younger. It was one thing to visit your friends’ home for dinner; it’s quite another to have a dialogue half naked and dressed for play. Besides, most of Club Sin’s members were still single and she doubted any of them had children—the differences in their lives were vast, and therefore playing at the club lacked in appeal in more ways than one.

After Charles, her husband and the father of her children, and also her best friend and Dom, passed away, just over four short years ago, her need to play in BDSM clubs died with him.

She sighed through those still-painful memories and followed Presley when she heard voices coming from the living room. Glancing to her left, she noted Dmitri sitting on one of the leather couches. His features were stern and focused on his conversation until his eyes met hers; then he smiled.

With his blond hair and piercing blue eyes, Dmitri was a handsome young man. Though she’d known Dmitri for more than ten years, the relationship between them had always been strictly platonic. “Mary,” Dmitri said, waving her into the room. “Please come in.”

She immediately noticed another man with a dark head of hair showing hints of gray on the sides. When he rose from his seat, her breathing faltered and her gaze drank him in.

“Mary Schmidt,” Dmitri said. “Please meet Elliott Foster.”

Elliott was tall, at least six-foot-three, and compared to Mary’s five-foot-six frame, he towered over her. He had a powerful physique, obviously a man who cared for himself and lived a healthy lifestyle. It’d been quite a while since she’d allowed herself to have an interest in another man, but this guy, she couldn’t look away.

He was undeniably gorgeous, and he looked to be right around her age.

Excitement shot through her when the side of Elliott’s mouth arched in a half-smile. He offered her his hand in greeting. “It’s my pleasure.”

“Likewise.” Mary slid her hand into his and heady warmth seeped from his strong fingers into hers; she felt drawn in to his spell.

His grip tightened slightly and he observed her. Nervously, she shifted on her feet from side to side, suddenly very unsure in her own skin.

She removed her hand from his, and couldn’t help but cast her gaze downward. Partly anxiety but partly a result of his presence, a natural response for her, and unfortunately something he would also detect and understand himself.

A long pause passed before Dmitri cleared his throat, drawing Mary’s attention. “Elliott is a close friend. We do a lot of business together.” His normal conversation pulled her back into their surroundings.

“Oh, do you work at the casino as well?” she asked, keeping her focus on Dmitri, attempting to settle the racing of her heart. Without having Elliott confirm it, she knew he was a Dom—for those in the lifestyle, it was instinctual. She could tell by his observation of her, the knowing smile, and the desire in his eyes. Possibly even in the way he commanded his space within the room. She didn’t know if he played at Club Sin or somewhere else, but experience led her to identify a sexual Dominant.

“I invest in many companies,” Elliott replied, his voice smooth and alluring, holding mystery. “Dmitri’s casino is one of them.”

She sensed his stare and peeked at him. When their eyes locked on each other, her stomach somersaulted. She realized this was the first time she’d been around a mature Dom since Charles had died.

The effect rattled her, because she was aroused, interested, and she liked it.

An unnerving ache sizzled between her thighs, reminding her she’d been neglecting her own needs. When Charles was alive their relationship was very sexual and they enjoyed their play in and out of the dungeon. She’d always been a submissive and fiercely reacted around a Dom. Now she realized she still craved the power a Dominant held—the confidence, and the kink he could offer.

Dmitri said, “We’re looking to expand at the casino, so I casually was inquiring to see if Elliott might want to be involved.”

Elliott smiled, yet it was his chocolate-brown eyes that held Mary’s focus. They were commanding, capturing her as he said, “And I casually said yes.”

Dmitri laughed at Elliott’s remark, but Mary couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t ignore the heat coursing through her. This man had a serious effect on her and she wasn’t sure what to do about it.

Someone brushed against her arm, drawing her gaze away from Elliott’s stare. She inhaled sharply, discovering Presley had entered the room. An awkward moment passed as Presley looked from Mary to Elliott, then her smile beamed. “You know, I made a little extra for dinner tonight. Would you like to stay, Elliott?”

Mary tensed, awaiting his answer. On one hand, she would enjoy knowing more about this man; on the other, heady guilt was riding her for even thinking that. She still missed Charles. She still loved him. In her heart, she still belonged to her Dom.

Elliott’s gaze zeroed in on Mary before his grin turned devilish. “I would love to stay for dinner, thank you.”

“Just give us a few more minutes, doll,” Dmitri said to Presley and motioned to the papers on the glass coffee table. “We’re just wrapping up the details.”

Mary clenched her teeth, sensing Elliott’s focus remaining on her. She instantly shivered and swore his stare was similar to fingertips dragging over her flesh. Doing her best to hide her unexpected reaction, she followed Presley into the chef’s kitchen. She inhaled the warm hints of spices and settled her hip against the island, narrowing her eyes on Presley.

Presley gave a tight smile. “He’s handsome, isn’t he?”

“Presley,” Mary warned.

“I’m just saying, he is.” She laughed softly. “Besides, isn’t it nice to meet someone else in the lifestyle?”

Mary frowned. What is this? Is she matchmaking tonight?

Though Presley was referring to the relationship of a submissive and Dom when the two lived the BDSM lifestyle, enjoying the power exchange and kink, Mary hadn’t been involved in it since Charles passed. “If I wanted to meet others in the lifestyle, I would have arranged it myself, without your meddling.” She crossed her arms. “I didn’t come here tonight for a date, if that’s what you thought you were arranging.”

Presley opened the oven and peeked in before she glanced over her shoulder. “It’s not like I planned it or something. I don’t mean to step on toes or anything, but I thought it’d be rude not to invite him to stay for dinner. Even if Elliott wasn’t in the lifestyle, I still would have asked him.” She shut the oven and added, “Why, does it make you uncomfortable?”

Yes!

Mary withheld her response, knowing it shouldn’t make her uncomfortable. If Elliott wasn’t a Dom, having another dinner guest wouldn’t be a problem. Yet she sensed something with him that made her feel unsteady. The heat burning through her reminded her she was attracted to him and that he was a Dominant, a man who was skilled in controlling women and getting what he wanted.

She lifted her chin, forcing the thoughts away. She was no longer a submissive and certainly was not going to act on her body’s response to him. Her fingers absentmindedly reached for her diamond necklace—Charles’s claim of her—which was the collar that marked her as his. No one could replace him. “You’re right. It would have been rude of you not to ask him. Just no matchmaking, got it?”

“Of course,” Presley replied with a smile. She moved toward the counter, grabbing the tray of buns. “But maybe it’ll be nice to talk with someone who isn’t”—she glanced over her shoulder and grinned—“my age.”

Mary laughed, picking up the bowl of summer salad. Nice way of not saying she was old, she thought. Regardless of the years between them, she’d grown fond of Presley in the few months she’d known her.

Though lingering tension followed Mary as she walked through the kitchen toward the circular dining room, she could not be happier for Dmitri and all of the success he had achieved as well. When Charles first hired him to work at the casino, Dmitri had seemed strained, as if something heavy was weighing on him. His years of employment with her late husband was how she’d got to know Dmitri, and over time he became more relaxed and another part of their family. Not only had he and Charles gotten along very well, but Dmitri was a Master and needed to release that controlling nature, so when he got involved in the lifestyle he became a more well-rounded young man.

Charles had introduced Dmitri to Chains, a local BDSM club, and mentored him. They had known Dmitri since he was in his twenties, and he had gone from a kid who struggled through life to a confident thirty-three-year-old man.

Her late husband would have been proud of the man, and Dom, Dmitri had become.

Mary entered the dining room and placed the salad on the antique table, knowing Presley’s intentions were good. Perhaps Presley thought Mary was missing something in her life.

Maybe she was.

She’d always known she’d lost a piece of herself when Charles passed away. In the year Charles was sick with terminal pancreatic cancer, she hadn’t been interested in anything sexual at all. She only wanted her husband well again. Then in the years since his death, she hadn’t watched a BDSM scene, except for a few adult movies, which were much different from being in the club and seeing a live display.

