The Naughty Vixen

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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.”

This Week’s Most Anticipated

51av6l+bzcLI’m sure it is no surprise that Smiley by Laurann Dohner hits the top of my most wanted listed tomorrow the 28th.  I can’t get enough of this series!  I am eagerly awaiting a female species stories, but I am certainly not complaining with anything Dohner graces us with that is for sure!

About the series:  The New Species are genetically altered beings that are part human and part animal.  Raised in labs, most of them have previously only been known by a number, instead of names – and experimented upon by the scientists that made them.  Slowly more and more of them are being freed, and creating their own “communities” away from the humans.  And when the mating instinct hits them, no other female will do!  Smiley is preceded by Fury, Slade, Valiant, Justice, Brawn, Wrath, Tiger, Obsidian, Shadow, Moon, True, and Darkness.

Blurb from Smiley:  Vanni is furious when her fiancé tricks her into attending a conference where his father’s church is protesting the New Species Organization. She hates everything chose vile bigots stand for. Vanni goes to the bar to cool off and ends up seated next to a handsome New Species. Things heat up fast when they are both drugged.  

Smiley doesn’t want to believe the sweet human would dose them with the breeding drug. He’s willing to trust her and determined to save her life. He’ll hold her. Protect her. Offer up his body to distract them both from the pain. She is his female, even if she doesn’t realize it yet.

Buy Link:  Amazon

Honorable Mentions – The next one is just a short, but I thought it was worth a mention, and is one I will be grabbing for sure – Sudden Backtrack by Kim Harrison, which will by a short story from the world of the Hollows.  Granted, it will be told from Al’s point of view, I gather, but I miss this series so much and it will definitely be leaving a hole in my reading series bookshelf pre-order list….LOL     You also may want to keep an eye out for the new one by Iona Andrews called Burn for Me which starts off a new series – I am a bit on the fence on this one.  The blurb hasn’t reeled me in yet, but I love the Kate Daniels series so I want to see what other people have to say about it before I decide if it’s something I want to pursue.  I love Nalini Singh, particularly her Psy-changling series, but I’m not really a fan of her Archangel series.  The first few books were okay, but I just wasn’t feeling that series as much and just kind of quite following it.  If you are a fan though then make a note that Book 7 Archangel’s Shadows also releases tomorrow…:)

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.

Promo image 2 GBG

 

Trace of Magic by Diana Pharaoh Francis

“You know, ever since I met you, I can’t seem to keep my own clothes on.  Why is that?”

cover52037-mediumTitle:  Trace of Magic

Series: The Diamond City Magic Novels Book #1

Author:  Diana Pharaoh Francis

Rate: A

Even the most powerful tracers can’t track you if the magical trace you leave behind is too old. But I can track almost anything, even dead trace. That makes me a unicorn, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Lock Ness Monster all rolled into one. In a word, I am unique. A very special snowflake. And if anyone ever finds out, I’ll be dead or a slave to one of the Tyet criminal factions.
Riley Hollis has quietly traced kidnapped children and quietly tipped the cops to their whereabouts one too many times. Now she’s on the radar of Detective Clay Price, a cop in the pocket of a powerful magic Tyet faction. When he blackmails her into doing a dangerous trace for him, Riley will have to break every rule that keeps her safe. Or become a Tyet pawn in a deadly, magical war. 

Thoughts:  Trace of Magic starts off what has become one of my new favorite urban fantasy series – and this book definitely leaves you wanting more!  I can’t wait to get more from these characters and this whole intriguing world.  In this alternate, magical universe, we have a world full of magical abilities, intrigue, subterfuge, deception, greed, etc. – and with Riley herself not even sure of the full scale of her powers, I can’t wait to see where things go with this series.  For book one in a new series, it is really off to a strong start, and this is the most excited I have been about a new author in urban fantasy in awhile.

For those wanting to get a feel for her works, I see the book similar to those along the lines of  the Realm Walker series by Kathleen Collins and perhaps the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance – if you enjoy those, I think this one might be right up your alley…:)  There are definitely moments where it reminds me a bit of Kim Harrison’s Hollow’s series (although this series is definitely not on that scale yet)….particularly when it comes to Riley’s creative uses for magic.  I think this series really has a lot of potential….and Riley really has the potential to became a huge female character that those long-lasting type series are made out of.  I can’t wait to see what the next book brings!

