BOOK REVIEW: Veiled Innocence by Ella Frank

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Tick, tick, tock.

Time.

That’s all I have now.

A small room, a photograph, and time.

They want me to trust them and confess my sins.

They told me they wouldn’t judge me—they lied.

I thought we could convince the world that this wasn’t a crime.

We were wrong.

Time doesn’t stand still.

The clock keeps ticking, the world is unconvinced, and now…

Now he is gone.

review

“I never knew that I’d risk everything, even my freedom, just to touch someone. Just to touch you.”

Once in a blue moon, I find myself starting a book with absolutely no prior knowledge of its storyline or the themes in it, excited by the possibilities and lack of expectations, and while it is always a gamble, the mere fact that this particular book was penned by an author who has never let me down, made me feel like it was a safe bet from the very beginning. What I didn’t know was that this story would end up being my undoing from the moment I realised what it was about.

“Addison, it’s natural to form attachments to your teachers.”
“Is it natural to picture them f*cking you?”

Let it be known that nothing spikes my interest like a tale of forbidden romance between a teacher and a student, its inherent illicitness and lack of control being something I am inexplicably drawn to in the books I read, the greatest allure perhaps lying in the fact that, while morally despicable in real life, in fiction, we are allowed to mentally participate in these scenarios, and even root for them. But, as appealing as I find the mere idea of them, I personally also see them as extremely ‘hard sells’ in most cases. I honestly never know whether they would creep me out or make me tingle in all the right places, but I should have known that Ella Frank would have kicked it up a notch and set my skin on fire. This is a story that is so well-rounded, so masterfully assembled, every component fitting perfectly into the overall storyline and giving us one of the most intense, tantalizing, emotionally charged romances to feed our wicked fantasies.

“I looked at her—she looked at me. My ending, staring right at me from the very beginning.”

Grayson McKendrick is a history teacher, in his early thirties, a man whose past remains fairly elusive for the purposes of this story, apart from the fact that he has spent a large portion of his adulthood leading a rather nomadic life, traveling the world, until his father’s frail health brings him back home. He battles with conflicting feelings of anger and helplessness, expecting the worst to happen in the immediate future, but frustrated with himself for being unable to do anything to prevent it. His fairly quiet life comes to a standstill the moment a blue-eyed siren walks into his classroom and mischievously smiles at him, challenging his every resolve, his every belief, and from that moment onwards, Grayson’s life becomes a daily struggle to resist temptation and his body’s primal reactions to someone he knows he cannot and should not have.

“Temptation had come to visit, and her steely determination would likely destroy us both.”

Addison Lancaster is a popular girl, a high school senior whose traumatic past has cut her childhood short and made her into a woman who escapes her grief and overwhelming guilt by pursuing perfection and excellence in the things she can control in her life. But her pursuit of perfection is a race she can never win, her immaculate appearance only camouflaging the broken young woman hiding inside her, one in dire need of love and acceptance, but who only ever receives criticism and blame for the mistakes she never made. The Addison that the world sees is flawless, determined, ambitious, unemotional, a very different woman to the little girl still hiding behind her defensive walls. The only signs of her inner struggle are her little obsessive compulsions such as having to always hear the tick tock of a clock or her mental counting, acts that calm her nerves and warn off her anxiety when memories or external influences unsettle her.

“With him the ticking had stopped.”

When Addison lays eyes on her new history teacher, she is immediately attracted to him and she shamelessly pursues him any chance she gets. In a very rare reverse power dynamic in the context of a forbidden romance, young Addison is the one who sets the pace of their evolving relationship, her relentless determination to seduce him and make him admit his reluctant attraction to her is the element that makes this scenario so unique and addictive. Their age difference quickly disappears before our eyes, all we can see is the temptress rather than a woman half this man’s age, and as a result, their every interaction assumes an aura of delicious illicitness.

“I’ll teach you how to come with a man inside you. Not a boy, Addison, a man.”