It’d been a long time since she had sex or any sexual physical contact, with or without the kink she had once craved and needed in her life. She sighed as she aligned the fork next to the plate and noticed Presley watching her. “All right, spit it out.”

Presley looked down, fiddling with a napkin. “Do you think you’ll ever date again?”

“I’ve already met the man I was meant to be with and he’s gone.” Presley’s eyes saddened, but Mary pushed past the thickness in her throat. “You don’t get two chances at something that beautiful.”

***

Forty-five minutes later, Elliott sipped his scotch on the rocks, leaning against the cool, dark brown leather chair in the sitting room. His stomach was full and he was now regretting that second helping.

Hearing voices in the distance, he glanced toward the kitchen, listening to Mary laughing with Presley as they finished cleaning up. He had offered to help, but both women responded with a resounding no. He smiled, letting the scotch warm him.

With the home’s open floor plan they could see each other across the way, and Mary clearly felt him staring—when she looked up directly at him all the blood in his body pooled into his cock. Brown eyes that held a gentle soul, yet a fiery confidence, watched him. Mary’s features were delicate; she had a thin nose and long, shaggy brown hair that surrounded her oval face, with bangs that fell over her brow. The faint creases he noticed earlier around the corners of her eyes showed her age—early fifties, Elliott figured.

She looked at him for a moment longer before she turned to Presley and laughed at something Presley had said. Elliott’s world faded with the power of Mary’s smile. Maybe there was a touch of sadness to it, but she still radiated with life.

Mary’s beauty stopped the world from moving around him.

For the briefest of seconds her gaze returned to him, and Elliott restrained his groan. She heated perfectly under his stare, intoxicating him. Her dark, sensual expression made his thoughts turn wicked, including a tempting image of being on top of her and staring into those soft eyes while he thrust in deep. But every time she’d suddenly move her focus away she puzzled him.

Her blatant aroused reactions proved she’d played in the BDSM lifestyle before. Only an experienced submissive would react in the manner she had with a Dominant near. Though looking at her lacing her hands in front of her and the way she cast her gaze down, she almost portrayed an innocence about the lifestyle.

That was something he’d determine later. He turned to Dmitri. “Call me when the paperwork is ready and I’ll drop by your office and sign it.”

Dmitri watched Mary, then nodded to Elliott. “Perfect.”

Elliott had enough sense to know something stayed on Dmitri’s mind. Many years ago, they had met at a club while on vacation in San Francisco. Small world, he’d thought at the time. But they had exchanged cards with the thought of working together at some point. Within a year, they had done some business together, investing in a small marketing company out of New York. Then Dmitri had invited Elliott to his exclusive BDSM dungeon, Club Sin. When he had heard the members were in their twenties and thirties, Elliott graciously declined.

He wanted an experienced woman, and in his case, age mattered.

Elliott glanced to Mary and he all but salivated. That type of woman was what he wanted. Educated with a Dom. Experienced in the lifestyle. A woman whom he could arouse by not even touching her. A lady that blushed innocently, yet could also play with kink and own her pleasure.

Dmitri chuckled. “Interested?”

“It’s obvious, I take it?” Elliott murmured, then turned to Dmitri and said with a smile, “Is she single?”

“From what I know, I believe so.”

Meaning Dmitri knew she didn’t have a steady lover, but Elliott figured that also meant Dmitri wasn’t sure if Mary had a Dom. Emotion crossed Dmitri’s face that Elliott couldn’t quite place. He was curious now to learn more about her, but he also heard the women approaching, so he quickly asked, “Would my interest be all right with you?”

“Of course,” Dmitri replied with an arched brow. “A man would be good for her. A Dom would be even better.”

Before Elliott could dig in to that statement further, the women entered the room. He hastily downed his drink and then rose from his seat. “I could use another.” He smiled at Presley, then asked the group, “Would anyone else like an after-dinner drink?” Presley nodded, as did Dmitri. Then Elliott turned to Mary. She hadn’t taken her eyes off him. Her breath grew raspy and her cheeks were flushed. Intriguing. “Some wine, Mary?”

She licked her lips. “White, please.”

He couldn’t remove his focus from her damp lips, creating all sorts of naughty sexual images in his mind. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he turned to confirm the other drink requests, realizing he’d been caught.

A hint of a smile crossed Dmitri’s face. “White for both Presley and me, thank you.”

Elliott turned to Mary, who stared at him with wide, excited eyes. Yeah, he understood her desire. He felt it, too. “Come, beautiful, help me gather the drinks.”

She took a step forward, as if drawn by his order, not wanting to refuse. Which was exactly why he’d phrased the request as he had and not posed it as a question. He watched her, wondering over her next move. Sure, he was testing the waters, but he needed to understand this little puzzle.

Mary drew in a deep breath, lowering her head, trying to recover her emotions. When she regarded Dmitri all heat had vanished from her face, her gaze was guarded. “White wine, you said?”

Obviously sensing the challenge between his two guests, Dmitri smirked. “Two, please.”

Elliott thought her response was ever the more fascinating. Not only did she shield her arousal so fiercely, not allowing it to awaken and be obvious to him, but she seemed hell-bent on keeping him at bay.

In that one second, her actions told him: I turned to Dmitri to ask because I’m not following your order. I’m getting my friends a drink.

Little did she know Elliott loved a challenge. In his life, he conquered businessmen who were known to make grown men cry. He’d gotten investors to dive into risky businesses. He loved those stone walls in life that needed to be broken down to succeed.

Mary had unknowingly become his next conquest.

She turned to him with her chin lifted high. “Are you ready to serve the drinks?”

His frown pulled at the corners of his mouth as he took the final step to close the distance. He leaned down by her face, and the sweetness of her flowering scent spiraled around him. “I do believe I already said that I wanted you to help me get the drinks.” He arched a brow at her. “Did you not hear me?”

“I heard you.” She hesitated. “I—”

“Good,” he interjected with an easy smile. “For a moment there I thought you had a problem with your hearing.”

She laughed softly, avoiding his gaze. “No, my hearing is just fine.”

He noted the flush of her cheeks returned as he leaned away. “Then please come with me so we can enjoy some drinks.” A power play with him she would lose, of that he was confident. And he rather enjoyed hearing her following behind him as he entered the kitchen.

Nice try, though, he mused to himself.

He reached the kitchen island and removed three glasses from the side cabinet as Mary went to the fridge and pulled out the bottle of chardonnay. Once she moved to his side, he sensed her become still, almost frozen in time. He took the bottle from her and she stared at him with dazzling eyes, burning with a light he’d not seen in some time—fierce attraction.

He uncorked the bottle and asked, “Are you a member of Club Sin, Mary?”

She shook her head. “No, I prefer not to play with young men.”

He smiled, filling up the first glass. “You are clearly a submissive, so do you play elsewhere, then?”

“No.” She peeked at him before she pushed the second glass closer to him. “I’m no longer in the lifestyle.”

Surprise flickered through him, and he hurried to finish filling the second and third glasses. He placed the bottle down and turned to her. She stared at the wine bottle, not moving, barely breathing, it seemed.

Unable to stop himself, pulled by the attraction, he trailed a finger over her bare shoulder and her gaze snapped to him. He waited for her to lash out at him, but her mouth stayed shut. She wasn’t even blinking.

He lowered his gaze and watched his finger running up and down her arm, and murmured, “Now, why would a submissive who reacts as beautifully as you do not play anymore?”

“I”—she inhaled sharply and moved away from his touch—“it’s not something that interests me any longer.”

“Funny,” he retorted. “Your body seems to disagree with that statement.”

She snapped her head up, eyes narrowed. “By that, you mean?”