The Second Chance Hero by Jeannie Moon

“It’s more.  With him it could be more.  I just know it.”

cover52799-mediumTitle:  The Second Chance Hero

Author:  Jeannie Moon

Series: Forever Love #4

Rate:  A

The eternal bachelor finally finds his match—if he can get her attention…
After her fiancé dies in her arms in Afghanistan, combat nurse Kim Torres decides to get as far away from men and the war as she can. Now a nanny to a little girl, she’s trying to date again, but her heart just isn’t in it. Not even for a man as sexy as Owen Kent…
When Major Owen Kent returns from his deployment with the Marines in Afghanistan, he discovers how much things have really changed. The billionaire CIO’s friends are settling down and having families—things a serial dater like Owen doesn’t expect to do. But he’s also not expecting his friend Harper’s new nanny to be the woman who stole his heart half a world away. Kim may want nothing to do with Owen, but he’s not about to surrender without a fight.

ThoughtsFate is the word of the day when it comes to this book.  Owen is fascinated by the young nurse who falls apart in his arms after the world as she knows it falls apart around her after a tragedy in Afghanistan.  After going to check on her a few weeks later – only to find her gone – he figures it wasn’t meant to be.  But when his friend asks him to pick up her nanny after she has a flat tire, he’s stunned when it turns out to be the very nurse he was so intrigued by!  He’s surprised, however, that she doesn’t recognize him.  Owen’s happy to take these little circumstances as a nudge by fate and give them a chance – but can he convince Kim to do the same?

Talk about a sweet romance!  I absolutely fell in love with this book!  I love the witty banter between these characters, the chemistry between them, and just the whole falling-in-love story.  The ending was also a bit surprising….but to find out why you’ll have to pick this little treasure up for yourself…:)  It is beautifully told by the author, and just an amazingly sweet read.  This was my first book by the author, but I can say it will definitely not be the last!  It is also completely a stand alone novel.

 

 

This Week’s Most Anticipated

into_the_darkness_book_pageOctober 21st marks the release of Into Darkness by one of my favorite authors J.T Geissinger.  If you are unfamiliar with her, trust me, you want to remedy that – quickly!  I’m a bit sad to see the end of this series – especially when I’ve already been hit with a few other endings of some of my favs lately (think Rachel Morgan and the Hollows series by Kim Harrison).  But I know Geissinger won’t let me down – and that I can expect other great things in the future!

About the series:  Deep within the primeval forests of southern England, a race of beautiful, savage shape-shifters lives hidden from the everyday world. The Ikati are bound together by ancient bloodlines and a ruthless code of secrecy that punishes traitors with death.  Into Darkness is preceded by Shadow’s Edge, Edge of Oblivion, Rapture’s Edge, Edge of Darkness, and Darkness Bound.

Blurb from Into Darkness:  In New Vienna, capital of the oppressive global government formed after the Flash, three things are certain: the sun is poisonous, speaking out is dangerous, and being different will get you killed.

And Lumina Bohn is extraordinarily different.

Living in terror of discovery, Lu knows nothing of her past—but she knows she must pretend to be human to survive. When an incident at work triggers her astonishing powers, she becomes the target of an international manhunt. Only one person can save her: Magnus, the enigmatic stranger haunting her dreams.

Magnus rescues the outcasts called Aberrants from capture and torture. As Lu begins exploring her powers among her people, her feelings for Magnus intensify. He’s determined to stay emotionally distant, yet their smoldering passion soon becomes impossible to resist.

But when a shocking revelation threatens the lives of every remaining Aberrant, Lu and Magnus must risk everything, confronting their enemies in an explosive final stand to save their kind from the darkest fate of all: extinction.

Buy Link:  Amazon

Full Circle by Chudney Thomas

“Is that code for watching a movie and jumping my bones?”

cover54277-mediumTitle:  Full Circle

Author:  Chudney Thomas

Rate: B

He’s waited years for her…In a pack of werewolves, a half human isn’t exactly at the top of the food chain. Half-human, half-werewolf, Ria Marlett knows her place in the pack. And she knows exactly how the pack’s alpha, Drake Neilson, views her; as a convenient lay. So far she’s managed to avoid his advances, but she knows his patience is growing thin. 
Now he’s ready to claim her…Ria does her best to avoid Drake, but the sexy woman can’t hide who she is. Tired of waiting, now he’ll do whatever it takes to win Ria, even woo her while dealing with rabid lone wolf attacks. With the pack in danger Ria is forced to face what Drake has been telling her all along, she just might be the strongest of the pack. 