But while Addison is the very thing that could destroy Grayson’s entire life, he is the first person in hers who manages to ground her, calm her nerves, make her feel safe and loved. No part of this taboo love affair is glorified or presented as the ‘the right way’ – we are continuously aware of how volatile and morally questionable this scenario is from the very beginning, and ultimately, the ending fits these given characters.

“You’re going to be the death of me.”
Life is full of ironies, because with him, I’d never felt more alive.

Do not be afraid by this book’s enigmatic blurb, do not be afraid to surrender your senses to this strikingly written love story that will ignite your every nerve ending and make you feel a myriad of different emotions. It somehow taps into all the taboos that make our kinks run rampant, and still manages to move us deeply and even shatter our hearts on occasion. I read this book in one sitting, in what felt like one single breath, and I adored every moment spent with Addison and Grayson. It has everything I always dream of finding in a forbidden student/teacher romance, but it is a love story first and foremost, and as such, I cannot recommend it enough to all the hopeless romantics out there.

“It wasn’t wrong. No—it was just misunderstood.”

5stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Connect with Ella: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW: Try by Ella Frank

try2Try – verb: to make an attempt or effort to do something or in this case… someone.

Sex. Logan Mitchell loves it, and ever since he realized his raw sexual appeal at a young age, he has had no problem using it to his advantage. Men and women alike fall into his bed—after all, Logan is not one to discriminate. He lives by one motto—if something interests you, why not just take a chance and try?

And he wants to try Tate Morrison.

Just coming out of a four-year marriage with an ex-wife from hell, a relationship is the last thing on Tate’s mind. He’s starting fresh and trying to get back on his feet with a new job at an upscale bar in downtown Chicago.

The only problem is, Tate has caught the unwavering and unwelcome attention of Mr. Logan Mitchell – a regular at the bar and a man who always gets what he wants.

Night after night Tate fends off the persistent advances of the undeniably charismatic man, but after an explosive moment in the bar, all bets are off as he finds his body stirring with a different desire than his mind.

As arrogance, stubbornness and sexual tension sizzles between the two, it threatens to change the very course of their lives.

Logan doesn’t do relationships. Tate doesn’t do men. But what would happen if they both just gave in and… tried?

review

“So… I like to try a little bit of everything and everyone… I’d like to try you.”

As someone who doesn’t usually read m/m novels, diving into one is always a healthy combination of apprehension and excitement for me, purely because I can never predict how my body or my mind are going to react to it. This genre intrigues me, thrills me on so many levels, but I am still a newbie when it comes to drawing comparisons within that genre and I can only go by the way a particular book affects me personally. And, let me tell you, this book rocked my world! I was an excited bundle of tingles from the get-go and the tingles only multiplied as I kept reading. This story was my guilty pleasure and I loved every delectable moment of it.

“What do I need to get you into my bed?”

Logan is a man whose good looks and charming personality have made him accustomed to getting anything and anyone he’s ever wanted. The revolving door of sexual partners, both women and men, that he beds and then leaves satisfy the most carnal of his needs, but he is never left feeling anything more than physical satisfaction from those commitment-free encounters. Logan is not a relationship guy and he is not ashamed of it. And the last thing he ever expected is to be attracted to a man who not only does not welcome his advances, but he openly resents them.

“I don’t care if I have to be here every f*cking night. I’m going to have him.”

Tate is a bartender at Logan’s usual after-hours hangout, and he is as straight as they come. Recently separated from a woman who only made him even more wary of love and relationships, Tate is equally fascinated as he is uncomfortable with Logan’s blatant interest in him. From the first moment they meet, Tate’s mind is torn between what he thinks he should feel and what his body cannot help but feel every time he is near Logan. Every sensation, every illicit fantasy, every ‘what if’ scenario torment him and occupy his every thought. Everything Tate ever believed to be true about himself has been replaced by doubts, and Logan’s relentless temptations only make his inner battle even more testing.