Her glare struck him hard in the chest, being the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. He loved a woman with fire in her blood. The stronger the personality, the better. “I would say that in my experience as a Dom, and that is about thirty years of experience, that you’re aching to play.”

She stared at him for a few seconds before casting her gaze down. “You’re wrong.”

“Am I?” He moved closer, getting right in her space. “I bet I could prove you’re wrong.”

She looked to him again; the angry glare was gone. His cock twitched as he listened to her deepening breaths. Slowly, he lifted his hand, giving her the chance to move away, but again she stayed put. He gripped her arm, pressed his body against hers, and she leaned in to him, probably not even realizing she’d done so.

Held captive by her mouth, he traced a thumb over her cheek. Yeah, darlin’, a kiss would be nice, wouldn’t it? “Now tell me again what you just said when I asked why you don’t play.”

Silence greeted him.

Her eyes were dark, deliciously aroused. He would bet money her lower lips were as puffy, red, and wet as the ones on her face. Leaning down, he brought his mouth close to hers, letting her feel the touch of a Dominant, and allowing her to experience the nearness of a commanding man.

“You lie to yourself, beautiful.” He dragged his finger over her bottom lip, hearing the hitching of her breath. “I smell your need. I feel that your lush body is ready and willing.” Dropping his hand from her chin, he stepped back, and watched her brace her hands on the island.

Intrigue and burning attraction had him reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a card from his wallet. “I hold a BDSM play party every two weeks at Dmitri’s casino.” Which was a gathering of kinky people who didn’t want to attend clubs, public or otherwise. “We have one scheduled for tomorrow night at eight o’clock. This card will give you access.”

He offered her the card, but she didn’t accept it, so he placed it on the counter. “I promise that you would be comfortable there. Everyone is around our age, and all are looking for exactly what we want. A fun, private party to explore our sexual lifestyle.” Pulled by the electricity between them, he moved closer. “I want to play with you, Mary.” He brushed his lips across her cheek, relishing her shiver while he whispered in her ear, “Stop lying to yourself, so that I can.”

Geek Bearing Gifts by Milly Taiden

“Did you know…That your eyes are the color of smooth milk chocolate and as bright as a thousand stars?”

91oM86+0ZJL._SL1500_Title:  Geek Bearing Gifts

Author:  Milly Taiden

Rate: B

Nita Islas wants to find love. She’s tired of the superficial relationships and is ready to give true romance a try. She uses the Paranormal Dating Agency and hopes they can help her where all others have failed. What she didn’t expect was to find her date flat on his back in nothing more than a towel.
Ky Stone has been in love with curvy and funny Nita since they were in High School. When she moved away, she took his heart with her. Then one day Ky wakes up to find her leaning over him. He’s sure he’s died and gone to heaven. He has no idea what she’s doing there, but he’s sure as hell not letting her leave.
Fate, meddling family and the PDA have brought them together again. The chemistry between them is explosive. But there’s problems with Ky’s neighboring clan and he’s keeping secrets from Nita. He needs to find a way to open up to her or lies and unexpected danger could tear them apart…forever. 

Thoughts:  There were things I really liked about this book, but some things that really just didn’t work for me.  I love the whole ‘crush’ angle of the story, with Ky knowing that Nita was the one for him since they were teens.  What didn’t work for me?  The fact that she had a crush on Ky too, but yet doesn’t connect this Ty with the Ty of the past.  I mean, it doesn’t even cross her mind at all (not even a hint of, “Could this be…?  No, it can’t be!”)  Some things also just seemed thrown in to add conflict, but it was half-hearted.  Rival clan sneaking onto the bear clans land….fights and violence….repeat.  It just seemed there could have been a whole lot more to this story.  On all levels.

This would not be one of my favorites of Taiden’s work.  I loved the idea of it, but it just never came to fruition.  It was short, underdeveloped, and just left me wanting a whole lot more from this story.

Excerpt:  “So you see, I want a man that will be interested in me as a person. Not just for sex. Not for money, which I don’t have. Not for whatever he might think he can get out of me. I want to be wanted for the woman inside. And I sure as hell want to be wanted sexually too.”

Mrs. Wilder cocked her head to the side, staring at her with her soulful eyes. “Darling, there are many sides to you. Your beauty, your body, your wit, your abilities at work. What do you want to focus on if anything in particular?”

She leaned back on the sofa, the seat dipping under her butt. The leather squeaked with the weight of her body. “I want more than sex. Don’t get me wrong, sex is great.”

Mrs. Wilder snorted, her eyes turned bright with amusement. Her lips twisted in a smirk and a

small dimple showed on her right cheek. She appeared even younger when she smiled. “Sex is amazing when done correctly. Especially if he can figure out how to be all alpha and make your legs shake.”

Oh, damn! She choked on the cookie she’d taken a bite of, chocolate spewing from her lips with each cough. She picked up a napkin and tried to clear her throat. Mrs. Wilder was a freak.

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Peyton 313 by Donna McDonald

“That’s because I have cybernetic eyes.  Plus I’m male.  My first response to most trauma is to beat on something until the situation improves.”

cyborgcoverTitle:  Peyton 313

Author:  Donna McDonald

Series:  Cyborgs: Mankind Redefined Book #1

Rate: A

Worst epic fail of her scientific career? Falling for a cyborg she helped create.

Kyra Winters never meant for her cyber science discoveries to be used for evil, but that’s exactly what happened. Now returning Peyton 313’s humanity is the last chance she’ll ever have to atone. She can’t get back the lost decade, but she can change the present by restoring the cyborg who was once Marine Captain Peyton Elliot.

Certainly her grand plan for rectifying her mistakes didn’t include madly kissing the confused, passionate Marine when he begged her to. The same scientific mind that constructed the cyborg creator code now warned her not to let Peyton’s tempting offers of heaven cloud her rational decision making. Yet it’s difficult to resist the cyborg she’s restoring when he’s also the most intriguing man she’s ever known.

Thoughts:  To be honest, I have read very few ‘cyborg’ books – the only others have been from the Cyborg Seduction series by Laurann Dohner (largely because I was already a fan of her New Species series).  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this book – though I have to admit to a few doubts in the beginning, especially when the whole ‘cyber-husbands’ and ‘cyber-wives’ came into the story.  It took a little while for me to wrap by brain around that and accept it into the storyline, probably because it is so different from my usual read.  It was a so very different from the other books of this type that I have read – but I imagine anyone liking the ‘cyborg’ storylines, or anyone looking for something a little different to read will love this Peyton 313!

This seems to be one of those books where it just gets better and better with every page!  By the end, I was completely caught up with these characters and the whole storyline.  I look forward to reading the rest of this series and following the adventures of the other cyborgs that we are introduced to.  Bottom line – I was very impressed with the author, the story, and the characters.  Can’t wait for more of this series!!

Excerpt:  Satisfied by his fierce complaining, Kyra walked back to the chair and knelt at his feet again. She had thumb-printed the chair restraint locks so a light swipe across the sensor instantly opened them. After the ankle ones were removed, she removed the one across his chest. Lastly, she moved to his wrists, pausing as she met his questioning gaze. She had to tell him what she was feeling. The urge was too compelling and his gaze was too full of hope. “Today you are more yourself than you’ve been in a long time, Captain Elliot. Since this may be the only nice conversation you and I are ever going to have, I want to thank you for your military service and all the amazing things you’ve done. I’ll even admit that you’re far more charming than your record indicated. In another time and another place, I might have been willing to play all kinds of flirty games with you. But this is definitely not that time or place. We are suspended between heaven and hell right now, and neither of us is an angel.”

“Sleep in the cage with me tonight and I’ll show you heaven, Doc. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a woman as much as I want you right now. Sorry if the speed of my interest offends your sensibilities. I’m listening to a little voice that keeps yelling inside me. It’s saying this may be my one and only chance to get you to see I’m more than just some super soldier machine in need of fixing.”