Thoughts:  Okay – the bad news?  This is not going to be one of those stand out paranormal/shifter books that has you clamoring for more or has you raving about what an awesome read it was.  The good news?  It’s a decent read, short read that may just get better as the series goes on.

If I’m being honest, this one falls a little into forgettable territory.  In a genre with shifters and supernatural beings – that is rife with so many possibilities – there is nothing that really stands out.  There is not a whole lot of action or drama…mostly just Drake trying to convince Ria that she is his mate.  What ground the author gains with the character of Drake, she loses with Ria.  I didn’t mind so much that she was a half-human/half-werewolf….she could still be a strong character.  Unfortunately, she comes across as submissive, a doormat, and not capable of leading along-side the alpha.  While I get that the Pack is supposed to see her that way, and that Drake sees more, I want to see what he sees in her….I want the author to show me the hidden depths of her character.  Now, of course, this is a really short read…only 75 pages….which doesn’t really lend itself to that kind of character development.  Hopefully, we can see more growth of character (and of author) in future books in this series….and it is obvious that this is just meant to be the start of a bigger series.  Let’s hope the series gets better and better as it goes along…:)

 

 

Featured Subscription Club: BIRCHBOX

september_bb_09I have become a huge fan of Birchbox, and discovered some wonderful products through their subscription club.  Each month you receive a box shipped directly to you, filled with five sample-sized high end beauty, grooming, and/or lifestyle products.  For ONLY $10 per month, you get a bunch of new stuff to try out – everything from makeup to facial cleaner, shampoo to detanglers, nail polish to ear buds and perfume, you never know what surprises may await you in your box!  For every purchase (your subscription box AND full size purchases from the store) you earn points, which helps you save $$$ on future purchases!  Not to mention points for referring your friends!  Even better?  Birchbox offers a box for the man in your life, too!  You can also subscribe to the men’s box for $20 per month and score some great men’s products, too!  Trust me, this is one of my favorite subscription clubs, and I LOVE the products you get through this club!  And you can cancel at any time!  So, what are you waiting for?  Get started today!   Makes a great gift idea, as well….;)

JOIN BIRCHBOX!

october_mb_01_385x385

Ritual Magic by Eileen Wilks

Feelings are not always a guide to truth, and guilt is an indulgence you cannot afford. It clouds the mind.”

81VANeQxSxL._SL1500_Title:  Ritual Magic (World of the Lupi Book #10)

Author:  Eileen Wilks

Rate:  C

In Eileen Wilks’s new Novel of the Lupi, FBI agent Lily Yu is about to confront a power even darker than magic…On her 57th birthday, Lily’s mother suddenly loses all memory beyond the age of twelve. Lily knows her mother was attacked by something more than magic. More . . . and darker.
When Lily and Rule discover that others suffered the same, mysterious loss—at the same time on the same night—their investigation into the darkness begins. Joining them is someone Lily never thought she’d see again: Al Drummond, who once tried to destroy her. He also happens to be dead. But the mysterious attacks were caused by a power strong enough to affect matters beyond the world of the living.
With some victims losing years of memory and others their lives, Lily must discover what on earth—or beyond—connects them. 

Thoughts:  To be honest, I dragged my heels when it came to getting this book….and then dragged them some more when it came to actually reading it.  I absolutely loved this series in the beginning, but it has become one of those series that has started to lose its spark for me.  Part of me feverently hoped that this would be the book that sets it back on track….and yet another dreaded it because I feared it would be the final straw for me with the series.  Unfortunately, it seems to be the latter for me.

With most other series, it usually comes down to just the whole plotline/story just not living up to the spectacular standards set by the previous books.  What makes this series a bit odd for me is instead it seems to be a loss of the integral part of the characters – now, in the tenth book, I honestly have forgotten why I loved these characters so much.  It doesn’t even seem like I am even reading about the same people anymore.  And that is truly a sad state of affairs since the characters used to be so vibrant.  The story is still a good one – but I miss the connection that used to exist for these characters – for example, Lily and Rule could almost be strangers they seem so different from who they used to be.  Not to mention their real, true interactions are few and far between.  It’s almost like now that they are together romantically, the author doesn’t know how to write them anymore.

I doubt I can handle reading another book in this series – it just reminds me of what is missing from those amazing books in the beginning.

 

 

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

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