“It’s like you expect me to flip a switch and just accept that everything I ever believed about myself has changed, and that I should be okay with that. Do you know how insane that is?”

When Tate finally gives in and succumbs to what his body demands of him, he commences an exhilarating journey of sexual re-awakening, where his every new sexual experience eclipses all that he has ever felt, wanted, craved. He is as apprehensive as he is curious about his hurtling feelings for Logan, his fear never being born out of intolerance or closed-mindedness, but rather out of mere confusion from having to redefine his entire sexual identity.

“I see reckless. I see untrustworthy. I see someone that I’m terrified to take a risk on because I don’t know if he’ll be there to grab my hand if I jump off that cliff.”

They are each other’s catalyst, but also each other’s anchor. They give each other a reason and the confidence to feel what they’ve never felt before, to be vulnerable in each other’s arms, to face the world around them, while their bodies indulge in every fantasy their minds have time to conjure up. And we, as readers, get to witness every delicious second of it.

“You make me want things that I’d forgotten I wanted.”

I don’t believe this story was designed to address sexuality one way or another, to break new ground in the genre or offer a lesson to learn. I believe this story’s intent was primarily to tantalise and thrill the reader, to give us a very sexy joyride that, in a way, bridges the gap between m/f and m/m erotica. I think that more seasoned readers of the genre might find this book to be too one-dimensional when it comes to addressing homosexuality, but I stand by my belief that this book was never designed to start a discourse on homosexuality in the first place. The focal point of the storyline is the overwhelming attraction between the two main characters, not the repercussions of that attraction or the social consequences of taking that attraction to the next level. Logan and Tate, in a way, exist in a bubble where everyone around them accepts their relationship open-mindedly and questions its validity as they would question any other relationship. Tate’s family is an exception, but that element is only skimmed over in this instalment. This is not a ‘coming out’ story or a story about the challenging social aspects of a homosexual relationship – this is a story about two people whose unexpected but undeniable sexual chemistry ignited their connection, but whose courage and resolve to take it to the next level gave them a chance at a happiness neither of them ever expected to find.

If you allow yourself to take this book at face value and just let yourself enjoy the irresistible ride, you’ll be thrilled to the core. I am happy that we are getting more of Logan and Tate in the upcoming sequel, Take, where I hope that further insight into the characters will give us even more reasons to fall in love with them. I commend Ms Frank on a splendid venture into a new genre, forever thankful for giving us a book that will only make some of us even braver to dip our toes even deeper into this addictive whole new world.

“I want the man who sat across from me and changed the way I look at the world.”

5stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
The Author

Ella Frank is the author of the Exquisite Series, including Exquisite, Entice and Edible. She also released her first Erotic Novel, Blind Obsession in March 2013. Ella is a happily married woman and mother to a crazy cat. She’s been writing ever since she fell in love with falling in love, and she credits that to my Nan, who handed her her first romance novel. Currently, Ella resides in the Southern portion of the United States.

Connect with Ella: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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EXCLUSIVE TEASER & GIVEAWAY: Try by Ella Frank

I have a confession to make: I have only read two m/m books in my life so far. I know, where have I been, right? I am a fan of the genre, I truly am, and those books that I have read have made me tingle all over, but I simply never dove into it properly. And then one day a certain book by an already beloved author hit my book junkie radar and I have been an anxious mess ever since waiting for this book to be released. It took one picture teaser and I was addicted. So, you can imagine my excitement when Ms Frank honoured my Blog by giving us an exclusive little teaser and the chance for one lucky winner to receive an ARC before its release date!!!! This book is Try by Ella Frank and it is the first book in the Temptation series and this is where their story begins. Brace yourselves, peeps, this excerpt is unedited and it is explicit. ♥

Expected release date: 12 November 2013

try2

Try – verb: to make an attempt or effort to do something or in this case… someone.