 Kyra felt her lip tremble and bit it hard to make it stop before she answered. “I already know that about you. That’s why I’m doing this. Now don’t make me like you any more than I already do.”

 “See? I knew you liked me,” Peyton bragged, wishing she’d come a lot closer. She smelled amazing.

 Kyra wondered if Peyton’s desire for her was a lingering after-effect of all those years of Cyber Husband programming? He would have studied her file extensively because Norton would have made him do so. He would have learned all he could about her likes and dislikes. That’s how the program worked. She purposely hadn’t removed that chip because she needed him to like her at least a little for just a while longer.

 Peyton stared at the woman’s disappointed face. She looked ready to cry and he couldn’t stand seeing her that way. “How about a kiss to test your theories about us, Doc? Just one. I need it and I think you need it too. You already admitted you weren’t married. Look—my wrists are still chained to the chair. What could one kiss hurt? Come on—what do you say?”

 Kyra sighed. She was as exasperated with him as she was charmed by his pleading. Tomorrow Peyton Elliott was going to hate her. She was one hundred percent sure of it because it had been proven true twice already before him.

 Tomorrow when Peyton Elliott knew the truth, he would hate his life and those who had consigned him to his living hell. Tomorrow the machine would be partially back and Peyton would not be this light-hearted, mostly human version of himself. He would be a new kind of redefined cyborg. While no one knew what that was going to be like—not even her—she would bet her retirement Peyton was still going to hate her after he integrated the present with his past.

 “Please—one kiss, Doc. That’s all I’m asking,” Peyton whispered.

 Kyra sighed loudly. “You’re a hard man to say no to and today I’m a sentimental fool. Close your eyes, Captain. I haven’t kissed a man in a long time. I can’t look at you or I’ll lose my nerve.”

 When Peyton sighed dramatically in return and leaned his head back, Kyra climbed on the electrical shield at the bottom of the operating chair until she was standing between his legs. Heat emanated from every inch of the man and he still smelled a little like burnt circuitry. Yet underneath that stark reality, Peyton also smelled masculine and very alluring.

 Kyra sighed again. “I wish I could send you out the door to live whatever kind of life you want just as you are right now. That’s what you deserve, Captain Elliott. I want that badly for you, but I can’t make it happen. Your cybernetic enhancements require you to retain knowledge of how they work. Too much is at stake and the outcome of your healing affects more than just the two of us. But thank you for giving me a glimpse of why putting you through this hell is so important. This moment—it’s very humanizing for both of us—to want to be kissed and then be kissed. Thank you for sharing this moment with me.”

 “Man, you sure talk a lot. Still waiting for that kiss, Doc,” Peyton said. He was keeping his eyes tight and his mind off how sexy she sounded when she got all philosophical.

 Kyra snorted at his chastising. She touched her lips to Peyton’s and instantly found her bottom one nipped aggressively between two rows of even teeth. Moaning at the delicate trap he’d set for her, her body tipped forward against his and she had to catch herself on his wide shoulders. Her hands slipped over them and down his chest without her mind questioning the action.

 When she moaned against his mouth, Peyton ordered himself to turn loose. After he did, he stared hard at the lip he’d bitten. The woman wanted him. He could taste it, smell it, and damn it he wanted her too. It was exhilarating to feel such pure desire flowing so freely through his cells.

 A demand to sate that intense longing came from some desperate part of him that was both familiar and strange at the same time. What the hell was happening to him mind? It was both relieving and like finally waking up after being asleep for too long.

 “Climb up here and give me a real kiss, Doc. And don’t be so damn stingy with sharing your tongue. I intend to use it to imagine what else I’m going to do when you cut me loose from this freaking chair.”

 Groaning at how aroused he’d just made her with his sexy declaration, Kyra climbed into Peyton’s large lap to straddle him. It gave her better access to his mouth and the chance to indulge just a little more as she eased her hips down on him. She sighed at her nearly out-of-control feelings and touched her forehead to his.

 “The only reason I’m doing this is because I know you’re going to take great pleasure in ridding yourself of this memory tomorrow. I won’t blame you for that action, Peyton. I think it’s the smartest thing you could do.”

 “Stop whining about what hasn’t happened yet, Doc. It’s damn cruel to suggest this instant attraction between us is nothing. Now kiss me like you want to—and damn it I know you want to. I am a cyborg, you know.”

 He ordered his processor to store the image of her face just as she caved into his demand and dipped her mouth to his. Her lips were lush and hot and wet, and her kiss was the most deliriously wonderful experience he could recall happening in ages. He watched her eyes close in pleasure as he strained towards her, but froze in the chair when he saw two tears run down her face. A second later, tears were flowing off her chin in two tiny, steady streams.

 “What? What is it, Doc? What’s wrong with this? The attraction is mutual, isn’t it? We’re alone in here just the two of us. I’m wearing too many damn restraints to do much harm to you. Hell, keep the chair restraints in place woman—just be with me before I die from wanting you.”

 “I can’t. I can’t take advantage of you, no matter what I’m feeling,” Kyra said, lifting her arm to swipe at her eyes. “Thank you for the sexy kiss, Captain. It’s been a very, very long time since I felt anything remotely close that level of desire for a man. Even if you wipe this away, I’ll never forget it—or you.”

 Kyra slid reluctantly off his lap and straightened her clothing. “I’m going to release the last of the chair restraints now. Please keep your distance so I don’t have to use the controller. I’ve hurt you enough in the last couple of days.”

Buy Link:  Amazon

smexytourhost

Body Games by Jessica Clare

body gamesTitle:  Body Games

Series:  Book #5 in the Game Series

Author:  Jessica Clare

Rating:  B

Annabelle Tucker is still reeling from last season’s Endurance Island, when the man she loved played her for a fool. When producers ask her back for a new season it’s the last thing she’s interested in…until she hears her ex, the gorgeous but duplicitous Kip, will be there. Revenge and a grand prize? Yes, please! 
But someone’s there to throw a kink into her plans. Someone tall and cut, and with the sexiest gray eyes. Jendan Abercrombie’s on an opposing team, but it doesn’t mean that Annabelle can’t lust after him, right? She’ll just have to save all that lusting for post-show, when she’s free to follow where her loins lead.
When a tribal twist puts them both on the same team – naked – will Annabelle be able to resist his very apparent charms? Or will she have to vote Jendan out to save her game?

Review:  I must admit, this title made for an interesting read!  It’s apparent if you read the blurb that this is sort of a roughly based book version of the television show Survivor (which I love by the way!)  Of course there are differences, but for all intents and purposes that is what it is….:)  So, of course, I had to give this series a try!  Granted, this is book five in the series, and I have yet to read the previous ones (the first of which is free on Amazon, by the way!)  That didn’t really hinder me when it came to reading the book at all though – was really easy to just jump right into it.

My only real complaint is the first person point of view.  My own personal opinion, of course…:)  I used to absolutely avoid anything told from first person POV, but now there are a few cases where it is pulled off beautifully and actually adds to the story.  In this case, it actually seemed to render a little bit of a disconnect for me when it came to the characters.  It’s one of those books where it’s a great story, but rather than feeling like a part of it you feel like you are on the outside looking in.  I will definitely be reading prior books in this series though, and reading any additional books to follow!

Excerpt:  “All right, guys,” Chip’s voice interrupted my self-loathing. “As I said before, everything you’re starting the game with is in that box right here.” He gestured at the row of colorful boxes lined up at his feet, each one no taller than his knee. “You’re not even allowed the clothes on your back. At the signal, find your box with your name and change into your gear. Once you have your gear, the game starts. This is your first challenge.”

I shivered. The game was beginning already. I was ready for this, though. All weekend, I’d brushed up on my skills that I’d learned from my last round on the island. I could make a decent fire with coconut fluff if given time and supplies. I was flexible and in shape. I studied puzzles and the local flora and fauna on the flight out so I wouldn’t be unawares. I was as ready as I could be.

“When I say go, you will change into your playing gear. Once you are changed, take your box and haul it across that line on the far side of the beach.” He pointed into the distance, and I could see a row of cameramen lined up next to a finish line with tiny waving flags. It was about a hundred yards away. Not a fun sprint, but a do-able one.

“The last team to change out of their clothing and into their Endurance Island gear will not be nominated for Judgment – they will be eliminated. Today is your first day in the game…and it will be the last for two players. This is immunity, Judgment, and execution all in one swoop.”

As a one, contestants started to cast confused looks at each other. We were all thinking the same thing – we were going to have to change clothes on the beach? In front of each other? Really? What the heck was up with that? This was national television, not cable, so I knew that any boobs or balls would be pixelated out, but I wasn’t relishing the thought of getting naked in front of anyone, much less fifteen other someones…

And an entire camera crew watching, to boot.

Okay. I told myself I could do this. I studied the box, thinking. Inside, there would probably be a team shirt designation or something along those lines. Maybe a slip dress. I could probably wiggle into something without flashing my boobs to the world.

“Everyone ready?” Chip raised his hand, a gleeful look on his face. He quickly lowered it. “Go!”

There was no time to think. Everyone hauled ass forward, sand spraying as sixteen pairs of feet ran toward the row of boxes across the beach. The wind whipped strands of hair into my eyes and Kip quickly shoved ahead of me. I slowed momentarily, letting the stampeding rush of bodies swarm ahead. It wouldn’t do me any good to push ahead of Kip only to be slammed to the ground by a rogue elbow. I trotted as close behind the others as I dared, and reached the colored boxes a few steps after the others.

My hands landed on my box the moment the first gasp of shock went up.

That made me jerk upright. I looked away from my box as I pulled off the lid, staring down at the line.

A woman was holding up a pair of sneakers and waving them in the air. “This is all that’s in my box!” Others were pulling off their lids and murmuring as well. No one sounded happy. For that matter, no one sounded like they knew what to do.

Others held up their items – no one had anything but shoes.

I tossed the lid of my yellow box aside. Sure enough, there was a pair of dainty yellow and white sneakers laid neatly inside my box. That was it. I picked them up and shook them out, in case there was a clue of some kind to where the rest of my gear might be hidden.

“I don’t understand,” Kip said. “No one has anything but shoes.”

“That’s right,” Chip boomed from nearby. “For this season of Endurance Island, you’ll be playing stripped of every luxury. And that includes clothing.”

body games teaser 1

Wilde Riders by Savannah Young

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Title:  Wilde Riders

Series:  Old Town Country Book #1

Author:  Savannah Young

Rating: C+

Cooper Wilde spent his entire adolescence counting the days until he could escape rural northwest New Jersey. Now at 26, he can’t believe he’s coming back. But his late father’s bar, Haymakers, is in financial trouble and his older brother, Jake, has asked for Cooper’s help.  Riley Smith, 25, is fresh out of her Ivy League MBA program and wants to make an impression on her employer, H & C Bank. Her first solo assignment is a fraud investigation on a business loan they made to Haymakers.  Even though Old Town is less than 90 minutes from New York City, Riley feels like she’s stepped into another world in this remote, one-bar town. Riley can’t wait to do her business and get back to the city as quickly as her sports car will take her…until she meets Cooper Wilde. He’s not like the other guys in this rural town and Riley feels inexplicably attracted to him. 
If you like your trucks loud, your beer cold and your men hot…you’ll love WILDE RIDERS.

Review:  There was really a sense of disconnect in this book for me.  Not only is it told from the first person point of view – which is usually hit or miss for me anyway – but it also switches back and forth in the point of view.  It was more distracting than beneficial – at least for me – and that was a major issue I had with it.  Building on that, I also really just didn’t feel any connection to the characters – it all just seemed rather bland to me.  The story was okay, but nothing that really stands out.  While some contemporary readers who enjoy that alternate POV and first person viewpoint may enjoy this one, for me it just didn’t work.

Excerpt:  The drive into New Jersey is exhausting. My only saving grace is that most of the traffic is going into the city instead of out of the city like I am. You’ve got to love those bridge and tunnel guys. I wouldn’t date one but I have a little bit of respect for them. The commute into Manhattan turns a nine hour work day into an eleven hour one, if you’re lucky. I can feel my stomach start to knot as I get further away from the city and further away from civilization. Pretty soon I’ll be in the sticks surrounded by woods and farmland. I can almost smell the manure that will no doubt take days to completely rid from my nasal passages. I pray that I don’t run into any animals, especially cows, which are huge, smelly and completely freak me out. The only live animals I ever care to see have to fit comfortably in a handbag, like a Chihuahua or Teacup Poodle, for example.

I have an appointment with a man named Jake Wilde. He asked me to come early, before the place opens at noon, so he could give me his full attention. I try to imagine what someone named Jake Wilde would look like and all I can come up with is an old gunslinger like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.

As I pull into Old Town the place looks exactly like I thought it would. The buildings in the town square are old and I image the place hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years or so.

Haymakers is just past the town square, down the hill from the deli, next to the gas station. Those were the exact directions I was given, in those words. I take that to mean the town only has one gas station and one deli.

When I pull into the parking lot, there’s only one other vehicle sitting there. It’s an old beat-up Dodge Ram. Nothing like fitting the country bumpkin stereotype like a glove. I have a brief moment of panic and wonder if it’s safe to park my BMW in the dirt lot. Then I remind myself where I am. Who is going to mess with it in the middle of the day? A stray deer from the woods out back? The only thing I probably have to worry about is it getting dusty.

I take in a deep breath. I have to be thankful there’s no manure smell yet. The quicker you do this, I remind myself, the quicker you can get back to the lovely asphalt jungle you call home.

I’m hit with a gust of wind as soon as I get out of my car. How is it possible that Old Town is even windier than lower Manhattan? I didn’t think I’d ever find a place windier than Wall Street. Even the Windy City didn’t seem this windy when I had business in Chicago.

When I enter the bar, I try to smooth down my thick hair, which I know is probably a complete mess from the gust. I’m surprised by the homey feel of the place. How could someone like me possibly feel at home in a country bar? Even if I was wearing jeans and cowboy boots, if I even owned jeans and cowboy boots, I wouldn’t fit in at a place like this.

I hear someone clear his throat and I turn to see a guy about my age, mid-twenties, standing next to me. I can’t help my surprise when I see he’s wearing khakis and a polo shirt, like he just stepped off of a golf course. He looks as out of place in this country bar as I feel.

“Are you Jake Wilde?” I ask.

The guy gives me the faintest hint of a smile but it’s almost as if it pains him to give that much. His deep brown eyes look even more distressed and I can’t help but wonder what’s behind those sad eyes.

He rakes his fingers through his thick dark hair. “A little windy out, isn’t it?”

My hand automatically goes to my hair and I try to casually flatten it down again. I imagine I must look like I just stepped out of a wind tunnel.

“Your hair looks fine,” the guy tries to assure me. But he’s got that hint of a smile on his face again and it makes me wonder if he’s lying just to make me feel better.

“I’m Cooper Wilde,” the guy says as he offers a hand.

I don’t know why I suddenly feel nervous about shaking it. It’s a business meeting. That’s what people do. But the way this guy is looking at me gives me the feeling that he might be interested in more than just business.

But I’m not, I remind myself. Not only because I’ve all but sworn off men, I’m here to do a job. I’ve been working for H & C Bank for two years and this is my first solo assignment as a lead investigator. If I continue to do well, I’ll be well on my way to becoming a Vice President before I turn thirty. I don’t need a man to throw me off my career trajectory. And definitely not some guy in a country bar in rural New Jersey.