Sex. Logan Mitchell loves it, and ever since he realized his raw sexual appeal at a young age, he has had no problem using it to his advantage. Men and women alike fall into his bed—after all, Logan is not one to discriminate. He lives by one motto—if something interests you, why not just take a chance and try?

And he wants to try Tate Morrison.

Just coming out of a four-year marriage with an ex-wife from hell, a relationship is the last thing on Tate’s mind. He’s starting fresh and trying to get back on his feet with a new job at an upscale bar in downtown Chicago.

The only problem is, Tate has caught the unwavering and unwelcome attention of Mr. Logan Mitchell – a regular at the bar and a man who always gets what he wants.

Night after night Tate fends off the persistent advances of the undeniably charismatic man, but after an explosive moment in the bar, all bets are off as he finds his body stirring with a different desire than his mind.

As arrogance, stubbornness and sexual tension sizzles between the two, it threatens to change the very course of their lives.

Logan doesn’t do relationships. Tate doesn’t do men. But what would happen if they both just gave in and… tried?

excerpt

Funny, but ever since he’d met Logan, he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to punch him in the mouth or dive inside for a taste—and right this second was no different. All Tate could think about was pushing his cock between those smart ass, arrogant lips and making the guy shut up. But thinking it and asking for it, were two totally different things. So he remained stubbornly silent as Logan continued to hold him captive with his warm palm and taunting stare.

“Do you want me to stop?” he asked.

Tate shook his head as Logan crowded down over him and braced his free hand on the armrest. He could feel Logan’s breath in a hot sigh by his ear as he stroked his fist up Tate’s length in a slow, torturous pull, “Do you want me to suck your cock, Tate?”

Letting out a groan of pure frustration, Tate turned his head so he was nose to nose with Logan. As he stared into devilish blue eyes, his whole body vibrated against the couch, and finally he gave in.

“Yes.”

Connect with Ella: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

To win an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of Try (eBook format) to be sent to the winner as soon as ARCs are ready, please enter below. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This contest is open internationally.

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Edible by Ella Frank

edible_322x500Edible, delicious, delectable.

Three words Rachel Langley is more than familiar with in her line of work. After all, she spends her afternoons and evenings creating desserts so divine your mouth will water and your taste buds will tingle.

They aren’t however, the words she would ever have expected to think of when she locks eyes with a certain lawyer she knows only as, Cole.

With each encounter the infuriatingly persistent man becomes more impossible to resist and edible, is the exact word that comes to mind.

Crave, demand, covet.

Cole Madison knows exactly what he wants and Rachel Langley is it. From the moment he spotted her at Whipped, he knew he wanted to grab hold and take a bite.

However, the woman has enigmatic moves, avoiding him at every turn.

Not for much longer.

Rachel’s time is up and as far as Cole is concerned he’s waited too long for a taste of what he desires and nothing, including the woman herself, will stop him from consuming what he hungers for.

The only question left is, who will take the first bite?

“Will you let go and give me the power to make you happy?”

Cole Madison. Bear with me, I need to say it again… Cole Madison. I knew from the moment we met this character in Entice that he would be somethin’ special, but I never imagined Ms Frank would give us someone this perfect, all wrapped up into a nice little tattooed-and-pierced-in-all-the-right-places kind of package. I loved the previous instalments of this series but this book was my undoing. Sensual, well-paced, mouth-wateringly lascivious, this is a story that will leave you breathless from beginning to end, and with only one thing on your mind… Cole Madison.

“Remember this moment, Rachel, because I don’t plan to forget it until you’re screaming my name so loudly that every single person within a ten-mile radius knows what it f*cking is.”