I take his hand and give it a quick shake but I can’t bring my-self to look into his smoldering eyes again. “I’m Riley Smith.”

“I figured that,” Cooper says.

“Why is that?”

That hint of a smile has returned to his face again. “We don’t often get women in business suits in the bar.”

I’m not sure why I’m suddenly overcome with the urge to get a real smile out of Cooper Wilde. I don’t know even know the guy but it somehow seems important. I get the feeling he hasn’t really smiled in a while and it’s long overdue.

Not that I’ve had much occasion for real smiles myself lately.

“My brother will be here in a minute or two. He’s just printing a few documents from the computer. Purchase orders and receipts.”

I nod and look around the place. From the outside, I thought it was going to be a dive but the place actually has character. I can tell the wooden bar is old, and it looks hand carved, as do the barstools. There’s a large stage area that looks new. That’s one of the expenses I was charged with investigating. I try to image what the place looks like filled with patrons watching a local band play on a Friday night.

“Ms. Smith?” I hear a deeper male voice say.

I look up to see another guy approaching. He also looks around my age, mid-twenties, but he looks more like what I’d expect inside a country bar. He’s wearing a white button down shirt with jeans and cowboy boots. His hair is lighter than Cooper’s and his face is rounder, more boyish, but there’s definitely a family resemblance between these two guys. They’re both about the same height, around six feet, with athletic builds, like they play sports.

“I’m Jake Wilde,” the lighter haired guy says.

I try not to laugh as I look at Jake. He’s young, attractive and nothing like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. So much for my speculation about his name.

I notice Jake has papers in his hands. “Maybe we should have a seat at one of the tables.” He motions to a table closest to us.

“Would you like something to drink?” he asks. Jake has one thing that Cooper doesn’t. An absolutely killer smile. It’s the kind of smile that can probably get any girl into bed in a matter of minutes. Well, any girl except me. I no longer fall for guys with smiles like that. It hurts too much the next morning when they say they’ll call you, and give you that smile, and you know they’re lying and you’ll never hear from them again.

“I’ll take some water,” I reply.

Jake actually winks at me before he turns to head towards the bar. The guy knows how to charm people I’ll give him credit for that.

I notice Cooper now has the papers in his hand. Without saying anything, he sits down and I follow.

“I think this is everything you’ll need as far as the fraud investigation is concerned. We’ve got purchase orders for all of the improvements as well as receipts for the completed work. You’re sitting at one of the new tables right now. And you can see the new stage from here. I’d be happy to take you up to the new roof, if you’d like to see it.”

Cooper pushes the stack of papers toward me. I quickly thumb through them. I’ll make a few phone calls when I get back into the city to verify everything and cover my butt. At first glance, though, everything looks clean. It doesn’t seem like a case of fraud, more likely poor bookkeeping.

“The loan hasn’t been paid in months,” I say even though that’s not really my department. I’m here only for the fraud investigation. They’ll be dealing with someone else regarding the default on the loan.

“I know,” Cooper says, and I can see more darkness over-shadow his already dark eyes. “I’m going to try and fix that.”

Jake comes back with three bottles of water. “Bottle okay or would you like a glass?” he asks.

“Bottle is fine,” I say.

Jake sets the bottles down on the table and takes the seat right next to me. I’m a little taken aback by how much space he commands. And not just because of his size. It’s his energy—his being—that’s so large.

“So what did I miss?” Jake asks.

Cooper eyes his brother and I can see there’s a little bit of animosity between them. Or at least there is on Cooper’s part. Jake seems kind of oblivious to it.

Cooper rubs his temple and says, “I was just telling Miss Smith that we’re willing to cooperate with her investigation in any way we can. I’ve given her all of the documents she’ll need.”

“Great,” Jake says. He gives me another one of his charming smiles then looks at me like he’s undressing me with his eyes.

I reflexively pull my suit jacket tighter even though I’m revealing nothing. I’m wearing a conservative button-down banker’s suit but I still feel like Jake can see through it somehow.

“I’ll look at the papers more closely when I get back to the city. I assume these are copies I can take with me?”

“Of course,” Cooper replies. The guy is all business. It’s in sharp contrast to his brother who seems more like a non-stop-party kind of guy.

“Did you decide if you want to see the roof?” Cooper asks.

When Jake laughs, Cooper glares at him.

“What?” Jake says. “If that’s supposed to be a pick up line, you’ve got a lot of work to do.”

“It’s not a pick-up line,” Cooper says through clenched teeth.

Still grinning, Jake asks, “You’re really going to show her the roof?”

“It’s not necessary,” I state. The last place I want to be is in the middle of these two guys’ drama. There’s obviously a lot more going on than just showing me the roof.

Jake leans close to me and I catch a whiff of his cologne. It’s a spicy and masculine. “Why don’t you let me show you the new stage we had built?”

I can feel the heat radiating from his muscular body and I’m quickly reminded by my body’s reaction that I haven’t had sex in over six months.

I gulp. “That’s not necessary.”

I can feel several beads of sweat roll down my forehead. I’m getting hot, and it’s not because of the temperature of the room has changed. It’s Jake’s closeness to me.

I jump from my chair. “I have everything I need.” I feel like waving the papers in front of my face like a fan but I refrain. I just need to get out of the bar and away from Jake. Then I’ll be fine.

That’s what I tell myself anyway.

Cooper rises from the table and gives me an odd look. I wish I could figure out what it would take to make the guy smile but I can’t stay next to Jake a minute longer. He’s like catnip and I’m the cat. I need to escape and get some fresh air.

“Thank you both for your cooperation,” I say.

“You’ll let us know if you need anything else?” Cooper asks.

“I will. It was a pleasure meeting you.” I put out my hand for Cooper to shake.

This time, when he touches me, I make a point of looking into his eyes. They seem to have gotten even darker and deeper in just the last few minutes and that makes me even more curious about him.

Business, I remind myself. You’re here for business and then it’s back to the city.

“It was nice meeting you, too,” Cooper says and once again, he only gives me the hint of a smile.

When Jake clears his throat, it breaks the moment between me and Cooper. I’m embarrassed that I lost control. I’m supposed to be a professional.

I noticed Jake has his hand out and I realize he wants me to shake it. The last thing I want is to do is touch Jake. I don’t want to get caught up in his charismatic web like a fly.

I give him a ridiculous wave instead and I feel like an idiot when he frowns.

“I’d better get going,” I say as I turn and make my way toward the door.

When I look back at the two brothers, they’re both staring at me. I don’t know why that makes me so nervous. I don’t plan on ever seeing either one of them again.

When I’m finally outside, I take in a deep breath of what I think will be fresh air and instead, I’m assaulted by the small of cow manure.

Great. Just great.

I hop into my car and turn the air conditioning up as high as it will go. I take in another deep breath and try to get the stench of cow dung out of my nasal passages. I can’t believe I’m shaking. I’m not sure if it’s because of Cooper or Jake. Maybe it’s a little of both. But I’m definitely rattled.

I just need to get out of Old Town and get back to the city, I tell myself. Then things will get back to normal.

As I put the car into reverse and begin to pull out of my parking space, I keep thinking: I just need to get out of here and get back to the city.

When I step on the accelerator to go forward, I drive right into an old Chevy pick-up truck that’s headed straight for me.

 

Guarded by J.D Rivera

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Title:  Guarded

Series:  Guarded Heart Book .5 (novella)

Author:  J.D Rivera

Rating:  A

Vanessa Smith has her heart guarded. She’s been married to a man that sleeps around and has made her think she’s ugly and undeserving. Everything changes when she is knocked down by the famous basketball player, Jackson Berrios. A friendship ensues and everything she thought she knew about men turns out to be wrong.  Jackson Berrios was out for a run in a new city when he made contact with the beautiful Vanessa Smith. He instantly knew she was different from most girls but can he make her see that he’s different from her cheating husband?

Review:  Guarded is a very cute, sweet, feel-good romance that I enjoyed very much.  I would have enjoyed it even more had it been a longer length book rather than a novella.  Usually I don’t enjoy them because I feel the length doesn’t usually give you enough time to get the full story behind the plot or the characters – and even less so when they are used as a prelude to a full length novel, with really dramatic cliff hangers.  That is not the case with this one – while this one is novella length, it is a complete story, and doesn’t leave you frustrated.

I loved the characters!  Vanessa is a gorgeous girl that is not really fully aware of how beautiful she is thanks to her lovely ex-husband.  While it sucks that we went through all this, it also makes her more relatable as a character.  I loved her honesty and frankness, and that is what really made me love her!  Jackson is amazing in his own way – he’s your typical playboy, but with a good heart.  And he certainly has his work cut out for him when it comes to wooing Vanessa!

While some readers might think it is too much of a ‘typical’ storyline, that it’s a shade to predictable, that it has nothing that really stands out, I have to say that I can see where they may feel that way.  However, that shouldn’t take anything away from this story.  There is nothing wrong with a good, solid romance – and the characters alone are enough to really a joy to read, and the way the writer tells it gives a nice interesting take on it.  If you’re a fan of a good romance, and in the mood for something that’s quick to read, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

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Picture Her Bound by Sidney Bristol

81UakoV6M1L._SL1500_Blurb:  Officer Odalia Foucheaux is a desperate woman. Incriminating photographs of her after-hours job as a fetish model have been stolen, and she’s willing to break rules to get them back. Standing in her way? The very dominant bounty hunter Jacques Savoy.   
Jacques has been watching out for Officer Foucheaux. He wants her safe from harm as much as he desires her body, her soul—and her submission. Odalia’s in trouble and struggling to walk the line of the law. His solution? Work together to find out who stole her pictures, what the thief wants and how to stop him. And if they find a pleasure unlike any other along the way, well, laissez les bons temps rouler. 
Let the good times roll.

Excerpt:  Odalia Foucheaux pulled her hair up in a messy knot on top of her head and glared at the man strapped to a metal pole in the men’s restroom. Through the windows behind her victim, the lights of New Orleans glittered as another Christmas drew to a close on the bayou. The drunken carousing was in full swing, but tonight it wasn’t her problem.

Tonight she was just a woman with a gun and a mission she hated more than her worst enemy.

The sounds of the loud bar echoed through the restroom, disguising the snitch’s babbling.

Kenny Douglas was a police informant known for caving under pressure. He’d given a lot of bad information over the years, and at least one officer had taken a bullet for this piece of shit’s bad intel.

“You’re crazy, bitch. Someone, help!” Kenny tried to twist, but the leather belt held him in place. He had a bump on his head, but she hadn’t been able to help that. He was a small man, about five-eight, just her size. Taking him by surprise had been her best option.

The law-abiding cop in her screamed, revolted by how low she’d sunk. But if she didn’t protect herself, no one would. It was a lesson she’d learned early on in life, but never had it brought her to such a dark place.

“I’m off the clock, Kenny. This little chat? It’s just between you and me.” Odalia sauntered toward him, hating herself and Kenny for putting her in this position. If she could put it all to rights, she could pretend like this chapter in her life had never happened at all.

“What do you want?” Sweat poured down Kenny’s brow, and his skin was bright red from the large quantities of alcohol he’d sucked down before going to relieve himself. Idiot hadn’t even realized who’d sent him more drinks through the course of the evening.

Besides, Odalia had needed the time to talk herself into this. There was no turning back once she’d begun. She’d always followed the rules, kept her nose clean and kept her life outside the uniform quiet. Until now.

“I’m going to ask you once, Kenny. Who wanted you to steal the camera?” She pushed her leather jacket back over her hips, letting the petty criminal catch a glimpse of the piece she carried. Not her officer-issued gun, she wasn’t stupid.

“I didn’t steal no camera. You got to believe me,” he wailed.

Odalia glared at the man. After the camera had turned up missing during a break in the photo shoot, she’d found a jacket with Kenny’s name stitched on the breast. It had been tossed over the barbed-wire fence around the studio her blazing-hot photographer friend had rented for the Christmas Eve shoot. She knew Kenny had been there. And she knew someone must have put him up to stealing the camera. Kenny wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box.

Which made her wonder, who put him up to it? Who knew about her off-the-clock gig?

She modeled lingerie, underwear and funky clothing for a couple of small businesses for their websites and advertisements, never showing her face. The work was commercial, but she’d wanted to do something different. Something more artistic, like the Inked photo shoot.

A local Dominant had asked her to do an artistic BDSM photo shoot, one that touched on that most private aspect of her lifestyle. For anyone else she’d have said no. But there was something about the chocolate-skinned man that got to her. The shoot had been more intense than many play sessions she’d had, and she’d allowed herself to go further than she would have with a new scene partner.

Her commanding officer wouldn’t understand the kinky nature of the photographs, wouldn’t see them for the beautiful portrayal of bondage and submission that they were.

She pulled the empty gun from her waistband. Her piece normally gave her comfort, but now it was a dead weight, pulling her down to the ground.

“Oh fuck.” Kenny thrashed, twisting around the pole, but the belt held him fast.

“Kenny, I’m not going to ask again.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, crazy bitch!”

I don’t want to do this. I wish there was another way.

Odalia shook her head and sighed. “Kenny—”

Someone pounded on the bathroom door.

“Hey—” Kenny snapped his teeth together so loud they clicked.

Odalia lifted the gun and laid a finger over his lips. “Just a second,” she yelled over her shoulder.

The door burst inward. A man clothed head-to-toe in black barged in and tackled Odalia, wrapping his arms around her from behind.

She went down hard, grunting as she banged her knee, and the gun slid from her grasp. She knocked the side of her head on the floor, jarring her teeth. The scent of urine, grime and sweat filled her nostrils and her skin crawled, disgust churning her stomach. She kicked and thrashed, but the man was bigger and stronger than her.

“Don’t fight me, bébé,” a deep, husky voice said.

Odalia gasped. What the fuck was he doing here?

“This ain’t the way.” He hoisted her to her feet and grabbed the gun, shoving it in a deep coat pocket.

Fils de putain,” she spat and twisted in his hold, but his grip on her arm was like iron.

“You.” He pointed at Kenny with his free hand. “Don’t utter a word of this. Do you know who I am?”

Kenny’s complexion resembled a ghost’s on All Hallow’s Eve. He nodded, eyes large. “Bounty hunter. Y-you’re Savoy.”

“You know who I work with?”

“B-Bayou Hunters.”

“A peep outta you and the gators’ll be your best friends,” he drawled, voice low and dangerous. “If I don’t get you, one of my team will.”

“Y-yes.” Kenny nodded hard enough that he cracked the back of his head against the metal pole.

Jacques Savoy turned toward her. His dark complexion communicated tightly wound aggression. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t speak disrespectfully of my mamma. Now, you’re coming with me,bébé.”

“No, I am not.”

Odalia tried to wrench her arm out of his grasp, but the bastard wasn’t letting her go. He dragged her through the drunken crowd of the Bourbon Street bar and out onto the strip, ducking onto a side street at the first opportunity. The entire district around the iconic street was one big party every night of the year, but the side streets were quieter, though no cleaner. She smelled the build-up of refuse over the Christmas holiday, stale beer and other elements she didn’t want to identify.

“Let. Go. Of. Me.” She kicked the back of his leg and twisted, getting free of his grasp and whirling away.

Odalia dashed toward the beckoning light of the street, only to be jerked back by her jacket. She threw an elbow and hit his ribs. Her lower arm went numb, and he didn’t so much as grunt.

“That’s it,” he grumbled and shoved her into the nearest brick wall, pinning her.