At last, our heroine is Rachel, Mason’s younger sister, whom we have watched share her loved ones’ happiness but never quite achieving her own. On more than one occasion, we have sensed her own sadness and inability to open up about it to the ones who care about her the most, making us desperate to finally hear her story and uncover the demons that have been weighing down this multicolour-haired little firecracker’s spirit. Through occasional flashbacks into her past, we discover Rachel’s history of abuse and the reasons behind the protective walls shielding her heart from harm. The only time she had given her heart to someone, she ended up severely mistreated, both physically as well as psychologically, turning her into a woman afraid to trust her instincts when it comes to men and determined never to lose control over her life again. She guards her heart and her body by picking men who could never affect her emotionally and whom she can dominate in the bedroom.

“She wanted companionship, and she craved to be touched, but Rachel wanted the control. She never wanted to be the helpless one again – ever.”

Cole is the very type of man that Rachel desperately tries to stay away from. He is arrogant, self-assured, determined to get what he wants and he has decided that what he wants is Rachel. From the very first time he laid eyes on her he has known that he had finally met a woman who would challenge him and keep him on his toes. He is drawn to the vulnerability that he sees behind her tough exterior, making him want to protect her as well as bring her out of her shell. Cole’s dominant and controlled personality comes through in every aspect of his life, from his professional life to the one behind closed doors, and while this excites Rachel and ignites every cell in her body, it also shatters any semblance of control she tries to keep when around him. Submitting to someone like Cole is the very thing she is most afraid of doing again, but it also happens to be what she craves the most.

“I was determined not to know you, yet here I am. How did you slip past all the walls I put up?”

What starts as a casual arrangement between two consenting adults wishing to explore their attraction on a short-term basis, quickly becomes exactly what both of them have been looking for in life. They heal each other, feed each other’s desires, their mutual attraction being only a trigger for a much deeper connection between two people who seek control for very different reasons, but ultimately both equally desperate to be loved and to love freely without restraint. Rachel’s transition from a traumatised young woman scared to trust her heart again into a confident butterfly who finally finds safety in the arms of the right man is a sight to behold.

“Will you swallow your pride, show me your strength, and find the hope that this person took away from you?”

With a subtle hint of a BDSM theme and two characters unafraid to explore their most intimate sexual predilections, we are given possibly the hottest instalment in the Exquisite series. Every part of this story was flawlessly developed, each relationship carefully pieced together. Ms Frank has a very special talent for writing stories that are equally emotional as they are sizzling, giving us some of the most memorable hot lovin’ scenes I have ever come across. This was a book that was not only impossible to put down, I did not want to put it down. And when it was finished, I had an urge to start it all over again. And find myself some caramel candies.

“I want to please you as much as I want you to please me. I want to use my body and yours to bring you the most pleasure you have ever felt, and after it’s through, I want to start all over again.”

Buy book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
To read a delicious bonus scene, click HERE
Connect with Ella: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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Exquisite – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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The Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Edible, Ella Frank is giving away a whole lot of awesome prizes:

  • $100.00 Amazon Gift Card
  • $ 50.00 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
  • $ 25.00 iTunes Gift Card
  • 20 x Ella Frank eBooks (winner’s choice)
  • 5 x Ella Frank Swag Packs (US only)

This giveaway is administered by Ella Frank.

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Entice by Ella Frank

What if everything you think you want isn’t what you actually need…

Dr. Shelly Monroe is a woman who doesn’t shy away from going after what she wants, but lately good sex has been hard to find. Shelly’s become increasingly frustrated with the men she’s been dating and the men she believes are the right choice.

Joshua Daniels is certainly not even close to the right choice. In fact he is exactly the wrong choice. For one thing, he’s Mason Langley’s best friend and best man. Second he’s too much of a risky complication for Shelly to even consider.

Then why can’t she stop thinking about how delicious he looked that first night she met him at Exquisite? Why is it so imperative to keep her lusty desire for a man that doesn’t meet her preconceived mold hidden from Lena and Mason, her trusted friends?

It seems unreasonable that being with a man completely wrong in theory could somehow feel so right. Then why is it the more she sees him the more enticing he becomes?