“Fuck you,” she growled and tried to throw her weight against him. She might have been obedient and eager during their photo shoot, but this wasn’t the set, and it wasn’t a dungeon.

“Take a deep breath and use your fucking head, officer.” He spat the last word.

Odalia bit her lip. His voice jarred her to clarity. Her body reacted to him despite her resolve not to. He was too potent to resist. She hated whoever had orchestrated the theft. She hated herself for sinking low. And she hated this man for seeing her at her worst.

Hot tears of rage fell on her cheek. She was powerless, completely helpless after she’d vowed to never again allow herself to be a victim. And here she was. A victim once more.

“Shh, bébé. Shh. I’m here. We’re going to fix this.” His arms wrapped around her from behind, and his big body cradled her.

For once in her life, she wanted to believe the lies someone spoke.

If only Jacques could fix it.

Review for Picture Her Bound:  Series:  Bayou Bound Book #1  Rating:  B

     This was a cute, quick read, and one that I enjoyed.  You should be aware however, that it is novella length – which is what I found most disappointing about it.  The storyline is a good one, the characters captivating enough that you want to see more of them, and enough of a mystery/conflict that it could have made for an even better full length novel.  I, personally, would have liked a to see a bit more of the build-up of attraction between these two characters – but that’s my own personal opinion on what I like to see.  That is part of my own personal dissatisfaction with novellas – these authors are such amazing writers with such good, intriguing storylines that I want so much more!  It is really a credit to the author’s writing…:)  Disregarding my opinion, it is certainly a solid read.

This one wastes no time in kicking off the storyline, and things really roll quite smoothly and efficiently.  There are no ebbs or lulls, and it wastes no time with fluff….just gets straight to the nitty-gritty bare-bones of the story.  I thought the ‘thief’ aspect would up a little too quickly, and simply not enough reasoning behind why he was willing to go to such lengths to go against Odalia – for all the drama about it, it was just a little too easy.  I guess that is the real crux of the matter – it lacks a little depth in the overall execution of the story.  Things are a little too pat and a little too simplistic for a novel full of intrigue and suspicion.

Of course, if you’re in the mood for a ‘quickie’ read, you can’t really go wrong with this one!

Buy Link:  Amazon

The Valentine’s Arrangement by Kelsie Leverich

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we have an excellent book to help you celebrate!  The Valentine’s Arrangement by Kelsie Leverich is a perfect choice and one that I personally enjoyed immensely!

cover38794-mediumTitle:  The Valentine’s Arrangement

Series:  N/A

Author:  Kelsie Leverich

Rating:  A

Tattoo artist Ronnie Clark is counting the days until Valentine’s Day is over. Ronnie doesn’t do romance. She doesn’t do flowers or dates, and she sure as hell doesn’t do love—not anymore. Love leads to heartbreak, and she’s vowed never to let herself get hurt again.  Sergeant First Class Kale Emerson is home on his midtour leave from Iraq, but he only has one thing on his mind—returning to his soldiers to finish leading their mission. He’s dedicated to his men and to his country, and he’s not interested in getting wrapped up in a distracting relationship…but casual sex, that’s a different story. From the moment he sees Ronnie, he wants her. And he agrees to her terms: no romance, no fluff—just passion.  But as their sexual chemistry ignites, the lines of their arrangement get blurry, and Ronnie starts to push Kale away. And when Kale realizes he’s found his match in this gorgeous razor-tongued woman who is hell-bent against love, winning her heart could be the toughest battle he has ever fought.

valentine's arrangementReview:  This book was amazingly good, and a perfect Valentine’s Day read.  It was not just a classic romantic feel-good read, but edgy, realistic, and fun as well.  Kale is a sexy-as-sin alpha male who is a bit of player, which suits him since he doesn’t want to make commitments that he doesn’t think he’s capable of, especially considering his military career.  However, he is also honest, which I really admired and enjoyed about his character.  Ronnie is blunt, outspoken, yet vulnerable, and she made the perfect foil for Kale.  She’s also doesn’t take any crap from anyone and has a serious issue with commitment anyway, so it seems like they are the perfect match for a fling.  However, when emotions become invested, can the deal they struck last – or will things need to change.

I enjoyed these characters so much, that this was one of those books that I couldn’t put down.  On one hand it was edgy and fun, and on the other it had a sweet emotional connection and classical romance vibe, yet the two seem to mesh perfectly together for one perfect story.  This just what I needed – something romantic, but that really stands out in your mind.  Excellent book!  I will definitely be delving into more books by this author.

Check out the book trailer here:  

Excerpt:  

Ronnie squeezed her way to the bar sending a few “go-to-hell” looks at some drooling guys as she passed them. Luckily, a heavyset redhead stood up from her bar stool at the same time Ronnie reached the bar.

“Can I snag your set?” Ronnie asked the woman.

“It’s all yours,” she said before she walked away. Thank God, because Ronnie’s feet needed an intermission.

“What’s your poison?” a voice said close to her ear making her already heated skin even stickier from the warmth of his breath. She turned around on her stool to see a very sexy Sergeant First Class Emerson standing behind her with a scruffy smile on his face. He was in the same worn jeans as before but he had changed his shirt to a snug-fitting, black button-down with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He was such a pretty boy.

She forced herself to tear her eyes away from him to keep from staring at his chest and the way his damn preppy shit pulled across it. “Patron.”

“Two shots of Patron,” he told the skanky bartender in a tube top and a pair of jeans that was unfortunately close to showing off her lady goods. The bartender smiled and was all to happy to tend to him.

She leaned seductively over the bar as she slid the shots to Kale. “Here ya go.” She winked.

“Seriously?” Ronnie huffed, raising her eyebrows at the bartender before grabbing her shot and tossing it back. The bartender looked from Ronnie to Kale—who was more than likely mind-fucking Ronnie at that very moment by the way he was looking at her—before pouting her way on to the next customer.

“What are you doing here?” Ronnie asked, peeling the paper off her beer bottle.

“Turns out, this tattoo I got on my back stings like hell, figured I could use a drink to dull the pain a little.” He leaned in close to her. “Plus the idea of watching you dance held its own persuasion.”

A wanton shiver slithered down Ronnie’s spine and she hoped like hell Kale didn’t notice. “So what, now you want small talk?”

“Small talk, no talk, I don’t care,” he said, motioning with his hand for the bartender to bring them another round. Great, Ronnie was going to have to witness that bimbo make a fool of herself again.

Kale slowly and deliberately stepped closer to her. She could almost feel him against her side. “Dance with me.”

“I’m not dancing with you.”

“Dance with me,” he said again, offering his hand to her.

“Look, Soldier, I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but you can’t just order me around.”

He leaned down and ran his nose up the side of her neck and she stilled. “Well as of right now, I’m finding it extremely difficult not to push you up against this bar and put my mouth on your body you’re tempting me and I just might do it. So, you can either dance with me and let me attempt to get the image of you squirming beneath me out of my head, or you can leave with me now and we can replay that image in real time.”

Ronnie’s formerly clear mind started swimming with the memory of his body crushing her against the door eagerly kissing her, and the feel of his body pressing her into the couch, and then the feel of his mouth, oh his fucking mouth on her…damn it.

“And you think I’ll just leave with you, why?” she asked, pulling her mind back to the present where Kale was leaning dangerously close to her. She could smell the faint scent of soap on his skin.

“Because I know you enjoyed the little taste of me that you had back at the shop, and God knows I enjoyed tasting you.” He smirked. “And because I can see it in your eyes now. Dance with me.”

The bartender slid the shots in front of them, thankfully without attempting to flirt, and Ronnie once again tilted the shot back, letting the clear smooth liquid run down her throat.

She stood up and grabbed his hand causing that fucking dimple to drill deep into his cheek. “You better not make me regret this,” she said, leading the way to the dance floor.

BUY LINK:  Amazon

 

 

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