“I want to take off all your clothes, lay you down here in the morning sun, and love you from your head to your toes. Would that be okay with you?”

This book needs to come with a health warning: It may cause a rise in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, hot flashes and a serious case of hot-and-botheredness. I am not sure what it is about Ella Frank’s brand of erotic romance, but I was a hot mess throughout this entire book. The sexual tension between the characters is so well developed, so deliciously woven and timed to perfection, that the reader has no choice but to succumb to it. This story will definitely hit the spot.

Shelly is a young doctor, a successful physician and a woman living on her own means, but as successful as her career is, her dating life leaves much to be desired. After a failed relationship with a man who excited her physically while only being a financial burden on her, Shelly has sworn off men who make her sexually attracted to them and thus vulnerable to their charms. She now wishes to find nothing more than a nice hard working but uncomplicated man, someone that her demanding father would approve of, someone who would not use her like her ex did.

“… a boring suit, a nice man, and a personality that I can predict. That’s what I want, right?”

But whenever we say never, life usually tends to serve us just that. Josh is exactly the type of man Shelly has sworn off – strong muscular body, wavy brown hair, a panty-melting smile and a take-no-prisoners attitude towards the opposite sex – the moment she lays eyes on him she knows she is in trouble. But Shelly is also exactly the kind of woman Josh has tried to stay away from, all upper class and high maintenance. From their first encounter, their heads say no but their bodies inevitably react to each other, their uncontrollable attraction leading them to speak openly about it and making a friends-with-benefits type of arrangement between them. They agree to a discrete sexual relationship, with no emotional involvement or obligations towards each other, strictly to pleasure the flesh.

“You have a body that’s made to pound a woman into her bed. So, I’m really hoping that you can live up to that.”

When two people with not one subtle bone in their bodies between the two of them start a hot sexual affair, fireworks fly left, right and centre, and these two characters quite literally light up the sky. The sexual chemistry between Shelly ‘Man-Eater’ Monroe and Josh ‘Delicious’ Daniels is off the charts – they demand each other’s bodies, fulfil each other’s fantasies and thoroughly satisfy one another.

“Shelly screamed, biting down on his shoulder, as he entered her forcefully, banging her solidly up against the wall. While he continued to pound away at her with one of her legs hitched up and over his naked hip, Shelly couldn’t remember a man ever having such power over her. As she gave herself over to the powerful climax, screaming out his name and shattering all around him, she also knew there would never be another man who would.”

Their out-of-control physical connection, however, is not the only point of compatibility between them. The more time they spend together, the more they realise that the person standing next to them is exactly the one they were looking for. Through alternating POVs, we witness two people slowly but deeply falling in love, but while Josh is ready to take the next step, Shelly stays unwilling to lose focus in her life and surrender the little control over her emotions that she has gained in her adulthood. The product of a dysfunctional home, Shelly sees a little bit of her cheating father in every man she meets and naturally keeps them at an arm’s length. What she did not plan is to find the embodiment of every childhood dream in the very man she now tries to guard her heart against.

“I’m falling for you so hard that I can feel the scrapes on my knees as I’m brought to them… How can you not see how good we’d be together and how much I would love you?”

This story might have been all about the deliciously mind-blowing hot lovin’ at first, but it quickly became a sweet and very romantic tale of wrong first impressions and learning to give one’s heart to someone, while trusting them unconditionally to safeguard it and not take it for granted. There was no part of this story that I did not utterly enjoy. Apart from the sizzling chemistry between the characters, including the secondary ones, the dialogues were a highlight – entertaining, well-written and scorching hot at times. This is a book I devoured in one day and I’m thinking of going for seconds.

“I would lie under the tree and dream about the man I’d end up with – who he would be and what he would look like … And he turned out much better than anything I could have imagined.”

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The Blog Tour

The Giveaway

To win an e-copy of Enticeplease enter below. By entering, you accept the following Giveaway Conditions.

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